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    Evangelion is No Xenogears

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    Nikkolas

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    Evangelion is No Xenogears

    Post by Nikkolas on Sat Dec 21, 2013 12:25 pm

    I've been seeing them compared online ever since I played Xenogears for the first time all those years ago. Most recently, I heard Xenogears described as "bad Evangelion fanfiction."

    Well I just watched Neon Genesis Evangelion and it was kinda whatever. The plot was barely coherent and left almost everything of significance unexplained, the use of religious terms was so hamfisted it makes you want to gag, and the budget constraints are more painful than those on Xenogears' second disk.

    It has nothing on Xenogears' multifaceted plot, its fantastic worldbuilding, its actually well done implementation of religious symbolism and names. Moreover, none of the characters even remotely resemble any of the characters from EVA. The most you can do is Fei at the very, very beginning resembling Shinji but even then, he snaps out of it while Shinji is still a weeping bag of mush even by End of Evangelion.


    And it's not even that I hate the whole thing. It's just that it starts so....normally and proceeds to be more or less normal for many episodes. Hell, half of the original anime series I'd say. Sure there's Angels and shit but it doesn't have anywhere near the same tone as the last few episodes. And those last few episodes were when it was actualy GOOD.

    Only...it hurts what was good by having what came before. The last couple episodes of the anime don't address jack shit about the plot. It doesn't explain Adam or SEELE or what make Fuyutsuki join up with Gendo or... The list of things that are never explained in the anime is very, very long. And so even though I genuinely enjoy the mind trip through Shinji's head, and I find the end of the last episode inspirational, I'm still left feeling frustrated and confused.

    Also know there's End of Evangelion. I'm watching it now. But that is not doing anything to make me happy. The use of CHRISTIAN SYMBOLISM has taken on a whole new level of gratuitousness while having even less merit. Stigmata? Really? When robots attack Shinji's robot and he has blood on his hands? That's some great sign?

    Uch....

    I guess what I'm saying is that Eva is great when it does what it actually does good and that is examining the characters. When Asuka loses her mind, the history of Dr. Akagi and her mother and Rei, the episode with the last angel and how it devastates Shinji to kill him - that was actual quality I'd say.

    But everything before that? The pretenses ata coherent narrative or to establish a believable fictional world? They fail spectacularly.
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    RadicalDreamer

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    Re: Evangelion is No Xenogears

    Post by RadicalDreamer on Sat Dec 21, 2013 5:02 pm

    I have seen Evangelion get bashed the same way by Xenogears fans... and by the anime fandom ("emo pretentious clusterfuck" and the likes, Xenogears/Saga get those as well).
    Xenogears and Evangelion share similitaries but they're not copy of each other. They both take a huge inspiration from Childhood's End, have religious imageries, phychological stuff, tortured characters, giant robots (with souls), issues with budget (which resulted in "chair" moments)...

    Still, I don't think Anno and Takahashi aimed for the same thing. At heart, Evangelion is more a very personal character study while Xenogears is an epic tale (it's more story-driven than character driven in a way *compared to Evangelion anyway*). In Evangelion, the religious stuff is only there because Anno thought it seemed cool (it kinda does, goes well with apocalyptic stuff even if it means very little) while Xenogears deals directly with religion, as it was something Takahashi genuinely pondered about. I heard some people say that Takahashi could have told the same story without taking from the Bible. Maybe he could have, but in the end, people would have still compared the game's made-up religion to Christianity... so it just all comes down to (lack of) subtlety in the end, not whether or not the religious stuff was gratuitous.

    As for the characters... Fei is not as pathetic as Shinji. They both suffered a great deal and have a tendency to be instable. But the Contact was more active than Shinji as a character in the end (and he IS a generally passive/anti hero character, at least in surface *my storytelling book made me consider that the Contact's internal struggle makes him less passive than you'd think*). He had to face and accept what he is, what he did and what he should do. Basically, he evolved for the best. Shinji, however, stays the depressive kid he started as and even got worse... if we consider End of Evangelion (seems to me like the 2 last episodes of the show hinted at Shinji getting slowly better but EoE destroyed that *let's not pretend the end of this movie is cheerful/hopeful ahah*). Can't comment about the Rebuild movies as I didn't watch them (don't really like Anno changing the story, the animation seems wonderful though) but from what I heard, they made Shinji slightly less depressive in them.

    As for Asuka, she's nothing like Elly, aside from the red hair and germanish names/reference. I don't remember Elly bitching at Fei on a daily basis as much as Asuka did with Shinji (I sure wouldn't enjoy them as a pairing if she did).  If you think about it, Elly may share a bit more with Rei, but even then, they're not exactly the same (Miang a bit more, maybe).

