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Bowlderize Evangelion for Arab-Muslim Audiences:

I'm interested in this exercise because I want to see if we can get past cultural barriers to bring stories of universal human interest to people whose cultures would forbid them to peruse said works if they are presented as-such.

Given how all the Kabbalistic imagery and the Judeo-Christian symbology were really secondary to the story, which is mostly a matter of character, how would one go about bowlderizing or even doing a Macekre of Evangelion for a mainstream Arab-Muslim audience, while keeping the story's strength?

What can we replace the "Angels". the "Dead Sea Scrolls", "Adam" and "Lilith" with so that the events of the story still make sense (and, perhaps, make more sense) while still keeping that apocalyptic, Armageddon-ish flavor? Perhaps make them fallen angels, demons, and keep their names? How about making Adam to be Satan instead? But then, what do we do with Lilith? Otherwise, we could sidestep the religious flavor entirely, and make it about aliens, but, given that modern Muslim Moral Guardians are so stupidly creationistic (the Arabic dub for Digimon didn't have "digivolution": instead, you summoned the Digimon's elder brother from a parallel dimension, Naruto-style... which actually might make more sense, but...).

And how can we deal with the sexuality themes and get all that crap past the radar, while keeping the story intact? I'm especially worried about the movie. Especially... well, everything. The series would be easy to bowlderize without the movie, but the movie itself is very hard to fit in an Islamic, theistic, interventionist-God perspective, nor does it really work well with their traditional take on the Apocalypse.

Note: if you're not that familiar with Modern Fundie Muslims, they're really really similar to Modern Fundie Protestants. They believe in the Rapture and in Jesus holding a Kingdom of Heaven and defeating Satan. So, it can be a good approximation.

edited 2nd May '12 5:35:58 AM by MarkThis

 2 Oh So Into Cats, Wed, 2nd May '12 5:42:36 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
If Digevolution works anything like "evolution" works in Pokemon, why didn't they just call it metamorphosis? Or do Muslim audiences not believe in butterflies, too?
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
That's a pretty good question. But, see, digivolution is instantaneous and reversible, and happens on command after the first time, so it's not quite like pokemon evolution or metamorphosis.

 4 Oh So Into Cats, Wed, 2nd May '12 5:49:16 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
The idea that you're not actually working with the same creature when you digivolve is kind of sad. However, what you describe is definitely not evolution. It sounds more like the super-saiyan stuff in DBZ. Some kind of ultimate form.

Also, if you look at the supplemental materials of Evangelion, Adam/the angels/whatever are supposed to be aliens.

edited 2nd May '12 5:50:03 AM by ohsointocats

"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
Yes, but humanity is still descended from them, which fucks with Creationism in all kinds of ways. Plus, the trouble is their names.

Hm, the Angels could be called Sahaba (that's how they call Muhammad's apostles).

edited 2nd May '12 5:59:37 AM by MarkThis

 6 Oh So Into Cats, Wed, 2nd May '12 6:43:36 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
Why is it any better for apostles to be attacking than angels?

Yes angels are servants of God and have no free will, but calling them after dead men makes even less sense.

edited 2nd May '12 6:59:20 AM by ohsointocats

"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
Because they'd be Satan(Adam in the original version)'s Apostles. The Angels that followed him in the Fall (Paradise Lost ain't the Trope Maker, this was in the Qur'an, probably even earlier). The scientists in Antarctica tried to exploit satan's newfound embryo for fun and profit, without realizing what it was, and then giant figure of light (Lucifer, the Lightbringer, the Morningstar) extends its wings and blows their shit up. The more I'm cooking up this bullshit the more sense it makes...

This whole exercise is possible because Muslims wrote plenty of religious-themed fanfiction later on (while always recognizing it as that, fiction). Lots of it involving Solomon and sealed genies, but there's also saints that performed miracles, and lots of expansion fics on stuff that's barely brushed upon in the Qur'an.

 8 Oh So Into Cats, Wed, 2nd May '12 7:00:31 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
If you want to go in that direction, just switch the names Lilith and Adam around. Bam.

Then again I think the real problem would be the sex because ultimately the religious stuff was kind of tacked on to sound cool by a Japanese person who did not really understand it. They tried to make an edit of Evangelion for children in the US, it was barely intelligible.

edited 2nd May '12 7:05:56 AM by ohsointocats

"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
Evangelion for children? What business do children below the age of 14 have watching such a show?

 10 Oh So Into Cats, Wed, 2nd May '12 8:01:51 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
They were trying to edit it for Cartoon Network's Toonami. And, if children are unable to take the themes fo Evangelion, what makes you think that fundamentalists will?
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
It's not that they're unable, it's that they're unfit. Evangelion is about loneliness, self-loathing, wanting to help but being unable to do anything but hurt, being too much in need of help oneself. It's about the fear of death and the horrifying lengths one is willing to go to defend one's life and that of one's loved ones. These fundies can understand, and young children, I think, cannot. That's why when you show a young kid Coraline they treat it as an adventure story, while parents react to it in absolute horror.

