The fact that we are all so steeped in the same shorthand of the future (intelligent robots; warp drive; retinal displays) is a hint that we’ve become complacent about our dreams. The stories we tell about the near future have become homogeneous and standardized. There are a handful of persistent narratives in Hollywood films and genre fiction about what the world will look like, much like the futuristic guns, helmets, and other props that get recycled from set to set. We all know the most popular of these stories: Inequality, social collapse, and chaos have been spilling into pop culture from Mad Max to Elysium. Sure, there are variations: climate change or aliens, Soylent Green or The Matrix. But they share a common aesthetic and cynicism. Then there are the flawed utopias (Logan’s Run, The Truman Show, Minority Report), the Frankenstein stories (Robocop, Her, Alien), and a handful of others. The optimistic visions might even be more consistent, like the sleek Jetsons future with those long-awaited flying cars. The most successful one is Star Trek (leotards!), which by this point has inspired generations of engineers and scientists.
Real talk: if you never actually watched Neon Genesis Evangelion all the way through, everything you know about it is wrong.
Although for that matter, even the people who watched it all the way through are wrong about it.
Let’s talk about the creator: Hideaki Anno, and why he’s happiest when you are angry.