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Why is there so much hate towards Evangelion?


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Exaar



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 279
Location: Delaware

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:18 am Reply with quote
I don't like Evangelion. It has never been attractive to me at any point in my anime-watching career - I basically dislike everything about it, from the art style to the characters to the pretentious philosophizing. However, I also am perfectly willing to admit that it is a significant series that many people do enjoy and that it paved the way for many series I /do/ like to come along later.

A lot of it, for me, boils down to the fact that I think a lot of other shows which are really good get dismissed or underrated because people are overrating the super popular shows, like Eva, FMA, Index, and others which I find to be annoying. There are shows I really love which I feel are every bit as good or better than these shows which just end up getting lost, while these shows inexplicably carry on being re-made, re-booted, and held on pedestals when those resources could be used for making new shows or exalting shows which I personally think deserve it more. It's this perception I have of shows like Evangelion being venerated at the expense of other shows I like more that really is at the heart of my annoyance with it as a franchise.

It's exactly the same reason I am super annoyed at Game of Thrones. George RR Martin is an asshole who has run that series into the ground and doesn't deserve a goddamn nickel, and yet everyone is saying its the best book series ever when there are other epic fantasy authors who deserve the praise and accolades so much more, like Brandon Sanderson or Joe Abercrombie, yet most people who love GoT have never heard of them. Obviously this thread isn't about epic fantasy books, but I figured I'd mention it because it's the exact same reaction I have to Evangelion - people are worshiping something which doesn't deserve that level of dedication, and because of that things which are just as good or better are being shoved under the carpet.

That's really the source of the Evangelion hate for me, personally.

EDIT: Another perfect example is the upcoming Guillermo del Toro movie, Pacific Rim. I think it looks amazing. It has literally nothing in common with Evangelion aside from the fact that it has big robots in it. Yet on every YouTube page for the trailer, its FILLED with comments of people going "Looks like an EVA ripoff" or "Why couldn't they make a real EVA movie instead of this? Pass". It pisses me off so much that people are dismissing what looks like a great movie because it superficially resembles Evangelion when actually it has nearly nothing in common with it.
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thenix



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 180

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:23 am Reply with quote
I didn't realize anyone besides me dislikes Eva. Out of everyone I know that likes anime everyone besides me either likes Eva or doesn't know about it. Maybe I need to give it more of a chance but I seen the first 4 episodes and I really don't find anything attractive about it at all. I also dislike shows with unrealistic Mecha in it (so sue me they are probably all "unrealistic" but at least gundams seem engineered)
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MadShadow42



Joined: 01 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:08 pm Reply with quote
In answer to the original question of "why people hate Evangelion", I think the answer should be clear. There is no such thing as universal appeal, so when something comes along that's super popular and acclaimed it'll always have its fair share of detractors, whether it "deserves" its acclaim or not. Even critical juggernauts like Cowboy Bebop and Revolutionary Girl Utena have their detractors, and setting aside the actual objective quality of the shows in question (if there is such a thing) all of these shows have fans who will insist that the only reason you don't like these shows is because "you don't get it", which is mean-spirited and often (though not always) untrue. So I think much of the hate for Evangelion comes from external factors like rabid fans (not saying all Eva fans are like that, but within this thread alone there has been some pretty undeniable "they just don't get it" elitism going around).

Then, of course, there are superficial complaints like "Shinji's a pussy", as well as subjective complaints that stem from different standards (not necessarily better or worse) for what constitutes "good storytelling". I think it's safe to say that some of the things Evangelion does--and not just in the TV ending--are unconventional enough that the question of whether it's still acceptable as a valid form of narrative or not is up for debate. The question of "how much is too much" demands that the individual viewer/critic draw an arbitrary line to decide how far a story can stray from conventional storytelling before it stops being experimental and starts being bad writing, and THAT is what separates the fans from the haters (or just the "it's an admirable failure" detractors like me).
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Arkthelad



Joined: 06 Jan 2013
Posts: 70

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:48 pm Reply with quote
MadShadow42 wrote:
I think it's still a valid criticism considering how many Eva fans still consider the TV ending fantastic, or even prefer it. Heck, listen to the Revenge of the 90s podcast. We can't pretend that the TV ending doesn't exist anymore than we can pretend EoE doesn't exist.


