Nonduality

Nonduality and Anime
by
Alessandro and others

Edited by Jerry Katz.

The impetus for this page creation and the initial material come from Alessandro.

Contributions to this page are invited. Please visit our contact page.


Contents

Anime Troubleshooting
English Titles
Angel's Egg
Spirited Away
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
My Neighbour Totoro  
Ghost in the Shell ("The Matrix" appears to have taken a lot from this)
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Serial Experiments Lain
The Grave of the Fireflies
Earth Girl Arjuna
Escaflowne
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Princess Mononoke
The Matrix
Akira (wiht commentary by Gene Poole)
Metropolis
X
Cowboy Bebop - Knocking on Heaven's Door
FireCeremony's Comments


Anime Troubleshooting  
by Alessandro 

"There are two versions!"
Some Anime may have been released twice or more. Please look for a "Director's Edition", or an uncutted one. Many cats talk about horrible censorships!  

"It's in Japanese!"
Some Anime do only have Japanese dub, this is the case for "Angel's Egg". If you don't like to pay attention to Japanese dialogues, you may consider to download subtitles from the web.

Watching a DVD, here you can find useful informations to play it with subs:   http://margo.student.utwente.nl/~phi/angelsegg/angelsegg.html   

If your Anime is a file on your hard drive, maybe downloaded from the web,  look for the subtitles with google, and get them (for example, search "Arjuna subtitles"), or look into this site full of scripts:  www.scriptclub.org , or feel free to e-mail alesv77@hotmail.com ; then, play your Anime with Radlight Special Edition (you can download it from: http://www.radlight.net/download.htm) add your subs (there is an option to synchronize "differently timed" subs ), and enjoy the movie!  

"I can't find IT!"
Having troubles obtaining an Anime, from stores or friends, you may download it from IRC channels, for free. Usually you will only find Anime still unlicensed in the USA, (wich is a rule among "fansubbers"), but it is possible to find everything. If you don't know how to download from IRC channels, get a tutorial from the web,  for example from http://www.dbcfansubs.net/tutorial_irc.shtml  or follow these steps:  

- Download an IRC client 
  (try http://irc.kolbenet.com/support/software/ or http://www.robert-scheck.de/chat/clients/inhalt.php)

- Install it, and connect to a server like "Aniverse" or "Enterthegame".

- Choose a channel, for example #alphaanime or #anime-kraze.  
(you can find a list of IRC Anime channels here:  http://www.baka-updates.com/index.php?page=groups  or http://www.envirosphere.com/ )

- read the channel's rules (by typing "!rules");

- if the rules allow you the "@find" option into the channel (e.g. #alphaanime channel allows it), search what you want; for example, type "@find Arjuna".

- now read the response and follow instructions. If you find troubles with IRC channels, you may get Winmx (download from: http://www.winmx.com/download/ )  and search with it like with a search engine. The only side-effect is that you may not find what you're looking for.  

"I watched IT. It is Disney's!"
Walt Disney acquired Studio Ghibli's rights for distribution outside Japan. Unofficial channels tell it was done to prevent Disney's movies flop when "Mononoke Hime" was going to be released. In no way Disney is responsible for the beauty of a Japanese Anime, but perhaps Disney paid something to make "Spirited Away" look so gorgeous.  

"Too much episodes!"
Some series do have many "quite useless" releases; maybe a way for companies to get more money. Most of these releases are re-tellings, sum-ups, and previews. Please take a look on the web to see what you need.  For example, if you are dealing with "Evangelion", know that after the 26 episodes series, you only need the movie "The End of Evangelion", wich is composed of the two episedes: "Air" and "Magokoro wo Kimi ni" (possible English titles: "Love is Destructive" and "Sincerely Yours", or "For You, My Heart and Soul ").  

"Translations"
Non-Japanese dubs are often very poor, and more important, they have a minor impact on humans minds. Please consider the option to watch Anime with the original Japanese dub, eventually with subtitles! Japanese voice-actors are regarded as gods in Japan!

