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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Neon Genesis Evangelion - A Psychoanalytical Trip (History/Setting/Theme)

Hello again, everyone. Hope you're doing well. I've been working on this on and off for the past week or so and I've got a lot of projects going as I'm sure you're aware (as well as some Starbow (an sc2 mod) to play) so the other parts might take a while to come out. But without further ado:

Neon Genesis Evangelion




     Neon Genesis Evangelion. What a show. Holy shit what a show. For those of you who haven't watched this show yet, please do so now, as there are going to be spoilers in the coming posts and major in depth analysis not only of the characters, but also of the ending episodes and those that lead up to it. THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING: SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED HERE (and in the next few related posts).


Production and History of Evangelion

     Neon Genesis Evangelion: An anime classic. Created in 1994 by Gainax and written/directed by Hideaki Anno (Fun Fact: I later learned Hideaki was also the lead animator in Miyazaki's "NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind". Another movie that you should definitely watch. Fuck, just go watch all of Miyazaki's movies while you're at it, they're all classics).
Hideaki Anno
     NGE was created in the midst of an extremely poor time for the people at Gainax, who had barely any budget to create any anime at all. Hideaki wanted to create an anime "with a soul", and when talking with a representative of King Records, he was promised a time slot for "something, anything". There had been a previous anime that was in Hideaki's mind named "Aoki Uru", or "Blue Uru", which eventually failed, but it had an important theme that was kept when Hideaki began working on Evangelion. "Not running away" was this very aspect. Not running away from your fears, your own self, other people, the life you have, responsibilities. Hideaki wanted to include all of these into the anime he next created. Perhaps he drew this theme from his own life, from his so-called "depression period" which took its course over 4 long years before and during the creation of Evangelion. Many speculate this to be his reasoning for this anime's dark turn at the end, which, in my opinion, is probably true..however, there were also budgeting problems occurring in Gainax which resulted in an increased amount of still frames and less "animation" (think of the last 2 episodes).


Setting

Tokyo-3 on top
Geofront & Nerv HQ on bottom
     So we start off in the year 2015 in Tokyo-3, a fortified military city meant for defense against humanity's number one threat: Angels. Angels are huge, "beings" which come in various forms. One comes in the form of a human, one in the form of a 3-d diamond shape, one in the form of a huge spider, among many others. It varies quite a bit throughout the show.
The 9th Angel named "Matarael".
Its eye secretes acid that can melt through protective
layering in order to reach Nerv's headquarters
 The city defends itself against these beings by retracting its buildings back into the ground when Angels appear, and Evangelions ascend to the surface. These Evangelions are piloted all by 14 year old children whose mothers have died very soon after the Second Impact. Just for some background: The Second Impact is an event that happened in the year 2000 where a massive explosion happened in Antarctica, moving the Earth off its own axis thus creating very severe climate changes around the world. Each mother's soul is extracted out of the body and placed into each Evangelion where the mother's daughter or son will pilot it. This enables the daughter or son to have a strong synchronization rate with the Evangelion and thereby produce the best results in defeating the Angels.
Evangelion-01
Piloted by Shinji Ikari
 Up above you see the Geofront. This particular place houses Nerv's headquarters underneath the city of Tokyo-3. Solar panels line the waters at the top and provide natural lighting down below the surface. To my recollection, nothing at all is said about the Geofront in the show, so for the most part it's unimportant. However, a thought just came to me: it could be alluding to the theme of the show, which I guess I'll talk about a little bit here. The Geofront, placed underneath Tokyo-3 seems to symbolize that there is much, much more to what you observe with just your eyes. All you see is the surface of a person, not what goes through their mind or what lies beneath beneath the skin. The surface could be completely different from each person's unique Geofront, and nobody would know. Nobody is going to know unless you open it up for all to see and observe. And most people, from my experience, tend to cover this up as well as how they truly feel in order to avoid conflict. However, quite the opposite happens. What we're faced with in this show is an increasing amount of Angels forcing their way to the Geofront, trying to pry out some sort of understanding of why Nerv and the Human race is so defensive. Hideaki might be saying that even if we create all these barriers between our true feelings and other people's feelings, we just get more and more people trying to prod at us, and eventually they'll break through. This is one of the reasons why "The Human Instrumentality Project" is a thing in this show, which I'll talk more about down below.


