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Old 2010-10-29, 20:18   Link #1
Guernsey
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How did Evangelion impact the industry?

I just rewatched Evangelion today but one thing bothers me, how did a show that lasted for 26 episodes impact the anime industry? I know the industry was at its lowest point in the mid 90s yet this series that appeared almost out of nowhere completely changed how anime anf manga in general was designed. It just amazes me how the anime seemed to inspire future writers just as Ideon did with Anno. How exactly did Evangelion change anime forever?
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Old 2010-10-30, 00:05   Link #2
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Check Neon Genesis Evangelion entry on "The Anime Encyclopedia" by Jonathan Clements and you will get a comprehensive explanation about Evangelion's impact on anime industry.
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Old 2010-10-30, 02:53   Link #3
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• Evangelion is brimming with allusions to biological, military, religious, and psychological concepts. There is a bit of every theme you can think of. The characters are compared with psychological, philosophical, religious and even historical terms. Rei, Asuka, Shinji and Misato represent the different methods people use to validate their own existence and individuality, and to separate themselves from their fellow human beings (the concept of AT-Fields). The big theme in Evangelion is the "heart of people". The relationship with others, the meaning of the existence of self, what is the self.

• The series is partly mecha anime. Huge robots wrecking havoc! Cool! Evangelion started as a realistic SF mecha action anime. At first, the "people's heart" issue of the main characters is just some add-on to the drama. However, as the plot moved forward, the issue of "people's heart" grew much bigger than the other elements and the mecha action became an undertone.

• The series focuses to flashbacks and analyses of the primary characters. All characters in the anime display a variety of mood disorders, problems with emotional health, depression, trauma, and separation anxiety disorder. They are struggling with their positions in their environment, as individuals and as a part of a whole.
The creator/director, Hideaki Anno, suffered from a long period of depression prior to creating Evangelion; much of the show is based on his own experiences in dealing with depression through psychotherapy.

• The character designs contributed to the popularity of Evangelion. The attractive female leads, Asuka, Rei, and Misato have been immortalized as anime sex idols.

• The series was indeed a “Neon Genesis” for many fans, since it rekindled many adults' interest in anime. The series also made an “Impact” of its own as it introduced a new wave of fans who are far less interested in the technical aspects of science fiction anime and more interested in analyzing the metaphysical symbolism that they perceived, in contrast to Gundam and many previous anime of the hard science fiction genre.

• According to Hideaki Anno, Evangelion was an attempt to make all perspectives into one, creating characters that represent different things to different viewers to make it impossible for everyone to arrive at a single theory. So, there are no solid answers to what exactly happens in the story.

• The series started to broadcast after the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995. The feeling of constant anxiety in Evangelion can be seen as a reflection of the constant anxiety Japan felt after the attacks destroyed the image of Japan as a clean, violence-free society.

• Above all, this is a work that reflects the era it was made in. The 90’s found Japan in the middle of a major recession and many Japanese people, especially the young, had no hopes for the future. Anno himself was going through depression and this work was in fact his own way to tell people to face the harsh reality. Therefore in order to better understand this work, it must be made clear that it was made by and aims mostly at depressed with their society people. The Japanese people of that time felt a much easier connection with the mental problems of the characters that people from other countries whose country was not facing an economic crisis or who were not accustomed to scenarios revolving teenagers fighting aliens with huge robots.

• Although this work is full of allusions to religion and mythology, it must be made clear that it is not really focusing on those concepts as much as it does with the mentality of the characters. Therefore all attention must primarily be given to the psychology of the cast and not too much of the specs regarding technology or religious icons. Analyzing those is fun too but it’s not the main idea Anno wanted to transmit.

• The psychological nature of the show and the constant use of religious symbols influenced later works such as Revolutionary Girl Utena, Serial Experiments Lain and RahXephon. All of which, like Evangelion, center around an ambiguous world-changing event to come. The show His and Her Circumstances which was also directed by Hideaki Anno shares many of the techniques (the experimental 'ripping-apart' of the animation and use of real photographs) and portrayed psychological conflicts in much the same way.

• The Xenosaga and Xenogears videogames also have many religious references and even more similarities to plot and allusions, although their directors claim not to have been affected by the show.

• Many parodies are constantly made with puns from Evangelion in anime and other related fields.

• Evangelion also dramatically changed the design of giant robots in many animated works. Previously, almost all mecha or giant robot shows took their "mechanical suit" designs from Gundam, Mazinger, and other similar shows from the 70s. Evangelion however changed this with its fast and sleek Evas, making a noticeable contrast to the arguably bulky and cumbersome looking Patlabors and Transformers of the past. Indeed, the style set and created by Evangelion has become the standard for most mecha shows since the late 90s.