    I could see Gendo/Krelian... both planning horrible stuff just because they lost the woman they loved and are sick of the way humans live (or something like that, my memory of Gendo's exact motive is a bit fuzzy). Citan isn't much like Kaji but they're the spy character. Both have a council of doom who says stuff you don't always understand (Gazel/SEELE). And both have a mascot character (Pen Pen >

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    Chu-Chu though, no contest here  :zimlol: ).

    I don't consider those rip off. The only things I could see as possible real Evangelion rip offs are situations/scenes :

    - Shinji opening Rei's cockpit and crying, relieved she's alright = Weltall landing near Vierge after its fall (in Nortune) and Fei crying, relieved Elly's alright ?
    - Asuka in her EVA throwing a huge ship at the army's face in the movie = Id doing the same with the Yddgrasil (the way the ships crack is similar).
    - Everyone's mom inside the EVAs = Maria having her mom inside Seibzhen.

    ... this is all I have, really. Still, I don't think we can deny that Xenogears heavily referenced anime/movies/video games/books, to the point where we have to wonder if it's actually legal, especially since I doubt they asked the original creators... except for the FF references, since they're from the same company (Soylent Green and Macross... among others).

    To conclude, no, Xenogears as a whole isn't a "bad Evangelion rip off". They're similar but they do a lot of stuff differently.
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    katimus_prime
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    Re: Evangelion is No Xenogears

    Post by katimus_prime on Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:24 pm

    I'm surprised this topic didn't crop up earlier, actually. The first thing I heard out of the gate in 1998 was people whining about how Xenogears copied Evangelion. It wasn't until 2003 that I watched Eva for the first time and just...was underwhelmed by the fact that the only things they had in common was the presence of giant robots and the angel killing.

    Fei is a little reluctant at first, but once his spine sets in place, he leaves Shinji in the dust. Eva is a lot more introspective, and the characters for the most part, stay who they are and don't grow at all. There's a little better variety and importance and agency in the female characters in Eva, but that's the only thing Eva has on Gears. Eva is completely about Shinji and his struggle with his self-worth. Xenogears is so much huger in scale and tackles real-world social issues like cronyism, classism and racism, Byzantine power struggles and the exposure of a crooked church. PS, also reincarnation.

    I suppose this makes me look like I dislike Eva, but I actually don't. It's just a different type of story presented in a different way with different characters. The only people who seem to have the Gears is a Copy of Eva complaint are Eva fans who haven't finished Xenogears.


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    Yikari

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    Re: Evangelion is No Xenogears

    Post by Yikari on Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:39 am

    ...did some people acutally said that? For real?

    I don't mean to imply to be really knowledgeable about the topic, but isn't this a case of 'comparing apples to ornages'? I mean, both franchises take root in the pool of games/manga/anime/movies/whatever dubbed as 'mecha anime' and were released in the 90s, but that's about it. I think this is just angry bashing over the internet being angry bashing over the internet and I suggest everyone treat it as such.

    Did EVA influence Xenogears - or indeed everything made by related Japanese entertainment industries after its release? Now this may be not nearly as ridiculous as the previous claim. But we should keep in mind that

    a). this is how such things work, whether it was a conscious decision on the creators' part because they wanted to approach (some of?) the themes they've found interesting in that other work from a different angle / because it was all the rage amonst their target audience / whatever other reason or it was something they were not really conscious of because of how human mind works - we are formed by our experiences after all;

    and b). Japanese culture (from what little I've heard about the subject) considers imitation a sign of respect - at least when it comes to creative work.

    So, really, any and all such... 'discussion' would hold about the same value as if I've said "FFVII ripped off from Evangelion" right now. I.e. not entirely bogus (IMHO Cloud's journey of self-introspection wouldn't have happened in an nearly the nakedly visceral torment it did if EVA's bomb some years before it didn't make it 'okay' to portray the protagonist in the mainstream products as anything less than a macho character), but still not something I would not consider blatant mud-slinging.
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    katimus_prime
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    Re: Evangelion is No Xenogears

    Post by katimus_prime on Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:42 am

    To be fair, the first issue of the Eva manga was released in 1994, and Xenogears came out in Japan in 1998. I'm not sure if Xenogears took shorter than four years to develop, but I guess Giant Robots + Psychology + Judeo-Christian mythology = copying Eva to most people. :/


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    Monstrocker

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    Re: Evangelion is No Xenogears

    Post by Monstrocker on Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:12 am

    I never knew that. And here I thought they usually compare it to Gundam, but it is no near that level. But Evangelion? o.o;



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    Ben

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    Re: Evangelion is No Xenogears

    Post by Ben on Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:52 am

    I'm glad people are still fighting this ridiculous notion that Xenogears was in anyway influenced by (or let alone ripped off) Evangelion. It seems these Eva remakes have brought it back after it was pretty well debunked years ago. Anyway, in my book, Eva is bascially BAD SPACE RUNAWAY IDEON FAN FICTION, the idea that a work of plagiarism could be held up and another work that had similar influences demonized just makes me scratch my head. Anyway, Eva also stole heavily from 2001: A Space Odyssey as well, a lot of sequences in End of Evangelion are shot for shot rip offs.