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English titles for searching:
by Alessandro

Some Anime share a symbolism and have an impact that probably Disney or movies will never match...   ...and the quality is really impressive. For example,

- "Spirited Away" won the 2002 Golden Bear in Berlin.
- "Totoro" and "Laputa" were showing at the NY Museum of Modern Art.
- "Angel's Egg" is regarded as on of the best art work ever.
- "Evangelion" is responsible for the director's mental insanity :-)
- "Arjuna" took two years of interviews with sages in India.

There are Anime mostly about nonduality, but, quoting Movies for the Millennium: "Many of these stories deal with the theme of how the essence has been encapsulated by the psyche or personality, and how it is possible through certain extraordinary circumstances and efforts to break through the shell of habitual, mechanical conditioning. In doing so, one and all may reclaim the infinite potential that is at the heart of all being...."

Excellent Titles:

Angel's Egg
Spirited Away
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
My Neighbour Totoro  
Ghost in the Shell ("The Matrix" appears to have taken a lot from this)
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Serial Experiments Lain
The Grave of the Fireflies
Earth Girl Arjuna
Escaflowne
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Princess Mononoke
The Matrix
Akira (wiht commentary by Gene Poole)
Metropolis
X
Cowboy Bebop - Knocking on Heaven's Door

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Angel's Egg
(Tenshi no Tamago - 1985 - Director: Oshii Mamoru)

A very dark piece of art, a surreal work filled with symbolism, with only a dozen lines of dialogues.

What you can find on the web:
"A must, not just for fans of animation, but fans of film in general. However, for those who think anime is nothing but Dragonball Z or Pokemon, this will either go right over their heads - or be a *very* rude awakening."

"anyone brave enough to face this film must steady themselves to be patient far beyond what is normally required in a theatrical presentation. "

http://www.theanimereview.com/index.html?reviews/angelegg.html
http://margo.student.utwente.nl/~phi/angelsegg/angelsegg.html
http://www.spiteyourface.com/angelsegg/

Spirited Away
(Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi - 2001 - Hayao Miyazaki)

You wont believe the existence of such a movie.

What you can find on the web:
"Go see it. Bring your friends. Bring strangers off the street."

"Spirited Away shows off more creativity in any given fifteen minutes than any other animated feature I've seen."

(please be careful to close the links, when they start to tell you the story)
http://www.strangehorizons.com/2002/20021118/spirited_away.shtml
http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=789
http://www.digital.anime.org.uk/rsen.html

http://www.theanimereview.com/index.html?reviews/spirited.html

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Laputa: Castle in the Sky
(Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta - 1986 - Hayao Miyazaki)

The plot is about two children, in search of their destiny, wich takes the form of a legendary floating island, Laputa.

What you can find on the web:
"The degree of imagination and effort dedicated to this production is something I find nearly incomprehensible."

"I simply find it hard to imagine a reason under which you would want to avoid this excellent example of Ghibli anime."

http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/laputa/impressionsold.html
http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=120

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My Neighbour Totoro
(Tonari no Totoro - 1988 - Director: Hayao Miyazaki)

I wont tell you about this touching masterpiece, and please, refrain from looking on the web, because every word or shot will alter this experience.
You should discover this lovable tale together with the two young sisters main characters. Once you have seen this movie, you will feel the need
to present a copy to all "children" you know.

Ghost in the Shell
(Koukaku Kidoutai - 1995 - Director: Oshii Mamoru)

There are some controversies around this movie, because it is based on a beautiful comic, and many fans are disappointed. But this movie is more mature and mystical than the Manga version... The story is set in a near future in wich a living entity takes form from the stream of informations of the Net, and attain self-consciousness.

http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_reviews/1996/04/04122.html

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Neon Genesis Evangelion
(Shinseiki Evangelion - 1996-1997 - Director: Hideaki Anno)

The story is about the Dead Sea Scrolls, the secret organization wich translated them and their plans to lead the world to Oneness. The story is also about the tragedy of some children choosen to pilot a kind of mecha-organical astral body, to defend the Earth against the invasion of the Angels. The crescendo of this saga reflects the spiritual emergency the author went trough, and also reflects the typical comments of the viewers:

Mecha phase (Episodes 1-13): "Well, this is only a good sf anime"
Jungian phase (Ep 13-24): "It's getting interesting. Let's see another episode"
Nondual phase (Ep 25-26 and final movies): "Unbelievable"

Excerpts:
"What's this feeling? I have experienced this before. I feel like spreading and becoming the entirety of existance."

