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Old 2009-09-17, 12:55   Link #1
SeijiSensei
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Why the poles and wires in anime?

I first started noticing scenes of utility poles and overhead wires when watching Evangelion. I thought it was simply a fetish of Anno's, but it seems to be a common meme in anime. I've probably seen half a dozen or more shows where the camera occasionally focuses on a pole with wires; the most recent was Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora. Are these later scenes just a visual pun on the use of poles and wires in Evangelion, or is there some deeper symbolic interpretation that I'm missing? Perhaps a representation of industrial development? Of the proximity of people and technology? A subtle criticism of poor urban design or planning?

[Mods: Move this to "Japanese Culture" if it seems more appropriate there.]
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Old 2009-09-17, 13:12   Link #2
Vexx
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Japan is simply bristling with poles and wires - they're a part of the landscape, the modern continuity of Japan. I've also noticed a fixation with jet contrails though as something meant to be soaring or romantic.

I suppose one could argue that in anime they're somewhat symbolic of that interconnectedness of a people... but we'd be treading fairly deeply into "symbolism essay written at 3am due the next day" territory
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Old 2009-09-17, 13:26   Link #3
Zetsubo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I first started noticing scenes of utility poles and overhead wires when watching Evangelion. It thought it was simply a fetish of Anno's, but it seems to be a common meme in anime. I've probably seen half a dozen or more shows where the camera occasionally focuses on a pole with wires; the most recent was Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora. Are these later scenes just a visual pun on the use of poles and wires in Evangelion, or is there some deeper symbolic interpretation that I'm missing? Perhaps a representation of industrial development? Of the proximity of people and technology? A subtle criticism of poor urban design or planning?

[Mods: Move this to "Japanese Culture" if it seems more appropriate there.]
Nope... Japan is a nest of wires in reality.

Even the country side.
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Old 2009-09-17, 13:34   Link #4
roriconfan
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Several Japanese works revolve around the notion of "elegy". Things that came to pass and changed to a great extend. Poles and wires are part of the symbols for technology. Since Japan is industrialized way too fast, such things symbolize the quick change of life and the sadness of things that came to pass.

Quite usual in slice of life about teenagers about to be adults or having to accept great changes.
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Old 2009-09-17, 14:26   Link #5
TinyRedLeaf
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Serial Experiments Lain is about the only anime I remember where overhead power lines had any overt symbolic meaning. In that anime, the cables (or rather, the eerie low-frequency humming produced by them) were ominous allusions to the Wired, an alternate reality formed by a pre-World Wide Web conceptualisation of the Internet.

Other than that, such power cables are simply representations of Japan's urban landscape, particularly Tokyo's. They don't usually have any special meaning.

Now that you brought up the subject, there's another artefact of industrialisation that frequently gets featured in anime: Windmills, both the old-fashioned kinds as well as the modern sleek-looking ones. Again, I don't think there's any special significance to such appearances — they just happen to be part of the scenery.
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Old 2009-09-17, 21:18   Link #6
outlawed
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See films made by Yasujiro Ozu. Anno wasn't just randomly doing everything in Eva. The telephone / electric wires and such were a page right out of Ozu's film repertoire. Since Eva other anime began using this more frequently. While artistic film techniques may have been used occasionally prior to Eva they definitely became far more common and prevalent post-Eva.
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