Switching Adam and Lilith around might work, sans movie. But then again, with movie, nothing works, not even the original made sense...

 12 Oh So Into Cats, Wed, 2nd May '12 8:13:53 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
In Abrahamic religions, humans are descended from Adam, while there are several near-Eastern deities that were appropriated by Abrahamic religions to be "mothers of monsters, " Lilith being the main one, though I don't think she has much of a history in Islam. So switching them around actually makes a lot of sense, considering the "angels" are very monstrous.

However, this might completely change the tone of the story, into something about how difficult it is to be righteous, which isn't really what Evangelion is about at all.

I don't think crippling loneliness and fear of death is what fundamentalists will have problems with. Again, I'm pretty sure the major problems are the sexual themes.

edited 2nd May '12 8:15:34 PM by ohsointocats

"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
There ain't much sex at all in the series proper, besides a boob squeeze.

 14 Oh So Into Cats, Wed, 2nd May '12 8:23:41 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
An unrelated young man and an unrelated young woman are sharing an apartment with yet another unrelated young woman. The one who rents the apartment is running around in skimpy clothes all the time. One young woman is walking around naked everywhere. Another woman has to see a council naked for no apparent reason. Two guys shower together while holding hands. A young man falls on top of a naked young woman. A young woman and a young man flash each other, one accidentally and one on purpose.

And this is just off the top of my head.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
Damn.

And it is hard to be righteous, isn't it?

 16 Oh So Into Cats, Wed, 2nd May '12 8:36:31 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
Yes, it is very hard to be righteous, but that's not really the point of the story. I mean it might be an interesting story if it was about that, but it seems like there are a lot of stories about that anyway...

I do remember an exchange like this:

"Why are we fighting angels? They're messengers from God, right?"

"They're trying to kill us, so we fight them. Duh."

This could also potentially be an interesting slant for Evangelion to take. This is not really further adressed in the original series, and again, looking at this more intently would fundamentally change Evangelion into something that it's not about.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
Yeah. Eva ain't The Salvation War.

 18 Night, Thu, 3rd May '12 1:35:05 PM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
A serious look at the logistical and tactical side of fighting an enemy like the Angels would be an interesting story, if only to try and watch them reason their way through a situation with so many unknowns.

But then you have to start confronting the practical realities of NERV, with a tiny staff, no backups, no reserves, and yet nearly unlimited resources, and the Fridge Logic gets dangerously likely.
"Remember that you are fighting the machine and the pilot both, but you only have to beat one of them."
Obviously NERV is a villainous organization with Offscreen Villain Dark Matter, and every emloyee and subordinate is a Punch Clock Villain. They just don't know it. Basically the Geofront is exactly as plausible as SPECTRE's Elaborate Underground Base, for exactly the same reasons.

So, let's suppose we edit the sex scenes out, and change the dialogue (and the plot, with it) so that this goddamned series actually starts making sense, averts True Art Is Offensive (we can keep the gore, I suppose, especially if Our Angels Are Different, an by different I mean we call them "Demons"), and can pass even the strictest censorship, while still packing a massive punch and being a disturbing shocking, soul-crushing deconstruction of Super Robot anime, neurotic depression, and chronic loneliness. How does one go about it?

I mean, sure, the show is completely bastardized. Just think of it as an AU Fic which still tries to retain an Original Flavour.

 20 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 3rd May '12 5:59:07 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
Well, not that that's necessarily bad. I mean US Shin-Chan is nothing like the original, but still hilarious.

It's just... no longer Evangelion.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
Well, let's call it something else. How about "Messenger"?

edited 3rd May '12 6:01:18 PM by MarkThis

You could call the Angels ifrits, or djinn, which are straight out of arabic folklore (powerful non-humans gifted with free will).
 
 23 The Handle, Fri, 4th May '12 7:38:32 AM from Location, Location, Loca
Yeah, but usually djinns don't... have... phenomenal cosmic powers...

...

Genie Jafar VS Zeruel. Who wins?
I stayed up all night, 'cause I wanted to see where the sun went—and then it dawned on me.
They form an alliance and everyone loses.

How about Godzilla VS Zeruel? I'm betting she won't last half a minute.

 25 Marq FJA, Wed, 6th Feb '13 1:22:48 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Ain't no way this will get dubbed if the license goes to Al-Zuhra studio (who air their stuff pretty much exclusively on the Bahrain-based Spacetoon channel). If it goes to whoever dubbed TMNT's 2003 series and got it on the MBC 3 channel, however, then I think we can expect a lot less problems with the Judeo-Christian imagery.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
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