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“Noise in the Landscape: Disputing the Visibility of Mundane Technological Objects”, Fukushima 2020

2020-fukushima.pdf: “Noise in the landscape: Disputing the visibility of mundane technological objects”⁠, Masato Fukushima (2020-11-10; similar):

In recent years, a controversy has arisen in Japan regarding an ongoing landscape policy proposing to eliminate the forest of utility poles and electric wires that covers almost all urban and rural landscapes. The controversy is somewhat peculiar vis-à-vis the existing study of landscape, partly because of the utterly ubiquitous and non-monumental characteristics of the poles and partly because of the general apathy in public reaction to them. Drawing upon diverse academic sources, this interdisciplinary exploration unfolds a complex entanglement of tacit landscape ideas behind the controversy. The author discusses the effectiveness and limits of addressing both the substantial and visual aspects of the poles vis-à-vis the public and policy makers by using three conceptual frameworks: (1) ‘erasure’ in the landscape as palimpsest, (2) the dual aspects of ‘noise’, and (3) artialisation, in order to understand this mundane element of technological objects in the context of creating contemporary landscapes.

Utility-pole aesthetics: In contrast with this rather ghostly genealogy of artialisation, Hideaki Anno⁠, a film director, has maximally explored the aesthetic potential of these poles and wires in his works, with his blatant claim for the aesthetics of such pole-covered landscapes…Regarding the importance of iconography in formulating landscape ideas (Cosgrove, 2006; Cosgrove & Daniels, 1988) or artialisation (Roger, 1997), the audience of Anno’s animation works immediately comprehends the detailed depiction of such technoscapes involving utility poles, wires and high voltage towers in his works, in sharp contrast to the more conventional way of simply omitting these items or using symbols in their place. Ryusuke Hikawa, a film critic, explains that Anno elects to put these elements in the forefront, focusing on their hidden life and history in his sagas.11 Anno has been becoming more outspoken in recent years in defence of the beauty of these poles, probably in response to the no-poles campaign that has become publicly visible. As he said in an interview conducted in 2000:

As I grew up close to a factory, it was my archetypal image. Even now I love such things as factories and masses of iron. I love also utility poles; especially their functional beauty (kinô-bi). I know there’s a movement in political circles to remove these poles. I wonder what motivates them to further impoverish the urban landscape, which has already been so boring. There would be no charm of landscape in Tokyo without utility poles. (emphasis added)12

On another occasion, he reiterates the concept of the functional beauty of these poles:

Utility poles have only functional beauty (kinô-bi). Their concise form exists as uniformity in every city . . . The disinterestedness of such poles, without any compromise to the general landscape, is something that I adore that is irreplaceable with other things.13

In parallel with Anno’s unique support of the poles’ beauty with his poetic depiction of them in his works, on a Japanese photographic SNS site called Ingrum there is a page dedicated to photos of utility poles with those that are clearly reminiscent of the scenes in Anno’s Evangelion, whose number had reached 107,147 as of late 2018, and the number is still growing.14 Pixiv, another Japanese SNS site for both professional and amateur graphics writers, has a specific category of drawings for utility poles.15 There is even a site for the best drawings of utility-pole related landscapes, with a caption referring to the ‘inorganic beauty of electric wires’, which says, ‘we find these poles everywhere outside, while usually we don’t pay attention to them. Once, however, we attend to them, we are captured by their functional, inorganic beauty.’16 In what is called the Pixiv-Encyclopedia, the entry for utility poles is defined as ‘something nostalgic for the Japanese, while their number is decreasing due to the policy of burying them underground’.17

Related to such efforts to reappraise the aesthetic value of these poles on the web, there is a site on the web that collects critical comments on the very picture of Mt Fuji covered with utility poles in the photography competition for a No-Poles Landscape mentioned above. There are quite a few comments that underscore that the utility poles that cover the Mt Fuji print actually enhance the beauty of the scenery in the context of modern technology.18

“How Fast Can Evangelion Run? Application Of Aerodynamics And Scaling Laws To The Super Robot”, Ryu et al 2020

“How Fast Can Evangelion Run? Application Of Aerodynamics And Scaling Laws To The Super Robot”⁠, Sangjin Ryu, Haipeng Zhang, Markeya Peteranetz, Tareq Daher (2020-09-30; ):

Super robots are huge, powerful robots that protect mankind from various invaders, and thus these superheroes are the main figures in many science fiction movies and Japanese animations. Among them, Evangelions have been a very popular type of super robot since the 1990s given that the animation series Neon Genesis Evangelion has been globally influential in various pop cultures.

