Q: What, exactly, is an Eva?
A: Great question. An Eva is prehistoric goo heated to approximately 10000.9999999ºC then poured into a mould shaped carefully from the carcass of our quasi-religious-alien ancestors. After that, it’s flash frozen, rammed into the moon at lightspeed, and then animated for all our mecha fantasy needs.
Q: Doesn’t mecha imply mechanical though?
A: If you really think about it, isn’t the human body the most amazing mechanism of all? (#DYK the human hand has 27 bones in it? WOW! Don’t worry about what’s happening below. It can’t see you if you can’t see it.)
Q: Okay. So what are these giant robot monster machines for?
A: And when God created the Earth, He gave the life of His only forgotten Son so that humans may inhabit Him and use Him to break down the barriers between themselves and others and then stab the shit out of their hearts in a vain attempt to punish all life for being self-interested and self-sustaining.
Q: Is that really how the Bible goes?
A: Trust me, I have a divinity degree.
Q: Is this “barrier” situation like…a metaphor?
A: Oh no, it’s literal. There are invisible-but-totally-visible-because-animation Absolute Terror Fields between beings. Some beings have stronger fields than others, but rest easy knowing: Everyone is scared shitless of getting close to another thing. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. (Except you are. That’s why you must get in the robot.)
Q: Are you scared shitless of getting close to another thing?
A: Of fucking course I am, what do I look like, an empty shell existent in an equally empty universe?
Q: Why can’t Shinji get in the robot?
A: Why can’t you get out of bed every morning bright-eyed and bushy tailed without fail to go to your soul-sucking job?
Q: But he needs to like, save the world. I’m just helping capitalist drones buy shit they don’t need. Why can’t he get in the robot?
A: Are you really saving the world if you’re destroying it in the process?
Q: Hey, I’m supposed to be asking the questions here.
A: Fine. By logic of predestination, God has already determined who will be saved and who will be damned, so Shinji is just taking the logical path of not fucking things up any further trying to fight against that idea.
Q: So you’re saying Shinji is a Calvinist?
A: I’m saying that Shinji has never said he’s NOT a Calvinist.
Q: What’s up with all this religion anyway?
A: It’s right in the title: Neon Genesis Evangelion. There’s like, 20 layers of religion there:
Neon => neos => something new => New Testament
Genesis => creation => first book of the Old Testament (NB: Hebrew Bible) => the story of God’s new (soon to be old, because original sin and aging, WHAT FUN) creation etc., etc.
Evangelion => evangel => word for the Christian gospel (good news!) or for someone who goes around and evangelizes, aka spreads the good news (gospel!). (Evangelion also conveniently contains the word angel! Crazy amirite!?)
SO you could say that Evangelion’s title is like: New Beginning for the Good News (or the people that spread it). Whether humans or angels spread the good news…and whether…y’know, it’s actually good news is…well…up for the viewer to decide.
I, personally, welcome our singularity-obsessed orange goo overlords.
Q: Sounds like a lot of Judeo-Christian imagery is at play here…
A: HOLD THE FUCK ON WE DO NOT USE THAT TERM, THAT IS A MEANINGLESS TERM. EDUCATE YOURSELF: https://newrepublic.com/article/153867/arguing-bad-faith
Q: Can you give me the TL;DR?
A: TL;DR, “Judeo-Christian” erroneously equates two extremely different and complex religions, and carries the frankly offensive assumption that Christianity is a more evolved form of Judaism while leaving out a third religion that shares many of the same commonalities as Christianity and Judaism (Islam).
TL;DR squared: We don’t use the term “Judeo-Christian-Islamic,” so you should immediately find “Judeo-Christian” to be sketchy af.
Also, the term gained popularity through use by mid-20th-century Christian evangelicals, who had a huge stake in 1) courting Jewish folks (who they didn’t really like but wanted to seem like they liked) and 2) getting the state of Israel established so that they can usher in the second coming or something.
TL;DR squared part two: Once upon a time it was politically convenient for Christians to link themselves with Judaism, so they did, and it’s a useless term that we shouldn’t use outside of a very specific context.
Q: Speaking of, what is this Second Impact?
A: Oh that’s easy: Adam hurtled into Antarctica at lightspeed and sent the world into post-apocalyptic meltdown.
Q: Wait, Adam like…Adam Adam? Adam and Eve Adam?
In the words of Hideaki Anno: “Any moron should be able to tell this references Adam and Eve.”
A: Look, what I’m going to say is: Neon Genesis Evangelion is a fascinating and important example of a decidedly non-Christian (in this case, culturally and personally) interpretation of quote-unquote Christianity—of like, the cool parts of Christianity. The apocryphal texts. The wacky subcategories of angels. The miracles. The Oedipal imagery.
That kind of batshit interpretation is important. It’s been happening the other way (e.g., off-the-wall Western interpretations of Zen Buddhism) around for a longggg time. These kinds of interpretations (some might call them “appropriations”) are, in my opinion, not fundamentally good or bad—the good or bad shit is brought on by, you know, using those interpretations to oppress and/or marginalize people. They are, however, fundamentally productive in that they make something new for the world to either chew up and digest into unusable diarrhea or mull over like cud until something even more productive or interesting results.
Like, the key to interpreting Evangelion through the lens of Christianity is to remember to put the lens of a non-Christian on top of it. Shit’s gonna be smashed together that people raised in Christian context don’t think are similar.
Like, Lilith doesn’t really register for most modern Western Christians, I’d venture, especially in the context of Adam and Longinus (got a lot of old and new testament mixing going on here).
But thematically, it makes sense: Fringe folks (from my understanding; this is where I disclaim that I spent 90% of my time in Divinity School studying Buddhism and angst) pin Lilith as the real first woman and therefore the original companion for Adam; Lilith getting run off the scene and replaced with Eve is kind of a crucifixion, I guess, seeing how women are usually treated by Christianity, etc. Did Anno go this far in his interpretation? Who fucking knows. The important part is that we can. AND WE WILL.
Q: Isn’t that cultural appropriation?
This is an interesting question that falls out of the scope of this shitpost of an FAQ.
Q: …I’m out of questions.
That’s fine. You’ll come up with more later. I know because I am you and you are me and we always come up with more questions.
In the meantime: Take care of yourself. (Read: Take your antidepressants.)