“You stroll into a bookstore. Obviously, since it’s a bookstore, it’s overflowing with books. You head to the manga section, and the sheer volume is astounding. When you find the erotic manga corner, you’re surprised that so many varieties of porno manga exist. You get a little dizzy thinking about what the total weight of all the energy of all these fantasies, expressions, imaginings and emotions must be.
Moving along, you hit the music shop next. It’s the same as the bookstore, spilling over with a mind-boggling number of discs. In the rock music section, most of the music sounds similar, but still dissimilar enough to let you notice and point out specific styles. It’s the same with manga. They’re all ‘manga,’ but there are plenty of differences to allow for genres and sub-genres.
Back at home, you stare at our own CD rack and realize that there’s not a single thing that you want to listen to. You might have hundreds of CDs, but there’s nothing in your collection that exists as a projection of the emotions you’re feeling right now, nothing to serve as a device to pull your emotions from you and make them greater.
This will never end. You’ve been going in and out of bookstores and music shops for years, looking for that one book that will let you say, ‘I’ll never need another book again,’ or that one record that will let you say, ‘Now I can throw away all my others.’ But that one, elusive book or record simply doesn’t exist. Sure, every once and a while something new and ‘inventive’ will come out, and you’ll feel that you finally have something that reflects your emotions. Then, soon afterwards, your emotions spill over again, beyond what the work represents, overflowing from a work of art which is not big enough to contain them or connect them anymore. But, do you know what? This is to be expected. How could something that someone else created ever really ‘reach’ you?
As I was watching Evangelion, up until about the fourteenth episode, I remember thinking, ‘Ahh! Everything I’ve always wanted to do has been done! I don’t have to do anything anymore! Anno and his crew have done it all for me.’ But about a month after the final broadcast, I became aware that, as usual, my own feelings had spilled over from what they had been during the Eva airings. The final episode was not unsatisfying. I smiled fully. But, in the end, I still couldn’t say, ‘I’ll never need another anime again.’ Of course, there are always those who will make anime parodies and ‘fan anime’ of the series, trying to harness their overflowing emotions to create their own stories out of a desperate need to reconnect, trying to create something whole out of what they found lacking in Eva, trying to make the pieces fit better for themselves to complete something which wasn’t theirs to complete in the first place. I guess everyone’s the same in that way, when we think about how we’d change something to make it ‘better’ or actually try to create something better.
Eden was one part of my attempt to reconnect with my overflowing feelings. From art patched together comes more patched-together art. It’s the same thing over and over.
BUT… in these always-incomplete, patchwork things, there are good things worth repeating and exploring further. I believe in these patchwork creations, as long as they give joy, excitement, laughter and something to believe in. I have realized that, as long as emotions overflow from my work, but still flow through me, I’m not losing anything.”
Written by Hiroki Endo, March 16, 1998
Translated by Michael Gombos and Kumar Sivasubramanian