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Author Topic: God's in his Heaven. All's right with the World  (Read 14357 times)

Offline Taleweaver

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God's in his Heaven. All's right with the World
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2006, 02:10:50 PM »
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Author's intent overrides interpreter's dreams.

My professor of literary theory would have killed you for that line, Kuma. How can you tell what the "author's intent" was? Because the author "said so"? And what if he lied for no reason but to make fun of the world?

However, sometimes it might seem as though the author was trying to relay a message or wanted his "intent" known. As you cannot be sure whether that is really the author, you talk about the implicit author in literary theory.The definiton of "implicit author" is generally this: if you, by some part of the plot, get the idea that it is used with a certain intent in mind, that intent comes from the implicit author. So if Shinji in EVA has major problems with his dad, you MIGHT get the idea that the implicit Hideaki Anno is trying to relate to his own childhood troubles with the character, however, this is but one (viable) interpretation. Any other which does not involve the person of Hideaki Anno is at least equally viable, if not stronger (when supported by other parts of the plot).

By the way, if you remember old "Masters of the Universe" shows and in the end, Prince Adam told you an important lesson about not lying, that's not the implicit author. That is the explicit author.  ;)

Offline Tamashii

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God's in his Heaven. All's right with the World
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2006, 09:59:28 PM »
This has come to question at times, and I have thought about it: what if Anno's lying? But when reasoned out, such a conclusion is only paranoia with no substantial logic based on the evidence presented. To some degree, the viewer must trust the creator, just as the reader must trust the author. That trust is further defined into what is known as 'the truth' upon other instances of support and facts. If this were some other case, perhaps the explicit author, Anno, cannot be justified. But here, it's possible.

It is common knowledge that Anno was depressed. It's hard to convince oneself that, "Indeed, no, Anno was not depressed. It was all a farce." Anno had written his "tribulations and trials" out on paper as he went through the stages of his depression. Can one call this false? It then becomes evident that Evangelion must have, either conciously or subconciously, been affected by Anno's mindset. It's especially hard to argue that the explicit author could be nothing more than an implicit author for cases where the author has been interviewed or has revealed some fact that is hard to dismiss, which is the case here.



Thanks, Wiki. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hideaki_Anno)

Offline Kurier

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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2006, 10:53:28 PM »
The Notenki Memiors describe Eva as what brough Anno out of the depression, but I need to re-read over that part.

Reserved for research and data.
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Offline C0MPL3X

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« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2006, 12:42:43 PM »
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Author's intent overrides interpreter's dreams.
 
 
My professor of literary theory would have killed you for that line, Kuma. How can you tell what the "author's intent" was? Because the author "said so"?
Yes. The intent of creator, is merely an interpretation of the work he came up with. Just like him, we should come to our own interpretation. It is said, that the creators of FLCL admitted that they came up with that absurd title because they thought it sounded cool. Ever thought that the title meant something else?
 
As for eva, a lot of elitist people attack the lack of coherency in the plot. In some cases, they stand corrected (for example, absurd speed in which the story progresses towards the last episode, you would need a very very good concentration to keep the flow of traffic). But in order to truly appreciate the story, you might need some background knowledge to interpretate some of the meanings behind the symbols.
 
Like Oshii, I believe that the religious symbols are used not to discuss ideas on faith, religion, etc. but as plot devices. Through the biblical references behind these symbolic images, they foreshadow the next events for more dramatic effect, or reinforce what kind of character he or she is, etc.
 
But the creators said that they used religious symbols just to be cool! Again, it is irrelevant. Some eva sites are floored with explanations behind these symbols and I myself have tried to use some examples to show that 'they are not just there to be cool!' for some time but at last, I have come to a realisation that the best way is to put up some evasites. Or say n othing at all.
...which I am not doing here.
 
Another thing. Can we really call the fact that one must have a reasonable amount of biblical knowledge in order to better understand the flow of the story hence better access to the concepts behind it a flaw? No.
After visiting to many art museums, when I look at these so-called masterpieces and feel not much emotion, MOST of the time, it is because I dont know much about art to fully appreciate them. Only when I acquire an audioguide, or a guidebook, or a tour guide, and have these things explain to me the most innovating techniques never before used in that time, almost magical use of colours, composition of the objects to control the way we see certain objects, the way it tells stories and histories in the most subtle and devious methods and poetic meanings behind them...after that, you can say without a shred of doubt, that this is beautiful and this is a masterpiece.
 