"It's not a return to nothing! It's a return to the primal womb we lost long ago."

"All souls will become one, obtaining peace forever."

Dialogue from: Neon Genesis Evangelion - Episode 16:

Shinji: 
Who is that? Who?

Leliel:
I am you! This self incorporates another self! The self has always been composed of two selves!

Shinji:
Two?

Leliel:
Yes! The self which is observed and the self wich observe itself! To expound, the You that exists in your mind is only one You... there is also a You in the other's minds. All are different You, but each of them is a true You. What you fear are the You who exist in the minds of others.

Shinji:
I'm just afraid of being hated!

Leliel:
You' re afraid of being hurt! Will you spend your life regurgitating and re-digesting yours few pleasant memories? Even though you know you are deceiving yourself?

Shinji:
Everybody does it! That's how everyone survive!

Leliel:
If you will not believe that you can change yourself, you will be unable to continue! This world is filled with too much pain and suffering to keep going on! You have been shutting your eyes and ears to that wich you wished to avoid! See? You are running from reality again! No one can justify their existance by linking their happiest moments into a kind of rosary! In particular, I cannot!

Reviews:
http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=144

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Serial Experiments Lain
(Serial Experiments Lain - 1988 - Director: Ryutaro Nakamura)

This is a psychological 13 episodes series, deep into nonduality.

Excerpts:
"No matter where you are...Everyone is always connected"

"If you aren't remembered, then you never existed."

"The body exists only to verify one's own existence."

Lain's Dad: "It is just an advanced medium for communication, and should never be mistaken for the real world. Do you understand my warning?"
Lain: "No, you're wrong. The border between them isn't so clear."

http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=183

http://www.geocities.com/d-patanella/serialain.html

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The Grave of the Fireflies
(Hotaru no Haka - 1988 - Director: Isao Takahata)

The sad story of two children, lost during the lasts IIWW events. A really touching drama, take with you handkerchiefs :-)

What you can find on the web:
"...a deeply moving, disturbing film that changes the way we look
at war and changes the way we look at the medium of animation."

Reviews:
http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=18

Earth Girl Arjuna
(Chikyuu Shoujo Arujyuna - 2001 - Director: Shouji Kawamori)

During an NDE, Juna finds Chris, a powerful entity wich shows her the dying Earth. Chris will reload Juna into the world, if she accept to fight the evil Rajas.

Excerpts:
Chris: "Life was created on this planet and countless species have appeared and disappeared. Even if human beings were to become extinct the Earth will continue to journey accross the galaxy without a second thought. Human history, after all is but a mere flicker in the long history of time."

Juna (at a Zen's Archery School): "First, relax the body and pierce the heaven and earth. Second, calm the mind and take a deep breath. Third, focus the sight far beyond infinity. Fourth, do not simply hit the target, become one with the target."

http://www.theblackmoon.com/Watching/arjuna.htm
http://www.animetempy.com/reviews/DEFG/earth_girl_arjuna.htm
http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=465

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Escaflowne
(Tenkuu no Esukafurone - 1996 - Director: Shouji Kawamori)
(Escaflowne: The Movie - 2000 - Director: Kazuki Akane)
(Keywords: Dragons, Angels, Kundalini, Atlantis.)

This Anime is about the world of our unconscious, and the way our minds create the world. The movie version is not the finale for the 26 episodes series, but just a retelling of the whole saga, and deals mainly with the striving to lead the world to peace. Only for Anime fans. (Warning: lot of blood in the movie version)

Excerpt:
Vairie: "By reading tarots you are not *predicting* the future. Your troubled heart, chooses an unhappy outcome out of countless possible futures"

http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=42

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
(Kaze no Tani no Naushika - 1984 - Director: Hayao Miyazaki)

The classic of all classics.
Can we save the Earth, or is the Earth who must save us? A fantasy world ruined by eons of chemical devastations and various holocausts.

http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=142
http://www.nausicaa.net

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Princess Mononoke
(Mononoke Hime - 1998 - Director: Hayao Miyazaki)

The Big-hit Anime in all world's theatres. Setted in the medieval Japan, the movie tells the story of a young man, cursed by evil serpent-like spirits, and his encounter with the princess of the forest's spirits, a girl who wants to kill humans because of their destructive approach to nature.

