Neon Genesis Evangelion Collection 0:1 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, February 16, 2002
Release Date: Thursday, May 25, 2000
So after five months of waiting for my pre-order to become a shipped item, I finally have the first Region 1 DVD incarnation of Evangelion in my hands - and I'm psyched! I have never seen Eva before, and I've been hearing about this series for years. I've even had the fansub of the movies for over a year and a half, but I haven't watched them because I didn't want to spoil the series for myself! So after making the commitment never to buy VHS again, I was rather dismayed that Eva seemed to be so overdue on DVD. But now that wait is over (well, the wait for the first four episodes anyway) and what do I think? I dig it!
The Audio on this disc must have taken an extraordinary amount of effort, as it contains four different language tracks: the original Japanese, and the English, French, and Spanish dubs. Considering the
effort that must have been put into the dubbing, as well as the work required for synching the audio to the English master (and it is the English master, I'll explain shortly...). I spot checked all of the
language tracks, and while the Spanish track sounded a little too loud compared to the others (and causing a bit of a crackle), they all sound very good. However, there were one or two places where I know that the Japanese audio skipped for a millisecond, as Misato repeats half of a syllable unnaturally in one scene in Episode 1.
The Video is well done considering that ADV most certainly did not have pure digital masters to transfer from like there are with other recent shows like Blue Submarine No. 6 or Sol Bianca. There are a few instances where I noticed some color inconsistencies, particular with areas of red on the screen changing hue on occasion. This was only a minor annoyance, and most people will probably never notice it. There also seemed to be some issues in Episode 1 or 2 (can't remember which exactly, forgot to take notes this time) with scrolling effects (such as the buildings in Tokyo 3 rising or descending) where there seemed to be some jerkiness, but this could be in the original source material.
My only complaint about the video is that this is obviously taken from the source video that was used on the dubbed VHS tapes. The telltale signs of superimposing English onto scenes are all there - many signs are covered up with obvious English replacements, as are a few other things which do appear to have been tampered with. Now I don't know whether ADV still has the Japanese original video data to remaster from, but I really don't like it when people mess with the video - I'd rather
see the show as it was intended instead of being mangled with by an American video editing crew.
The Packaging on this disc is the same cover art as the first VHS volume, and the insert on the inside has the cover art for the second volume I believe. However the insert doesn't list chapter stops - in
fact nowhere on the packaging do they list chapter stops. The back of the keepcase has some strong images from the show as well as shots of the menu and a feature list, however I have a problem listing a feature as "Highly Interactive Menus" when all the menu is for is language selection, scene selection, and possibly looking at the sparse extras or ADV previews that have been on almost every other ADV disc. I also don't particularly care for the retention mechanism they used for the packaging, I much prefer the push-pop ones.
The Menus, as I said, aren't very impressive. While they're better than some of CPM's early menus, they aren't incredibly good. On the main menu screen you have a bit of the intro playing on the top of the screen and the Opening Theme "Cruel Angel Thesis" (cool song) playing in the background. You play the disc, change the language (called "communications" on the menu which faked me out at first, but I got it soon enough), look at the so called "extras" (nothing but a few character bios, an ADV Website link, and the DVD Credits, pretty weak), or select the scene you want to view.
Unfortunately scenes on this disc aren't broken up very well. I much prefer when studios make chapter stops at the start of the intro, at the end intro, at the commercial break, at the start of the ending, and at the start of the next-episode preview. However this disc doesn't follow those rules, so it's somewhat trying to use the chapter stops to hop around an episode.
The Content of the disc is very intriguing. I'm glad there are at least four episodes on this disc, and I just hope that the next four don't take five months to finish. I doubt, however, that ADV will be able to keep a monthly or even semi-monthly release schedule for Eva volumes simply because of the amount of work that they're putting into the audio. I'm eagerly awaiting the next volume, because as with most Anime shows, very little is revealed early on. I'm still pretty much in the dark as to what is going on in a lot of places, but I'm not left feeling lost like I was a few times while watching Lain.
This series is very well written so far, with character conflicts brewing, as well as inner conflicts within most of the characters. This leads to characters that you can easily identify with, drawing you into the show like few other series can (especially ones involving giant robots). This series does manage to blend great plot and character development with Mecha action, and the final product is pretty darn cool so far.
I know there are some out there who like to wait until a series is fully released before buying volumes, so that they don't have to wait for a month or two to watch the next segment of episodes, but I like to spread out my Anime viewing. Then again, with this series I could REALLY go for a second volume right about now. ^_^ But we'll have to wait until ADV even _announces_ when they'll release the next volume of Eva... Oh well. I guess all us rabid fans are at their whim. If you're patient and think you can wait for the next volume, then I very highly recommend this disc. But if you're the type who really doesn't want to wait for more episodes, then don't get this disc yet, because it WILL leave you wanting more, no matter how many episodes they include on it. =)
RealMagic Hollywood+ DVD Decoder Card with Cambridge Soundworks DTT2500 DD5.1 speakers
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: All Region DVD
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