Neon Genesis Evangelion Directors Cut: Genesis Reborn (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, September 09, 2005
Release Date: Monday, August 16, 2004
What They Say
At long last, the final three episodes of Evangelion is re-presented in an astonishing new DVD special edition! It’s not just re-mastered, but a revised and re-edited special edition produced under the careful supervision of the original creators to include amazing new footage and revelations, the final three episodes of the epic animation masterpiece are herein presented in both their new and original forms for the ultimate Eva experience! Re-enter the world of the post-Second Impact as the war of shadows between NERV and SEELE finally reaches its apex with the unleashing of the Fifth Child and the shocking aftermath. Nothing can prepare you for secrets that will be revealed in the second stunning special director’s cut DVD of NEON GENESIS EVANGELION – GENESIS REBORN
Finally, we get to the end of this intriguing series, but the end of what exactly?
Some of the new changes are in the addition of completely new prologues, as well extending some original scenes with new material. The most noticeable change is ep 26, with gets plenty of new attention. And so the disk contains the three Directors cut episodes, plus the three original versions (why?).
I listened in alternate Japanese and English episodes, and both stereo streams were good, with no problems detected. The new improvements to the audio seem to be centered of the ambient sound effects.
Overall the new video is excellent, with no defects. The original was very good anyway, and all I could really say about the new presentation is that the colours appear a little brighter and the picture a little sharper.
The front box cover is black and has EVA unit in Michelangelo style “Thinking Man” pose; The rear cover has half a dozen stills from the episodes; The single page insert has pictures of all the main characters; The disc is the usual gloss black printed affair.
Simple blue 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.
Not a whole lot- clean open & close and a sneak preview of EVA live action in the form of concept drawings.
Content: (please note that this review WILL contain lots of spoilers)
Episode 24 deals with the aftermath of NERV near destruction. We start with Asuka lying broken (spiritually) in a bath in a wrecked apartment. She has failed in the only thing that gave her life meaning, and now she contemplates her meaningless life, a life as meaningless as her mothers death. All she has left is despair.
Back in his apartment Shinji goes over what he has seen in Terminal Dogma, and can’t shake off the feeling that Rei and his mother are connected somehow (she is in fact a clone of his mother but with a little extra soul).
Meanwhile Ritsuko is confronted by Ikari about her actions. We then discover that she to – as her mother did before her – has been sleeping with Ikari. And thanks to the SEELE interrogation she knows that Ikari doesn’t love her anymore than he loved her mother. And all Ritsuko has left is bitter regret.
Shinji is alone, and has no one to talk to about what he has scene in Terminal Dogma. And as he is lightly dipping into his self pity he meets the 5th child, Kaoru, who is sitting by the lake humming Beethoven’s No9 (4th movement). Kaoru is very nice, very understanding and very much the 17th Angel (in disguise)! Only Shinji doesn’t know this, and starts to think of him as his new best friend- Shinji always needs a friend to rely on.
And what is Rei doing while everyone else deals with life after the great battle? Well she doesn’t understand why she is still alive after her death. Or why she feels a kinship to Kaoru. What she doesn’t know that both he and she are clones, bred for a single purpose, and that purpose isn’t necessarily to pilot an EVA.
At long last the SEELE plan is revealed, they have sent the 5th child knowing that it is an Angel, to try and make contact with “Adam” in Terminal Dogma. Their hope is that Ikari will send EAV 01 to do battle and start the third impact. Of course Shinji is very upset that his new buddy is the enemy, and gets right onto stopping Kaoru ASAP. Thus we get to watch another EVA v EVA fight, but this is just a diversionary tactic by Kaoru. We discover that AT field is something that is generated by the soul, as such an EVA cannot generate one by itself (unless it has a dummy plug). Only Kaworu isn’t the only one who can generate an AT field, and out of nowhere Rei appears (without an EVA) to watch the fight. Alas all is for naught, as Kaoru finally reaches “Adam”, and all he has to do is merge with “Adam” and then the third impact starts and mankind ends. Only “Adam” is really “Lilith” and Kaoru decides that he doesn’t want to merge with Lilith, but instead suggest to Shinji that someone else should (he looks at Rei) instead. And in order to achieve this new objective Kaoru orders Shinji to kill him. Then we have a very, very, long moment (strong classical music is played) as Shinji wrestles with his conscience and the fate of mankind hangs in the balance, before he kills Kaoru.