Evangelions (also called Evas) are cyborgs comprised of huge human body and robotic systems, and in the animation series, they often run at seemingly high speeds, which is quite different from traditional super robots.

In this paper, we attempt to estimate the running speed of Evangelions based on known scientific facts.

First, we measured the running speed of Eva Unit 01 (Eva-01) to be between 910–980 m⁄s based on its step length measured in movie scenes, and the Mach cone formed behind Eva-01. Second, we employed scaling laws known for animals and find that the maximum running speed of Eva-01 is 0.9 m⁄s.

This striking difference between the anime-based speed and the physics-based speed raises a question as to how Eva-01 can run at such a high speed, and we conjecture that the cyborg can do so due to internally-stored electrical power.

“Anime's Atomic Legacy: Takashi Murakami, Miyazaki, Anno, and the Negotiation of Japanese War Memory”, Manji 2020

2020-manji.pdf: “Anime's atomic legacy: Takashi Murakami, Miyazaki, Anno, and the negotiation of Japanese war memory”⁠, Rufus C. Manji (2020-07; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

This thesis explores the cultural commentary by Japanese Neo-Pop artist Takashi Murakami in relation to Japan’s war memory and its legacy in popular culture, addressing in particular the essays accompanying his 2005 exhibition Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture⁠. Murakami constructs a genealogy of postwar otaku subculture— anime, manga, tokusatsu⁠, and video games—which he sees as reflecting anxieties repressed within mainstream culture: namely, memory of defeat, occupation, and ongoing military protection by the United States, epitomized by the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These concerns become intertwined with the social malaise of Japan’s “Lost Decades”, in which postwar narratives of endless economic growth through scientific innovation give way to nihilism and social withdrawal. While anime of the “Economic Miracle” period show empowered heroes overcoming apocalyptic trauma through technology and righteous ideals, those of the 1990s frustrate such heroism: as scientific optimism deteriorates, protagonists are forced to question their beliefs, affiliations, and self-definition.

While Murakami offers a wealth of socio-historical insights, clear limitations emerge, particularly the immediate post-Occupation release of films and artworks depicting the war and the atomic bomb, which challenges the notion that these topics were repressed exclusively into subculture. Furthermore, critics have argued the emphasis on Japan’s defeat and the hardships faced by civilians downplays the broader history of the Japanese Empire and its wartime activities abroad, a tendency Carol Gluck terms “victim’s history”. This thesis proposes a revision of Murakami’s theory which argues that memory of Japan as perpetrator emerges subliminally in subcultural narratives alongside memory of victimhood. Drawing on Hashimoto’s, LaCapra’s, and Elsaesser’s insights on the transmission of perpetrator memory, I argue that many of anime’s most iconic Sci-Fi and fantasy narratives are rooted in ambivalence towards national history, with heroes forced to identify simultaneously with hero, victim, and perpetrator roles. I focus on directors Hayao Miyazaki and Hideaki Anno⁠, identifying the recurring motif of the “perpetrator fathers” whose legacy young heroes must overcome, while at the same time experiencing a traumatic identification with their father figures. These narratives complicate questions of national identity, reflecting a simultaneous desire to escape from, and redeem, historical memory.

