Directed by Hideaki Anno
Character Design by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Mecha Design by Ikuto Yamshita and Hideaki Anno
Illustrated by Takeshih Honda
Story by Gainax
Music by Shiroh Sagisu
- Running audio commentary on two episodes with Tiffany Grant, Matt Greenfield, and Wade Shemwell
- Clean opening and closing animation
- Featurette on English remix process
- Extensive booklet
Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:
- Danger, Will Robinson!
- Child labor
Released by: ADV
Anamorphic: N/A; episodes appear in their original 1.33:1 format.
My Advice: A must-have.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most popular and famous anime series in history, and for good reason: the show combines mystery with science fiction and has both good writing and finely tuned characterization. The look of the show complements the near future setting and intended mood, and the soundtrack compliments all of this with skill and awareness of audience needs and preferences.
Episodes 11-14 bring us over halfway through the series, and some mysteries have yet to be solved. The power goes off in Tokyo-3, and the three Children (born exactly nine-months after the all-important Second Impact and therefore capable of piloting the Evangelions) are sent to investigate. Asuka, of course, is her usual cocky self, and may cause the other Children problems because of this. When another Angel arrives in the power-dead city, the Evas have to be activated by hand. Next, in episode 12, the 10th Angel is heading for Tokyo-3, too, in order to crash-land and destroy the city. Episode 13 shows us some more diagnostics being run on the MAGI supercomputer, which sets up the 11th Angel and sets off another climactic battle. Finally, in episode 14, we get a kind of recap, as the members of SEELE review each Angel met thus far and question the use of the Dead Sea Scrolls as a source of planning. Meanwhile, Shinji is tested inside EVA-00 with disastrous results.
One of the most interesting things about this show is the psychological depth of each character. Given that part of the show’s creation was based upon Hideaki Anno’s own experiences with therapy and the strangeness of the eventual ending, it is not surprising that each character has some kind of malady or form of depression, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder; commentators have suggested a number of explanations for the characters and their complex relationships, including the theory that Shinji, Rei, and Asuka represent the ego, superego, and id, respectively, or that Asuka is Shinji’s burgeoning sexuality (mental Eros). It is up to the viewer to decide, when all is said and done, what it all actually means.
The audio is better this time around, with the English voice actors setting more into their roles and defining the characters. The Japanese voice actors continue to be more effective, however, and this will be true for several more years until some English seiyuu figure out what they’re doing. A bit more stereo play would have been nice, but it’s hard to engineer that where none existed on the original. The visuals are very nicely done, with no obvious problems, as befits an “ultimate” version. Features can’t make up for bad transfer or faulty originals, but the quality here should please most fans.
The features list includes another lengthy insert booklet. This time, we get more episode commentaries, images from the show, and detailed episode commentaries, but also a look at the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Angels and Eva-01. We also get another two commentaries from three different voice actors; too bad it’s just not a very informative one. I would rather hear the director or writers talk about the meaning of the show elements than have the producers pay voice actors to say “wow, it was fun to do this” over and over. Of course, any commentary is better than none, but if you’re going to pay for one, at least have them say something useful and worth the pay. The exception to this complaint is the commentary containing Shemwell, whose insertions are always interesting and valuable. Fans will enjoy hearing him talk about his procedure and experiences, though this makes the additional featurette about the remix process a rehashing of the same info. If the audio and visual quality won’t convince you to buy the Platinum editions when you already own the series in another release, then these features should.
In short, if you enjoyed the earlier volumes or indeed have ever enjoyed anime, you need to see Neon Genesis Evangelion. It is a classic of the art form and will truly entertain you, as well as giving you something to think about. Especially for science fiction fans, this series is a must-have. Between the engrossing plot, the rounded characterizations, and the attractive art, the show is, if not a masterpiece, at least one of the finest anime series in history that should be in everyone’s DVD collection, right alongside Akira, Ghost in the Shell, and Spirited Away.