Almost Otaku: It All Makes Sense, Now...

Topic started by No_name_here on Oct. 14, 2010. Last post by ReVolutionOfEvangelion 4 years, 1 month ago.
Post by No_name_here (856 posts) See mini bio Level 11
  All that time, he really should&squot;ve been saying "I MUST run away!"
 All that time, he really should've been saying "I MUST run away!"

Samjaz: You ever got up in the middle of the night, walked to the fridge, then suddenly realize something about an anime that just throws the realism of it completely out, like why they always let the Saiyans transform into Super Saiyans? Alternatively, have you ever had a similar experience, only something that didn't make sense before suddenly does? Like the reason that Shinji was so good at piloting his Eva was because it's powered by the pilot's desire to run crying home to mommy?

Heh… I don’t need late night fridge raids to have these kind of revelations. They happen every waking minute I’m watching an anime. That’s what I enjoy about it. These shows aren’t slaven to realism - - they’re slaven to what’s interesting.

But yeah, to be a little less lofty, I’ve known since I was 11 that nothing in DBZ makes a lick of sense. More recently, I don’t know if I ever reconciled L’s position in the reality of DEATH NOTE’s world. Shinigami and death notes… those are all fine. But they never actually explained why L had higher security clearance than basically anybody in the planet.

Not that I minded…

  THIS ragamuffin was the most trusted man in America.
 THIS ragamuffin was the most trusted man in America.

As for the later? Undoubtedly, the strongest example of that happened when I reached the end of EVA and got to consult the more seasoned experts in this community about the secrets of the show. I really can’t even remember the last time I had that kind of mind job over a story. The nature of Shinji’s aforementioned AT field, the true identity of the Evas, the related explanation of why the pilots were all kids, the nature of human instrumentality, and so on and so on. I could also feel my brain twisting around to comprehend this new, all-encompassing way to look at the series.

I had a similar experience with the revelations about spiral power towards the end of GURREN LAGANN. While that wasn’t as much of a mind job, it did remedy a lot problems I had with these show earlier on. What I initially perceived as overly dumb fun ended up being a very cogent argument for the indomitable power of positive thinking. Even though GURREN LAGANN was less sophisticated than EVA on the surface, in hindsight, I think it expressed a much more applicable and clear message.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of  HYBRID BASTARDS!  &  UNIMAGINABLE . Order them on Amazon here   &  here .

Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20

These moments of stray thought don't happen to me (at least not consciously). However, many times I will be with my fellow anime fans and discuss deeper meanings, plots, themes, etc. It's the deeper points and all that make writing an anime very difficult (along with the dialog) but it gets easier as I watch more and more shows for reference.

As far as the anime Tom has mentioned here I have varying thoughts. I undrestood Eva for the most part but I really did not like the show. Personally I can see someone watching the show and being suicidal. I took the fantastic of Death Note in stride and loved how smart it was (Tom does point out an interesting point about L however). For GL I cheated a bit and read some analysis but I completely understand what was going on and loved the show for it (I'm getting the boxset).

