Neon Genesis Evangelion Collection 0:2 (of 8) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000
Release Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000
What They Say
Personal differences between two of the Eva pilots sets the team back, but when a proposed replacement for the Evas malfunctions runs amok, the Evangelion team must stop a rampaging robot before it melts down an entire city! Finally, the fight for Mankind’s survival moves into a whole new phase as the first combat-designed Eva is prepared for battle! When the naval convoy transporting the new Eva is attacked by an Angel, the protected becomes the protector as 2nd child Asuka Langley and Shinji must activate Unit 02 for a deadly underwater duel to the death!
Sometimes, in the time between volumes of this show, you forget just how addictive it can be. During the VHS run, you sometimes had months between each two episode per volume release and felt the urge to rewatch everything prior to the new volume as soon as you popped it into the player.
Thankfully, this feeling has returned once again with the DVD release. It's been quite awhile since I'd seen the first volume and had pushed the title to the background. Yet within a few minutes of sitting down and watching these episodes, I was once again enthralled by the details and the simple rhythm of the show.
During the interim, I've heard a number of people request that the Spanish and French tracks be dropped from the series. Thankfully, both of these tracks in addition to the Japanese and English tracks are all still on there. We watched the Japanese track for the purpose of this review, but spent a few minutes with each track checking out various sequences. Dialogue throughout all tracks sounded spot on and the infrequent amount of directionality sounded well placed. Some time will be spent in the near future to watch the show in French as I really love the way that voice actor group came out.
A lot of time was spent prior to this discs release to find the best possible master out of the many that ADV had. The master used is the one that was done way back in the beginning for the dubbed VHS release (this is not to say this is a VHS master). Being such, the video has hard subtitles in various areas such as sign translations, Japanese language subtitles for locations and some computer readouts. The only time this really gets bothersome is when you're watching it with the DVD subtitles and they overlap on top of each other instead of moving the DVD subtitles to the top of the screen. Of course, some would complain that the screen is covered in subtitles, which was one of the reasons for their attempt at overlays for this show. There are no overlays in this release as ADV didn't do overlays back then. Some people aren't going to like the hard subtitles, but they don't look bad for the most part and the video quality is much better than the first disc (see out 11/1/2000 news for a comparative review). One of the best pluses about this transfer is the near absence of rainbows. There's a few instances of line noise scattered throughout and some scenes look pretty soft and border slightly into artifact territory. The rest of the transfer varies from a solid presentation to some very vibrant and attractive sequences. Overall, I'm very pleased with how this looks on our setup.
The packaging for the most part is pretty straightforward with an expanded VHS cover featuring the fan favorite Rei. The back cover provides a lot of text summary of the show and episodes as well as the features and credits, though no region coding. The insert provides the great Asuka cover which has been slipped into the front of the case. It's like Coke vs. Pepsi, Rei vs. Asuka. And yes, Misato is like a beer. The reverse side of the insert provides pictures of places and things with descriptions of them and some translation notes on them. Very nicely done, even if it is inside a Scanavo "Case Of Death" keepcase.
The menus are nearly identical to the first volume, 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. There's front loaded previews on the disc, but there's an option in the main menu to view them separately as well.
There's really only one extra on the disc in the form of continuing character bios & profiles. I was really hoping for a creditless opening and ending on this volume, but hopefully it'll show up on the discs soon.
There's a ton of great things in these episodes to really enjoy, as it falls just under finishing up the first third of the series. The show starts off with one of the few outpourings of emotion that you see from both Rei and Gendo as the show does a few flashbacks to an activation attempt on the Unit 00. This starts laying the groundwork for getting deeper into the relationship Shinji has with his father and with those who surround his father.
The main angel that's fought across two episodes is also rather intriguing in its design and in how it forces both Rei and Shinji to learn something about each other and to work together. There was some solid character development going on here, at least when Misato isn't getting all the electricity in Japan sucked up into her newly requisitioned "big gun". The action sequences were kind of sparse, but done with a real sense of tension to them.
What really shines in this set of episodes is the final one, unless you're a huge Misato fan-service groupie in which the seventh episode would be the best. For me however, episode eight completely rocks. We get introduced to the 2nd Child, Asuka Langely, as she and her Unit 02 are being escorted to NERV via the Pacific Fleet.
Asuka simply rocks. The introduction of her character adds a fresh new dynamic to an already interesting and evolving group relationship among the existing characters. Unlike either Rei or Shinji, she's outwardly confident in what she's doing, pretty cocky about it and really holds to that superior attitude. While she isn't exactly put in her place in this episode, her trying to show Shinji how things are really done ends up putting her in the reverse position.
Of course, not only is Asuka added, but her guardian of sorts is introduced. Kaji, the smooth talking handsome rogue of the series makes his appearance, much to the dismay of one Misato. Hints of a rather involved past are scratched slightly here, though Kaji has more fun insinuating a relationship between Shinji and Misato.
There's a lot of character development and interpersonal growth throughout these four episodes. That's not to say there isn't a lot of technical jargon, hints of various subplots being introduced and some sweet big Eva action. Just thinking back to this disc makes me want to toss it back in and watch it again. I'm real happy with this disc and can't wait to see more soon.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Bios
Toshiba TW40X81 40" TV, 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: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Neon Genesis Evangelion