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Admittedly it's been a long time since I last saw Eva, but Shinji really didn't win me over. I found his complete lack of self-esteem difficult to believe and too blatantly a cry for attention. In my books, a similar character which is slightly more fresh in my memory is Takayuki from KGNE. His part in the story was to play this pathetic individual who spent the entire series crying for sympathy. And he got it. Not just from his fellow characters in the story, but from a lot of people in the audience, who, for some reason came to respect him after the story was over. Not me, though. I think a well developed character needs to grow from his struggles, maybe not to become someone necessarily better, but to become someone different. When a person is doomed to make the exact same mistakes at the end of the series that they were to make at the beginning of the series, then they haven't learnt their lessons. It's either a case of bad character development or a really stupid character, and either I don't appreciate much.
Hmm. Millers play 'death of the salesman' had a protagonist called 'willy' and he didnt learn much. And if shinji is a stupid character, than willy certainly is a stupid character. My english teacher once asked the class 'do you like this man' and of course, the general response was 'not really' but when she asked, 'but do you feel sorry for him?'
There was a bit of awkward silence and a murmur of yes. But no 'not really'.
Maybe main characters can have something else that drives that intensity of the drama.
 
And I by no means, am trying to come up with a notion that eva is a masterpiece. I can understand why some people would say that, but that is not my opinion, due to some unnecessary fanservice, some gay music, lack of unity in the series due to the last episodes looking like a...well, it WAS a desperate attempt to save budget...
« Last Edit: January 24, 2006, 12:52:55 PM by C0MPL3X »

Offline Kuma

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« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2006, 08:53:38 PM »
Quote from: C0MPL3X
It is said, that the creators of FLCL admitted that they came up with that absurd title because they thought it sounded cool. Ever thought that the title meant something else?


Perhaps you could explain why all the words flashed in the episode preview in episode 5 all point towards Fooly Cooly meaning teen angst and the process of becoming an adult?  Maybe it was done after the fact, but the title is far from meaningless even if it initially was intended to be so.

Offline Tamashii

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« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2006, 08:31:28 AM »
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Like Oshii, I believe that the religious symbols are used not to discuss ideas on faith, religion, etc. but as plot devices. Through the biblical references behind these symbolic images, they foreshadow the next events for more dramatic effect, or reinforce what kind of character he or she is, etc.


Like? o.O

So cross-shaped explosions and the Sephiroth tree enforces what kind of character [Insert Name] is? It foreshadows future events? You cannot correlate Oshii's style with Evangelion's, they're two different things. Oshii had a different purpose. I'm still not convinced that the symbols were not used to "look cool." What I think is that the symbols either were meant to "look cool" or as motifs for the theme of "God," nothing too complicated.

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Another thing. Can we really call the fact that one must have a reasonable amount of biblical knowledge in order to better understand the flow of the story hence better access to the concepts behind it a flaw? No.


That is true. RahXephon needed some background knowledge about the "Mu" and about the guy who discovered the book of the Mu (trust me, it was mentioned in ONE sentence! What! Don't forget that RahXephon also ignored telling us the dates) to entirely understand the plot. However, I do not believe such applies to Evangelion because of the previous statements I've made: the symbolism was not very relevant, and on the level that it was (as a motif for the theme), it required no real background knowledge other than knowing that those are Judeo-Christian symbols. Therefore, Evangelion needed no background to fully understand.

Offline C0MPL3X

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« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2006, 08:42:29 AM »
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Perhaps you could explain why all the words flashed in the episode preview in episode 5 all point towards Fooly Cooly meaning teen angst and the process of becoming an adult? Maybe it was done after the fact, but the title is far from meaningless even if it initially was intended to be so.
I'm terribly sorry you have come to an interpretation that I know FLCL inside out, I can't see where I said anything like that. But if you really insist, I shall give you my interpretation after my 2nd viewing of that episode once I return to my home 3 days later. Because forgive my lack of intellect, but I can not remember all the words.
And I never said anything about title being meaningless. Actually, if you read carefully, I am questioning whether there is deeper meaning to the title when in fact, the creators are claiming that the title is a gibberish.
 