  1. Anime’s Atomic Legacy: Takashi Murakami, Miyazaki, Anno, and the Negotiation of Japanese War Memory

    1. Contents
    2. Abstract
    3. Acknowledgments
  2. Introduction

  3. Chapter 1: Superflat⁠, Subculture, and National Trauma

    1. Takashi Murakami and superflat

      1. A genealogy of superflat subculture
      2. Framing JNP: Japan’s Postmodern Condition
      3. The Database & Animalization
      4. Superflat and National Cinema
      5. Trauma Theory
      6. Atomic Trauma in Mainstream Japanese Cinema
      7. The Subcultural Split from Mainstream Cinema
  4. Chapter 2: National Identity and Perpetrator Trauma in Anime Subculture

    1. National Identity & Perpetrator Trauma
    2. Miyazaki and Anno: Negotiating Historical Memory
  5. Chapter 3: Hayao Miyazaki

    1. Hayao Miyazaki

      1. Murakami on Miyazaki
      2. Troubling Parental Figures: the Perpetrator Fathers and Earth Mothers
    2. The Economic Miracle: 1978–1989

      1. Miyazaki’s Early Apocalyptic Narratives
      2. Future Boy Conan: Trauma, Nature, and Industry
      3. The Return of the Repressed: Conan’s Trauma Narratives and the Perpetrator Fathers
      4. Becoming the Perpetrator: Monsley and Intergenerational Trauma
      5. The Grand Narrative Preserved
    3. The Lost Decade: Miyazaki’s Nihilism and the Decline of Grand Narratives

      1. Fragmented Identity and Survivor Guilt in Porco Rosso
      2. Complicity and Withdrawal in Howl’s Moving Castle
  6. Chapter 4: Hideaki Anno

    1. Hideaki Anno

      1. Anno’s goals as artist
      2. Interior Perspective and Hyperlimited Animation
    2. The Economic Miracle: Gunbuster as Nationalist Fantasy

      1. The New Japanese Empire and Nationalist Nostalgia

        [see “Imperialism, Translation, Gunbuster”: 0⁠/​1⁠/​2⁠/​3⁠/​4⁠/​5⁠/​6]

    3. Anno’s Turning Point: Fascism and Technological Ambivalence in Nadia

      1. Nemo and Gargoyle: Reconciliation with the Perpetrator Fathers
    4. The Lost Decade: Evangelion⁠, Withdrawal, and the Decline of Grand Narratives

      1. The Decline of Scientific Optimism
  7. Conclusion

    1. Works Cited

      1. Reference Texts
      2. Films & Artistic Works

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Graphic Designer Peiran Tan Plumbs the Typographic Psyche of the Celebrated Anime Franchise”, Tan 2019

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Graphic designer Peiran Tan plumbs the typographic psyche of the celebrated anime franchise”⁠, Peiran Tan (2019-10-17; ; backlinks; similar):

[A look into the signature typefaces of Evangelion: Matisse EB, mechanical compression for distorted resizing, and title cards⁠. Covered typefaces: Matisse/​Helvetica/​Neue Helvetica/​Times/​Helvetica Condensed/​Chicago/​Cataneo/​Futura/​Eurostile/​ITC Avant Garde Gothic/​Gill Sans.]

Evangelion was among the first anime to create a consistent typographic identity across its visual universe, from title cards to NERV’s user interfaces. Subcontractors usually painted anything type-related in an anime by hand, so it was a novel idea at the time for a director to use desktop typesetting to exert typographic control. Although sci-fi anime tended to use either sans serifs or hand lettering that mimicked sans serifs in 1995, Anno decided to buck that trend, choosing a display serif for stronger visual impact. After flipping through iFontworks’ specimen catalog, he personally selected the extra-bold (EB) weight of Matisse (マティス), a Mincho-style serif family…A combination of haste and inexperience gave Matisse a plain look and feel, which turned out to make sense for Evangelion. The conservative skeletal construction restrained the characters’ personality so it wouldn’t compete with the animation; the extreme stroke contrast delivered the desired visual punch. Despite the fact that Matisse was drawn on the computer, many of its stroke corners were rounded, giving it a hand-drawn, fin-de-siècle quality.

…In addition to a thorough graphic identity, Evangelion also pioneered a deep integration of typography as a part of animated storytelling—a technique soon to be imitated by later anime. Prime examples are the show’s title cards and flashing type-only frames mixed in with the animation. The title cards contain nothing but crude, black-and-white Matisse EB, and are often mechanically compressed to fit into interlocking compositions. This brutal treatment started as a hidden homage to the title cards in old Toho movies from the sixties and seventies, but soon became visually synonymous with Evangelion after the show first aired. Innovating on the media of animated storytelling, Evangelion also integrates type-only flashes. Back then, these black-and-white, split-second frames were Anno’s attempt at imprinting subliminal messages onto the viewer, but have since become Easter eggs for die-hard Evangelion fans as well as motion signatures for the entire franchise.

