Evangelion Shinkansen Transformer by Takara Tomy

By Aaron Clark on Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Evangelion Shinkansen Transformer500 Type Eva TransformerTakara Tomy, who produces Transformers toys in Japan, is releasing an Evangelion Shinkansen Transformer, referred to as a “Shinkalion”.  The Shinkalion transforms from the 500 Type Eva Shinkansen into a robot, with one locomotive serving as a shield, and also wields a Spear of Longinus.  For added measure, the Shinkalion can also combine with the E5 Shinkansen Transformer to form an even bigger robot, the E5X500 Type Eva Shinkalion.  The toy is being released October 5th, with a price of 8,640 yen.  There is apparently a whole line of these things, if you’re interested.

If you’re unfamiliar, there is an Evangelion-themed bullet train, or “shinkansen”, in operation in Japan through 2018.  They also released it as an N Scale model train earlier this year through Kato USA.  And, it’s also worth mentioning that this isn’t the first Evangelion Transformer that Takara Tomy has produced.  In 2014, they released a special edition Unit-01 themed MP-10 Optimus Prime, as well as several Evangelion Transformers in their super-deformed Q-Transformers line.

As far as ridiculous ideas goes, this is pretty out there, partially because it takes several ideas that were already kind of ridiculous, and combines them all together to form an even more ridiculous idea.  See what I did there?

If you’re interested, Takara Tomy released a video showing off the toy, and it’s different modes:

More information

Hideaki Anno Stars in Honda Civic Commercial

By Aaron Clark on Friday, September 1st, 2017

Hideaki Anno in Honda CivicHideaki Anno stars in a newly released commercial for the Civic, Honda’s flagship sedan line.  Anno appears and provides voice over for the commercial, as does the Tokyo-based Japanese rock band ONE OK GO.  This is not the first time that Anno has appeared in a commercial, let alone a car commercial.  Sometime back around early 2005, Anno also appeared in a commercial for Nissan’s “Touch your NISSAN” campaign.

It’s hard to say whether or not Anno has a significant interest or passion for cars, however it is interesting to note that Anno’s personal biography on khara’s website immediately segues from Anno’s marriage to Anno driving:

“On March 26th of 2002, Anno filed the paperwork for marriage with manga artist Moyoco Anno. This was his first experience with married life. Later on, people close to him would remark that Anno had changed, both physically and mentally (he lost weight and became less edgy). Following his marriage ceremonies in June of 2002, Anno started driving again. It occurred to Anno that driving is an interesting medium to facilitate communication.”

Here’s the “Go, Vantage Point” commercial with Hideaki Anno:

Idea Channel on Evangelion, the Death of the Author, and the Overthinking of Pop Culture

By Aaron Clark on Saturday, August 26th, 2017

Idea Channel

PBS’s Idea Channel is coming to a close after five years of diving deep into and sharing ideas about pop culture on YouTube.  One of their final few videos, on the overthinking of popular culture, is a topic that has always been a concern of mine.  Quite often I find myself, as an Evangelion fan, concerned about society’s judgments, because I put a significant amount of time and effort into discussing, researching, writing, and speaking about an anime.  I can’t separate myself from the fact that it is a cartoon, and even though anime as a medium is much less stigmatized now than when I was introduced to it in the late 90s, I can’t escape the fact that I acclimated myself to the medium during high school, a time when there was even greater criticism of my identity and interests.  For that, I am extremely guarded about my fandom, particularly in professional or “adult” situations.  There’s a lot to think about with the validity of studying younger artistic mediums like comics, anime, and videos games, and I think Idea Channel’s defense of overthinking pop culture is extremely relevant to Evangelion fans in particular.  Evangelion is even mentioned, though briefly, in the video.

Idea Channel on EvangelionIt is also worth mentioning that Idea Channel initially crossed my radar several years back when they produced a video examining Evangelion as a representation of the death of the author.  The video provided some interesting material on a subject that I unfortunately haven’t studied, and could certainly benefit to, as it is quite relevant to the study of Evangelion.  However, there was one thing that was unfortunately overlooked in the production of the episode.  Regardless of whether it is something to be agreed with or not, Hideaki Anno himself, as far back as 1996 has effectively said as much, that while Evangelion is a reflection of himself, it also open to personal interpretation.  At his panel at Anime Expo in 1996, Anno had this to say about Neon Genesis Evangelion:

“Evangelion is like a puzzle, you know. Any person can see it and give his/her own answer. In other words, we’re offering viewers to think by themselves, so that each person can imagine his/her own world. We will never offer the answers, even in the theatrical version. As for many Evangelion viewers, they may expect us to provide the ‘all-about Eva’ manuals, but there is no such thing. Don’t expect to get answers by someone. Don’t expect to be catered to all the time. We all have to find our own answers.”

