Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition Vol. #2 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, May 16, 2005
Release Date: Monday, April 18, 2005
What They Say
"An essential part of modern anime history... highly recommended" - Anime On DVD
Three's a Crowd!
As if having to defend the Earth and mankind wasn't enough to cope with, Shinji Ikari now finds himself faced with something completely unexpected: competition. Not only is Rei's Eva back on the line, there's also a new giant robot defender that's being promoted by a group outside NERV! And to top it off, prepare to meet the third Eva pilot, the hottest ball of red-headed fury ever unleashed. And SHE's got Shinji in her cross-hairs! It's an all out battle royal with the entire planet as a war zone in the second stunning volume of NEON GENESIS EVANGELION - THE PLATINUM EDITION!
6 - Rei II
7 - A Human Work
8 - Asuka Strikes!
9 - Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!
10 - Magma Divers if having to defend the Earth and mankind wasn't enough to cope with, Shinji Ikari now finds himself faced with something completely unexpected: competition. Not only is Rei's Eva back on the line, there's also a new giant robot defender that's being promoted by a group outside NERV!
And to top it off, prepare to meet the third Eva pilot, the hottest ball of red-headed fury ever unleashed. And she's got Shinji in her cross-hairs!
It's an all out battle royal with the entire planet as a war zone in the second stunning volume of the Platinum Series of 'Neon Genesis Evangelion'! Featuring remastered audio and visuals.
6. Rei II
7. A Human Work
8. Asuka Strikes!
9. Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!
10. Magma Diver
Eva returns with another volume, and I have to admit I've been looking forward to this one. Why? One word: Asuka.
The audio is presented in both English and Japanese 5.1 versions. For this disc I listened to the Japanese track, and as with volume 1 this new mix brings the series to life, with full use made of all available channels. I spot-checked the English track at various points, and there were no obvious problems with either track.
Episode 10 gives the re-mastered video a chance to really shine, with its overdose of reds handled beautifully - I had remembered the volcano scenes as being somewhat fuzzy and hard to make out at times (which a quick check of my old Eva discs confirmed). This version is much clearer. The rest of the episodes are also improved, although not quite so noticeably. There are no noticeable encoding defects.
As with volume 1, you get both the standard keepcase & a silver slipcover with this release. Both covers feature an image of Rei. The back of the slipcover has ADV's promotional blurb, episode titles & screenshots and the disc's technical info panel, while the keepcase has episode descriptions and screenshots. Inside is another 12-page booklet with episode commentaries, profiles of this disc's Angels and a few more screenshots. A nice package overall, but I'm still a bit wary about how long the slipcover will last if you're not careful with it.
This volume's menus are the same as those used with volume 1 - black text on a plain background, with an inset 'video' of water, backed by a short piece of orchestral music & the sound of running water. Options are presented in the usual ADV style - each episode is selectable from the main menu, with sub-menus available for extras, language set-up and chapter select. The simple layout makes them quick & easy to navigate through.
Along with the usual creditless opening & closing sequences, this volume includes an episode commentary and animatics. The episode commentary, by Tiffany Grant (Asuka) and Allison Shipp (Misato), covers episode 8 and looks more at their experiences working on the show than at the show itself, which makes it mostly of interest to those who prefer the show's dubbed version. The animatics are for episode 9, and provide an interesting look at how the episode looked part-way through production - the soundtrack is there, but without the dialog having been added yet, while a lot of the scenes are still only at the line-drawing stage. A definite must-see if you're at all interested in the production process, and not something you see very often.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
The latest Angel has some impressive defences and disables Shinji's Eva before he even has a chance to get a shot off, leaving him unconscious. While the Angel begins drilling down to NERV's HQ, Misato comes up with an ambitious plan to defeat it by using an experimental positron 'sniper rifle' to shoot it down from outside its own attack range. Once Shinji wakes up, he's dispatched with Rei to carry out Misato's plan, and in the process gets to know a little bit more about his fellow pilot.