I don’t get what point you’re making. Some Eva fans like the Tv ending better than the film, therefore we should consider the Tv ending as the true ending? No one’s pretending that the TV ending doesn’t exist. The point is it’s not the real ending.

MadShadow42 wrote:
Yes, EoE was a better ending (albeit one that many people dislike more than the show itself) but I have some problems with that as well, I may or may not get back to you on that. Suffice it to say, those aren't my only problems with the show, it's just that the last few episodes (to me) made the show's shaky infrastructure up to that point glaringly obvious. By his own admission Anno didn't know how he wanted to end the show when he started it, and there are some definite inconsistencies between the early episodes and the later ones because of that.


I find this same problem keeps coming up. People will make generalised criticisms of the series/film but won’t actually support them with any specific references to events or episodes.

MadShadow42 wrote:
And if it really wasn't meant to be conclusive (as you claim) than it still fails as an ending for being, well, inconclusive. No ground to stand on here.


Yes it does fail as ending. That’s because it isn’t the real ending. I find this whole criticism very wilfully ignorant. It’s strange that people will complain that the “congratulations” scene isn’t a well constructed conclusion, but they won’t complain that it’s not explained how Misato and Ritsko were killed in ep24.

Ggultra2764 wrote:
By nihilistic, I mean that the series shifted gears to have the characters believe that life had no objective meaning, value or purpose; the plummeting starting well into the second half of the series starting with the crap that happened with spoiler[Toji]. This was in stark contrast to earlier episodes in the series where it seemed several characters like Shinji and Misato were trying to find meaning in their lives while dealing with circumstances beyond their control, in this case NERV's fight against the Angels, and were slowly coming to grips with their situation until Anno decided that the cast had to suffer setback after setback to force his point onto the audience to reduce the characters you once cared for into pathetic angsting messes. That's not engaging me to care for the characters or the series. It's making me feel like I want to beat up the director for trying to force his beliefs onto the audience.


This same issue keeps coming up. Originally what you said gave the impression that you had specific criticisms of how the shift in mood was written ie it happened too fast. Now you seem to be complaining that it appeared to be going in a more positive direction but then went back in a more negative direction. So basically, if a story doesn’t have an inspirational message, then it’s badly written? That’s not a criticism of the writing. That’s just explaining how it didn’t fit your preferences.

MadShadow42 wrote:
In answer to the original question of "why people hate Evangelion",


That wasn’t the original question though. The original question was to find out what reasons people had for claiming it was bad, and whether these were actually real criticisms as opposed to personal preferences, and then whether they were actually supportable.
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Kruszer
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:07 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I don’t get what point you’re making. Some Eva fans like the Tv ending better than the film, therefore we should consider the Tv ending as the true ending? No one’s pretending that the TV ending doesn’t exist. The point is it’s not the real ending.


It is, however, definitely valid for people to judge each work (series, Death and Rebirth, End of Evangellion, etc.) separately and independently and not as a whole franchise.
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Ggultra2764
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:12 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
This same issue keeps coming up. Originally what you said gave the impression that you had specific criticisms of how the shift in mood was written ie it happened too fast. Now you seem to be complaining that it appeared to be going in a more positive direction but then went back in a more negative direction. So basically, if a story doesn’t have an inspirational message, then it’s badly written? That’s not a criticism of the writing. That’s just explaining how it didn’t fit your preferences.


Now you're just trying to twist my words. Rolling Eyes

My point was that there was no buildup to the nihilist direction that Eva took in its later episodes, which makes the sudden mood shift feel unnatural. Characters were searching for meaning and getting some clear development, yet this was tossed aside just for Anno to apply shocking events, controversial content and psychological evaluations into the characters that had no relevance to the actual series other than to drag things out on many occasions and force the director's beliefs onto the audience. Said shocking events turn said notable characters into angsting messes that become bait for haters of the series to believe anyone like Shinji to be pathetic and pitiful characters who don't grow a spine because the real-life person directing the series is being a complete nihilist with his work. If you had the direction consistent throughout the series or built up to it, it would be one thing. But Eva never does this and as a result, it makes the series look quite flawed in its later episodes.