Reviews:
http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=2

Here is a list of the prizes won by Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi' awards:

Princess Mononoke award's:

  • Best Movie; The 21st Japan Academy Award (
  • Best Japanese Movie, Best Animation, and Japanese Movie Fans' Choice; The 52nd Mainichi Movie Competition
  • Best Japanese Movie and Readers' Choice; Asahi Best Ten Film Festival
  • Excellent Movie Award
  • Grand Prize in Animation Division; The 1st Media Arts Festival (by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Education)
  • Best Director; Takasaki Film Festival
  • Best Japanese Movie; The Association of Movie Viewing Groups
  • Movie Award; The 39th Mainichi Art Award
  • Best Director; Tokyo Sports Movie Award
  • Nihon Keizai Shinbun Award for Excellency; Nikkei Awards for Excellent Products/Service
  • Theater Division Award; Asahi Digital Entertainment Award
  • MMCA Special Award; Multimedia Grand Prix 1997
  • Best Director and Yujiro Ishihara Award; Nikkan Sports Movie Award
  • Special Achivement Award; The Movie's Day
  • Special Award; Houchi Movie Award
  • Special Award; Blue Ribbon Award
  • Special Award; Osaka Film Festival
  • Special Award; Elandore Award
  • Cultural Award; Fumiko Yamaji Award
  • Grand Prize and Special Achievement Award; Golden Gross Award
  • First Place, best films of the year; The 26th "Pia Ten"
  • First Place; Japan Movie Pen Club, 1997 Best 5 Japanese Movies
  • First Place; 1997 Kinema Junpo Japanese Movies Best 10 (Readers' Choice)
  • Second Place; 1997 Kinema Junpo Japanese Movies Best 10 (Critics' Choice)
  • Best Director; 1997 Kinema Junpo Japanese Movies (Readers' Choice)
  • First Place; Best Comicker's Award
  • First Place; CineFront Readers' Choice
  • Nagaharu Yodogawa Award; RoadShow
  • Best Composer and Best Album Production; 39th Japan Record Award
  • Excellent Award; Yomiruri Award for Film/Theater Advertisement

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The Matrix - Anime Version (aka Animatrix)
(Coming soon)
Many Anime episodes, directed by Japanese masters.  

http://www.matrixfans.net/anime/  http://www.matrixfans.net/anime/pics/ma-misc.html  http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/index_anime.html  http://www.digitalmediafx.com/News2001/November/112801.html  http://whatisthematrix.warnerbros.com/cmp/index_sequel_html.html   

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Akira
(Akira - 1988 - Director: Katsuhiro Otomo)
A legend among Anime fans.  

James Cameron comment: "A stunning work of speculative fiction, the first truly adult animation film to reach a level of literary & visual excellence".  

Gene Poole's commentary:
AKIRA... is Japanese animation ('Anime'); at the time
of its creation and release, it was the penultimate
example of such. It incorporates changes in style,
which effectively set a new standard for Anime. Many
of the effects of look, feel, and style which we now expect,
were pioneered in AKIRA.

I found watching AKIRA to be a riveting experience,
even taking into consideration the many references
which are pretty exclusive to Japanese culture.

The 'plot' is very simple, but the sense of growing
tension and tragedy continue to build throughout
the movie. The realization of injustice and life out
of balance... the evil inherent in dehumanized
science... and the vast unknown, which is tapped
by the enraged mutant boy... these weave a net
of suffocating tentacles around the viewer. This
is very effective drama.

It is interesting to see the theme of youthful
foolishness and idealism lead to the hard-as
iron, no-nonsense confrontation with reality
at its grittiest. Naivety is smashed by forces
beyond 'normal' imagination.