With the Angel defeated, Misato and Ritsuko travel to Old Tokyo to attend a demonstration of the Jet Away, a new combat mech that its creators hope will be able to replace NERV's Evangelions. The JA's powered by an on-board nuclear reactor - when Ritsuko expresses her concerns about how dangerous it could be to send a reactor into hand-to-hand combat, she's dismissed as just standing up for NERV's own interests, but she's soon proved right when the JA runs out-of-control only a few moments after first being powered up. With the JA striding towards a residential area and a nuclear disaster imminent, it's up to Misato and Shinji to find a way to shut it down before anyone is killed.
Later, Misato, Shinji and friends travel to mid-Pacific to meet a shipping convey that's carrying NERV's newest Eva unit, and its pilot - Asuka Langley Sohryu, a fiery-tempered redhead who is destined to make Shinji's life even more complex than it already is. Also on-board is Kaji, an old 'acquaintance' of Misato's who seems to have his own agenda. When an Angel attacks the convoy, Asuka seizes the opportunity to show off her piloting skills to Shinji, while Kaji jumps ship, leaving the rest of the gang to fight their own corner.
While Asuka's first mission is a success, her next doesn't go quite so well - teamwork doesn't seem to be her strong point, and her first joint mission with Shinji ends up with the undignified sight of two Eva units being unceremoniously buried by an Angel. Some help from an N2 mine gives Misato a few days space to work on their teamwork, and she resorts to some unusual methods to help her - namely Dance Dance Revolution. At first Asuka's not keen on the idea, but seeing Rei do what she claims is impossible seems to act as an incentive for her.
The final episode on the disc gives Asuka another chance to show off when the 'egg' of an Angel is discovered deep within Mount Asama, and she's chosen to carry out the retrieval mission. While at first the mission runs smoothly, on the way back to the surface the Angel hatches and attacks. Asuka's left facing her death when she's left defenceless after dropping her progressive knife.
The most noticeable new thing about these episodes is obviously Asuka, who starts pretty much as she means to go on by making sure everyone knows that she's the best Evangelion pilot there is - at least in her own eyes. Beneath all the bravado, Asuka seems to be very similar to Shinji in a lot of ways - both are looking for acceptance from others, they just go about getting it in different ways, and during moments when she's alone it's shown that a lot of her bravado is just for show. Her brash personality livens things up though. She's used almost as comic relief at times - her DDR scenes with Shinji are classic and her doomed pursuit of Kaji's affections is fun to watch - and she's definitely a good addition to the core cast.
Also new is Kaji, who will give those who enjoy the 'conspiracy' aspect of Evangelion something to chew over. It's made clear fairly quickly that Kaji's mission or purpose is considerably more important to NERV than the Eva project, but while a few hints are dropped about what's going on, there's nothing significant revealed. His relationship with Misato also adds a little spice to the story. Put those two aspects together, and he definitely becomes a character to watch.
Away from the arrival of the new characters, episode 6 puts some meat on the bones of Rei character, showing that there is perhaps some personality in there somewhere and giving Shinji a chance to lay the foundations of a friendship with her. Rei's an intriguing character for a variety of reasons, and it's good to see a bit more of her as she's spent most of the series so far being left pretty much on the sidelines. Episode 7 gives Misato a chance to get some of the action for herself - for the most part it seems to be filler, although keep an eye on the scenes featuring Gendo as they always seem to foreshadow something, even if it isn't immediately obvious.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable disc. It focuses more on the action / combat side of Evangelion's story and introduces some interesting new characters, while continuing to lay the groundwork for the darker storylines to come.
For the most part, this disc really focuses on Asuka's introduction, which is wrapped up in a series of good, action-based episodes that are great fun to watch but won't tax your brain too much. It's a style of episode that you'll see less and less of as the series progresses, so enjoy them while you can as Eva will soon take a darker turn. As with the first volume, the re-mastered audio and video is the icing on the cake. Recommended.
Japanese Language (5.1),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Creditless Opening & Closing Sequences,Episode 8 Commentary by Tiffany Grant (Asuka) and Allison Shipp (Misato),Episode 9 Full-Length Animatic
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: ADV Films UK
Running time: 125
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Neon Genesis Evangelion