Episode 25 and 26 is the infamous “crazy” episodes. Shinji suffers a breakdown as his kind heart and conscience gets the better of him. As Shinji has stated before, he can never harm another human being. Killing Angels has been easy, as they do not look like human beings. Only in killing Kaoru, Shinji realizes that Angels are people to, as they have souls. This leads to a static scene show where questions are posed, and answers (or excuses) are given, in very quick succession. All you need understand is that throughout his life Shinji has avoided responsibility for his actions. This is why he can’t get close to other people. And he cannot fulfill his purpose because he is always afraid of what might happen if it goes wrong- in essence he is scared of consequences, more specifically his father’s displeasure.
We follow Asuka - prior to her mental breakdown at the start of episode 24 – and see how her conscience has been treating her. She realizes that without EVA piloting abilities she serves no purpose on the planet, and as such feels no self-worth.
Then follows Rei’s introspective examination, as questions are posed by herself as to whether she is real at all (she subconsciously suspects she is a clone) but she is totally in control and answers her own nagging doubts with complete aplomb. And she does this because she was created to carry out a task. In fact she is the only pilot who has a purpose and knows what that is, because Ikari has already told her.
Finally Rei starts the Instrumentality, at the behest of Ikari, which is the merging of all human coconscious. We get flash-forward and flash-back, we see Ritsuko and Misato dead, then alive. And so the main characters minds begin to merge, and they see each other, and how others perceive them. And so more questions are asked, seeking to expose the hole in each persons life (soul), thereby exposing their deepest secrets as to why they do not like themselves. And so after much soul searching (literally), Shinji realizes his own self worth, and decides that the world is a good place to live in after all – he sees what an alternate reality might be - just as long as he believes in himself.
A lot of people really dislike episodes 25-26, because it is full of psycho babble. The truth is that it seems that way because they have skipped a good chunk of the finale. And what isn’t made clear is that the psycho babble is Shinji deciding what the new future should be. The babble is the input he is receiving from all the people he knows as the worlds souls merge together.
The long and the short of these episodes is to demonstrate that the characters do what they do because they want to be or please someone else. This need for love and companionship is the very reson' detre of the Human Instrumentality project.
Wow, we have had 26 episode of action, action, action and finally philosophy. And I’ve enjoyed it all. In this DC version they do explain some more of the finer plot points, but alas they still fail to explain “what it all means”. By leaving the final part of series to focus solely on a single character's journey of self discovery, it neglected to finish the story in a manner we could make sense of.
This DC cut does improve on explaining certain elements, but this series still suffers from a “huh?” ending. As such I recommend End of Evangelion to better understand what actually happens, especially in that parts that just get skipped over in the series finale.
The question of do you buy these DC discs if you have the regular version (aka Perfect Collection) is simple enough- yes, if you are a fan of the series and want those tiny bits of quirk explained. Otherwise no.
********** Mega SPOILER***********
My head hurts, tell me what this series was all about?
OK, here you go. The very simple explanation is that everything that was done – Angels attacking, SEELE plotting, NERV defending, Rei being cloned - was to start something called Instrumentality. This would meld everyone back into the primordial soul from which everyone is but a splinter. If the Angels had got there first via Adam (aka third impact), then Mankind would have been melded into the Angels version of a new reality (both Angels and Humans have a soul). As it was, humans got to do it first through Lilith. This was Rei’s true purpose all along, to start this process of recombining through Lilith. Only it was left to Shinji to decide what the new reality would be, but he dithered and couldn’t get past his self loathing until the very, very end, when he finally made up his mind that life is pretty good and everyone deserves a second chance if you just tweak the scenario of life a tad into an alternate reality.
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,Spanish Language 2.0,English subtitles,Extras
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 2ZS & headphones.
Mania Grade: B+
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
Running time: 150
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Neon Genesis Evangelion