 
And tamashii, I don't know whether it is my fault for lack of conveying message, or yours in understanding message, but there has been a miscommunication. You are saying that, I am referring to Oshii's style. I have never said anything about Oshii's style. What I was said was, Oshii referred to Evangelion's use of religious symbolisms as plot device. Oshii was commenting, and I stated  my opinion that I agree with him. How?
 
You have mentioned the cross shaped explosion. Most people who attacks eva for using religious symbolisms to look cool, use that as their argument. Because it's true. I too think its just for a shock effect.
 
However, what they don't do is, look beyond that. Is that ALL the symbolisms in the eva? Not a chance. One can find loads of infos on net if one tries hard enough, some valid, some bit overanalytical to the point of being desperate, but some makes sense. I'm going to use 2 examples which I have already used in Anime Academy forum, kind of cheating I know but those are the only 2 I can remember from my memory right now without revisiting the anime.
 
First, is the christ like figure of Gendo Ikari. I don't know which episode, but there is an episode where the shadow cast by the Gendo and the window frame is a shape of a cross behind a man. Obviously a christ. It is a common knowledge that the christ died for humanity. There are many who regard Gendo as a 'bad guy' and what he is doing is wrong. But can we really say that? If you look at all that pains resulting from human emotions, hedgehog's dilemma, unrefutable presence of at field that repels us from becoming one thus making us sad, Gendo's idea of eliminatig that at field and reuniting all men as one, ultimate being, ultimate happiness, Gendo's ideal salvation is not such a far fetched idea. But of course, many of us feel something is wrong. Can we really call this ultimate happiness? Not really and there are parts where we can see that. So the debate goes on and viewers come to their own interpretation of happiness and so on,
 
BUT
 
the point is, this strong image has later intensified the drama in which Gendo put into motion. It gives a subtle, not direct idea, a hint, that what Gendo is doing maybe a salvation just like Christ's crucifixition. This technique is powerful because it's not telling us, but it indirectly reaches us through subtletey. It's undeniable that we can see the cross there, but what it means is upto us to decide. However, its goal is achieved. To make us think.
 
Another thing. I am going to be lazy and just copy and paste what I wrote in Anime Academy. Because otherwise, I feel like I'm repeating myself.
 
Quote from: me
symbolic figure in Kabbalism (A esoteric sect of Judaism centering around mystical interpretations of the Torah) representing in essence a 3-dimensional image of the spiritual realm in the form of a diagram. This same diagram is also drawn in Gendo's ofice. The figure is comprised of ten spheres linked by 22 paths, and shows the route for humans to attain the highest possible spiritual level. Notice this part: shows the route for humans to attain the highest possible spiritual level. One can deduce from this, that Nerv led by Gendo is ultimately trying to 'attain the highest possible spiritual level', return to nothingness through human instrumentality project. Wow, symbolism actually acted as a plot device, as a foreshadowing device to those who are more knowledgable. The diagram that anno put there, describes exactly what the fuk Gendo is trying to do! Now, it maybe a coincident, which is acceptable. But how can you say, that this is not a symbolism?

Tamashii, you have made a statement that eva requires no compulsory knowledge to fully appreciate what is going on based on sole evidence that cross like evidence means nothing. But I dare say, you haven't even bothered trying to see what else was there. It's okay if you don't,  but it's being ignorant when you say there is nothing when you haven 't even tried to look beyond what you know. If you can make a solid argument that proves that the 2 symbolims I listed as plot device that has effects of reinforcing meaning/foreshadowing events therefore creating more drama hence engaging audience better into this world therefore conveying its message more clearly as a gibberish, and same for tons of other symbolisms out there in eva sites, then I will write in shame that I was wrong and the symbols in eva truly means nothing.

Offline Kuma

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« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2006, 08:02:29 PM »
Quote from: C0MPL3X
I'm terribly sorry you have come to an interpretation that I know FLCL inside out, I can't see where I said anything like that. But if you really insist, I shall give you my interpretation after my 2nd viewing of that episode once I return to my home 3 days later. Because forgive my lack of intellect, but I can not remember all the words.
And I never said anything about title being meaningless. Actually, if you read carefully, I am questioning whether there is deeper meaning to the title when in fact, the creators are claiming that the title is a gibberish.


My bad, dude.  I should have phrased that differently.  No hard feelings :)

No, I don't need an interpretation.  Wow, I can't imagine what kind of mindset I was in when I wrote that.

