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The Evil Eye
Topic Started: Aug 28 2009, 11:04 PM (314 Views)
SG2
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GB Manga Whore

So, I've tossed around theories for this more than once...me and Karma used to talk about the weird way in which this ability works, and me and Kane had a long-running discussion on YDB about it when she was first getting into GB, as well.

Now we all know that the Evil Eye is one of the most epic superpowers ever...especially from the perspective of a reader, where it has limitations and isn't all-powerful (though Ban would probably prefer it if it was). To me, those kinds of powers are far more interesting than the undefeatable, generic kind. And the Evil Eye has several strict guidelines and rules of use, which make it so much more interesting an ability from the standpoint of the reader.

But how the fuck does it work? Yeah, I know Ban needs to make direct eye contact with the target (no sunglasses), and it traps them in an illusion or 'dream' for what is only one full minute in the real world, but can seem like an eternity to the mind under its influence. But...

HOW THE FUCK DOES IT WORK?!

Haven't you ever wondered that when reading GB? I mean, look back on some of the circumstances in which Ban uses it and pay attention. There are so many things that are unexplained about it, basically written off as 'Ban can send any illusion to the mind of the target for a full minute'...now, sometimes those illusions are simple, like distracting a guard by making him see a schoolgirl stripping outside his window. Fairly generic and if you've got a male guard, you can guarantee a successful minute-long distraction. Others are along similar lines but targeted specifically at the intended victim, like making them experience something that's a threat to them...something that Ban, as an outsider, could easily and logically guess would scare the target (like making Dr. Kabutogawa see zombies of his organ trade victims attacking him - Ban knew about the crooked operation when he sent Kabutogawa the vision, so it's understandable that Ban could 'write' that dream on his own before sending it).

Others are a little more complicated to understand...and usually those ones happen to be the most plot-relevant of the bunch. You know what I'm talking about...the kind where the bad guy ends up seeing a vision clearly created inside their mind, with their own secret thoughts and personal demons coming out to haunt them. Question is, number one - how does Ban know about these things to create such visions? What I've always assumed is that the moment his eyes meet the target, he can decide to give them a kick start and let their own minds do the rest of the work...like giving someone a writing prompt on a school assignment, for instance. It saves you the trouble of having to come up with an idea to write about, but it's up to you to take the idea and run with it on your own. If it were that simple, it'd be easy to explain how even the personal Evil Eye visions work.

But the real kicker and the thing that's always made me wonder is this. How is it that Ban, and quite often, the other members of his group, seem to be aware of the vision's contents?! If Ban can't use the ability without making eye contact, how can he send that vision to everyone in the room?! You can look more than one person in the eye if they're all standing in front of you pretty easily, but I think they'd notice if his pupils turned into glowing blue cat slits and he had to turn and look everyone in the eye for it to happen. And even weirder is that the allies usually seem aware that they were viewing a dream. How can only the intended target be seeing this dream and come out confused as fuck, while having everyone else be aware of it? You can't even say they're just good guessers because they've been with Ban long enough to say 'oh, this is probably his Evil Eye', because quite often there'll be one 'NPC' if you will in the group who has never met Ban before - it'll be their first time seeing him use that power (even if they say something like 'so that's the famous Evil Eye, huh?' they'll still have only heard tell of it, never actually seen it in action, obviously), and yet they still end up as part of the bunch who knew they were watching a dream.

So what is it? Does Ban look the target in the eye and project the dream to everyone on some sort of giant holographic video screen? Is it like how everyone in the audience knows they're watching a movie, but the characters starring in the movie aren't aware that they're in one? Or is it just a two-way video feed that as soon as their eyes meet, whatever the target sees Ban can also experience in his own mind via his eyes, and he's narrating it to everyone else while the target is under the influence (and we don't see it as readers because we're seeing the vision itself)?

And there are even more confusing circumstances other times, where the target under the influence is still able to act on their own in the real world and whatnot while they're dreaming!! The major example of this type that comes to mind for me is (spoiler if you haven't finished the Stradivarius arc)

Spoiler: click to toggle

That type of vision may even be able to be explained logically if it were consistent...like the dream was more of an illusion and only obscured one facet of the brain, whilst the rest were able to continue thinking clearly. But the majority of the times it's used we end up seeing a very confused, scared, and sometimes even catatonic victim of the Evil Eye just kinda standing there having stopped all real life action and gotten caught up in their dream. Some are kind of mixes of the two, but resemble real-life sleepwalking a lot more closely - Liu Meng'yan is one that stands out in my mind, at the end of the Venus arc, where he goes to the police station with his briefcase of drugs to turn himself in, though still very clearly muttering and incoherent from the experience of his mind crush dream.