    First, let's check out the Monlith, which influenced both the Zohar in Xenogears/Xenosaga and Seele/evolving into one being in Evangelion. Check out this documentary on the Monlith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P95NWAHWLrc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiXR-pUrldw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UksgTSj9AaE

    Now, check out this clip from the film dealing with the invocation of the Monolith (by the way, notice that Dave is in an EVA pod): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIwvLJX-Olg


    Finally, watch this analysis of the ending, then watch the ending: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj-OlW83b6U https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLZdnR7Nkus
    I'll let you guys draw the Xeno and Eva comparisons.

    Now, for Space Runaway Ideon. One of the things I've read about this is that the relationship of Fei/Elly was lifted from Shinji and Asuka. The thing is, that relationship in Evangelion was lifted from Cosmo and Kasha in Ideon! I do think Kasha and Cosmo's dynamic influenced Fei and Elly very slightly as well, but Xenogears bears more resemblence to Ideon here than Eva, and Eva just flat out stole. A more important example is that in Ideon, there is a force in the universe called the Ide, created from the residual consciousness of human beings. It desperately wants us to end our petty conflicts, racism, violence, etc. and initially tries to guide us toward that goal. SPOILER ALERT:
    Spoiler:
    Only to realize that our current life form is incapable of this, and ultimately sides against our individual existence, choosing to instead take all of the impure souls to a higher level of existence with it, while leaving the pure to be reincarnated as a new life form.
    Sounds exactly like End of Evangelion, and somewhat similar to Krelian's goals in relation to the Wave Existence, no?


    Anyway, those are just a few. I'm working on a detailed analysis of this, if you guys think you might want to host it at Xeno Underground just let me know. I'm working on getting screen caps from Ideon and 2001 right now, there are almost none of Ideon out there and Youtube doesn't have much either outside of full eps. I've been chipping away at it for a month so I'm not sure how much longer I have to go, but if you want it I'll make sure it's exclusive to Xeno Underground, otherwhise I'll just throw it up on a blog.

    EDIT: Also, for those of you who don't want to watch it first and don't mind spoilers, you can read a good synopsis of Ideon here: http://counter-x.net/ideon/
    Just to address this:
    [quote="

    Yikari"

    :8v4s17fl]

    I don't mean to imply to be really knowledgeable about the topic, but isn't this a case of 'comparing apples to ornages'? I mean, both franchises take root in the pool of games/manga/anime/movies/whatever dubbed as 'mecha anime' and were released in the 90s, but that's about it. I think this is just angry bashing over the internet being angry bashing over the internet and I suggest everyone treat it as such.

    Did EVA influence Xenogears - or indeed everything made by related Japanese entertainment industries after its release? Now this may be not nearly as ridiculous as the previous claim. But we should keep in mind that

    a). this is how such things work, whether it was a conscious decision on the creators' part because they wanted to approach (some of?) the themes they've found interesting in that other work from a different angle / because it was all the rage amonst their target audience / whatever other reason or it was something they were not really conscious of because of how human mind works - we are formed by our experiences after all;



    and b). Japanese culture (from what little I've heard about the subject) considers imitation a sign of respect - at least when it comes to creative work.


    So, really, any and all such... 'discussion' would hold about the same value as if I've said "

    FFVII ripped off from Evangelion"

    right now. I.e. not entirely bogus (IMHO Cloud's journey of self-introspection wouldn't have happened in an nearly the nakedly visceral torment it did if EVA's bomb some years before it didn't make it 'okay' to portray the protagonist in the mainstream products as anything less than a macho character), but still not something I would not consider blatant mud-slinging.
    I will say this much about it: Tomino has said in interviews he is none too happy with Hideaki Anno. Not a peep out of him in regard to anyone involved with the Xeno games. Stanley Kubrick is dead of course, but I doubt he would have cared about anime anyway, though he may well have sued over EoE had it seen a U.S. theatrical release.