…Established in title cards, this combination of Matisse EB and all-caps Helvetica soon bled into various aspects of Evangelion, most notably the HUD user interfaces in NERV. Although it would be possible to attribute the mechanical compression to technical limitations or typographic ignorance, its ubiquitous occurrence did evoke haste and, at times, despair—an emotional motif perfectly suited to a post-apocalyptic story with existentialist themes.

“『シン・ウルトラマン』映画化に関するお知らせ”, Khara 2019

“『シン・ウルトラマン』映画化に関するお知らせ”⁠, Studio Khara (2019-08-01; ; backlinks; similar):

A new film production of SHIN ULTRAMAN was publicly announced today. The new movie will come to theaters in 2021.

Hideaki Anno will join a film team, Higuchi-Gumi led by Director Shinji Higuchi⁠, taking charge of Produce and Screenplay. First draft script has been finished in February 5th, 2019. Anno will fully join the project after finishing his EVANGELION:3.0+1.0 film.

“Rubrication Design Examples”, Branwen 2019

Red: “Rubrication Design Examples”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2019-05-30; ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

A gallery of typographic and graphics design examples of rubrication, a classic pattern of using red versus black for emphasis.

Dating back to medieval manuscripts, text has often been highlighted using a particular distinct bright red. The contrast of black and red on a white background is highly visible and striking, and this has been reused many times, in a way which I have not noticed for other colors. I call these uses rubrication and collate examples I have noticed from many time periods. This design pattern does not seem to have a widely-accepted name or be commonly discussed, so I propose extending the term “rubrication” to all instances of this pattern, not merely religious texts.

Why this rubrication design pattern? Why red, specifically, and not, say, orange or purple? Is it just a historical accident? Cross-cultural research suggests that for humans, red may be intrinsically more noticeable & has a higher contrast with black, explaining its perennial appeal as a design pattern.

Regardless, it is a beautiful design pattern which has been used in many interesting ways over the millennia, and perhaps may inspire the reader.

Note: to hide apparatus like the links, you can use reader-mode ().

“Anime Neural Net Graveyard”, Branwen 2019

Faces-graveyard: “Anime Neural Net Graveyard”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2019-02-04; ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Compilation of failed neural network experiments in generating anime images, pre-StyleGAN⁠/​BigGAN.

My experiments in generating anime faces, tried periodically since 2015, succeeded in 2019 with the release of StyleGAN⁠. But for comparison, here are the failures from some of my older GAN or other NN attempts; as the quality is worse than StyleGAN, I won’t bother going into details—creating the datasets & training the ProGAN & tuning & transfer-learning were all much the same as already outlined at length for the StyleGAN results⁠.

Included are:

  • ProGAN

  • Glow


  • PokeGAN

  • Self-Attention-GAN-TensorFlow

  • VGAN

  • BigGAN unofficial (official BigGAN is covered elsewhere)

    • BigGAN-TensorFlow
    • BigGAN-PyTorch
  • GAN-QP

  • WGAN

  • IntroVAE

“Making Anime Faces With StyleGAN”, Branwen 2019

Faces: “Making Anime Faces With StyleGAN”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2019-02-04; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

A tutorial explaining how to train and generate high-quality anime faces with StyleGAN 1/​2 neural networks, and tips/​scripts for effective StyleGAN use.

Generative neural networks, such as GANs, have struggled for years to generate decent-quality anime faces, despite their great success with photographic imagery such as real human faces. The task has now been effectively solved, for anime faces as well as many other domains, by the development of a new generative adversarial network, StyleGAN⁠, whose source code was released in February 2019.

I show off my StyleGAN 1/​2 CC-0-licensed anime faces & videos, provide downloads for the final models & anime portrait face dataset⁠, provide the ‘missing manual’ & explain how I trained them based on Danbooru2017 /  ​ 2018 with source code for the data preprocessing⁠, document installation & configuration & training tricks⁠.