These types contrast the much more obvious and logical variety, where everything returns to exactly how it was when Ban used the Evil Eye as soon as the illusion breaks. The best example of this, I think, is (spoiler for chapter 52)

Spoiler: click to toggle

Of course that makes me wonder yet another strange thing about the Evil Eye...assuming the spectators can't see the vision Ban has given the enemy (there are plenty of times this doesn't happen, as well, like 'hit and run' incidents where the Evil Eye is used and while the target is distracted the gang makes a run for it), what do they see? The target standing there, waving their hands around as if they're acting out their dream, for a whole minute? That must be embarrassing, especially for Ban's more...suggestive...dreams. But realistically, it often happens that when people dream, their bodies are still acting in real life (just not to the extreme of sleepwalking), like you may move your hands around or talk in your sleep regarding the subject of your dream. It's common to see a sleeping pet dog or cat act as though they're running in their sleep, because they're dreaming (my cat cries and twitches in his sleep sometimes, obviously having nightmares...if I shake him awake when this happens, he always looks wide-eyed and afraid for a moment).

I've had moments where I'll be half-asleep, and talking to someone (in real life), thinking I know what I'm saying, but the words coming out of my mouth are extremely bizarre and mis-matched...because half of me is aware of the real-world conversation I'm having, but I'm also lapsing in and out of a dream and I'm mixing stuff that doesn't make sense into what I say (I've had it pointed out to me before, it's embarrassing). Other times I'll be half-awake and 'dream' that I've gotten out of bed and have actually started doing real-world things, when I'm actually still in bed. That's gotten me in trouble a few times getting ready for school in the morning, when my mom has to come into my room and yell at me to get up (when I already seriously imagined that I had). Or I'll have semi-conscious dreams influenced by real-world sounds...like having a song that's playing while I'm asleep get worked into the dream somehow, or dream that my mom or someone else is talking to me in the dream scenario when it's actually them talking to a half-asleep me in real life (also embarrassing). Sounds hard to explain, but think about it and similar things have probably happened to you, too. So when that unfortunate victim of Ban's Evil Eye is being witnessed by a bunch of other people, are they just seeing someone...sleepstanding...mumbling to themselves, caught in their dream, waving their hands around and acting as though it's actually happening? Once the initial terror or urgency of whatever nightmare seen had passed, if that were me, I'd be really embarrassed thinking about what everyone saw me do/heard me say while I was under the influence.

All and all...the power is definitely awesome in theory, and if you don't overthink it, it makes such a cool power in the story and is always used well with skillful writing and storytelling. It's just that when you start wondering 'wait, then how did that happen?', it starts to lead to some bizarre continuity errors. Nothing ever major enough to constitute a plothole, of course, just bizarre, minor 'wait, WTF?' moments that really don't make any sense in-universe.

So...yeah. Sorry for yet another wall of text, but it's just one of those topics that there's so much to theorize about...and these are just the 'WTF goes on while they're dreaming' scenarios!! This thread has a very generic title for a reason, so beyond the subjects I've raised and your thoughts on them, feel free to discuss any and all aspects about the Evil Eye - its real-world mythological connotations, what you think happens if Ban breaks all the rules and overuses the Evil Eye (or if you've finished the series and you know, DEAR LORD USE SPOILER TAGS - I found a RAW of Vol. 39 about a month ago and underestimated how much Japanese I could read and comprehend (with furigana, turns out quite a bit), and I accidentally found out...along with some stuff I kinda only half-understood about Ginji's mom, but still wish I hadn't found out...), or even the connection to his grandmother, witchcraft, and Asclepius/the Snake Bite. There's so much about the Evil Eye to discuss, so don't feel confined to any one topic.

Soooo...discuss!!
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Kane
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Well, I still haven't researched the Evil Eye yet, but I really do need to. It sounds like it'd be a fun break from doing actual school work.

But as for the discontinuity (wrong word?) with Ban's Evil Eye, here's an idea.