Post by No_name_here (856 posts) See mini bio Level 11
@sotyfan16: You cheated with GURREN LAGGAN? It's not there's a spark notes for it.
Post by Lurkero (415 posts) See mini bio Level 7
I didn't need no analysis of Gurren Lagann. It was dumb fun and made a lot more sense than Eva.
I am willing to bet that while people outside of Eva try to interpret how deep the series is on a higher level, the writers were making that stuff up as they went along. I know I keep using this example (because its the most recent), but Lost is the same way. The first 2 seasons of Lost appeared to be going to some grand place with the plot and then the latter 4 seasons derailed hard and the conductor kept his foot on the acceleration knowing things were out of control. At the end of it all we have all these people trying to analyze what the meaning of the end of Lost is while all the writers, actors, and producers, probably did whatever they could just to get the script over with.
Why do the Saiyans in DBZ always get to finish their transformation? Because the villains just wanted to fight strong people. They were overconfident in their strength and had no doubt that they would win. Hell, the last few villains in DBZ all had regenerative powers. They couldn't even be killed by normal means. Is it kinda dumb? Yes, but who cares when most people are there to watch the show for the action?
Post by Lifestrike (6 posts) See mini bio Level 5
 "There are other science-fiction shows, no names please, in which it is quite clear that the writers and the producer know nothing about science, and don't care, and that shows too. And it is impossible to be a self-respecting viewer and accept it."  
-Isaac Asimov
Post by zaldar (1,294 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@lurkero:   But you see what makes anime good is that most of us are not there to watch it for the action...but the thought.  And it really took you to 11 to realize dbz make no sense...I got there at like six....
can you link me to your earlier discussion of eva?  that being one of the best shows ever made I would like to see your interpretations on it.  And no they were not making it up as it goes along and what makes GL good is that it has the same kind of depth...I stopped watching it before because it didn't live up to eva.  Still don't think it does but it is certainly much better than I thought it was.
The only shows that come close to being as good as anime sci-fi are the new BSG, and caprica and lost...oh and the Asimov quote is right...
Post by zaldar (1,294 posts) See mini bio Level 15
oh and to continue the title...and what should have been the ending song for eva...I can see clearly now the rain is gone!  I can see all obstacles in my way...
Post by sotyfan16 (1,341 posts) See mini bio Level 20
I was curious about all the sprial references. My "cheating" basically confirmed my thoughts of significant motifs and core meanings.
Post by YotaruVegeta (608 posts) See mini bio Level 12
L is an awesome character, and anyone at any maturity or intelligence level can immediately see that :)
Post by LordCraven (46 posts) See mini bio Level 8

