GAINAX Theory of Burning Pathos – A Response To Another Awesome Oi Hayaku Post (Also, My Hits Are At A Low They Haven't Seen in a Very Long Time. What's the Fucking Deal With That? Also, Please Comment.)

First regarding my hits, I think it might be my fault entirely. For quite a while I have been wondering how I could go from 120 hits on days I didn’t post to 50, but it’s apparently because I am not always linked on google. The only reason I can think of for this is that I keep changing my blog’s main title. Euphoric Field is still in there, but changing it so frequently isn’t helping. Therefor, it shall remain as is for as long as possible. I like this title anyway.

Otou-san of Yukan and, more recently, Oi, Hayaku fame did this wonderful post on GAINAX that I felt an insatiable urge to repond to with a post of my own.

First things first, I want to talk about the first issue he brings up which inspired his post. There’s some idea out there that a sudio or creator doesn’t matter. This idea is fucking stupid (as proven byt the fact that Ani-Noto agrees with it). To me, the studio and creator are the single most important elements of anything. What you are seeing is pure creator intent. You are seeing something that someone decided to show you. When Shinbo shows you a character on a tinted-class-window cross, it’s something Shinbo thought up and let you in on. If you liked that, you might like to see what else he can come up with. That’s the whole point of a favorite director. GAINAX is the perfect example of a studio who wants to show you something, and if you liked it, they will show you what else they can come up with that you may also like.

Now, onto Otou-san’s theory that GAINAX anime are meant to be relatable to otaku in many (often subtle) ways. While I do agree that GAINAX knows they have an audience, knows how to appeal to them, and milks all they can out of them, I don’t think they are as scheming or manipulative as otou-san makes them sound, and I also think there is a much greater meaning behind it all. I also think that Neon Genesis Evangelion is, in fact, the rule, and not at all the exception.

GAINAX’s shows have a very specific message – Aim For The Top. They often beckon you to never give up, never surrender, and fly up to be all you can be. However, they also have an understanding of death. In life, your goal is not merely to exist, but to honestly live. There is, in the end, no point to living out your life if you couldn’t enjoy it and live it the way you wanted to. To many, it may seem like Kamina and crew were trying to push forward so that they could continue to live, but that’s not true. If they wanted to live, they could have statyed in Jiiha; their goal was to live the way they wanted to. And that’s the real reason Simon was betrayed by Rossiu – fear of death. What Rossiu’s crew fared was their own inability to survive the battle to live as they pleased. They wanted to submit to the fear of death and do what they could to survive, while Simon realized that the only meaning in life was to live as you want to, and therefor he would fight to the death to live that way.

You could still tie this to an otaku’s want to live their life as an otaku, but I’d be hard-pressed to limit it to that. Anyone can relate to this message. Anyone who’s been on hard times and tried to move through life just enough to survive can find hope in a message that you can do anything through strength of will. One of my best firends is not an otaku, but a man who lives a very hard life (he’s 17 and has been kicked out of his house, currently poor, trying to balance job and school with little success) and has a dream – to be a chef. However, he has more or less given up on this dream because he doesn’t think it’s possible to live it thanks to his situation. He massively enjoyed Gurren Lagann because it gave him some hope, that even though his situation says he shouldn’t be able to, he might be able to live his dreams if he tries hard enough. My cousin and best friend, Funeral, found a similar message as he had been living a shittastic life until he and I decided to follow our dreams of becoming directors against all odds, and Gurren Lagann gave him more hope that he could do anything. He wasn’t really an otaku before, but after seing it he did decide to become one, lol.

GAINAX’s message is purely to not give into the fear of death, and Neon Genesis Evangelion is the explanation of why. We are, according to NGE, all one mind, subjecting ourselves to reality. In truth, we all have the power to manipulate reality to our choosing. Shinji was so concerned that he couldn’t do anything that it took death itself (or something like it) to realize his own ability to do anything he wanted, and in that he found solace (in the anime anyway. The movie, I think anno was just pissed at the angry fans.) NGE is like a philosophical guidebook to understanding the other shows GAINAX made.

As for the giant robots, wile I’m sure selling toys has to do with it, I think the massiveness was really there to prove something – just how high you can go. GAINAX really wanted to drill it into your head (unintended pun) that you can do ANYTHING if ou believe in yourself. They showed you how there is no stopping point, no barrier, only farther and farther up.

FLCL is kind of different, though. I haven’t seen it in a long time so I can’t remember why.

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6 thoughts on “GAINAX Theory of Burning Pathos – A Response To Another Awesome Oi Hayaku Post (Also, My Hits Are At A Low They Haven't Seen in a Very Long Time. What's the Fucking Deal With That? Also, Please Comment.)

  1. ‘Twas a great rant, with many valid points. Also, I’m glad to see an inspired post!

    “If they wanted to live, they could have stayed in Jiiha; their goal was to live the way they wanted to.”

    Damn right, and there’s no other way to do it. And now, I’m going to have to write a response post to this response post later tonight. (On RDN)

  2. Well, I’m still marginally in love with my idea that it’s about standing in the face of a society that wants to make you a boring non-otaku — Otaku No Video had a lot to do with that I guess.

    They know who their audience is, because they are their audience, and they’re in the unique position that when they create something they love, and that they’d like to watch themselves, it’s also good for business. Not too many people can boast about being able to do that.

    As I told IKnight, I didn’t intend for that to sound too cynical — I don’t feel cynical when I watch their stuff. It gives me a feeling nothing else can.

    I do still feel like NGE is an anomaly, and that Shinji was not the same kind of “hero” that Simon or Nono or Noriko or Ken Kubo were. That’s largely a question of your interpretation of Evangelion, though, and there are a metric fuckton of those. Probably also requires a re-watch of a series I haven’t seen in nearly 10 years (even if I still call it a favorite).

  3. Ah I felt the same way after reading that post and I gushed and gurgled all over the comments section. I would’ve posted a line-by-line response post but you beat me to it. \(^\^)

    The original Gainax works (as opposed to the adapted ones) distinctly present an invitation to be somebody. But since this invitation is also book-ended with triumph at the end (save for NGE), the being somebody part is done for you.

    End result is that the otaku audience stays the same – only buying more stuff. For all the bluster and posting on blogs and boards about GAR and awesomeness, there’s little information about any other behavior than further consumption. Is this an insidious plan? I doubt it. I’d like to believe it’s an unintended consequence, however convenient for it is for Gainax.

    But as escapist fare, the feeling I get when I watch these shows is so powerful.

  4. Pingback: If there is no path, just make it with this hand! — R.D.N

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