People's brains work in different ways. That's obvious from, not necessarily how people think, but how there are different little quirks that are a result from brain activity. People have different habits while they're asleep, like sleep talking, grinding their teeth, kicking, drooling, sleep walking, etc. And this is without sleeping pills. With sleeping pills, my mom's friend sleep-cooks. It's kind of scary. And I've heard of people who sleep-drive, and on the radio there was a dubious case of sleep-cheating-on-your-wife. However, people do react to medicine in different ways, so sleeping pills must work for somebody out there without frightening side-effects.

Now, Ban's illusion is inducing the victim into a dream-like state. The person is conscious enough to remember the dream when they've come out of their stupor, but is not conscious enough to realize that it's a dream. And since no one undergoes this illusion willingly, it's a bit like Ban is force-feeding them a sleeping pill that will only work for a minute. If we think of it that way, it makes sense for the victims to react differently.

Continuation of Stradivarius Arc spoiler:
Spoiler: click to toggle


Continuation of chapter 52 spoiler:
Spoiler: click to toggle


So it stands to reason that Ban's illusion actually can't be bigger than a handful of guidelines and the brain fills in the holes. Like you said, a writing prompt that the brain then carries out.

But as to how Ban and the others know exactly what it is, I haven't a clue. ^_^
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SG2
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GB Manga Whore

Damn you, Kane!! Damn you and your logic!! That all makes perfect sense >< And here I thought I was onto something ;_;

But you're right, it still doesn't really offer much in terms of how he knows the deep, personal secrets he learns from some people (as though the moment they make eye contact, he is probing their mind and what they see he sees too), or how other times it seems as though other members of the GB gang see the same illusions (in the chapter 52 example above for instance, Shido seems as though he also witnessed it, and there are many other examples of this happening). The latter makes some sense in certain 'group illusions' - where Ban hits everyone in the group with the same vision specifically - but it doesn't really work for the ones that are obviously only a dream experienced by the one target, but other characters seem to have 'watched' that dream unfold...like I said earlier, as though it's a movie and the dreamer is the character and the others are the audience.

Sleep cooking? I've seen that on TV but I didn't think it really happened...that does sound dangerous o_O; Sleep cheating on your wife, though...? Er, that's a little much. Though when you think about it, I said in my OP post something about dreaming as being 'under the influence'. In reality, isn't being drunk similar? Not to the same extreme as hallucinogenic drugs, perhaps, but it can give off a similar effect to one of the types of dreaming you mentioned. Drunk people will usually be aware of their actions at the time they're taking them, even if they're more uninhibited and aren't clearly and rationally thinking about them, but then waking up the next day with a hangover it's often with a reaction of 'man, what happened last night?'. Alcohol has an effect that alters the brain's awareness and perception...as does dreaming. I'm not saying they're identical, but there are some similar properties when you think about it. I've never been drunk personally (I'm 21 but like I told people on my birthday - if I had wanted to drink, I'd have started at 18 when I lived on campus at college, like everyone else. I just don't give a shit about it), so maybe it'd be better getting a description from someone who has as to how similar it actually is to dreaming, but I'm just conjecturing, here. Maybe Ban's ability is actually to get people 'drunk' on his dreams? Though in that case, you'd think he would have way more luck with the ladies than he does (which seems to be not very much at all). :P
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Kane
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Quote:
 
Sleep cheating on your wife, though...? Er, that's a little much.


That's why I said it was a dubious case. Either it really was the cause of the sleeping pills he was taking, or he was just blaming them so his wife wouldn't be too mad at him. But yeah, sleep-cooking exists.

As for Shido being aware of what Emishi's vision was, I don't think he really knew what it was, but since Emishi would still be talking aloud, he could probably put two and two together with what he was saying. Same with when Ban put that illusion on what's-his-name in the limo in the Stradivarius arc. The guy made this whole spiel on what his plan and intentions were, and when the illusion died, the GB group knew which side he was really on.

To be honest, I don't really think that the others know exactly what the illusion is, just hints that they get from the words that the victims say. But that still doesn't explain how Ban seems to know exactly what it is that will freak the person out most, like with violinist-Yakuza-guy.
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SG2
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GB Manga Whore

That part probably goes along with letting the mind of the target do the rest...he just gives them a 'prompt' and they let their own inner demons out to attack them. I can understand Ban not knowing their dark secrets in advance, but that still happening, like with Akutsu in the Stradivarius arc you mentioned. But I want to know how Ban sees those visions he ends up creating. I remember specifically, in the Divine Design arc, when he uses the Evil Eye on

Spoiler: click to toggle

he's clearly able to see the vision because he specifically says, 'thanks for the show, kid, that's some nice baggage you've got' before pwning him further. He would just need a basic idea of what could get under the kid's skin when sending the illusion, and letting the kid's brain do the rest...but how the fuck does Ban see it?!