• Evangelion also introduced a new wave of fans who are far less interested in the technical aspects of science fiction anime and more interested in analyzing the metaphysical symbolism that they perceived, in contrast to Gundam and many previous anime of the hard science fiction genre.

• Part of the series mythos lies also in the vague meaning of all its themes and messages. For many years the fans were speculating and making their own explanations and theories, which increased the interest in the series even further. Heck even I keep learning new aspects to it every year. Not only that, but the initial translations and fan-subs for the series were so erroneous that they created a much different feeling than what the makers aimed for. That was fueled even further from the rather comical take of the first official dub in America, which tried to make the End of Evangelion to appear partly as a comedy. Their excuse was that America was not going through a recession and the fans wouldn’t get the depression of the characters as the Japanese people did. It took many years of corrections and debates for this confusion to settle down and partly it still exists today.

• The current Rebuild movies prove that even after 15 years the messages of the series is still strong and the fans did not left behind their love for the series, a thing very rare amongst any sequels or remakes anime get from time to time.
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Old 2010-10-30, 03:14   Link #4
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Because whether you hated or loved it was a show that had a lot to talk about due to the controversial way it handled the characters and narrative which led it subject to much interpretation. And it was a lot indeed, since 15 years later it's still going rather strong.

Plus it had the 2 ballsiest endings ever. The tv ending, for daring to release something so abstract and actually had a point somewhere, and also the movie for pushing the limits of the series. This in itself would generate incredible amounts of discussion and thought.

Sure, a lot of the symbolism is pretentious, the plot gets extremely nutty and the characters are pretty insane but a lot of it about the later two do make sense in context if one puts some effort into thinking about. The characters, whatever you may say about them, were not generic, and quite memorable with a fairly well thought out set of conflicts and relations.

And of course, the man was depressed when doing this, and came up with an insane story. It was a very interesting story that stuck to the minds of many and thus would spawn many copycats hoping to capture what Eva had done.

In the end you had a show that aimed at becoming something more than it was supposed to be.. And it did, forever impacting whatever came later.
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Old 2010-10-30, 09:49   Link #5
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Ignore what you've heard. It's because Anno went off his meds while he was writing it, so it's a great way to track how his mental state deteriorated as the series goes on. It's one of the first mindfucks, and it drew people in by featuring giant robots (always a winner).

Lastly, the religious symbolism makes absolutely no sense; Anno threw in tons of symbols just because it was "cool." (Seriously, a monster having a cross-shaped explosion?). That kinda tricked people into thinking it was deep.
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Old 2010-10-31, 01:06   Link #6
meko
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Well, back in the mid 90s when we had just been blessed with kids shows like Sailor Moon and Mary Bell and Candy Candy and Slayers and other magical girl shows that were all full of innocence and joy..

wow, eva sure surprised the beeswax out of us.
Anime can be realistic? Anime can be serious? MIND=BLOWN

And evangelion featured Sailor Moon's voice actor and Lina Inverse' voice actor, so.. it had a huge otaku following right from the get go.
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Old 2010-10-31, 14:23   Link #7
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According to my husband (yes, we're a couple of two fucking Otakus that had been together for over four years), Evangelium ruined anime because it took away all the sexiness of anime and replaced it with sick, waif looking teenagers like Rei Ayanami, instead of focusing more on the more mature ladies, like Misato and Ritsuko.

I guess he's a bit right; since then, all the "sexy" girls of anime are the younger, waif looking ones. Epic fail!
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Old 2010-10-31, 15:23   Link #8
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^ Bullshit, the younger, sexy ones were in central focus as back as Urusei Yatsura came to be. Or are you saying before NGE or Urusei men liked mostly middle aged women?
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Old 2010-10-31, 15:35   Link #9
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Lastly, the religious symbolism makes absolutely no sense; Anno threw in tons of symbols just because it was "cool." (Seriously, a monster having a cross-shaped explosion?). That kinda tricked people into thinking it was deep.
Evangelion fans don't think Evangelion is deep because of religous symbolism... If anything they would be the first ones to denounce it as pointless fluff and could link you straight away evidence that it was added just for "coolness."

It was deep because of the great introspection into the minds of the main cast that basically has not been seen in most other animes I can possibly think of.
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Old 2010-10-31, 21:58   Link #10
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Like I said, it spawned imitators who loved what Evangelion did.

And it spawned fixers who hated what Evangelion did.

But either way it sure stirred up the passion on both sides.
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Old 2010-10-31, 22:14   Link #11
Calca
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Check and see how many emotionless pale hailed girls you find before Eva.

Okay, now check for the amount you can find after.