—Protoculture Addicts #43, translated by Miyako Graham from the November 1996 issue of Newtype

I feel like this is the sort of source that would be the cornerstone of a video about this topic, but it was unfortunately overlooked, or at the very least, escaped mention.  Nevertheless, I think the video is a good conversation starter among Evangelion fans on the subject of interpretation and meaning.

Despite my criticism of their video on Evangelion, Idea Channel has produced some really thought-provoking content over the years, and I bid them a fond farewell.  Check them out their YouTube channel sometime, and wish them well on Twitter.

Sources:

Eva Monkey Version 4 Redesign

By Aaron Clark on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Eva Monkey Version 4I started Eva Monkey over fifteen years ago.  And to be perfectly honest, it seems like ages ago at this point.  The very earliest incarnation of Eva Monkey, if you could call it that, was on a personal Tripod page I built at the end of 2001.  It was a section called “Evangelion Dissected”, and I cringe whenever I look back on it.  It’s not the content itself that bothers me, as there was almost none to speak of, but the fact that, in my youth, I thought lime green Comic Sans text on a dark blue background was a good idea.  I frequently say that I “like to think I’ve grown as a designer over the years”, however digging up my old Tripod page does really hit home the fact that yes… yes I have.

In the early days of Eva Monkey, I decided that I wanted to periodically redesign the website, and possibly change graphics and color scheme from time to time, in order to keep things fresh.  The first version of Eva Monkey (“Red Cross”) began on a Keenspace account in the summer of 2002, and was replaced on the first anniversary of Eva Monkey existing on its own domain.  This new version (“Cold Gaze”) represented a pretty substantial improvement in myself as a designer.  The next version, (“Version 3”) wasn’t anything to write home about, but it had a minimal aesthetic that I think I appreciated at the time.  It’s from here that I got lazy with the design of Eva Monkey.  In all, version 3 went through an additional three variations, denoted as “True”, “Truer”, and “True Squared”, in the spirit of the three edits of the Death portion of Death & Rebirth.  There was a completely new design in there somewhere, however it got abandoned for reasons that I can’t recall.

Over the past five years, the design of Eva Monkey has remained exactly the same, so I redesigned and redeveloped Eva Monkey from scratch as part of a broader brand identity.  I’m really pleased with how this new version (“Version 4”) turned out, it has a number of dedicated features that the prior version was sadly missing, such as social media icons, search feature, callouts, and so on.  And, in particular, I’m relieved that Eva Monkey is finally fully responsive, so it should look great regardless of what device you’re using.

In closing, while I don’t have any plans on redesigning Eva Monkey anytime soon.  I do hope it doesn’t take another 5-10 years.

I will be presenting at Otakon 2017!

By Aaron Clark on Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Hi everyone, I just wanted to give a quick update because next week is Otakon. This year is a special one, not only is it the first time that Otakon is being held in Washington DC, but it’s also the first time that I will be a featured presenter. So needless to say, I’m a bit excited. If you’re going to be there, I wanted to give you a heads up for what you can expect from me.

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AMVs, Evangelion, and the death of Chester Bennington

By Aaron Clark on Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Chester Bennington, famous as the lead vocalist of Linkin Park, was found dead in his home on the morning of July 20th, 2017.  His suicide came only a few months after Chris Cornell, who Bennington was close friends with, also committed suicide.  Had Cornell survived, July 20th would have been his 53rd birthday.  On the day of Cornell’s death, Bennington wrote to him saying “I can’t imagine a world without you in it.”.  Bennington was 41.

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April Convention Blitz

By Aaron Clark on Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Hi everyone, I’d like to fill you in on some fan conventions coming up in April. I’ll actually be presenting at four events, so if you live in or around the Mid-Atlantic Region, then there’s at least one event coming up for you to look into. I always enjoy meeting new people in the fandom. So come say hello. Just don’t be weird, okay? Or at least… no weirder than I am.

Kamecon Logo

Kamecon

April 2, 2017
University of Maryland
College Park, MD
http://kamecon.weebly.com/

Japan Loves Evangelion, Entirely Too Much
Join us as we take a look at the many ways that prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Japan loves Evangelion entirely too much. From zany merchandise, to theme park attractions, to an attempt to send an unmanned probe to pierce the moon’s surface with a miniature replica of the Spear of Longinus.

Requiem for Konami
Join us as we bid a fond farewell to Konami, a beloved game company who, through a series of terrible business decisions, may never publish another proper successor to any of its beloved franchises. We’ll look back to how it started, up to the present day, and its sad shift to pachinko and mobile.