Theme

Theme: the subject of a talk, a piece of writing, a person's thoughts, or an exhibition; a topic.
     Just in case anybody was unsure of what a "theme" exactly was, there it is. So you might be asking "what is the subject of Evangelion, exactly?" Well, let's take a look at what the show has to offer: we've got middle school students piloting robots which fight these monstrous beasts called Angels, a gigantic fortified city, deep seeded problems in each characters' psyche, along with some minor romance mixed in. Are all of these the themes of Evangelion? I'd say, yes, they definitely are. Near the end, really close near the end, we see all of these themes (yes, even the seemingly pointless romance) tie in together and creates this really remarkable, emotionally booming media. Evangelion touches on the term "separation anxiety" which is often seen in children (think of babies/children crying when parents leave them with a baby-sitter, or whatever) and some people who are afraid to be alone. Evangelion says "No, it's not just children and some people, but all of mankind who have this. We are social animals." and takes it one step further when Seele (the head corporation) initiates "The Human Instrumentality Project", which ends up being an extremely large part of the plot and conclusion.
Human Instrumentality Project begins
This Human Instrumentality Project addresses this very issue of human loneliness and separation anxiety. "What if there were no misunderstandings? What if there was just one "you" and not different perceptions of yourself in other peoples' minds? What if nobody ever felt loneliness?" These are just some of the issues that Evangelion begins to answer when draws near its end and ones that I'll be going over in the later blog posts.
Hope you enjoyed reading. Next time I'll be writing about the characters, their development throughout the show, and their creation by the people at Gainax. Probably some other stuff I'll spew onto the paper, too, but we'll see. See you next time.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blog goals and creating happiness

     Post numero dos. Tyler reporting for duty, here to talk with you guys about creating your own happiness and about what the next few posts will be about. First: Evangelion hype.
Neon Genesis Evangelion

video
OH SHIT. What an intro.
If that intro didn't make you hyped, I don't know what will

     The post for my analysis of Evangelion is planned to be probably around 3-4 posts long, but it's kinda up in the air. Really depends on how in-depth I end up going in each of my posts. I intend to talk about the show's history/production, its characters, setting, theme, lessons, the conclusion, and most of all: delving into the character's psyches, figuring out what makes each of them tick and what that ultimately says about the staff who developed such a show. If any of these subjects sound interesting, don't be afraid to give them a read after I've released them. Hopefully everyone, even if not having watched the show, can enjoy the read. :)
Life's a blank sheet of paper
     Let's talk about goals. For some reason, last post, I didn't talk about my goal for creating this blog in the first place. The post consisted of  mainly talking about my history with my blog title and the focus for the future. But why make a blog? What's the goal of a blog? What's the goal of having a blog? Writing for me has always been a nice time to reflect on my life. In fact, this last semester I had an exceptional composition teacher who helped me figure out how to write well and not to sweat the small stuff. He helped students in our class not focus on grammar, punctuation, spelling, but more on the content of each paper. "Write down your thoughts first, fixing grammar and spelling mistakes comes after the thoughts are down" he'd say.
     Every day we'd write about anything for 10 minutes to find our writing voice. We'd use this new found voice to create papers about subjects we find interesting. 2 out of the 6 papers were open ended, so we could write about whatever we wanted using the free writing skills we had learned every class period. To be honest, that's probably one of the things that sparked my interest for writing, especially writing this blog. It allows me to get these intangible thoughts down into writing and in turn, lets my mind become less clogged. Think of it like a mind-toilet or something. Anyway, I can spew stuff down on this blog and get my thoughts out there. It's a great feeling and very therapeutic for me and I imagine for other people as well.
     Man, man, man, aside from that, I've been working on some school papers as well. We recently watched a movie called "The Ramen Girl" in my Comp 2 class because we've been talking about multiple perspectives. How the rest of the world (or at least America) thinks of ramen as this poor college student food, but places where ramen originated have it as this comfort food. Japan's perspective is much different. Becoming a ramen chef is a well renowned/respected profession there. How everyone wants to stand outside the shop, waiting for the doors to open up so they can eat some delicious food after work or school.
I wouldn't mind waiting outside for 20 minutes to sit down
at a place like this.
I remember reading something....somewhere (real descriptive, I know), that people who spent more time on other people were in turn, happier with their lives. People who spent money on other people and made those people happy, in turn made themselves happy. This past Christmas reminds me of that a lot, it was the first Christmas I had bought presents for my family (as well as the first Christmas I even had money to spend). I'll challenge you guys who are feeling down, or sad, to try giving something to the people you care about, or even anyone at all, and see how that makes you feel. I know it made me feel pretty good to see the happy look on my family member's faces when they saw I bought them a present and I hope the same happens for you. On the subject of making others happy:
     In 2011 and 2012 I had attended an anime convention named Anime Iowa. In short: it's a convention for anime fans to come, cosplay, go to panels, meet guest speakers as well as people who are interested in the same things as they are. Averaging around 3500 people for AI, it can get pretty crammed. My introduction to these events was with my former girlfriend: Amanda. She had always been into cosplay and sewing so, of course, she wanted to bring me along. I had never even heard of these conventions before, and it sounded like a pretty cool time so I wasn't opposed to going, I just wasn't comfortable with dressing up.
One of the best Jessie/James cosplays
I've seen
Dealer's room (at AI)
Huge gymnasium where people sell anime related things,
Japanese candy and even some original content
Bleach photo shoot
Lots of people like to take photo shoots with others
from the same series
Reflecting on the event now, the only conclusion I can come to, is that I wasn't really confident in my body, or of myself in general. You have to have some balls to walk into the convention center, dressed as some anime character or game character - walking around while people ask you for pictures. It seemed like it'd really stress me out, and as a result, I decided against it for my initial year. It really makes me wonder if there's other people like me in this community. Maybe the people who don't want to cosplay simply don't attend conventions? When I visited, both years, presumably around 80%, if not more, of the attendees were cosplaying. Maybe I'm a weirdo for not dressing up, who knows. Despite that, you're still treated as an equal. That's a really cool aspect of this community. No matter your decisions or opinions, people are, most times, really nice. Yeah, there are always those bad seeds, elitists, who think they're always right and you're always wrong, but screw those guys. Doesn't matter what they think. Be you and let them deal with it.
     "So why bring up anime conventions?" you might ask. Well, I've decided to do some writing volunteer work for this particular convention for the pamphlet/schedule. You can find the website here. I don't think it's going to be much, if any, creative writing, but more of rules/regulations, scheduling, guest appearances (what shows/games they've been in, or how long they've been in the business) among others. My group is pretty much the last because we have to receive information on schedules from the other groups before we begin creating the pamphlet. Because of that, the work for us doesn't really start until May/June (apparently June is going to be crazy busy).
     Well..that's kinda all for now. Remember to keep tuned for the Neon Genesis Evangelion analysis posts. I'm really looking forward to finishing those. Hope you guys enjoyed, and I'll see you next time. Stay cool, internet.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