For application, I document various scripts for generating images & videos⁠, briefly describe the website “This Waifu Does Not Exist” I set up as a public demo & its followup This Anime Does Not (TADNE) (see also Artbreeder), discuss how the trained models can be used for transfer learning such as generating high-quality faces of anime characters with small datasets (eg. Holo or Asuka Souryuu Langley), and touch on more advanced StyleGAN applications like encoders & controllable generation.

The anime face graveyard gives samples of my failures with earlier GANs for anime face generation, and I provide samples & model from a relatively large-scale BigGAN training run suggesting that BigGAN may be the next step forward to generating full-scale anime images.

A minute of reading could save an hour of debugging!

“MLP: Immanetizing The Equestrian”, Branwen 2018

MLP: “MLP: Immanetizing The Equestrian”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2018-10-24; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks):

A meditation on subcultures & review of the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, focusing on fandom, plot, development, and meaning of bronydom.

I watch the 2010 Western animated series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (seasons 1–9), delving deep into it and the MLP fandom, and reflect on it. What makes it good and powers its fandom subculture, producing a wide array of fanfictions, music, and art? Focusing on fandom, plot, development, and meaning of bronydom, I conclude that, among other things, it has surprisingly high-quality production & aesthetics which are easily adapted to fandom and which power a Westernized shonen anime—which depicts an underappreciated plausibly-contemporary capitalist utopian perspective on self-actualization, reminiscent of other more explicitly self-help-oriented pop culture movements such as the recent Jordan B. Peterson movement. Included are my personal rankings of characters, seasons, episodes, and official & fan music.

“June 1996 NewType Interview With Hideaki Anno”, Anno & Inoue 2012

1996-newtype-anno-interview: “June 1996 NewType Interview with Hideaki Anno”⁠, Hideaki Anno, Shinichiro Inoue (2012-06-14; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

English translation of French translation of Hideaki Anno’s controversial NewType interview at the end of the TV broadcast

The June 1996 issue of NewType (published 10 May) included an interview by Shinichiro Inoue with Hideaki Anno⁠, the director of the controversial TV series Neon Genesis Evangelion which had just finished with 2 unusual episodes on 20 & 1996-03-27, sparking a national discussion & backlash. This interview has been widely alluded to in Eva discussions as Anno gave his initial thoughts on how Eva turned out, what he & Gainax were trying to do, and their reaction to the public reaction.

We translate an unofficial French fan translation into English, providing access to the full interview for the first time.

“Special Talk: Yutaka Izubuchi × Hideaki Anno”, Anno & Izubuchi 2012

2003-rahxephoncomplete-anno-izubuchi: “Special Talk: Yutaka Izubuchi × Hideaki Anno”⁠, Hideaki Anno, Yutaka Izubuchi (2012-02-28; ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Discussion by Izubuchi and Anno of classic mecha anime

This interview was published in the 2003 book RahXephon Complete; it has not been officially translated, but the ANF user Vir arranged for a rough translation. At my request, he gave me a copy and I have heavily edited it to what follows. (Names were translated phonetically; I have done my best to figure out what was meant.)

Note: to hide apparatus like the links, you can use reader-mode ().

“May 1997 AnimeLand Interview With Hideaki Anno (English)”, Anno 2012

1997-animeland-may-hideakianno-interview-english: “May 1997 AnimeLand Interview with Hideaki Anno (English)”⁠, Hideaki Anno (2012-02-28; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

English translation of a French anime journalist’s interview of Hideaki Anno on anime and Evangelion in 1996-10-04.

Fan translation of an 1996-10-04 interview with anime director Hideaki Anno shortly after the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion TV but before the movies, published in 1997 in the French anime magazine AnimeLand, and translated into English here.

This Anno interview is notable for Anno discussing his reaction to the public reaction to Evangelion, his attitude towards celluloid & animation (vis-a-vis the experimental ending), and denying that Christianity was a more than superficial theme.