Cecil Con Logo

Cecil Con

April 8, 2017
Cecil College
North East, MD
http://www.cecil-con.com/

Evangelion Deconstructed
In an effort to better understand its many mysteries, Evangelion has been put under a microscope more than many shows.  Some of this deconstruction has led to a better understanding of certain elements of the plot, but much of it has revealed the creative process, and just how many places the show has pulled ideas, visuals, and motifs from.  From Kamen Rider and Ultraman to 2001: A Space Odyssey and The X-Files, Evangelion has borrowed from a lot of other properties, not to mention previous Gainax works, and other anime series.  This panel will present a broad survey of what went into creating Neon Genesis Evangelion.

I Love the Power Glove, It’s So Bad
In retrospect, Lucas Barton’s iconic line in 1989’s “The Wizard” can be viewed as a skillfully disguised, though painfully self-aware assessment of the officially licensed Nintendo product. The Power Glove is one of numerous video game accessories that never should have seen actual production. Consider this panel an absurd compendium for those who like to gawk, as well as necessary catharsis for those who were unfortunate enough to own some of these awful video game contraptions.

JohnCon Logo

JohnCon

April 14-16, 2017
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD
http://pages.jh.edu/johncon/

Japan Loves Evangelion, Entirely Too Much
Join us as we take a look at the many ways that prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Japan loves Evangelion entirely too much. From zany merchandise, to theme park attractions, to an attempt to send an unmanned probe to pierce the moon’s surface with a miniature replica of the Spear of Longinus.

Getting Started with Fuse Beads (Workshop)
Fuse beads are a form of pixel art where small beads are placed on a grid to form an or image and then melted together with a household iron. If you’ve ever thought about getting into fuse beads, it’s actually really easy, and this workshop will provide you with everything you need to get started.

Zenkaikon Logo

Zenkaikon

April 28-30, 2017
Lancaster County Convention Center
Lancaster, PA
https://zenkaikon.com/

Evangelion Manga: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Late in 1994, the manga iteration of Neon Genesis Evangelion began its long, slow, irregular run in Shonen Ace magazine. It finally concluded in the summer of 2014, and during the two decades it was in sporadic publication, numerous other Evangelion manga series popped up to fill the void. Their quality may vary, but the important thing to keep in mind is that there is one where Shinji is a detective who solves mysteries, and one where the children play video games to secretly train them for the battle ahead. For better or for worse, this panel will bring you up to speed on all that you’ve missed.

The Life & Works of Hideaki Anno
Evangelion has been wildly successful and popular worldwide. But despite its popularity, its principal creator, Hideaki Anno, remains shrouded in mystery for many people. This panel will take a look at his life and works, and provide biographical information about the man who created Evangelion.

Sega does… what Nintendon’t
We’ll take a look at the history of Sega, how it became a serious competitor to Nintendo, where it went wrong, and how it all fell apart. We’ll look at its well-known hardware blunders, as well as the advertising and marketing that ranged from absurd to just plain “what were they thinking” weird.

Panelist Bootcamp (Workshop)
Whether you’re a complete newbie with an idea looking for some guidance, or an experienced panelist looking to sharpen your skills, this workshop will provide you the tools you need to succeed at presenting panels in the future.

So that’s it for the month of April. It’s going to be super busy for me in terms of fan conventions. I hope to possibly meet some of you out there. So if you’re in the Mid-Atlantic Region, have a look at these events, and consider attending. Until next time, thank you very much for watching!

“I (Don’t) Need You”, an Evangelion Cosplay Music Video

By Aaron Clark on Monday, February 20th, 2017

“I (Don’t) Need You”, an Evangelion Cosplay Music VideoCosplay and AMVs are both vibrant subsets of anime fandom, and I feel like cosplay music videos (or CMVs for short) are an overlooked intersection of the two.  It’s not something I seek out, but occasionally I stumble across one, and find it a refreshing break from your typical AMV that sources solely from the primary animated work.  After you spend enough time in a particular fandom, the animated visuals can get stale and repetitive.  AMVs focusing on Asuka’s fight with the mass produced Evangelion series in The End of Evangelion are a dime a dozen, for example.  So it’s refreshing to see fans create familiar as well as entirely new visuals through the mediums of cosplay and filmmaking.

“I (Don’t) Need You”, an Evangelion Cosplay Music Video is one such example.  Produced by livingyosuke (who also portrayed Shinji) and featuring shino_usagi as Asuka, this music video set to “Strange Boy” by Kerli and explores the chaotic relationship between Asuka and Shinji.  The video itself is a frenetic mixture of familiar and new visuals, conveying a slightly broader picture than footage from the original series would allow.  Definitely worth giving a watch if you’re looking for a break from conventional AMVs.

Evangelion News Roundup for Winter 2017

By Aaron Clark on Friday, February 10th, 2017