Beyond the nihilism, I also have to agree with some folks that the series has no symbolic significance. You get mention of religious elements like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Lance of Longinus and the Angels being named after different angels or religious figures in Judeo-Christian holy texts. But do they have any meaning? Beyond trying to shock audiences with their mention and having explosions shaped liked crosses, the mentions are superficial at best and anyone thinking that they have some sort of deeper meaning are kidding themselves.
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EricJ



Joined: 03 Sep 2009
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 12:42 am Reply with quote
Ggultra2764 wrote:
Beyond the nihilism, I also have to agree with some folks that the series has no symbolic significance. You get mention of religious elements like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Lance of Longinus and the Angels being named after different angels or religious figures in Judeo-Christian holy texts. But do they have any meaning? Beyond trying to shock audiences with their mention and having explosions shaped liked crosses, the mentions are superficial at best and anyone thinking that they have some sort of deeper meaning are kidding themselves.


Any time Japanese anime tries to take on Judeo-Christian iconography themes, I know ahead of time there's not so much going to be a "love-hate relationship" with it on the part of the writers/animators, so much as a "Curiosity/Arrogant-loathing" relationship with it:
Throwing various Western religious references around in a pot, most of them derived from Catholicism's presence in early Japanese culture, they're going to be cherrypicking from mysticism references they really have no clue about ("Adam, the first angel"??)...And then filtering it through their own perceptions of Christian religions as "flawed", impotent and/or tyrannical compared to good, pure Eastern ones, and old Nationalistic grudges dating back to its "destroying" ancient Japanese culture.
In other words, you know you'll be listening to a snotty shock-self-important poseur ranting about what he hasn't the first clue about. It's no easier to take in anime than it is on the Internet. Wink
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Sleverin



Joined: 15 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 1:18 am Reply with quote
I would like to make a polite, and affirming, rebuttal to your point, EricJ. It's not technically an anime but Persona 3 was heavily Christian and is probably only one of two games I've played with a positive reaction to Christianity in Japan. The World Ends With You is another fine choice that has, at the very least, cross symbolism (though that's not hard to pull off) but also in the fact that the whole game is centered around being reborn and learning to be forgiven for past offenses (or sins, if you prefer certain nomenclature). Otherwise though, I will agree with you, it's never really in a positive light and it's usually done so with a sort of xenophobic feeling.

Which is why it's far too bad about Evangelion. Like I said in my earlier post, it could have really had an interesting message/story to go on but it collapses on itself. It becomes too heady and rather pointless feeling with the way the characters were interacting. Though the whole "Shinji is absorbed into the Eva" thing was pretty interesting.
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rheiders



Joined: 05 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 1:36 am Reply with quote
^^Trigun also uses a lot of Christian symbolism in a respectful way. Nightow himself is Catholic.
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jl07045



Joined: 30 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:50 am Reply with quote
Ggultra2764 wrote:
My point was that there was no buildup to the nihilist direction that Eva took in its later episodes, which makes the sudden mood shift feel unnatural. Characters were searching for meaning and getting some clear development, yet this was tossed aside just for Anno to apply shocking events, controversial content and psychological evaluations into the characters that had no relevance to the actual series other than to drag things out on many occasions and force the director's beliefs onto the audience.


I think you're confusing nihilism with a sort of existentialism. The fact that reality doesn't care about your wishes and efforts, doesn't mean that life has no meaning. Anno makes his beliefs quite clear in both endings (He was quite blunt in TV ending, don't you think?) when Shinji chooses not to run away (Instrumentality).
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Ggultra2764
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 10:40 am Reply with quote
jl07045 wrote:
I think you're confusing nihilism with a sort of existentialism. The fact that reality doesn't care about your wishes and efforts, doesn't mean that life has no meaning. Anno makes his beliefs quite clear in both endings (He was quite blunt in TV ending, don't you think?) when Shinji chooses not to run away (Instrumentality).


Both schools of philosophy still carry similar mindsets in that they have the belief that life has no real objective meaning (nihilism seeing it through the failure of various ideologies, existentialism through people having to find their own meaning) and that any sort of meaningful change can only be brought about through radical events (nihilism through the complete destruction of society, existentialism through the complete breakdown of one's personal beliefs). Granted, my knowledge of philosophy is nowhere as deep as how JesuOtaku picked apart Anno's preachings in her review. But both schools of thought still carry similar negative overtones in their philosophizing that Anno carried within the later episodes of Eva and End of Eva.
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Ambimunch



Joined: 30 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 11:52 am Reply with quote
Sleverin wrote:
As an adult who studies collegiate level books on philosophy, this series is rather childish in its approach to the human condition. The dialogue makes it sounds beautifully poetic, as Japanese is wont to do, but its mostly empty.


