Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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. First we have Nate from OK. Nate? Nate, what do you think? Caps, caps, caps, caps, caps, caps, caps. There you have it, caps, all caps, all the time. And also Shannon Coffey from Coffey Chat. Shannon, what do you think? Romantic poetry, please. There we go. So some tips from pros, some pro tips on having your comments featured, turkishradish. Thank you, friends. Do you like this? Do you enjoy it? Ah, yeah, it's pretty nice, actually. You're so warm. So generalkohn and Daniel MacLean write some really interesting comments about the state of science and how it conducts itself with regards to, like, spirituality and danger. I don't really know too much about the way science is currently conducting itself. But, um, I think I know someone who does. Oh! It's Joe Hanson from It's OK To Be Smart. Yes, so science-- it turns out that most science-- it's not that scary stuff done by evil corporations. NASA all the way down to the people who do basic research for health and medicines. This is mostly funded by the government, nonprofit government. Huh. Interesting. Yeah, you go back, Michael Crichton has a science problem. He didn't believe in climate change. Interesting. You go back to Andromeda Strain, his first book, all the way through Congo, he kinda has a big, scary, science monster in the closet. So then really, you could say that Jurassic Park is about Michael Crichton's fear of science, that science is going to-- Yeah, packed into a dinosaur shape. Right, of course, yeah, with tiny arms, look out. Always back to the tiny arms. Always back to the tiny arms. All right, cool. Well, thanks, Joe. Yeah, yeah, no problem. Um, see ya later. See ya later. Guy Mika points us towards some really interesting theorists and ideas related to Marxism socialism and the media, most notably Noam Chomsky's idea of manufacturing consent, which is about ways that media behave and report things to sort of influence the way people think and what they believe, so, like, directly related to ideologies and other stuff that we mentioned. So yeah, it's a really good, really insightful comment. Clever girl. So while here at VidCon, a wild Mitchell Davis appeared. That's me. So we thought we would talk to him for a second about dinosaurs and global market capitalism. Which make total sense to me. You, yeah? Oh yeah. You're into it? Yeah, I guess. OK. I mean, like, you're saying, you know, you've got some dinosaurs that are just completely just taking over. Yeah And then you've got other little guys who are like, hey, give me a chance. And then they get eaten. And then they get eaten. And, you know, you know what they say nowadays.