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#1 | Back to Top06-18-2014 02:02:26 AM

Rosesareawesome101
Sunlit Gardener (Finale)
From: Brisbane
Registered: 10-31-2012
Posts: 194

Most absurd piece of symbolism in any anime/game/movies

Symbolism refers to imagery or dialogue that suppose to allude to a Religion, Philosophy, Politics and ect.

When done right, it allows the viewer to use his knowledge of the subject matter the symbol is alluding to get a better understanding of the show's story.

When done wrong, It comes off as pretentious and under develop and at worst, it showcases how the Author has failed to live up to his ambitions as a storyteller resulting in a lot of over-analyzing because the symbol is't really relevant to the story at question like any of religious imagery in Evangelion especially the cross shaped explosions or the Crucifixion scene from Xenogears.

I dare anyone to tell me the point of the Cross shaped explosion in Evengelion aside from looking cool.

Or the point of the pointer in several instances in the scene aside from pointing out specific imagery that is't relevant to the story that's going on:
http://ohtori.nu/gallery/var/thumbs/Series/Episodes/Black_Rose_Saga/22/Series_ep22_071.jpg?m=1380853754

Then there's the entire Ending to 2001: A Space Odyssey

The Tv Tropes page on Faux Symbolism is filled with similar examples:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/M … xSymbolism

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#2 | Back to Top06-18-2014 02:21:36 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2791

Re: Most absurd piece of symbolism in any anime/game/movies

Are many seemingly-symbolic elements merely spectacle or window-dressing? Sure. But windows need dressing. It makes them pretty.

Rosesareawesome101 wrote:

I dare anyone to tell me the point of the Cross shaped explosion in Evengelion aside from looking cool.

To make things seem more mysterious.

And to be in line with the entire, in the end relatively pointless but wholly eye-pull, Judeo-Christian motif.

Sometimes the point of things in entertainment is how they make you feel. That's why we have soundtracks for movies, really. They're not one-to-one symbol and symbolized, they're atmosphere.

I mean, to pull this back to Utena, the "wrong tape" scene in the movie: Is that there because it symbolically shows someone Anthy tortured and then Anthy's animal avatar attacked by Shiori's avatar? Or is it there, because a little silly bit of wtf right before the horrific revelations is a nice breather and puts the audience off guard? (Or, both?)

Is the strobing effect and fruit-breast smashing at the end of Hedwig and the Angry Inch symbolic, or does someone having a meltdown while a strobelight flickers madly just have a particular effect on the average viewer?

I'm not the absolute judge of these. You're not. Arguably, the author isn't either. If it works for an audience, it works for them.

Why do you hate 2001 so bad? emot-tongue


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#3 | Back to Top06-26-2014 07:37:51 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2791

Re: Most absurd piece of symbolism in any anime/game/movies

Not to appropriate your thread, but I just had a look at that TVTropes page, and dear god they're stretching on some of those. At least a fifth of the examples given actually counter themselves by the end of the description by saying something like "and five minutes later, we saw the symbolism was valid." Another fifth are couched with a statement that the author meant them to be funny or incongruous. Still more, like the Eva stuff, are blatantly atmosphere. A few, like the pieta or last supper riffs are more about how great those physical arrangements are, not anything about symbolism or them being signs o anything.

Some of them are written as if the show or story hurt their feelings, more than anything. The white horse from Halloween II, which gets railed against, is a sign more than a symbol, and it's a huge honking sign that Laurie - the one seeing it and other hallucinations - is crazy and has hallucinations. Complaining that we aren't told explicitly what it "stands for" is like getting mad because we're not told what the bats mentioned in the beginning of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas stand for. Not every interesting looking thing has to be a concrete metaphor for one other thing. Sometimes hallucinating crazy women see a white horse not because it means anything, but because they see a white horse.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#4 | Back to Top06-26-2014 10:42:13 AM

OnlyInThisLight
KING OF ALL DUCKS
Registered: 01-15-2008
Posts: 4412

Re: Most absurd piece of symbolism in any anime/game/movies

I agree with DD. 

The pointer in the Black Rose Arc, specifically Mikage, is actually a visual cue that lets us know time is passing in some scenes (such as that cat having kittens, if I remember correctly).  If it is symbolic of anything, it is symbolic of a "path" being prepared, or the specific bits and pieces of the world around Nemuro that lead him into making the decisions that he does.  They resemble the pointer mouse on some computers, because Nemuro is lauded and faulted for having both the intellect and the emotional capacity of a computer. 

But even if that isn't at all what you take away from it, that shit is fucking creepy, which is what the Black Rose Arc ultimately is.  In fact, not being able to understand why it is there, or having what its selecting not being at all thematically congruous adds to that sense of "something is very, very wrong here" during an otherwise normal, and in some contexts, boring character interactions.  There is just something interesting about that pointer! DD hit the nail on the head that some visual abstractions and oddities are not there solely to, or at all, represent some other idea entirely.  Sometimes they just make you feel a certain way, even if you don't know why.  The first time I watched Utena I had only half an idea what was happening during the finale, but I felt all the right things at all the right times, because a lot of the imagery was properly atmospheric and evocative even if I didn't know its meaning.


I think symbolism only really fails when it is both too obscure or vague to gain any meaning from, but at the same time is utterly critical to understanding the story because so little else was used to do it.  In such cases the symbolism was meant to a thing, and didn't do the thing.

Last edited by OnlyInThisLight (06-26-2014 10:44:00 AM)

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