Neon Genesis Evangelion Platinum Complete Collection Collection (Thinpak) (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Release Date: Tuesday, November 22, 2005
What They Say
At the turn of the century, the Angels returned to Earth, seeking to wipe out humanity in an apocalyptic fury. Devastated, mankind's last remnants moved underground to wait for the day when the Angels would come back to finish the job. Fifteen years later, that day has come... but this time, humanity is ready to fight back with terrifying bio-mechanical weapons known as the Evangelions. Now it's up to Shinji, Rei, Asuka and the rest of the mysterious shadow agency NERV to save Earth from total annihilation!
Bundling the regular and director's cut TV series into one "Platinum Complete" box, Neon Genesis Evangelion attempts to garner a new fan who is coming a decade late to the dance.
The entire series was viewed using the Japanese 5.1 audio track and was one of the more remarkable 5.1 tracks I have heard. Free of any noticeable defects, the track utilized both the front and rear soundstages effectively providing a rich, immersive experience. The music, dialogue, and sound effects were balanced well allowing each to play its part in setting the atmosphere for each scene.
The remastered video for Evangelion makes the ten year old series look simply gorgeous. It may not have the visual "pop" of more recent titles, but the picture is clear and vibrant showing off rich colors and subtle details. There were no noticeable defects or artifacts allowing for an amazing viewing experience.
Six thin pack cases are housed in a sturdy, metallic silver cardboard box. The box art features Rei and Asuka in their plug suits. The cases use the same artwork from the single volume platinum releases. Back covers contain the standard synopsis, screenshots, and disc specifications in a clean, readable format.
Menus are simple yet elegant featuring a portion of the disc cover art with incidental music looping in the background. The episode titles and language are the only menu items displayed; entering the language menu simply pops up a small box to make your audio selection.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A decade after its initial release, Neon Genesis Evangelion has cemented its place in anime history by some as a masterpiece and others as an overrated title. Collecting the original series and its director's cut episodes into one box, I sat down with the platinum collection to find which opinion I would hold. In the year 2000, the world is devastated by the "Second Impact". Officially, the world governments report that a meteorite struck Antarctica causing it to melt completely.
The year is now 2015, and we find Ikari Shinji, a teenage boy, making his way through Neo-Tokyo 3. His father Ikari Gendo has summoned him to the city for reasons unknown. Shinji is hesitant about the meeting and feels that his father abandoned him long ago. He has little time to ponder the situation as a mysterious creature called an Angel attacks the city.
Shinji soon finds himself bullied by his father into piloting a giant mecha known as EVA01. Shinji must battle his own internal fears and demons because humanity's fate rests on his fragile shoulders. But he is not alone in battling the Angels; other young pilots and members of NERV aid him to combat the Angels and reveal his father's true motives for creating the EVA units.
Despite being a decade old, Evangelion still boasts impressive, detailed visuals that will keep the eye glued to the screen. The character designs are attractive, and the designs for the mecha and Angels are unique and at times disturbing. Part of the visual appeal is largely due to the religious and mythological symbolism used to drive the plot. It causes you to search for visual clues in each scene to aid in solving the mysteries of the series.
The mysteries are at times intriguing, but I felt that the series did not play fair with the audience overall. Much of the plot revolves around religious and mythological references -- Angels, Dead Sea Scrolls, Adam, Lilith, and more. Gendo is working to fulfill the prophecies of the Dead Sea Scrolls in order to achieve "Human Instrumentality", and the EVA units are a key to achieving success. These elements are the driving force behind the character's actions and development.
But, the story fails to provide an adequate resolution to these elements and leaves large gaps between portions. Playing fair does not equal spoon-feeding me every possible detail and answer, but there has to be a sense that the plot threads created have a resolution. Evangelion fails to provide many of the threads a satisfactory resolution leaving the impression that the story simply was not important.
Conversely, Evangelion succeeds in what I feel is its primary goal. It is not intending to be a conspiracy and mythological laden mecha series; rather, it uses these elements as tools to explore the human psyche. The main focus is Shinji and his inability to relate to anyone around him. His whole persona is a wall built upon the assumption that he is worthless and that everyone hates him. Bit by bit, the series chips away at the wall constantly forcing Shinji to question his own motives and identity.
The core question of the series is if human existence is meant to be one of loneliness and suffering or if there is a way for us to break down the barriers between us and make a connection. To help ponder this question, a diverse supporting cast is provided, each with their own dysfunctions and family issues. Each has their own wall around their hearts that affect how they interact with each other.
In particular, the character of Asuka provided a great contrast to the pitiful figure Shinji cut. Because of her own troubled past and pain, Asuka compensated with bravado and determination to be the best pilot. Where Shinji was weak and reluctant, Asuka would charge in and try to take control. Despite projecting confidence, Asuka ends up as the weakest character of the lot, unable to protect herself or those around her. It was the moments that built up and defined the individuals that proved to be more entertaining than the actual conflict with the Angels.
I respect the director for using a familiar medium in an unfamiliar fashion. Experiments like this help push the medium and those working in it into new directions. However, the experiment may have succeeded in building up the characters, but it failed to blend the character study with the mysteries and symbolism used to drive the story. The end result, even with the flourishes of the director's cut episodes, left mixed feelings about the series.
Not quite a masterpiece but not quite overrated, Evangelion left me as a viewer divided. While the characters provided some great moments and explored some interesting ideas, the overall story suffered from too many elements and threads left hanging. The director's cut episodes did polish off a few rough edges and plug some gaps, but the driving plot elements of the Angels and the conspiracies around them did not mesh well enough with the character study elements. It felt uneven, especially at the end. However, I cannot argue against the success Evangelion has had in enduring for more than a decade. This is not the title one would introduce to an anime novice, but it is certainly a series everyone should watch and discuss at least once.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,English Subtitles
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and optical audio cable
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: TV 14
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 650
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Neon Genesis Evangelion