“Aesthetics of Destruction: Music and the Worldview of Shinji Ikari in Neon Genesis Evangelion”, Hoffer 2012

2012-hoffer.pdf: “Aesthetics of Destruction: Music and the Worldview of Shinji Ikari in Neon Genesis Evangelion⁠, Heike Hoffer (2012; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Director Anno Hideaki’s series Neon Genesis Evangelion caused a sensation when it first aired on TV Tokyo in 1995 and has become one of the most influential anime ever made. Since its premiere, fans across the globe have debated the possible interpretations of the complex plot, but little has been said about how composer Sagisu Shiro’s score might contribute to understanding the series. Anno’s rehabilitation in a Jungian clinic and subsequent personal study of human psychology plays heavily into understanding the main character Ikari Shinji, and music has much to contribute to appreciating Shinji’s view of the world. Shinji is an impressionable fourteen-year old boy, so his musical interpretations of the people and things around him do not always match reality. Sagisu’s music gives the viewers welcome insight into Shinji’s thoughts and feelings as he matures throughout the series.

“The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax And The Men Who Created Evangelion”, Takeda 2010

2002-takeda-notenkimemoirs: “The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax And The Men Who Created Evangelion”⁠, Yasuhiro Takeda (2010-12-27; ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Fulltext annotated e-book of 2002 memoir by anime producer Yasuhiro Takeda, discussing Japanese SF conventions & fandom, formation & history of Gainax and its productions up to 2002, including the origins of Evangelion & the tax raid.

An annotated e-book edition of The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax And The Men Who Created Evangelion, a short autobiography by a founder of Gainax who became active as a fan and in the anime/​manga industry in the late 1970s; it describes the student fan club scene around SF conventions, the creation of the famous Daicon video shorts, the founding of Gainax, its subsequent successes & travails (although with less emphasis on Neon Genesis Evangelion than one might expect), terminating around 2001. Much of the information Takeda discusses may have appeared in English-language sources before, but in obscure or missing sources and never pulled together, and it is a valuable source for non-Japanese-speakers interested in that time period.

For people interested in the history of the anime industry, Takeda fills in many gaps related to Gainax—it’s hard to think of any source which covers nearly so well DAICON III⁠, DAICON IV⁠, General Products⁠, or throws in so many tidbits about surrounding people & Japanese SF fandom. It is an invaluable resource for any researcher, and I felt compelled to create an annotated e-book edition in order to elucidate various points and be able to link its claims with versions of stories by other people (for example, Okada’s extensive Animerica interview)

Those reading it solely for Evangelion material will probably be relatively disappointed: Takeda clearly finds NGE not very interesting, may have bad associations due to being targeted in the tax raids⁠, and he was writing this in 2000 or so—too close to the events and still working at Gainax to really give a tell-all, and it’s not a terribly long or dense book in the first place. Nevertheless, NGE fans will still find many revelations here, like the origin of NGE production in the failure of the Aoki Uru film project (an origin undocumented in any Western sources before Notenki Memoirs was translated).

Note: to hide apparatus like the links, you can use reader-mode ().

“Anime Reviews”, Branwen 2010

Anime: “Anime Reviews”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2010-12-14; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

A compilation of anime/​manga reviews since 2010.

This page is a compilation of my anime/​manga reviews; it is compiled from my MyAnimeList account & newsletter⁠. Reviews are sorted by rating in descending order.

See also my book & film /  ​ TV /  ​ theater reviews⁠.

“The Case of PenPen”, Branwen 2010

the-case-of-penpen: “The Case of PenPen”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2010-01-03; ⁠, ; similar):

A parody of Evangelion where PenPen leads Instrumentality.

My high school anime club held one and only one contest, a fanfiction contest on a series we had watched. My mind had already been crushed a little by End of Evangelion⁠, so I resolved to write something a little more light-hearted than that. I wound up winning and selected the 2-disc set of Ushio and Tora (we had watched the first 2 episodes and I thought it was almost as hilarious as Dragon Half). The president never delivered and so I never wrote part 2 - it remains juvenilia. I kept meaning to track him down to demand it, but eventually I gave up and just downloaded a copy. (The handful of later episodes weren’t that good, although it was funnier than the reboot.)