I'd have to wonder if it's 'optional' for him to see the visions of his victims. If it was, it'd make a lot more sense...sometimes he'd be able to watch, other times he'd be able to do the necessary 'run the fuck away'. But what if it's not optional, and no matter what, he has to see the visions he induces? Might be a treat when it involves naked schoolgirls, but imagine the torment Ban has to bear, as well, seeing the deep inner pain and experiences of every single person he uses the Evil Eye on...as part of the 'curse', after all. Ban was no older than 8 when he got the Evil Eye, maybe younger. If you think of it this way, then Ban sure has his reasons for being the way he is...he's obviously experienced the depths of the suffering of countless people, even if for only one minute's worth of time - add that up over the course of ten or more years, when he uses the power so frequently, and those minutes add up to a lot of pain.

The human mind is known to break down under the pressures of knowing too much, or seeing extreme things. Post-traumatic depression, for example, if someone experiences or even just witnesses something horrific. Be it for only a minute or no, if Ban sees these visions, he's seeing them from the same perspective of his victim, which means he's basically getting inside their heads. That's experiencing a lot of suffering from a lot of different people, who may be murderers or rape victims or people who have done or had done to them the most horrific and depraved things. I think that would be a pretty awful burden to have to bear, especially from such a young age, just because of the bloodline he was born into. Gotta commend him for turning out to be such a great guy (well, deep down, the loveable asshole) in spite of it all. :)
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Kane
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Do you mean Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome or is Post Traumatic Depression something different? I have a book that has a section dedicated to PTSS, so if we need to look anything up about it I can do that. . . .

Now that you mention it, it is really weird that Ban gets to see the illusions. And your explanation would cover the issue.

Quote:
 
The human mind is known to break down under the pressures of knowing too much, or seeing extreme things. Post-traumatic depression, for example, if someone experiences or even just witnesses something horrific. Be it for only a minute or no, if Ban sees these visions, he's seeing them from the same perspective of his victim, which means he's basically getting inside their heads. That's experiencing a lot of suffering from a lot of different people, who may be murderers or rape victims or people who have done or had done to them the most horrific and depraved things. I think that would be a pretty awful burden to have to bear, especially from such a young age, just because of the bloodline he was born into. Gotta commend him for turning out to be such a great guy (well, deep down, the loveable asshole) in spite of it all.


And cue the utter destruction of Ayame Magami. ^_^

Evil Eye on Wikipedia

And here's a link to info just because I'm thinking about it, and even though I cna't read it right now, I'm more likely to later now that the link is here.
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lionel818

Jagan: Ban can utilize Jagan, a power which allows him to make anyone he makes eye contact with watch a one minute long illusion, though it can only be used a maximum of three times per day. With this power, he can use it to change the destiny of someone. He can use it to get back someone's memory, replace someone's memories, look into their past or present, finding out everything he wants know about them, turn their brain into a vegetative state, or make them believe that they died (The time he did this, the person actually died). He can also use his Jagan to turn people into stone. The Jagan can be used to walk through dimensional barriers and parallel dimensions.The Jagan is an electromagnetic wave that sends the brain waves any message that Ban desires, as if he sends in commands to the brain telling the brain that the person is dead, then the person within the Jagan will believe that he is dead and die. Whatever you believe is real within the illusion materializes in reality depending on if Ban allows it to happen of not.

This is the most accurate description you'll find!

But Ban is able to see the illusions that he generate. Hell, he can get dozens of people at the same time and they also see the same illusion. It's all about the mind
Edited by lionel818, Sep 8 2009, 02:21 PM.
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SG2
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GB Manga Whore

Where'd you find that description? While it's true that most of those things happened, I don't think it's a totally accurate description of the power. For example,

Spoiler for Vol. 15
Spoiler: click to toggle

I still don't get how he can get dozens of people at once, though...it happens too often when the whole gang is gathered and they can all experience the illusion, even when he clearly isn't making direct eye contact with people standing behind the people standing behind him. I think that's just a plot convenience. :P The rest though, I'll admit, can be explained, it's just that it comes off more odd some times than others, like some of the examples I listed earlier (though Kane explained those away quite nicely).
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lionel818

Spoiler: click to toggle


about how he gets dozens of people at once, think about Ban's level of speed. That's your answer right there (=
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