    2nd EDIT: If you have time, also, this video really does a nice job of breaking down the philosophical and thelogical concepts in 2001, and will help explain how it influenced Xenogears/Xenosaga and Eva. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QipHzWqc9OU

    Also one more thing, if anyone does watch Ideon, pay attention to the parallel between the character Kitty Kitten and Alice/Aruru in Xenogears. This one has no correlation in Eva, and I've never seen it picked up when someone compared Ideon to Xenogears before. I'd explain it, but it would involve a huge spoiler, and you can read that summary site if you really want to know anyway.
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    Reichu

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    Re: Evangelion is No Xenogears

    Post by Reichu on Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:38 pm

    Ben: If you held Xenogears to the same standards that you held NGE, I think you'd find that Xenogears did its fair share of "stealing". :p You're using the concepts of theft and plagiarism far too loosely for them to be useful. Lifting content wholesale and passing it off as yours is plagiarism. I've had a drawing of mine plagiarized in a commercial publication (someone else's name slapped onto it after laughably minimal alterations), and, damn, does it feel dirty. Homage is a very different animal -- far from "ripping off" previous works, homage offers a tip of a hat to the past. It's celebrating what has influenced the creators of the new work. It forms continuity between past and present. Without references to past works in current ones, the number of people inspired to check them out would be far less. It is essential to the culture of storytelling, and overprotective fans really do the dynamic a grand disservice.

    Incidentally, I saw Space Runaway Ideon, and I was incredibly bored most of the way through. Even the much-discussed "Be Invoked" failed to provoke me. (More fluent subtitles might have helped, but probably not a whole lot.) If Anno saw good in Ideon and worked aspects he liked into NGE, what's there to complain about? Would you rather nobody ever referenced Ideon at all and it became utterly forgotten save for its spot on Tomino's filmography? Without NGE to spur interest, I'm willing to bet that Ideon would remain unsubbed.


    Last edited by Reichu on Sat Mar 21, 2015 7:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Reichu

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    Re: Evangelion is No Xenogears

    Post by Reichu on Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:59 pm

    Now for my main post. I may as well not hide it: I'm a big Eva fan-girl. I've participated in Evangelion fandom on and off since Summer 2000, which is a pretty disgusting chunk of my lifetime. But I also like Xenogears. Nowhere near as intensely, but I do like it, and there was never any real reason in my mind for Eva and Xeno to "compete". They're similar enough to both appeal to me, and what's wrong with that?

    Fan wars about X franchise "ripping off" Y franchise say far more about the fans than the franchises, more often than not. In the days of high speed Internet and hives of nerds who catalog everything, it's generally easy to determine what a work's actual influences are and where it fits into the grand scheme of things. People are all to quick to go, "Hey, this thing vaguely resembles one of the few things in my limited multimedia repertoire, therefore ripoff!" And this is how we get ignoramuses declaring that Ghost in the Shell ripped off The Matrix or something equally stupid.

    I'm hardly going to say that Xenogears is an Eva rip-off. However, it's generally recognized that Neon Genesis Evangelion made a pretty huge splash in Japan and changed the face of anime (and related media) thereafter, so denying ANY possible influence is probably foolish. NGE showed what you could do differently from the norm while still being incredibly successful, so it may well have empowered Takahashi et al. to pursue elements in Xenogears that were otherwise going to be less prominent. This is less of a direct influence (which the staff have already denied) than an indirect market influence. Makes sense to me.

    Incidentally, the new Evangelion films (the tetralogy that still hasn't been completed) feel much more like Xenogears than Xenogears feels like the original series. IMO. Here are some similarities I compiled (for fun, mind!) a month ago. Contains spoilers for both the new Eva movies and Xenogears.

    New Eva vs Xenogears:
    There is the fact that Shinji himself has this terrifying potential to turn giant mecha into forces of apocalyptic destruction, comparable to Fei's "Id" and the effect it has on his own mecha. Both individuals are not fully aware or in control of this potential, and both are punished and/or suppressed by others for the risk they pose by simply existing.

    Gendo and Shinji, with their attachments to Yui and Rei respectively, roughly parallel Lacan/Grahf and Fei's attachments to Sophia and Elly. Grahf and Gendo both "cope" with their losses by pursuing immeasurable godly power. Their plans also involve the significant manipulation of someone who is basically a younger, more innocent, less angsty, and more intrinsically powerful version of themselves. (A son and a reincarnation, respectively.)

    Seele have basically become the Gazel Ministry in ENT -- immeasurably ancient entities controlling the world from the shadows, while having long abandoned or lost their original bodies and existing only in data form. Both organizations also come to an end when their data is deleted by the superior puppet-master, albeit under somewhat different circumstances.

    The imagery of Deus absorbing everything in a gray goo tsunami is vaguely reminiscent of the large-scale coreification in 3.0. This is reinforced somewhat by the fact that at the center of the gray goo monstrosity is a sometimes-floating giant artifice which contains at its center the comparatively tiny life-form intrinsically behind it all. This is not altogether unlike the Black Moon being nested within the coreified landscape and containing Lilith. The fact that Merkabah spews out swarms of "Angels" (who had once been human) and the Black Moon spews out hordes of inert Eva-things (who had possibly also once been human) just solidifies the creepy similarity.

    Also like ENT, Xenogears has an apocalypse occur during the actual storyline, albeit also basically offscreen. ;p

    The good guys even have an airship that they deploy their mechas from.

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