What I always wonder is how characters in Bleach (and most shonen ) talk to each other while they're fighting at like lightspeeds. Do they slow down and wait for each other to finish their sentences mid-blow, or do they talk super quick? Would that make their voices high pitch?
Post by vergilius (147 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Several things...
They *do* explain a lot about L.  He's built up trust with various authorities over the years by solving cases no one else can.  Given that we know L is a mantle passed down, L could conceivably been around long enough to be considered an old hand and built up a lot of trust.  Also, he hardly ever asks permission to do anything, he just sort of...does it.  He isn't so much the type to need "security clearance," he just takes whatever information he needs.  Granted, "eccentric billionaire financial backer" *is* a bit of a hand-wave, but i didn't find it too jarring.
Asimov quote...there is a lot of really good scifi that is basically fantasy in space.  Like, half of what Ray Bradbury wrote.  The only reason to slavishly follow "hard science" is if your story is actually about science.  A lot of "science fiction" isn't about science at's a western, or it's a fantasy with aliens instead of elves, or it's an epic "space opera," etc.
@lurkero: I won't go so far as to say, as some do, that authorship is unimportant and the text is all that matters, but I will say that we shouldn't feel ashamed of reading meanings into a story that were never intended if it results in something more interesting or more enjoyable.  To complicate matters further, sometimes there are things the author unconsciously includes due to is or her cultural circumstances that they never intended to have any special significance but that end up being very interesting to us.
Post by ReVolutionOfEvangelion (102 posts) See mini bio Level 3
aforementioned AT field, the true identity of the Evas, the related explanation of why the pilots were all kids, the nature of human instrumentality, and so on and so on. I coul 
1 - "True identity of the Evas" -- this is all just plot mechanics, but the whole backstory was only left half explained, its in the guidebooks:  Angels and humans are "cousin species" as I call it:  billions of years ago the Progenitor Aliens launched Seeds of Life at planets to start up life; some Angel life some human life.  We were supposed to be an Angel planet with Adam, but Lilith crash landed here and started up human life, sending Adam into dormancy rather than have 2 Seeds on  a planet (if Adam mixes with Lilith it makes a Living God).  Evil human conspiracy Seele wants to become "Living Gods" themselves, so they want to hijack the whole situation and mix Adam with Lilith...the catch is, this doesn't work if the Angels are still alive.  Also, Adam had to be reduced to a "controlable form", so they made the Second Impact disaster (the result of reducing Adam to an embryonic, controlable state).  They need to kill the Angels *as their competitors*, so they made the Nerv organization to make the Evangelions; clones of the first Angel Adam.  Again, this is all merely plot mechanics.
2 - An "AT FIeld" is Evangelion's version of The Force from Star Wars;  its "the energy field the binds us together!"....quite literally.  Kaworu explains to Shinji that *every* living thing has an AT Field, Angels (and thus Evas) just have AT FIelds that are so strong that they can manipulate their environment, stop physical damage, and otherwise are very obvious.  Humans, all living things, also have "AT FIelds", but they are so weak that all they do is literally keep your body together.  Thing of it as sort of....the biologically based and generated, bio-electrical "life force" that holds your molecules together (its not a spiritual concept, but a pseudo-scientific one, like the Ghost from Ghost in the Shell).  As we saw in episode 20, when Shinji gets his AT Field stripped he just reverts into a puddle of amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucelotides:  the "primordial ooze" of the building blocks of life.  Even complex organic molecules cannot hold together without an AT FIeld.  You just fall apart into your constituent molecules.
3 -  The pilots are all kids, of course, because the show was marketed to 14 year olds buying action figures.  Further, they're the children of the original scientist women who were working on the Evas, most if not all of whom willingly sacrificed themselves to have their souls bonded to the Eva:  Evas are "just clones", clones don't have souls (bio-electrical energy concept, like GITS) so they have to bond a soul to an Eva to make it work....and the only way to really pilot it is to synch your mind with the soul in the Eva, which only really matches if its the soul of a mother and child pairing.  Of course, on another level, the reason "the pilots are children" is because they're deconstructing the common Giant Robot trope that kids get to save the day in their giant robots...which should really be utterly traumatic.  They said they were really influenced by Gundam: how the point in that was that  Earth and Zeon have been fighting to exhaustion to the point that they are literally throwing teenaged pilots into battle, scraping the bottom of the barrel in manpower, but are *literally sacrificing their children*, and children embody the future.  Sacrificing children by making them pilot giant robots into battle and possibly get sacrificing your future because you don't care about it anymore.   A subtle theme throughout Eva is that the adults have really stopped caring about the Children or treating them as human beings (Misato is alone on this; Ritsuko and Gendo and Keel see them as expendable).
4 - Once you understand what Evangelions are and what AT Fields are, Instrumentality is easy to understand:  if you mix Adam with Lilith, it makes a "Living God"...which has the power to spread an "Anti-AT Field" which can strip every living thing of its AT Field, reducing everything to primordial ooze.  Well, Adam or Lilith can make that field, but only the Adam/Lilith Hybrid can do it "constructively"....that is, strip the AT Fields while collecting everyone's "soul" (already established as manipulatible using Super Science).  The army of Mass Production Evas helps "resonate" this field over the whole world, that's why they needed lots of Evas.
But this is all mere plot mechanics.  The point is that the evil Seele group wanted to strip everyone's AT FIelds so that we'd all merge into one hyper-organism; while we're all mixed together in that ocean of primordial ooze, its all One Big Happy Hive Mind.  No pain but also no joy.  Its like the Matrix, or the Nexus from Star Trek Generations.  its like that Twilight Zone episode with the guy in a  casino where you always win...that's boring!  And the TV ending was Shinji's experience of this, shown out of context:  its like he's in this happy romantic comedy TV show world where nothing can go wrong.
Eventually, Shinji realizes how utterly worthless such fantasy is...the real world might be flawed, but its inherent "real-ness" gives it value, more than any fantasy.
So he rejects it all (in the process, giving everyone else the choice to leave as well) and heads back, preferring a post-apocalyptic Real World.  Asuka, who had already made her choice (essentially, when she chose to live and fight the MP Evas) the first person after Shinji to come back, relatively soon.
Its left an open question if anyone else will have the mental courage to reject that world of fantasy as well, and join Shinji and Asuka back in the Real World.  
(and of course the running theory is that Shinji and Asuka got "busy", repopulated the Earth...and much like Wolf's Rain or Turn-A Gundamn, millions of years later their descendants are repeating history in Rebuild of Evangelion)
Btw did you see my fansite's Eva panels at NYAF?
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