Neon Genesis Evangelion Perfect Collection Box Set (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, September 14, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, April 09, 2002
Neon Genesis Evangelion (episodes 1-26) and End of Evangelion
First and foremost I would like to point out the condition of this review. I watched all 13 hours of this series (skipping only the death and rebirth movie) in a row with only bathroom breaks and food trips. Taking in a series in that way is a new experience for me; past series' have been taken in over a couple days or throughout a week. I have no clue if bingeing like this has helped me to understand this most complex series, but for some reason watching it like that just felt like how Eva should be watched. I think due to the fact your so sleep deprived by the end that your mind is in a state of simply witnessing the world, not interacting with it, and that's all you can do with Eva, witness it.
Marc's Evangelion Formula:
(The complexity of life - Hope) + The void religion fills
The confusion of love (Dogma * An outsiders perspective)
That's right, a Marc formula that uses no other anime references. That is because this series is unlike anything before it, and is more like a character study on humanity than a standard "mech show".
I watched the perfect collection boxed set and the standard edition EoE movie. The perfect collection set comes in an excellent box with menacing use of red over a straight black on black background that reveals further artwork in certain lights. The red is used to optimal effect with two painted eyes on the back which under light reveal to belong to Eva unit 1's demonic face. The overall cover art for all the cases (8 DVD's in total) range from good to not so good, with a few questionable choices for cover models. The covers aren't as dark as I thought they should be as well. Except for the first and 6th discs, the covers seem quite lighthearted, and while the show is fairly lighthearted up until the half way point, past that they don't really reflect the content. I think they could have created a better atmosphere if they replaced a few of the questionable covers with group shots or more of the Evas themselves (possibly even an angel). The inserts are utterly useless, giv!
ing you just another (sometimes betThe End of Evangelion movie packaging is a little better. The cover art gives a bit of a sad feeling and is outright haunting after viewing the movie. The insert is a decent fold-out poster of the cover that mentions a little bit about the sound and gives you a few other art samples on the reverse.
I watched the main series on my basic setup (27" TV with normal MTS stereo speakers, Sony PS2 as a DVD player) in English and it proved to be flawlessly transferred with both sound and image quality being brilliant. While the actual art quality of the show is decent there is a noticeable drop-off after episode 18 due to budget cuts forced on SEGA (the show's backer) owing to the violent nature of that episode. This is mainly in reduced animation (still scenes) and, especially in the last two episodes, characters without backgrounds and who are poorly drawn. Some might argue this was intentional to enhance the insanity of the last episodes, I feel it was forced and can't help wondering if they molded the "unsatisfying conclusion" around their limited budget. Menus are basically identical on all discs and, with the exception of the first having trouble playing all 4 episodes in a row, worked perfectly. The special features were however pathetic. All they managed to pull togeth!
er were some short character bios rFor the movie I stepped up the presentation quality and watched it on my computer with 5.1 surround sound and a high resolution monitor again in English. The disc has excellent use of this sound option with audio coming from all 5 channels using the directional feeling to their full extent. The video on the other hand didn't feel as good. It actually was a bit of a mixed bag of quality, with some scenes feeling faded and dull while others were vibrant and sharp. This leads me to wonder if it was intentional or just inconsistent transfer. Having not seen this in theaters I can't really tell, and just looking at some of the weird images the movie presents I can't judge if they should be presented soft or sharp. I was a little disappointed with the extras on this disc. There is commentary in English, trailers for the movie, and some Manga advertising stuff, but nothing that really impressed me. No featurettes or interviews, I guess they used !
up most of the possible extras in the previous movie Death and Rebirth
Of all the things in a review this is, for me at least, always the most important and the hardest to sort out. This series gives you plenty for your money, taking you on a trip across every emotion you probably possess. The series starts out rather innocent, with every few episodes involving a new big monster (or "angel") to destroy Godzilla style and introduces plenty new characters while expanding the established ones. These episodes are not boring and often provide long bouts of intrigue, hilarity, and excitement. You get a firm understanding and opinion of what each character is like as the whole thing unfolds in a sitcom (I'll be it sophisticated sitcom) like manner.
Of course, like reality, nothing lasts forever. The series takes a darker turn and your opinion of what characters are like gets thrown around like groceries on a high speed police chased commute home. The show breaks its sitcom mask and becomes truly epic. The characters break from their one dimensional shells and bloom into people with dark and deep pasts, each representing an extreme of humanity. Your liking of each character turns to love, they all nestle and make camp in their own section of your heart, making it all the more difficult to watch the events that unfold.
And what confusing events they are. I do not pretend to be able to explain them, nor do I pretend to understand them fully myself. I'm actually fonder of the way the series ends, rather than the "better" ending found in the movie (supposed to actually be a replacement ending). Both make you feel restless yet craving more, you look back at all it took to get here and all the emotions you just went through. In that respect the series never really ends, as it echoes within you living on in your heart.
This series doesn't chew you up and spit you out, nor does it digest you changing you into a new form. It absorbs you into its bloodstream revealing every ounce of itself from an insiders perspective, and while what you see is new and confusing, you can't help but feel in awe at how attached you are to everything in the series, and how you really don't want to leave. My strongest recommendation.
Marc's score: 10/10 (A+): Essential
Feel free to edit (as in take out parts you feel are unnecessary) any of the material. Sorry for reviewing more than one title. You submission form doesn't allow for underlining, so my formula should have parts underlined to mean divided by. Thanks for considering this.
27" Stereo TV with Playstation 2 and computer setup with 19" monitor and surround sound Altec Lansing speakers.
Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: C-
Age Rating: 12 & Up
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