Out to Lunch

January 22, 2015 § 1 Comment

I know I’m a bit late on posting. I should probably say why.

The original idea for this blog, at least my contribution to it, was that I would write about anime on here to give me time away from writing about medieval history on my dissertation. That hasn’t been the case. As romantically as I’ve thought about my bottomless creative depths, it appears that both types of writing draw from the same well, so more of one means less of the other. Usually, that’s just fine, because working on a dissertation every single day is a great way to go crazy, but right now I’ve got to go a little crazy.

Okay, maybe not that crazy, but you know.

What I mean by all of the above is that I’m working on an article for submission to an edited volume for the next month, so I won’t be able to post, not even a little bit. I know you’ll all miss me noodling on which themes the different instruments in the soundtrack to Neon Genesis Evangelion represent or on how Japan has the opposite trope from America regarding the effect of taking off a girl’s glasses, but I’ll be back with more stuff like that sometime in mid-February. If I’m lucky, maybe some of the other contributors will join me, too. Until then, see you, space cowboy.

The Reality of Instrumentality

January 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

At the climax of End of Evangelion, after Shinji has been co-opted into the transformation or the destruction of the human race — it really just depends on your viewpoint — reality increasingly inserts itself into the film. It begins with real-life dialogue, all the suspicions and rejections that pervade the collective psyche into which Shinji has been immersed as the focal point of Instrumentality. Car horns and railway chimes periodically drown these lines out as the animation gives way to rapid cutting between defaced and miscolored cels from the television show, further highlighting the artificiality of the film’s world. The editing of these sounds and images together reaches a fever pitch as a live-action shot of light shining through water gradually fades up, then it all snaps. We see an eye widen (probably Miyamura Yuuko’s eye, given that the concurrent line of the sequence is Asuka saying, “I’d rather die than do it with you!”) and are left with an empty auditorium.

An empty auditorium in End of Evangelion

At this point in the film, the Human Instrumentality Project is complete and humanity has evolved onto a new plane of existence. Accordingly, the film has ceased to exist as a fictional world and is now entirely a reflection, albeit distorted, of real life. It no longer offers a figurative mirror to the audience, but a literal one. « Read the rest of this entry »

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