“Murakami's 'little Boy' Syndrome: Victim or Aggressor in Contemporary Japanese and American Arts?”, Koh 2010

2010-koh.pdf: “Murakami's 'little boy' syndrome: victim or aggressor in contemporary Japanese and American arts?”⁠, Dong-Yeon Koh (2010; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

This paper examines the ambiguous nature of Murakami’s criticism toward the postwar Japanese condition—as the artist most effectively captured in his phrase ‘A Little Boy’, which was also the title of his curated exhibition at the Japan Society of New York in 2005.

As Murakami wrote in his introduction to the catalogue, demilitarized Japan after the Second World War underwent a collective sense of helplessness, and the metaphor of a little boy is intended to describe Japan’s supposedly unavoidable reliance on its big brother, America. The name ‘Little Boy’, in fact, originates from the code name used by the American military for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

The proliferation of ‘cuteness’ in Japanese contemporary art, which draws upon youth culture, especially otaku culture, evinces a common urge among the postwar generation in Japan to escape from their horrible memories and sense of powerlessness.

Murakami’s rhetorical analysis of Japan’s self-image seems, however, contradictory, given his extremely aggressive business tactics, which can find no counterpart in the Western art world—not even in the efforts of Murakami’s predecessor, Andy Warhol⁠. Like My Lonesome Cowboy (1998), whose hyper sexuality defies its pubescent and immature appearance, his art, theory, and art marketing indicate the paradoxical nature of his theory of impotence.

By focusing on his manifesto and writings published on the occasion of his 2005 exhibition and his style of managing Kaikai Kiki Ltd., this paper delves into the dual nature of Murakami’s interpretation of postwar Japanese art and culture, particularly in relation to those of America.

[Keywords: Takashi Murakami, Japanese contemporary arts, otaku, art and subculture, atomic bomb (Little Boy), nationalism, globalization of art market, Asian masculinity]

“Neon Genesis Evangelion Source Anthology”, Branwen 2009

otaku: “Neon Genesis Evangelion source anthology”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2009-09-30; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Extensive anthology of Gainax/​Anno/​Evangelion quotes, excerpts, sources, references, and analyses, organized by reliability and year.

This page is an extensive anthology of Gainax/​Hideaki Anno/​Evangelion-related quotes, excerpts, sources, references, & analyses, organized by reliability & year.

The purpose of compiling a large page of quotes & references classified by date & source level is to make it easier to put NGE into a historical context by tracing the evolution of plot or characters, cross-reference statements made in interviews, jump forward and backwards to flesh out otherwise obscure allusions to events, and enable easy keyword-based search for various concepts (eg. the connection of Kaworu to cats⁠, Gainax’s bafflement that viewers might think Misato killed Kaji, the influence of earthquakes on people, connections to Aum Shinrikyo⁠, garbled information about suicide attempts, Anno’s conservative nationalist views or philosophy of “poison”, retcons like swapping the Adam and Lilith plot devices, panspermia & First Ancestral Race being slowly removed from production materials and then post-NGE slowly restored, the many conflicting pieces of information on the end of NGE TV and EoE, Yamaga’s questionable reliability etc).

As I compile more material, I become increasingly convinced that far from Evangelion being a baffling mystery, it is in fact one of the most understandable anime out there, with a wealth of information about almost every detail, from the earliest planning meetings to how long particular episode productions took to the source of minor details like the “A-10 nerve”, and that Hideaki Anno, far from being a reticent auteur of mystery, has collectively been forthcoming about anything one might ask—to the point where multiple interviews could justly be described as “book-length” (the books in question being June, Schizo, Prano, the 1.0 CRC, & the 2.0 CRC). There is so much material that half the difficulty is simply collating the existing materials, and some extensive sources seem to have been lost to both the Japanese and English fandoms (eg. there seem to be no mentions or quotations of the Anata to Watashi no Gainax interviews in the Japanese web).

“Miscellaneous”, Branwen 2009

Notes: “Miscellaneous”⁠, Gwern Branwen (2009-08-05; ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

Misc thoughts, memories, proto-essays, musings, etc.

We usually clean up after ourselves, but sometimes, we are expected to clean before (ie. after others) instead. Why?

Because in those cases, pre-cleanup is the same amount of work, but game-theoretically better whenever a failure of post-cleanup would cause the next person problems.