I do however disagree with the sentiment that the author's intent is only his interpretation of his own work.  I don't see why someone can't create an anime with a set idea in mind and intend for it to mean something specific.  If I create an anime to depict war as a necessary evil and someone interprets my anime as a negative critique of capitalism when I didn't intend that at all, IMO they have missed the point not created a new objective meaning.  How can my intent be an interpretation if it came before the work was made?

We can't assume an author is lying if he states his intent.  To do so leads to endless second-guessing and paranoia.  In the case of FLCL, maybe they originally intended the name to be gibberish but changed their minds during production.  Your statement allows for that.

Offline Kurier

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« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2006, 10:29:17 PM »
"Sometimes an object is just an object"

"To every man, his own"

If an author intended something, it usually will be a little obvious. From there, the series (novel, short story, music video, manga, anime, etc) will most likely be interpreted a different way by every person.

Ex:

I see Bible Black as a metaphor for the wrongs of man in his pursuit for power. Someone else might see it as a warning not to sacrifice a tainted offering. The writer probably intended it to be a porno.
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Offline Tamashii

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God's in his Heaven. All's right with the World
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2006, 12:54:41 AM »
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And tamashii, I don't know whether it is my fault for lack of conveying message, or yours in understanding message, but there has been a miscommunication. You are saying that, I am referring to Oshii's style. I have never said anything about Oshii's style. What I was said was, Oshii referred to Evangelion's use of religious symbolisms as plot device. Oshii was commenting, and I stated my opinion that I agree with him. How?


From what I read, I did not perceive that you were referring to Oshii commenting on Eva. When I say style, it means one's fashion of going about things. It is not aesthetic. Oshii's "style" is to use religious symbolism as plot devices.

Quote
Tamashii, you have made a statement that eva requires no compulsory knowledge to fully appreciate what is going on based on sole evidence that cross like evidence means nothing. But I dare say, you haven't even bothered trying to see what else was there. It's okay if you don't, but it's being ignorant when you say there is nothing when you haven 't even tried to look beyond what you know. If you can make a solid argument that proves that the 2 symbolims I listed as plot device that has effects of reinforcing meaning/foreshadowing events therefore creating more drama hence engaging audience better into this world therefore conveying its message more clearly as a gibberish, and same for tons of other symbolisms out there in eva sites, then I will write in shame that I was wrong and the symbols in eva truly means nothing.


That is true, I am ignorant because I have not bothered to explore the many other symbols in Evangelion; however, it is not safe, nor courteous, to assume that I am "ignorant" believing that the symbols "mean nothing" (you have conveniently ignored the statement that "the symbols may be motifs for the theme").

What I was saying with my original response was that the symbolism did not mean anything "deep" as if they worked together as a whole to represent an "inner truth." I did say that they could be elements of the theme and your examples show that: Gendo's shadow and Gendo himself work as "symbols" or "motifs" for the theme of God. Even if the Sephiroth tree "foreshadowed" the plot and the characters' intentions, it does not mean anything significant. It is just foreshadowing--it's "cool." Even without background knowledge of the tree, one would still get the idea that the plot will unfold in such a manner and that NERV does have such intentions (if not, then just leave Earth :( ).

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...plot device that has effects of reinforcing meaning/foreshadowing events therefore creating more drama hence engaging audience better into this world therefore conveying its message more clearly...


Oh really? From what I understand, almost everyone was confused by the symbolism. So much so that they had to research it for hours to almost comprehend it. So while you're watching Evangelion, all of these subtle symbolism is doing a lot of drama enhancing, engaging you more, and conveying its message more clearly? I don't know. You?

I do agree with the symbolism reinforcing meaning in that it works as good motifs for the theme of God; however, that "meaning" is only implicitly stated and further confuses the viewer because they are uncertain of what the "true" meaning is--they're getting all sorts of mixed messages.

In the end, I do agree with you that the symbols work as plot devices (your tree example was good), however meager its importance may be in the end.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2006, 12:59:13 AM by Tamashii »

Offline C0MPL3X

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« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2006, 05:12:44 PM »
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it is not safe, nor courteous, to assume that I am "ignorant" believing that the symbols "mean nothing"
thats true. I did assume that you didn't bother researching those meanings and coming up with your own judgement, making me ignorant. And yes, your second paragraph was what I have included in my response, which I obviously missed from your original post.
 
