Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: C-
- Video Rating: C-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: B
- Extras Rating: N/A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: All Region DVD
- Released By: ADV Films
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion Collection 0:1
By Paul Mayer
February 16, 2002
Release Date: May 25, 2000
I do free-lance film/video engineering work in SoCal and I'm a member of SMPTE Hollywood Section. I admit to being sensitive about the technical quality of things like video releases and projection quality in theatres. Some of you may think I'm being overly harsh in my review of this DVD, but since this is a commercial release I am applying professional standards here. And this is strictly a technical quality review--I can't say anything that hasn't already been said about the content of this fantastic series. I am a big fan of Eva and Studio Gainax, which is why this DVD is so disappointing.
Video: IMHO this is one of the worst film-to-video transfer jobs I've seen. It looks like an NTSC master, rather a digital component video transfer, was used for this DVD. The images look soft but the edges are very busy (visible dot crawl and line twittering), indicating the use of too much detail enhancement. This is fine for NTSC, but lousy for a component format like DVD. It also looks like 3/2 pulldown wasn't handled properly. And the compressionist over did it, resulting in visible aliasing and pixeling artifacts even in static shots. This video reminds me of the bad old (pre flying-spot scanner) days of film-chain transfers. State-of-the-art video this isn't!
Audio: The sound department didn't do much better in that the Japanese tracks sound like they were overdriven during the A-D stage. These tracks also exhibit hard clipping--a nice metallic clanking sound on the peaks, even though the playback level from the disc is about normal. There is also a bad dialog track edit in episode 1, resulting in a repeated fragment during one of Misato's lines. To top it off, there is a lot of quantising noise as well (which is admittedly made worse by my Apex's already high noise floor); these tracks sound like MPEG clips being played on a PC, rather nicely matching the quality of the video.
Authoring decisions: I'm not a fan of English replacements for text within shots. It's obvious that ADV spent some money to do these shots (they look good), but if ADV went that far, why didn't they also fix the infamous spelling errors that show up occasionally on signs and the like in this series? In other words (no pun intended) why do text replacement at all? Especially in view of the spelling and other errors in the subtitles. (Speaking of subtitles, can we lose the cheesy "toothpick" pointer when we re-master episode 2?) More chapter stops would have been nice. So would have using the original Japanese OP and ED credits on at least one of the episodes (ADV isn't alone here; Manga is guilty of this too). And how about the character model sheets that were extras on the LD versions?
ADV really needs to redo this disc and until they do, the LDs remain the versions to have for best available video and audio quality. In some ways even the quality of the subtitled VHS is preferable to this DVD. In the mean time this disc will serve as an convenient example of the many things that can go wrong during film-to-video transfer projects. Overall, a very disappointing effort on ADV's part. What a shame!
Mitsubishi 20" monitor, S-video input, calibrated to SMPTE standards, viewing distance approx. six picture-heights Apex AD-600A DVD player, Region 1 setting Marantz LD-600 LD player
JVC 4600U SVHS recorder Stereo sound (no surrounds, yet)-- Sony TA-E86B preamp, VSP Labs TransMOS 150 power amp, Fourier 6 nearfield monitors, (Yamaha YP-1 headphones also used)