Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. #4 (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Paul Jacques
Review Date: Saturday, July 19, 2003
Release Date: Monday, July 21, 2003



What They Say
The war for the fate of mankind shifts to a new field of battle as a promotion for Misato sparks an introspective review of the events behind her early recruitment into NERV. Against the background of an attack by the largest Angel yet, both Shinji and Misato must come to grips with their feelings for their respective fathers while still trying to save the Earth from total destruction! Then, the powerful MAGI computers that control Tokyo 3 are violated by a savage wave of neural attacks that threaten to leave the entire city crippled and easy prey for the attacking Angels! Ritsuko faces her ultimate challenge as she races against time to decipher the arcane secrets buried deep inside the core of the MAGI by her own mother!

The Review!
We are at the half-way mark of our favorite riddle couched in a mystery wrapped in an enigma anime series, and a few small plot skeletons fall out for our contemplation.

Audio:
OK, I hit the sound stream with my usual 50:50 split of Japanese and English episodes, and no problems were heard. “Thesis of a Cruel Angel” never seems to get boring (hmm, nice).


Video:
Video is good, with no defects in the transfer process detected, and the same quality level as the previous volumes.


Packaging:
The front cover has a smiling Maya Ibuki (hurray, a B character gets the spot-light). The rear cover has several stills from the episode contained within. The insert is a single sheet with a shot of the AT field of the second impact on the front, and the episode listings on the rear. Nice shot of EVA 01 unit doing the 10,000m dash in 6.4 seconds (go Shinji, go Shinji).


Menu:
Simple black and red background, looking similar to a control panel. In the background (at the top) you can see a short version of the intro looping. All hot spots worked well. The top menu presents the episode and scene options, as well as the language and “Extras” selections. All-in-all, nothing to get excited about I’m afraid.


Extras:
We really only have one extra, the character bios, and if you care to check the bios you will understand a little more of the truth.


Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We start in flashback, with a scene of devastation and a young Misato with her dying father. Then it’s back to modern day and an Angel attack (dropping AT field bombs) on NERV HQ. Although What this episode is mainly about is the newly promoted Misato, her past, her present and the motivation that links the two. And motivation for the other characters is also question that comes up more than once in this episode. And motivation is important, as it’s what governs everyone’s actions in the series, so it’s important that we understand a little more of the “why” as the “what” continues in the background.

The next episode has the Angels attack the Magi with the intention of starting a self destruct reaction. In this tense story the focus is now on Ritsuko and her feelings of resentment towards her dead mother. Such is the connection between the Magi and Ritsuko’s mother that I can’t help but feel that Ritsuko is attempting to understand their failed mother-daughter relationship, whilst she toils deep inside Caspar (an aspect of her mother’s own personality) in a non too shabby bit of symbolism.

And the final episode is a mixed bag, and is presented in two parts. It starts with a re-cap of the previous episodes, so if you got lost in the plot (and who doesn’t with Eva) then now is the time to go over it again. And as reviews go it’s a good one so pay attention, it’s your last chance.

The second part concerns an Eva pilot compatibility test that goes badly wrong. What is interesting about this story is the subtle emphasis on the Eva’s pilots personality and how it effects the Eva itself- surely the Eva has no inbuilt personality to conflict with the pilot?

On a final note I think you can learn a little more of what’s going on with the English subtitles on, so try it if you feel your missing something in the plot.

In summary- Look, you bought volumes 1-3, so I’m afraid you’ll have to buy this one as well, it’s your own fault for watching it in the first place.

Features
Japanese Language Dolby stereo,English Language Dolby stereo,Spanish Language Dolby stereo,English Subtitles ,Character Bios,Clean open & close

Review Equipment
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 21” Sony Trinitron monitor, ATI 9700pro & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & headphones.




Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: C
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
MSRP: £19.99
Running time: 80
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Neon Genesis Evangelion