Friday, February 23, 2007


You've probably noticed by now that my cute little Valentine's "I Love You" graphic has dissapered from the background of my blog and replaced with this.

And you might (perhaps "should"?) be asking yourself what it means. It's a reference to a popular anime series entitled Neon Genesis Evangelion. At first glance, it looks like just another giant robot show. (Like when I was watching Voltron when I was a kid. I had no idea it came out of Japan!) Well, maybe a particularly decent giant robo show.
Then, I noticed something in one of the first major battles of the series. The giant robots are fighting up in the city, and there is an explosion. The explosion shoots up the street, and then spreads into two side streets as the explosion continues up... making the form of a cross. I really wish I could find that image for you, but I haven't been able to. Needless to say, I started paying a little more attention--there were obviously multiple layers of meaning here! And sure enough, Evangelion draws from all kinds of religious imagery, including The Tree of Life as it is understood in the Kabbalah of Judaism, The Well of Souls from the same, Christian crosses, images creepily reminiscent of crucifixion, The Lance of Longinus, plus (according to the DVD commentary) plenty of ancient Babylonian imagery that I don't have the background for. And that's not even the half of it!

Of course, like any good story, it actually comes down to the people involved. And I think that I always turn back to Evangelion during Lent because it does such a good job at showing how broken we all are. How we all make our own mistakes for our own reasons... and of course there's the scene where one of the characters sacrifices himself for the good of humanity in a sudden and gruesome manner.

To sum up, Neon Genesis Evangelion is an apocalyptic anime that draws from a lot of religious imagery. It does a great job of exploring the fallen nature of humanity, which actually meshes very well with the introspection we are expected to do during Lent. You can find the series and the movie(s) (which are a digest of the series followed by a re-imagining of the ending) on Netflix, but you should be aware that they are unrated. There is a lot of violence of varying degrees and and a couple of "adult" situations. If it were rated, I'd guess that most episodes would be PG-13, but some definately trip over into R-rated territory (usually for violence).

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

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