Planning and Original Story by Gainax
Directed by Hideaki Anno
Music by Shiroh Sagisu
- Clean opening and closing animation
- Live action version preview
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Scary aliens and scarier humans
- Painful philosophy
Released by: ADV
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Fans need it; future fans should get the box set first.
[ad#longpost]Few anime shows have generated as much fan loyalty and at the same time as much controversy as Neon Genesis Evangelion. The ending both stylistically and narratively has caused fans and foes alike to tear their hair and wail at Anno like banshees on fire. And yet it is clearly a classic of anime and generates as much love from otaku worldwide as it does ire, as well as that emotion so hard for anime to get–respect.
If you haven’t seen the series proper yet, then now is the time to do it. Resurrection absolutely will not make sense if you haven’t, and for many fans, it won’t make sense at the end even if you’ve watched it faithfully. It is a story that demands fan engagement, discussion after the viewing, and lots and lots of gnashing of teeth. The basic story so far is this: the new millennium brings a nasty surprise for humanity–a “meteorite” strike that kills half of the world’s population. NERV was created to combat an alien menace known as Angels who want to finish off the rest of Earth’s human population; the Evangelions are the mecha designed by NERV to fight these Angels, and only children born after the First Strike can pilot them. Enter young Shinji, the so-called “Third Child,” upon whose frail shoulders the future of humanity, in more ways than one, will rest. Really, to tell you more than that will give away plot twists and thematic elements integral to the show, as well as to give you my opinion on what it all means, when you’re better off deciding that for yourself.
This release gives you the first three of the final six climactic episodes, #21-23. The few extra bits of footage should answer a few of the questions that have plagued fans since watching the first broadcast or the boxed set. It is nice to be able to compare the Director’s Cut versions with the original broadcast versions; in this series, the smallest of alterations can drastically affect your overall understanding of the show. A lot of the action here happens in flashback as the characters process their pasts and start to notice patterns appearing; don’t see this as recycled footage but rather as a way for you to understand in new ways what you have seen and attach it to new knowledge you have now.
The audio and video quality are both nice, having been remastered and digitally restored. Language purists will be happy to know that some of the more problematic translation elements were fixed in both the subtitles and the dub of the earlier footage, as well as in the new bits. The strength of the show’s sound has paradoxically always been in the silences (as well as Sagisu’s fantastic music), especially as the show wears on, and there is a nice balance between silence, speeches, sound effects, and music. The show’s art is quite affecting–good to look at, as well as appropriate for the show. Some Eva fans complain about the “poor quality” of the animation in the final episodes, forgetting perhaps that it’s supposed to look that way; think about what’s happening in Shinji’s mind and then think about how that suits the look of the show. It’s a stylistic issue, not a quality issue.
There are few features per se, as the focus of this release is on the new footage and retouched translations. We get a clean opening and closing, and that’s about it. It is, however, nice to get both versions of these three episodes on one disc for handy comparison. There is also a sneak preview of the process behind the upcoming live action version of the show in the form of an interview with Ben Wootten and Richard Taylor of the WETA Workshop, they of the design work of The Lord of the Rings film. At about twenty minutes, the question/answer style gives fans a bit of insight into the difficulties of the design process and how hard it really is to bring an author’s vision to the big screen all the while hoping to match the audience’s collective visions. If nothing else, it will whet your appetite, as it was intended to do.
In the end, this is a show well-worth the investment of time and energy, but be warned that you will absolutely not be spoon-fed meaning here. You will have to decide for yourself, based upon what has come before and the merest shadows, what it all means. Some questions will be answered on this release that were never answered before, so that will please some fans and be scoffed at by others. Basically, if it’s Evangelion, it’s worth your time and your money, but be prepared to engage with the show like you never have before, or you will be disappointed.