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  • Here's an idea.

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion demonstrates

  • the death of the author.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • For a lot of people, Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • is not an anime.

  • It is the anime.

  • Produced by famed animation studio

  • Gainax and the gray matter spawn of creator Hideaki Anno or Anno

  • Hideaki, NGE began as a TV series

  • airing over a five month period starting late 1995.

  • They follow several characters, most notably

  • Shinji Ikari, Rei Ayanami, and Asuka Langley Soryu as they

  • pilot massive, sort of but not really

  • robots in the defense of Earth against truly

  • terrifying eldritch abominations called Angels.

  • The arrangement of big robots versus giant monsters

  • makes NGE technically a part of the anime genre called Mecha.

  • So compare it to things like Macross, Gurren Lagann, and Big

  • O except then don't, because Evangelion is

  • sort of another thing entirely.

  • Where many Mecha animes are all gung ho, kill the bad guys,

  • good show, NGE is dark.

  • And it confronts the psychological pressure

  • that's heaped on people, teenagers

  • no less, who are tasked with saving the world.

  • Characters have nervous breakdowns and struggle

  • with depression and constructions of self.

  • They wonder whether or not free will is even a thing.

  • Everyone on the show has abandonment issues.

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion is psychological and intense,

  • philosophical and compelling, that is,

  • unless you ask the people who made it.

  • Anno has said, quote, "It is strange

  • that Evangelion is a hit.

  • Everyone in it is sick."

  • And as for the weird, amazing relationships

  • between the characters and how they progress,

  • he explained in an interview whatever

  • the story or development between the characters,

  • I did it without a plan.

  • Source is in the description.

  • Hideaki has harshly criticized fans

  • for searching out meaning where he claims there isn't any.

  • So as you might expect, there's a kind of love hate

  • relationship with this guy.

  • On the one hand, he's kind of a tyrant,

  • trolling, mocking, and challenging

  • the experiences of the very people

  • upon whom his success depends.

  • But on the other hand, he is the man

  • who brought one of the most beloved animes into existence.

  • For many NGE fans, he is a saint.

  • His vision is of utmost importance.

  • They know about his past and his battles with depression.

  • The characters allegedly incorporate

  • parts of Anno's own personality and that production

  • on Evangelion was always a little rocky.

  • He's talked about tight budgets, unbelievably short turnarounds,

  • and incredibly stressful production conditions,

  • conditions which led, however, to some conceptual,

  • adventurous, and most importantly

  • inexpensive episodes, and if you count

  • movies and director's cuts, several different series

  • endings as well.

  • Like a giant Mecha anime onion, Evangelion has some layers

  • to it.

  • We can't help but wonder, though,

  • which ones do you need in order to understand the show?

  • Sure, I mean, you can be a total fiend

  • and want to know everything about Anno and Evangelion

  • and anime and everything ever.

  • And that is fine.

  • But if we're talking about watching, understanding,

  • and enjoying NGE, which bits do we need?

  • Do we need to know that Evangelion is supposed

  • to be a comment on the over commercialization of anime

  • or that Anno thinks we're sort of dumb for buying, some of us

  • literally, into his quote unquote meaningless story?

  • French philosopher deconstructionist

  • and awesome hairdo haver Jacques Derrida

  • says no and furthermore might agree with Anno

  • that Evangelion is meaningless, just not in the way

  • that you think.

  • Derrida says that there is nothing outside the text.

  • He doesn't mean that when interpreting a work,

  • you shouldn't use information external to the work itself,

  • but that everything, every communication,

  • is in some way textual, that there's

  • nothing outside the text, because everything is the text.

  • Evangelion, text.

  • Anno's interview answers, text.

  • This YouTube video, text.

  • Now text is troubling because it doesn't really contain meaning.

  • It's just a bunch of little symbols and noises

  • that are stand ins for the actual ideas,

  • meaning that everything is at least a little ambiguous.

  • In other words, to communicate, you have to use representation.

  • You go through, quote, "a detour of signs".

  • Not a detour sign.

  • That would be weird.

  • Anything textual, so anything, is open to interpretation.

  • This kind of robs the author's interpretation

  • of its authority, doesn't it?

  • I mean, yes, Anno was there.

  • He saw Evangelion getting made.

  • He knows what happened.

  • But his actions during its creation,

  • his feelings about them, the way he describes them, the way we

  • read or hear them, are, to phrase it as Derrida

  • might, always already interpretation.

  • Hideaki's comments, then, are unimportant,

  • because their meaning is just as ambiguous as the thing

  • that they would disambiguate-- shed some light on.

  • But of course, because nothing is ever clear or easy,

  • this idea itself is bound up inside of another conundrum.

  • Is the role of the text, the artwork, the TV show,

  • the sonata, the painting of the monkey, or whatever,

  • to communicate the exact, precise thoughts

  • of the creator?

  • 500 years ago, the answer to that question

  • probably would have been well, yeah, duh-doy.

  • But nowadays, it's not so clear.

  • Mine and Derrida's main man Roland Barthes

  • wrote in "Death of the Author" that the modern writer is born

  • simultaneously with his text.

  • He is in no way supplied with a being which precedes

  • or transcends his writing.

  • He's in no way the subject of which

  • his book is the predicate.

  • There is no other time than that of the utterance.

  • And every text is eternally written here and now.

  • In other words, does the modern text

  • have to convey the exact meaning of the author?

  • Uh, no, Derriduh-doy.

  • Weirdly enough, Hideaki Anno agrees.

  • He said, don't expect to get answers by someone.

  • Don't expect to be catered to all the time.

  • We all have to find our own answers, which

  • is coincidentally exactly what we watch

  • Shinji, Rei, and Asuka do throughout the entirety

  • of Evangelion.

  • What do you guys think?

  • Is the input of the author important when

  • interpreting a work?

  • Let us know in the comments.

  • And I've been working on my Rei impression

  • to ask you guys to subscribe.

  • OK, ready?

  • Guess what?

  • We are not in a small office corner anymore.

  • We are at VidCon Let's see what you guys had

  • to say about Jurassic Park and capitalism.

  • Colpale says that Jurassic Park is not so much

  • a comment on capitalism as it is a comment

  • on unregulated capitalism and then

  • goes on to make the very hilarious and astute

  • observation that the Canadian Jurassic Park probably

  • would have went just fine.

  • I agree.

  • Pickystikman takes issue with our reading of Jurassic Park,

  • saying that we do not look at things objectively

  • and that you have to take into account the author's intentions

  • when you are interpreting something.

  • I wonder what Pickystikman thinks of that idea

  • after watching our Neon Genesis Evangelion episode.

  • Pickystikman, are you out there?

  • What do you think?

  • So turkishradish is concerned about having their comments

  • featured, wants maybe some advice

  • on how to make that happen.

  • So since we're at VidCon, we'll get some experts here.