Well this show is old so obviously the dub and dialog aren't on todays level. I study university level psychology, and some aspects of the show were really well done---people wrote essays just describing a few relationships that are portrayed
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Arkthelad



Joined: 06 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 1:18 pm Reply with quote
Ggultra2764 wrote:
My point was that there was no buildup to the nihilist direction that Eva took in its later episodes, which makes the sudden mood shift feel unnatural.


You’re still failing to identify when and how this sudden unnatural mood shift takes place. Without explaining this you’re not actually supporting your arguement.

Ggultra2764 wrote:
You get mention of religious elements like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Lance of Longinus and the Angels being named after different angels or religious figures in Judeo-Christian holy texts. But do they have any meaning?


The religious symbols have meaning in the sense that the plot ends up incorporating elements that do exist in religious beliefs like the apocalypse and life after physical death. They just don’t have any meaning in the context of the specific religions they refer to (ie Eva isn't trying to promote Jewish beliefs etc). We know this because the writers have always stated that this was the case. It’s not a secret.
Ggultra2764 wrote:
Both schools of philosophy still carry similar mindsets in that they have the belief that life has no real objective meaning


Seriously? How is the belief that life has no objective meaning restricted to existentialism and nihilism? In fact unless you’re a religious person, believing that life does have an objective meaning makes no sense whatsoever. Also nihilism is a concept, it isn’t a school of philosophy.

Ggultra2764 wrote:
Granted, my knowledge of philosophy is nowhere as deep as how JesuOtaku picked apart Anno's preachings in her review.


What makes you think JesuOtaku has deep knowledge of philosophy? In her review she claimed that Evangelion’s message was in line with something called “Post-Modern Existentialism”. There is no such thing. She had to invent a school of philosophy in order back up her arguements.
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jl07045



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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 4:42 pm Reply with quote
Ggultra2764 wrote:
Both schools of philosophy still carry similar mindsets in that they have the belief that life has no real objective meaning (nihilism seeing it through the failure of various ideologies, existentialism through people having to find their own meaning) and that any sort of meaningful change can only be brought about through radical events (nihilism through the complete destruction of society, existentialism through the complete breakdown of one's personal beliefs). Granted, my knowledge of philosophy is nowhere as deep as how JesuOtaku picked apart Anno's preachings in her review. But both schools of thought still carry similar negative overtones in their philosophizing that Anno carried within the later episodes of Eva and End of Eva.


There is no "school" of nihilism. It is a philosophical standpoint that pretty much any philosophy seeks an alternative to since it is unhelpful and paradoxical. Existentialism (if we can actually identify it as a tradition in philosophy instead of a more wider cultural movement) specifically confronts nihilism and seeks to escape it. And JesuOtaku's review is no authority to appeal to. She evidently has not had any formal education in philosophy considering her misclassifications of existentialism and its variations.


Last edited by jl07045 on Wed May 01, 2013 5:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jose Cruz



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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:27 pm Reply with quote
Sleverin wrote:
This is pretty much it. I was heavily intrigued with all the interesting ideas of using the power of divinity against itself, the 'NERV' center for the human race being constantly attacked by evil beings. The Lance of Longinus, the spear which stabbed Christ on the cross, used to keep Adam, the first Angel, paralyzed. And then it amounts to nothing, all of it doesn't even pan out to anything. If I was fourteen, then yeah, this series would have been amazing. The animation is fantastic and the story almost works together and then it doesn't. As an adult who studies collegiate level books on philosophy, this series is rather childish in its approach to the human condition. The dialogue makes it sounds beautifully poetic, as Japanese is wont to do, but its mostly empty.


EVA is art not a philosophy paper. Very Happy

What matters is not that the dialogue is super smart and consistent with the top notch scholastic developments in modern philosophy, that's actually impossible since Anno would have to be a philosopher and not an artist but the artists passion that manifests through the work of art.

Any TV series or movie that tries to talk about any academic subject is always and everywhere far behind the said subject if you take any college level texts as base of comparison.

I am a PHD candidate in another area knowledge and I don't understand much about philosophy but I understand my field and that movies and TV series are always stupid when they talk about my field of expertise but that doesn't hurt my enjoyment of them since I know they aren't academic papers written about such area but works of art and entertainment.
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