“Aum Shinrikyo and a Panic About Manga and Anime”, Gardner 2008

2008-gardner.pdf: “Aum Shinrikyo and a Panic About Manga and Anime”⁠, Richard A. Gardner (2008; ⁠, ; backlinks; similar):

In the midst of the accolades, it is important to recall that there have been moments in recent history when manga and anime have been regarded as potentially dangerous or as emblems of what is wrong with Japan.

Such was the case in the months following the release of sarin gas in several Tokyo subway lines by members of the religious group Aum Shinrikyo on the morning of March 20, 1995. As the extent of the Aum’s crimes gradually became clear, Japanese journalists, scholars, intellectuals, and commentators of every sort attempted to explain the origin and rise of Aum, the reasons for the group’s turn to violence, and what the appearance of such a group might mean about Japan. In the various theories and explanations presented, nearly every aspect of Japanese society, culture, and religion has been held to be at least partially accountable for the rise of Aum and the turn to violence by some of its members (see Gardner 1999, 221–222; 2002a, 36–42). In the efforts to explain Aum, considerable attention was given to the roles that manga and anime might have played. This resulted in what might be described as a panic about their possible negative influence on Japanese culture and society. Rather than attempting to explain precisely how manga and anime might have contributed to the rise of Aum and its vision of ‘Harumagedon’, or Armageddon, this chapter will simply present an overview of the ways in which both members of Aum and commentators on Aum understood the role of manga and anime in relation to Aum. Attention will be given, in particular, to how these perceptions were linked with broader concerns about the possible negative influence of various forms of media, technology, and ‘virtual reality’.

“Hideaki Anno Releases Statement About New Evangelion Movies”, Anno 2007

“Hideaki Anno Releases Statement About New Evangelion Movies”⁠, Hideaki Anno (2007-02-20; ; backlinks; similar):

Many different desires are motivating us to create the new “Evangelion” film.

The desire to portray my sincere feelings on film.

The desire to share, with an audience, the embodiment of image, the diversity of expressions, and the detailed portrayal of emotions that animation offers.

The desire to connect today’s exhausted Japanese animation [industry] to the future.

The desire to fight the continuing trend of stagnation in anime.

The desire to support the strength of heart that exists in the world.

Finally, the desire to have these wishes be realized.

For these purposes, we used the best methods available to us to make another Evangelion film.

Many times we wondered, “It’s a title that’s more than 10 years old. Why now?”

“Eva is too old”, we felt.

However, over the past 12 years, there has been no anime newer than Eva.

…As the creator of this project, [I assure you that] a very new-feeling Evangelion world has been constructed.

…Although it seems obvious, we aim to create a form of entertainment that anyone can look forward to; one that people who have never seen Evangelion can easily adjust to, one that can engage audiences as a movie for theatres, and one that produces a new understanding of the world.

“Impotence Culture—Anime”, Murakami 2001

2001-murakami.pdf: “Impotence Culture—Anime”⁠, Takashi Murakami (2001-01-01; ⁠, ; backlinks)

“Anime Interviews: The First Five Years of Animerica Anime & Manga Monthly (1992–97)”, Ledoux 1997

1997-ledoux-animeinterviewsthefirst5yearsofanimerica.pdf: “Anime Interviews: The First Five Years of Animerica Anime & Manga Monthly (1992–97)”⁠, Trish Ledoux (1997-01-01)

“NGE TV, Episode 6: "Showdown in Tokyo-3"/"Rei-3"”, EvaWiki 1995

“NGE TV, Episode 6: "Showdown in Tokyo-3"/"Rei-3"”⁠, EvaWiki (1995-08-11; ; backlinks; similar):

Continuing from the previous episode, the Angel Ramiel is drilling down into the GeoFront to attack Nerv HQ directly. After Shinji barely survived a direct confrontation with it, Misato devises a plan to have Eva-00 and Eva-01 defeat the Angel by sniping it from a distance using a positron rifle which requires the total electric output of Japan to power up…Misato codenames the plan she creates to defeat the Angel Ramiel as “Operation Yashima”.

This is named after the Battle of Yashima which occurred in 1185 in medieval Japan, which also included a feat of conspicuously talented archery.