An introduction

What's up everyone? And by everyone I mean the probable 1 or 2 people that will actually take the time to read this. To those people, I thank you for taking the time out of your, I'm sure, busy and hectic, schedules. I might wanna start with an introduction, as is common with many stories and blogs, I'm sure. Not that I've actually read any blogs before, but that definitely seems like a good first step to take.
I'm Tylzy. If you could look up at the top, I'd hope you'd be able to figure out where the 1st half of that name comes from. The 2nd half, however, comes from one of my online aliases "Cozy". I know you're asking "Yo! Tyler! "Cozy" is a pretty sick name, why'd you change it?!" And my answer to that is: "Cozy" SOMEHOW is a very common name, at least in terms of internet aliases, so I figured I should save the trouble of having 50 billion account names and just switch it to be a combo of my first name and alias. Overall I'd say it turned out to be a cool nickname.

Anyway! Let's get to what everyone is dying to read about: Anime, Gaming, and most of all, about me: Tyler!
Young Tyler looking
pretty baller
All jokes aside, anime and gaming have been a really big part of my life for as long as I can remember. Yes! I was even watching anime and playing video games since I was this young off to the left. Of course, my anime tastes when I was this young mainly consisted of "Pokemon" and "Yugioh", and some Toonami shows like "Naruto". Not at all the same quality/sophisticated taste that I have nowadays. I was a kid after all, nothing out of the ordinary there.
Book I referenced a great amount
for tips as a kid
Not only had anime been a part of my life for a long while, but manga had been an even greater and larger influence on my early childhood. As a kid, I drew a lot. I don't think I have any pictures to upload at the current moment, but I remember waiting until my parents went to bed so I could hop up out of bed and turn on a night light to draw. I remember teaching kids around our apartment complex how to draw Chibi style characters. There was also a time when this other kid and I were practically in a competition for making comic books. That's how much I loved drawing, especially drawing manga-style characters. So needless to say, it was an incredibly important aspect of my life, and anime seemed like the only logical choice to migrate towards after my drawing bug died off.