There you go.
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Old 2010-10-31, 23:16   Link #12
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Originally Posted by anime.hime.yukari View Post
According to my husband (yes, we're a couple of two fucking Otakus that had been together for over four years), Evangelium ruined anime because it took away all the sexiness of anime and replaced it with sick, waif looking teenagers like Rei Ayanami, instead of focusing more on the more mature ladies, like Misato and Ritsuko.

I guess he's a bit right; since then, all the "sexy" girls of anime are the younger, waif looking ones. Epic fail!
Uh, I'm not all that well versed in 90s anime compared to many fans due to my late entry to the fandom, but I never got the impression there was a sudden shift towards waifish types after Eva. More like a gradual evolution, which makes it hard to pin down any single source.

Personally, I can't say I really object to move towards waifish body types since I have quite a number of favourite characters of that type, although Rei and Asuka themselves are a little young for my tastes.
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Old 2010-11-01, 03:34   Link #13
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It was deep because of the great introspection into the minds of the main cast that basically has not been seen in most other animes I can possibly think of.
It's hate it or love it, but for a lot of people who watched it in its time it was quite refreshing to have two protagonists who have motivations far from selfless and altruistic.


To me, one of the impacts came from the, cruel oh very cruel, desconstruction of the characters archetypes and plot devices so dear to the giant robot genre. Something comparable to what Sergio Leone did to the western. The protagonist can doubt, he can fail and when he does, the consequences are horrific. None of that stuff you could see in super robots anime like Grendizer that destroyed towns on a regular basis, and yet we were never shown the collaterals.
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Old 2010-11-01, 09:23   Link #14
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So being a crazy bitch, a pussy, a wall flower, or hottie are how people "validate their own existance" never knew that.
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Old 2010-11-01, 09:32   Link #15
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So being a crazy bitch, a pussy, a wall flower, or hottie are how people "validate their own existance" never knew that.
This is why I said, "in its time" which is the mid-90s. Back in in the day, it was something that was not done before (unless someone come up with an anime that did the desconstruction word before).
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Old 2010-11-01, 18:13   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaijo View Post
Lastly, the religious symbolism makes absolutely no sense; Anno threw in tons of symbols just because it was "cool." (Seriously, a monster having a cross-shaped explosion?). That kinda tricked people into thinking it was deep.
It is actually deeper than it looks. However, not because of the religious symbolism. Indeed this is only to look cooler, but if you watched Gunbuster and know the themes behind it and compare to Evangelion, you can comprehend this series better and see some deepness in it. People just take lotsa things about Evangelion out of context.
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Old 2010-11-01, 18:21   Link #17
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Everyone's personality is excused based on their backdrop. They act like stereotypes but excused ones. That had never happened before to such a degree.
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Old 2010-11-06, 14:52   Link #18
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The influence of Evangelion stems from two factors: it's well liked by people who enter the anime industry, and it was very popular. I think that this influence is a bit overblown though. I think that most of this influence is felt in three ways: convoluted plotting, non-literal action, and the visual/mechanical elements of the show (the control rooms, pilot sync ratios, etc.). And of these, there had been a number of shows and OVAs that used non-literal action before Eva. While Eva does so more prominently than these other works, Utena accomplishes even more than Eva does.

Evangelion earns its prominent role in anime, but I think that it falls a bit short of greatness. The sheer opacity of the story is a good example of this. Most of the narrative is under-told, and I think that the amount of people who don't get the ending is testament to this shortcoming. Then again, given how badly the production of Eva went, I'm rather surprised that it turned out as well as it did.
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Old 2010-11-07, 14:08   Link #19
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I still have no clue what I watched. To this day I still don't understand a thing about it, lol. The ending still has me clueless. Guess I just liked the mechs(Watched it when I was a kid all those years ago.).
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Old 2010-11-07, 21:01   Link #20
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4Tran raises some good points. I agree with many of them.

In addition to what he wrote, I think that Evangelion also had the following impacts on the anime industry:

1. A rise in the number and prominence of animes of a darker and/or more serious mood. Animes like Ghost in the Shell, and Serial Experiments Lain, were very much reflective of that.

2. Mecha animes in particular becoming a bit darker in nature.

3. The popularization of certain character types, as others have alluded to. This is highly ironic given how NGE aimed to deconstruct at least two of these character types.


However, in looking over most of the animes released within the past year and a half, it looks like some of these influences are starting to fade away. There's quite an abundance of comedic and generally upbeat animes this season, and it's been a long time since I saw an anime as dark/serious as Evangelion tended to come across.

Still, the character types that NGE helped popularize remain a lasting influence of NGE; perhaps its most relevant to today's day and age.
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