Planning and Original Story by Gainax
Directed by Hideaki Anno
Music by Shiroh Sagisu
- One-of-a-kind, individually numbered decal
- Clean opening and closing animation
- Running audio commentary on Episode 1 with director Matt Greenfield
- Running audio commentary on Episode 2 with director Greenfield and voice actor Spike Spencer
- 12-page booklet
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Possible addiction to the show
- Scary aliens and humans
- Slightly whiny characters…or maybe just understandably scared
Released by: ADV
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: Definitely get it.
[ad#longpost]Neon Genesis Evangelion is a grand tale of heroism, rebirth, destruction, and betrayal. Half the Earth’s human population is dead, killed by a meteor strike that turns out to be the harbinger of an alien invasion. These aliens are known as Angels, and to combat them, NERV creates a series of giant mecha the size of the Angels, but there’s a catch: only children born in the wreckage of the Second Impact can pilot them. (The First Impact wiped out the giant reptiles, don’t you know.) Enter Shinji Ikari, the estranged fourteen-year-old son of the NERV scientist who designed the Evangelion mecha. Now it’s up to Shinji and the few other possible pilots to defend the beleaguered Earth from the ravages of the Angels and perhaps a few humans with sinister plans of their own.
This is a classic, iconic anime series that raises a great deal of controversy, due to the supposedly “hurried” and “cheaply produced” final episodes. Whether you criticize the show for these final episodes or agree with me that this fragmentation is meant to represent the falling apart of Shinji’s world and psyche, none of that controversy is visible here. In these early episodes, we just get great action, a richly realized and detailed world, and a post-apocalyptic adventure to satisfy even the most discerning viewers. Every time you watch the series, you will pick up on more details and understand more of Gainax‘s vision.
The features list is where this release is set apart from the earlier box set. We get a very cool, individually, uniquely numbered NERV parking decal for your ride, so all otaku (like me) can pretend to be on their way to pilot Eva 01. What fanboy doesn’t like to have a one-of-a-kind numbered item? In addition, there’s a little booklet rich in lush color images and still shots from the show.
The disc also has lengthy, detailed episode commentaries for two of the five episodes on the disc; fans who want to know more of the behind-the-scenes making of anime will be beside themselves with joy, and those who never quite “got” Evangelion will likely find a new appreciation and understanding for the show. The booklet finally has profiles of the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Angels. Ths disc also has clean openings and closings to please the fans of the show’s animation and design. Sure, it would have been nice for a “platinum” edition to have had more features, such as interviews or image galleries–even a response to the controversy the show generates–but what we do get is quality and worthwhile.
The audio and video quality are exceptional. The stereo sound is not overused, but it’s nicely audible during the battle scenes, especially and makes for a great, immersive viewing experience. The Japanese cast is more experienced here, the English dub coming from a time when expectations about voice acting were different, but even so, either cast sounds clear and crisp in this transfer; if you don’t like the personality of a character in one language, give them a chance in the other, as the “read” might be very different and more to your liking. The visuals are outstanding, as well, with bright, clear colors and no problems from the digital transfer. The subtitles have been retranslated and in some places significantly enrich the overall experience of the show and enhance understanding.
If you have yet to pick up the Evangelion set, then definitely pick this up. If you enjoy action, science fiction, political intrigue, philosophy, or even character-driven tales, then there’s something here for you. This release promises to be the best option for current fans and those who convert to fandom upon seeing it for the first time. If you already own the complete series, hang on to it until you can collect all the Platinum Edition versions, but it is definitely worth picking this up to replace the DVDs you already have.