Neon Genesis Evangelion Collection 0:8 (of 8) (

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, January 24, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, June 26, 2001

What They Say
In the deadly calm of the aftermath, the sudden and unexpected arrival of the Fifth Child hits like a hurricane, leaving Shinji at the eye of a whirlwind of activity as he finds a kindred soul in the unearthly Nagisa Kaoru? but does Kaoru really have a soul at all?
Prepare for the shocking conclusion to the most controversial animated series ever produced. Where Angels fear to tread, Shinji must go alone. At last, the circle of life will be completed. He is The Beast That Shouted I at the Heart of the World. It is Final Genesis.

The Review!
With this volume, my second full viewing of the Evangelion series has completed and amazingly enough, it's starting to make sense. Of course, a couple years worth of reading mailing lists and forum threads about what the ending actually means may have helped as well.
For our primary viewing, we listened to the show in its original language of Japanese. Much like the previous discs, we had no problem with the audio here and with so much of this being very direct dialogue, the majority of the audio is center channel based. Thankfully it's all clear and understandable. With little combat or ambient effects, the left/right speakers get a bit less use but pick up when required. While most series end with an aural bang of action and such, this is one that takes a quieter approach.

While the video quality is the same as the previous disc, the grading drop is due more to the source materials than the transfer. With this episode having so many quick cuts from one scene to another, the poor editing done by Gainax really shines through here with frames jumping wildly at each cut. I had noticed it off and on throughout the series, but these final three episodes drive the point home with a sledgehammer. Otherwise, this is a pretty good presentation of the show that deals with the variety of images, both animated, partial and non, very well.

These final two volumes have had just great looking cover art. This final one with a slightly smiling Misato looks great and makes me wish earlier volumes had just as good new artwork used for them. The reverse side is the same as previous volumes, while the insert provides a shot of the Fifth Child on it.

The menus are the same as previous volumes, so they're pretty functional and in the style of the show's computer screens. Access times are very quick and since there's not a lot of levels to it, very easy to navigate.

More of the character bios are included and again they should not be read until you've watched these episodes as it will spoil things!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This entire content review will contain spoilers. Frankly, I can't see much of a way of discussing things here without giving away massive plot points. So turn away now if you haven't seen these final episodes. Seriously.

Go on.

Yes, you too.

For those of you who have seen it, you know just what kind of weird ride this is at the end. The opening episode brings the Fifth Child into place while Asuka slips even deeper into her unbalanced state of mind after her poor performances in Unit 02. The Fifth Child takes an instant liking to Shinji which is just plain wrong after everyone else essentially gives him the cold shoulder or outright hates him since his joining the project. But Shinji finds himself being very open with Kaoru, and tells him things he's even surprised that he's saying.

The rest of the management layer of the project find themselves very concerned about the arrival of Kaoru, who was apparently sent by Seele itself, and that can only be a bad thing. Information on Kaoru is minimal to classified, but one bit of information that does manage to get eked out is that he was born on the day of the Second Impact.

With the way things go for Shinji, it shouldn't be any surprise that Kaoru turns out to be the 17th and final Angel. Kaoru takes control of Unit 02 and heads down into Central Dogma so he can finally achieve some interaction with Adam and bring things to a closure. Much to Shinji's dismay, he's ordered once again to go after and kill someone he considers a friend, and Unit 01 and Unit 02 battle while Kaoru looks on and talks to Shinji about humans and their place in the world.

When Shinji defeats Unit 02 and he and Kaoru end up inside Terminal Dogma, which looks a lot like where the Second Impact occurs, Kaoru is surprised to learn that Adam is actually Lilith, but with the mask of Seele placed over it to trick the Angels. His realization of this ties quickly with Shinji reaching out in his Eva and grabbing Kaoru. Kaoru talks briefly that Shinji must do what must be done for the good of humanity, though Shinji's mind will likely collapse after doing it.

This brings about a minute or so of absolute dialogue silence and stillness in the animation, with the Eva holding Kaoru while some powerful music plays. Followed by Kaoru's head in shadow form hitting the floor. This is an extremely powerful moment.

This leads into the final two episodes, where we delve into the psyche of several of the characters, but primarily Shinji, as the Human Instrumentality Project commences and the meshing of all human life on Earth begins to commence and for some reason, Shinji finds himself at the center of it with the choice of making the reality he wants as the overriding reality.

The show takes on a very controversial style here, alternating between flashback animation shots, new animation and very simplistic animation. Some believe it was done to be cheap, others hold to it that it was being overly stylistic and displaying the fracturing mentality that is Shinji. I happen to fall into that camp and find the style of the remaining two episodes, while very chaotic, to be an interesting mental representation of a young boy whose had the weight of the world thrust upon him.

And all it comes down to is that he wants to be liked. Like so many people.

Many people who are seeing this show for the first time are going to walk away with a "What the - ?!" feeling. I know my wife and I did after our initial viewing a few years ago. But it also sparked quite the discourse between us trying to figure it out, and it's always come up in the years since. Evangelion is a series that really benefits from both multiple viewings and discussions with people to get to the core of it. Everyone has a view of it, and that's one of the things that I find that makes this a truly great piece of storytelling in that it can inspire so many different opinions.

Evangelion will long be considered one of the holy grails of anime here in the U.S., though I doubt it will hold as long of an influence among its fans in Japan, but more of an influence upon the creative anime industry instead. Many newer shows have creators commenting and referencing Evangelion as an inspiration for many things, from characterization to mecha design style. It does earn its place in history, and I'm glad to have finally seen it again and been able to grasp more of its meanings.

Great stuff here folks. I can't recommend it enough.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Bios

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C-
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
MSRP: 29.99
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Neon Genesis Evangelion