I experienced a deep, sick feeling of fear, during
the bedroom scene, in which inanimate objects
'come to life', and communicate with the young
sleeper, who like the viewer, is unsure if he is
sleeping or awake.

It is obvious to me, that the makers of this Anime
have accessed some very unusual and deep levels
of consciousness.There is an abiding awareness
of karma, destiny, and justice.

The momentum of human failure, greed, and arrogance,
which lead to the end of everything for everyone, is
a lesson which cannot be told too often. Primal emotion
out of control, the rage of unrequited injustice, and the
small minds of the 'normals' are all portrayed quite
brilliantly.

There is a movie which carries much of the same
feeling which AKIRA imparts; it is called
'Prince of Darkness', and is also about unleashing
malignant forces. Like AKIRA, it portrays the
'end results' of human folly.

As in all well crafted art of this sort, it is up to the
viewer to seek, find, and maintain the very balance
which is so obviously missing from the lives of
most of the players. A good movie stimulates the
question in the viewer; "what would I do in that
situation?". That question looms very large, in
AKIRA, especially in regard to the looming
questions of 'what is real, and what is important'.

AKIRA succeeds in the difficult task of making
the viewer question the basis of reality itself; in
this regard, it is of high value. --
Gene Poole

http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=12   

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Metropolis
(Metropolis - 2001 - Director: Rin Taro)
(from a novel by Osamu Tetsuka Sensei)
(Screenplay by Master Katsushiro Otomo)

A wonderful, visual movie by Master Rintaro, about a self-conscious Angel-Robot, Tima.  

James Cameron: "Metropolis is the new milestone in anime, a spectacular fusion of computer graphic backgrounds with traditional character animation. It has beauty, power, mystery and, above all, heart. Images from this film will stay with you forever. My congratulations to Rintaro-San for this masterpiece."

Alessandro's comment: J. Cameron hasnn't seen many Anime for sure! :-) Metropolis IS NOT "the new milestone in anime", but is truly a masterpiece!

http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=6     

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X
(X: The Movie - 1999 - Director: Rin Taro)
(X: The Series - 2002 - Director: Yoshiaki Kawajiri)

This story is about the apocalypse. And is also about a guy with the destiny of the world on his shoulders. He must choose either The Dragons of Heaven, who have faith in mankind, or The Dragons of Earth, who want to clean the world... This masterpiece with seamless Computer Graphic bended in it, is a 24 episodes series, and also a very violent and compressed movie by Rin Taro Sensei. The original beautiful Manga authors are the Clamp, an all-female group, with an awesome and touching trait.  

http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=40  http://www.animecritic.com/_metareview/viewtitle2.php?aid=3 http://www.theanimereview.com/index.html?reviews/x.html   

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Cowboy Bebop - Knocking on Heaven's Door
(Cowboy Bebop: Tengoku no Tobira - 2001 - Director: Shinichiro Watanabe)

A feature movie taken from a nice 26 episodes series. In the near future, a terrorist is going to spread the ultimate virus. A very good movie with wonderful funky musical scores.  

Excerpt: "...this world the butterflies are showing me... Is it a dream? Or is their world the real one, ...and the world where I was , the dream?"

 www. serc.rmit.edu.au/~ashelton/anime/html/cowboy_bebop_movie.html
link no longer active

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FireCeremony's comments:

Lain like the Matrix and "Ghost in the Shell" pose questions about identity, personality, body, intelligence and self awareness that are (relatively) typical of the cyberpunk genre.

Mononoke, Nausicaa, Totoro and Spirited Away are all made by Studio Ghibli and have the same director (producer?). They're some of the biggest anime classics both in Japan and in the west and very well known. The same could be said of "Grave of the fireflies", which is a WW2 drama in the very sad vein.

"Neon Genesis Evangelion" and "Escaflowne" are also 2 of the biggest titles in the US (and also in Japan) and have hordes of rabid fans. :)

Anime is often inspired by zen and zen mythology, both in form and content. I would guess it's something that comes with the cultural landscape. The philosophy of zen and the visual tradition of zen saturates almost all of Japanese culture, including popular culture such as pop music videos, anime and even video games. The same goes with Shinto religion and mythology.

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