How “Nope” draws inspiration from Japanese animation to dissect the ills of our society

Jordan Peele, director of get outinspired byAkira and of Neon Genesis Evangelionfor his new film, a satire of the contemporary desire for recognition exacerbated by social networks.

In just two films – get out and Us -, Jordan Peele has established himself as one of the masters of contemporary horror cinema. His last nightmare Boopin cinemas this Wednesday, mixes science fiction and horror in a modern western inspired by War of the Worlds by Steven Spielberg and signs by M.Night Shyamalan.

With Boopthe Oscar-winning director is above all opening up new horizons for blockbusters in Hollywood, drawing inspiration from Japanese animation classics to dissect the ills of our society, from the desire for recognition to the permanent spectacle offered by social networks.

Boop follows OJ (Daniel Kaluuya), a horse trainer whose daily life changes when a mysterious UFO appears in the sky of his Californian ranch. With his sister Emerald (Keke Palmer), OJ is therefore torn between the fear of the incomprehensible and the desire to reach glory by filming these unreal scenes for social networks.

The structure of a manga

In this story, “the real villain is our addiction to attention and spectacle, and the resulting inability to be able to react in real time,” Keke Palmer told AFP. “It’s no different from people slowing down on the highway to see an accident. No one calls for help but everyone stops to look.”

As in get-out and Usthe strength of Boop is that everyone can see things relating to their personal experience. And both manga readers and anime fans will discover subtleties – and additional keys to understanding.

Because the structure of Boop and its protagonists seem drawn from anime and manga. We thus find many nods to anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, Full Metal Alchemist, Akira and manga Mystery of the Amigara Rift by Junji Ito.

A great show

In Hollywood, this phenomenon remains rare. So that Boop stands out as the American blockbuster with the most references to anime and manga since Matrix in 1999: “We are at an interesting time in the history of Hollywood, with the arrival of a generation of directors; who grew up with the Toonami channels and Adult Swim. Somehow, that influences their films”, notes British critic Kambole Campbellspecialist in anime and blockbusters.

And to add: “What is fun with Boop, is that it is the mixture of several disparate elements. It’s as much a love letter to classic westerns as it is to Spielberg films and anime. But I find it very cool that he places these three influences on the same level.” For Jordan Peele, it is also a strategy to continue to surprise the public and above all to create an original film in a Hollywood context undermined by the countless sequels to franchises.

“I find it almost irresponsible, in a way, not to create new things, new images, new captions, new classics in a way,” the director explained to Release. “The monster movies that inspired me, they were created by people who loved monsters. It’s as simple as that. And I love monsters. If the urge and the desire is there, you can create everything, invent everything.”

This Japanese influence was also absent from previous films by Jordan Peele, specifies Kambole Campbell: “get out is a mix between Guess who’s coming to dinner… and The Women of Stepfordand Us a tribute to CHUD [un film sur des monstres cannibales, NDLR]. These films have real Hitchcockian suspense, while for Boop Jordan Peele wanted to put on a great show – which he must associate with anime, since he’s referring to evangelion and Akiratwo spectacular sci-fi films.”

“Crazy stuff like in anime”

This fusion of the Hollywood blockbuster with Japanese animation remains more satisfactory than an official adaptation, comments Kambole Campbell: “It’s better while waiting for the directors to really understand how to transpose the style of manga and anime into a film in shots. real view.”

It is in its second part that Boop switches to a story close to what can be found in Japanese animation, once the UFO attacks the protagonists. Jordan Peele then frees himself from the influence of Spielberg, to start doing “crazy stuff like in anime”, summarizes a viewer of the film on Twitter.

Because if Jordan Peele hammered in his interviews wanting to pay tribute to Steven Spielberg, it is to Neon Genesis Evangelion what does it explicitly refer to Boop. His love for Hideaki Anno’s masterpiece is knownand we find in Boop themes similar to those of the famous series, from the weight of mourning to depression through the influence of religion that blinds.

A different message

The main antagonist of Boop was directly inspired by Sahaquiel, the Angel of Heaven who appears in the twelfth episode of the series (Jordan Peele also quotes Marilyn Monroe’s dress in Seven years of reflection). And the end of the film, without divulging anything, is reminiscent of the “Third Impact” in the film The End of Evangelion:

“There is a despair and a clash with a completely appalling creation, but the message is a little different,” moderates Kambole Campbell. “It is very interesting to see that Boop seizes the same type of imagery [que Evangelion] to expose the way Hollywood transforms people’s misery into consumerist spectacle. evangelion talks more about personal failures.”

The similarities between Boop and evangelion are such that Jordan Peele’s film can be considered an unofficial adaptation of the Japanese monument. “We can see things from this angle,” agrees the journalist. “If someone ever wanted to make the adaptation into a live-action film evangelionPeele would be the only director that I would trust, and that I would want to see the result.” And to add, “I hope it will inspire him to do more things like that.”