Quote
Oh really? From what I understand, almost everyone was confused by the symbolism. So much so that they had to research it for hours to almost comprehend it. So while you're watching Evangelion, all of these subtle symbolism is doing a lot of drama enhancing, engaging you more, and conveying its message more clearly? I don't know. You?
Almost everyone was confused because they didn't know the symbolisms, 'so much so that they had to research it for hours to almost comprehend it'. I am sure I said something about having necessary knowledge on symbolisms to understand the reinforcement of meanings. Also, the absurd speed at which the story progresses towards the end is probably a larger factor than the symbolisms that manages to confuse the viewers. Not many can process that much information in such a short time, which leads to confusion. If you have better understanding of the symbolism, and having viewed it for 2nd time, then yes, I think it has stronger impact on the viewer.
 
And no, I didn't understand everything at first, and had to surf net for something which I might have missed (which I apparently have). I don't know if you did a second viewing on this show but my understanding of the show and appreciation for the characters and the ideas were significantly more rich than the first.

Offline Tamashii

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Re: God's in his Heaven. All's right with the World
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2006, 03:05:00 PM »
I saw End of Evangelion again today and have acquired a newfound understanding and appreciation. Those that have accused EoE as being "pointless," "just some more of Anno's banter against his angry fans," or "mediocre" should be shot, ostracized, then stuffed inside an N2 mine.

EoE had achieved more in 90 minutes than the series had done in ten episodes. Many questions regarding the plot had been answered and many questions regarding the development of the characters had been fulfilled. How could one deny the one-minute scene where Gendo's character is finally fleshed out in its entirety? I did not completely sympathize or understand him until that very last moment. Also, let's not forget about Shinji. He had come to a greater understanding of his position in life and he developed beyond the elementary, childish whining. The few words of dialogue in the end and the minimalist scene of Shinji choking Asuka in the last few seconds proved Shinji's worth as a character. Other hints of characterization were given, too, including Maya's affection for Ritsuko (hinting that she was a lesbian) and Kensuke's adoration of Katsuragi.

The animation was superior, indeed. The choreography was stunning, especially during Asuka's fight scene, where the Evas (and Asuka) moved fluidly, though somewhat in an unrealistic, too ninja-like manner. It was cool, nonetheless. If one has a sharp eye, one would have noticed the careful effort in each scene, even during the battle scenes, where explosions are realistic as the leaves shaking in the shockwaves. The transitions were very clever; most incorporated visual and audio cues, a sign that Anno is no ordinary filmmaker.

Sensational and riveting, the music, demonstrating some new works, was magnifico. Anyone who had claimed that Evangelion's music was "subpar" should be slapped around a bit, maybe even tossed in the stratosphere. The orchestral pieces, some of them re-tunings of past Evangelion tracks, were sweeping just like the motions on the screen. Playing as a complement to the movie, the music did not fail in its role.

Some additional thoughts: SPOILERS
I remember someone calling up that Evangelion's second director, Tsurumaki, had said, "I'm surprised that no one realized that Evangelion was an entire dream!" In fact, this theory does hold up upon analysis of EoE. In Complementation, Shinji and Rei converse back and forth, and an implication that Shinji's previous life could have all been just a dream. The conversation ends with Shinji laying down, merged with Rei, implying that he had just "woken" up. The SEELE had said that there was no difference between the end and the beginning, and it could be seen that Shinji's awakening in this world of LCL was actually "the beginning." Other evidence is found in the very first episode, where Shinji "sees" Rei, only to have her vanish away a second later. It feels too out-of-place and too obvious to be a "mistake;" clearly, Anno was trying to cue us into something. However much I see this theory as being very interesting (I may have to explore it a bit more, too), I have to reject it. There is plenty of evidence that Shinji did not live a dream. Rei's dialogue used words such as "come back to life" and "return," making it hard to believe that Shinji's "dream" was false. Also, the inherent ambiguity of the theory makes it even more questionable. Does this "dream" apply to only Shinji? If not, then who's "dream" is it? Why is Asuka there? So if Asuka is real, then the dream must be reality? We see Asuka with bandages, but she was clear of those when she died in the fight against the Eva Series. Which parts of the series were "dreams"? Again, this needs more investigation...!
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