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Old 2009-07-12, 01:18   Link #1
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Meaning of existence

Is there naime that deals with what it means to be human, the nature of existence and nothingness.
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Old 2009-07-12, 01:59   Link #2
'Dear Elhit'
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Quite a few anime contain existential themes. But the one that deals most directly with "what it means to be human, the nature of existence and nothingness" would probably be Haibane Renmei.

Existential anime: Haibane Renmei
The story is heavy with Christian themes of sin and salvation...although there is no reference to any particular Christian mythology. But these themes of sin and salvation are in some measure also Jewish and, indeed, are now largely universal. We all wonder what will become of us ultimately, whether and how anything we do here and now can influence our final disposition, and we all hope that somehow even if we've got everything completely wrong, that there might be a compassionate Father-in-Heaven who knows how we struggled, and will accept us even if we have nothing to offer other than our failures. But our deepest wish of all is not to be left alone.

If our loved ones do indeed go somewhere after this life, our dearest hope is that we will be able to rejoin them someday. There is no concept more devastating or painful than the idea that at the end of our days, we might be somehow be left all alone, never again to be reunited with our loved ones. There could be no fate more cruel than that.

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Old 2009-07-12, 02:29   Link #3
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Serial Experiments Lain, though it doesn't address "meaning." For that you would need something religious and anime are never really religious.
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Old 2009-07-12, 03:40   Link #4
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This doesn't quite address your demands, and it is probably too comedic for you, but...

Hajime no Ippo - While the series, on the surface, simply seems like another fun Shounen boxing manga/anime, underneath, there is an important question concerning life: What does it mean to be strong (as well as off-shoot questions like why should we keep trying, etc)? The series, utilizing its cast of characters, approaches this question in a variety of different way, especially concerning Ippo's quest for meaning (concerning why he boxes, and what purpose strength serves), and the various ideological standpoints of the various Champions and how they treat their profession.

For more typical answers, how about:

Oshii's work -
the various Ghost in the Shell series and movies
the Patlabor movies
Angel`s Egg
Urusei Yatsura Movie 2: Beautiful Dreamer


Night on the Galactic Railroad
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Ergo Proxy
Mind Game
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Old 2009-07-12, 03:57   Link #5
Join Date: May 2009
Originally Posted by Guernsey View Post
Is there naime that deals with what it means to be human, the nature of existence and nothingness.
NGE(Evangelion) is what you're looking for.The plot underneath of the Mecha Apocaliptic settings touches the topic on a very psychological way.All though its more towards the end that it becomes more obvious and the episodes that just ooze it off I've found out that people actually hate the most probably because they just wanted to see the EVAs fighting...

P.S. The ,"Meaning of Existence" has nothing to do with religion.

Last edited by Sasano; 2009-07-12 at 03:59. Reason: fix
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Old 2009-07-12, 04:07   Link #6
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Originally Posted by Sasano View Post
P.S. The ,"Meaning of Existence" has nothing to do with religion.
Even if your answer is "there is no meaning" it still has everything to do with religious belief, lol.
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Old 2009-07-12, 05:48   Link #7
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Originally Posted by Sasano View Post
P.S. The ,"Meaning of Existence" has nothing to do with religion.
Ahaha. I think that depends heavily on whether somone is religious or not.

I recommend Planetes. It doesn't quite cover the meaning of existence but it does make you think.
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Old 2009-07-12, 07:26   Link #8
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I highly second Haibane Renmei. I'll also second Serial Expertiments Lain. And a bit more relucantly second Egro Proxy, as its less obvious.

I'll strong add Dennou Coil because it deals with the line between reality and illusion and is a very human story.

Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora is a rebuild...and there's something about it that really hammers in the human experience. I guess its really more slice of life, but the ending really works well and touches upon the human existence. The backgrounds are some of the best I've seen in anime.

I've heard stories like Kino's Journey and Mushishi might be what you want from researching myself, but they are still sitting on myself to watch--friiend and I are going to watch them when he's around again, so they might be worth looking into yourself.
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Old 2009-07-12, 07:27   Link #9
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Here are some suggestions:

Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom
Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu 2
Tales of the Abyss
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Old 2009-07-12, 08:27   Link #10
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Hmmm, several anime touch on such a subject, but few that I've seen are heavily into it. (And many of the ones that focus on that subject, are... rather nihilist) Elfin Lied, for example, was far too depressing.

The only 2 that I can think of that I really cared for are:

1: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (the first arc touches on it, and if they ever get around to animating the Disappearance, then that arc as well.)

2: Shakugan No Shana, which deals heavily with the meaning of existence vs nothingness from the very first episode, but doesn't get very philosophical about it. It has a more simplistic approach to the issue, which doesn't bother me, I still think it's interesting.

Shana: "You are not a human. You are just a Torch. Soon you will go out and disappear, and no one will remember you."


Oh, if by "nothingness" you mean death- then Cross Game might be another anime to check out. It's supposedly a baseball series, but it deals heavily with issue of death, and to some extent with the purpose of life.

Last edited by Sackett; 2009-07-12 at 11:31.
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Old 2009-07-12, 08:39   Link #11
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I enjoyed Casshern SINS a lot, it's about a mysterious immortal travelling around a futuristic world mainly inhabited by robots.
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Old 2009-07-12, 21:13   Link #12
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Phoenix (the recent anime version)
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Old 2009-07-12, 21:35   Link #13
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It might seem a little weird to recommend Honey and Clover, but there is an episode in the second season which discusses the meaning and purpose of one's life compared to those around them which is one of my favourite anime episodes ever. But keep in mind the majority of it is a slice-of-life romance/drama/comedy.

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Old 2009-07-12, 21:39   Link #14
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Another vote for the Ghost in the Shell franchise - redefining humanity etc, common themes found in sci-fi.
Serial Lain Experiments sounds similar and is on my own to-watch list.
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Old 2009-07-12, 22:55   Link #15
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this ugly yet beautiful world...well kind of

Last edited by qwertyuiopz; 2009-07-12 at 23:18.
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