Gaming has a similar story. Ever since I can remember, I've been gaming, mostly console when I was younger and slowly migrating towards computer and competitive gaming. The first interaction with gaming that me and my family had was when my Grandma got one of those old Gameboys. The huge clunky ones that were "so cool!" and "hip!".


Remember me?
And because my Grandma took care of my brother and I pretty often while my parents were at work or school, she let us play with it. Of course, when we first played with this, our whole world was turned upside down. "You can play with something like this and have this much fun?!" It was an entirely new concept to us and it was fascinating. Something new, something unique to our generation. My brother and I had to have it. So without much convincing, my parents bought a Gameboy Pocket (the smaller, but still in black and white version) for both my brother and I. That hand-held single-handedly (or...double-handedly) started the flame in my heart for my love of video-gaming. Each time a new system was released, we bought it, along with a vast number of games. With most of my childhood being in the Gamecube "era" I would have to say it's my favorite console of all time. There are countless classics that I remember as a child and it's one of those timeless memories that no other gaming console has done for me. Games like Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime (1 and 2), Pikmin 2, Animal Crossing, Kirby AirRide, Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door, Super Mario Sunshine, Tales of Symphonia, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. So many good games and memories.
Best console NA
There was a time in 4th grade I remember specifically, where my best friend at the time (and currently) would always play Melee before catching the bus for school. We'd play for hours and hours on the weekend and we'd have to practice before school just to get the extra edge against each other. This particular morning, like every other, we were practicing for the 30-some minutes before catching the bus, but we had fought just a smidge too long, so we were a little later than usual. "Oh shit" I'm sure were the words running through my mind. You have to keep in mind, as a kid, I was extrememly strict with myself on rules and regulations, so something like missing the bus to school would be a catastrophic misfortune to my day. I didn't want to play hooky and get in trouble with my parents or be yelled at by teachers. It's just a bad thought, especially for a 10 year old. 
Just some young hustlers being hustlers
Erik on the left, myself on the right.
Immediately after looking at the clock, we rush out the door and sprint downhill to the bus stop and as we arrive, I look down the road and see the bus quite a ways away. I instantly burst into tears, my mind melting into a bubbling mess. I can't form coherent sentences to save my life. My friend who is accompanying me, Erik, decides to try to calm me down, as he was a much more relaxed kid than I. "It's not a big deal, dude. Do you want to see if your parents are still home?" He asks. I agree, but am very skeptical that they'll be home, because they always leave by 7:30 or 7:45 and by the time I'm at the door of my family's apartment it's already 7:50. I walk into my house crying and crying, thank god my mom is home to calm me down. She promptly drives us both to school and we carry on with our day. A simple and easy fix, nothing worth sobbing about. Just another day in the life of Erik and Tyler. A video gaming story at its finest.
Tyler Age: 17
Longer hair swag, eating with family
Tyler (in the middle if you couldn't tell by now): Age 18
Prom picture with friends and South Korean foreign
exchange student
Looking back on some of these stories, it seems a little ridiculous, and it strikes me as incredible how much I've changed over the years. It's amazing how over the years your looks change (as dumb as this sounds, I still find it really odd how much older I look) and how my views on certain subjects have changed or remained the same. I'm going to be 19 coming this April, and am currently rooming with a kid from Chicago in my community college's apartments. Life is pretty confusing, going straight from High School to college after all. Although after this semester, I'll be moving back out west (living in Iowa at the moment, I guess that's an important fact to state) to Washington where I'll be rooming in an apartment with my good friend: Erik.
Tyler: Age 18 (taken today)
In room writing a blog entry
Because of the move and my overall attitude/intuition about college, I'll be dropping out of college after this Spring semester. Don't get me wrong, I'm not getting kicked out of college or anything. I had basically straight A's all throughout my mandatory education and graduated high school with a high 3.8 GPA. 3 A's and a B for last semester. Dropping out of college has absolutely nothing to do with difficulty, or funding, but more of a personal choice. A personal philosophy I guess. I know that I'm not going to enjoy working a 9-5 job for a company that I don't care about. I know that if there's a will, there's a way, without higher education. There's other ways to find information and learn things without a teacher. We're in the information age, dammit! The internet is HUGE! So I'm going to use it all I can, to better myself and show other people that there is an alternative to college after high school. Not everyone is cut out for the safe college route lifestyle. So I've decided to make a life that I like living, a life that is worth living.
So join me on the journey to find some happiness in life. Take a seat, grab some coffee, watch some anime, play some video games, and enjoy the ride. I know I will.