Mania Grade: F
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: C-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: D-
- 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 Justin A. Swartz
April 13, 2003
Release Date: May 25, 2000
Ah, Evangelion, the so-called Holy Grail of Anime. If you actually bother to read through all of these alternate angles and get to mine, you're in for a shocker, because I'm probably the only one you'll find that doesn't give the show an A+.
ADV has since remastered the first two discs of the Evangelion series, but I was one that didn't get the remaster. I'm not going to say anything about the video, because it's already been said over and over, and since the older ones probably don't exist anymore, you won't have any problems.
For a show I didn't like, this sounded pretty good. It was a stereo mix, but was very full-sounding, like you were in a theater almost. While it wasn't a pleasant experience watching the show, I couldn't complain about this part of the presentation.
The front cover has Shinji and EVA-01 against a cryptic message about one last savoir for the world. This attracts attention, and the dark colors against the white text really make it stand out. The back cover is really busy and convoluted, swapping screen shots and a picture of Misato around hard-to-read thin white text describing the backstory of the show. The insert has Misato on it, but sadly, she doesn't even look nearly that good in the series. Sorry, fan boys. The case itself is the typical suicide case, but unfortunately it didn't break the disc for me. The disc has the typical ADV laser-etching on it, and I'll say up front that I've never liked this and probably never will...it just doesn't look nice on ye old eyeball.
Set up like the screens in NERV headquarters, there's a little tab that lets you know which option you've selected, while animation plays in the top part with options below and the opening and ending themes play on some of the submenus. There's also the 'do it now!' song for the trailers.
Beyond some useless character biographies and an entry for the two Angels that appear in this volume, there's nothing in the way of extras here. I don't consider ADV Trailers to be extras, mostly because they're everywhere and the egotism of ADV shows though...like they think their trailers are better than anyone else's or something. The only interesting one I saw was the Dai-Guard trailer, a giant robot show that is probably worth your money and time instead of Evangelion. I couldn't get the theme song out of my head for weeks. Ba ba ba ba...
If there are two rules I've learned about Anime, it's these:
1Do not listen to the hype.
2A good opening does not guarantee a good show.
How to remedy these items? Make your own informed decision before buying a disc, and don't go by the quality of the opening. I've since learned these rules and applied them and been a fairly happy Otaku, but I bought Neon Genesis Evangelion way before I learned them. It's a big shame, because I want the thirty bucks I spent on this back.
I'm not going to go into the story too much, because you've probably heard it already. A secret organization called NERV (read: the one with the Canadian maple leaf) is set to save Tokyo (and thereby save the world, I suppose) with its secret weapons, the Evangelions, a humanoid-type robot fighting machine. Where did the EVAs come from? No clue, because in the span of four episodes you get nothing beyond what I just typed up here. Nothing. Not even a hint, a crumb of the big picture to help you put the show in perspective.
What makes this even more infuriating is the fact that our hero, 14 year-old Shinji Ikari, is now charged with the task of piloting the remaining EVA unit, EVA-01. His father, the head of NERV, really doesn't want to use Shinji, because he knows what everyone else does: the kid's a total wimp. I don't find any of his fear to be credible in the least, and his constant half-crying and total lack of a spine around people make for a totally unrealistic character. Part of enjoying Anime is finding yourself in some of these characters, but I don't suffer from half-breakdowns and crippling anxiety, so I guess I just don't see anything in Shinji.
As if having a manic-depressive hero were not enough, we also have a lack of explanation as to why Shinji is the one who must pilot the EVA. There's not one single shred of a hint as to why, except for the old Anime standby that 'adults just don't do this kind of thing.' If this is supposed to be a big plot point for the show, I don't see what makes it any different than the other shows with kids in robots, like Gundam Wing (although I have no intention of knocking 'Wing for anything...it was much more enjoyably written and animated than this).
Well, enough with the show. Let's continue with the show elements, like the animation. I don't know why everyone says great things about Gainax, the animation studio, because the drab feel of the animation was the biggest thing that I didn't like about this show. The colors are very flat, surprisingly so for an Anime series. Some of the quality of the animation went from theatrical to television to lower than that, with a bit of fuzziness in the lines and lack of detail. Again, complaints about flatness of the animation apply. The character designs are equally uninspired...the whole show just screams of a lack of creativity. While I do enjoy the opening theme, the ending theme is the worst version of Frank Sinatra's 'Fly Me To The Moon' that I've ever heard, and me being a Sinatra fan I skipped the ending when it came on. The ending sequence itself was strange and seemed really out of place when compared to the pace of the show itself, and a naked floating Rei is just about enough fan service for me, th
While we're talking about fan service, let's make a note that it's all over the place in here. Butt cam, cleavage cam, jiggle, sway of the hips, it's everywhere. This only served to convolute the show's purpose more than it already had. Talk about trying to gain viewers...
The musical score is a total rip from Mobile Suit Gundam...I counted at least four themes that sounded vaguely like the battle and Zeon themes from the classic Anime series crafted by Yoshiyuki Tomino. In fact, there were a lot of things in here that compared to Gundam, but that didn't make them any better. No wonder Tomino said that Brain Powered was going to be better than Evangelion...even he could tell where they had ripped him off.
And finally, the voice acting. Bad on both counts, and I even watched both just to make sure. I loved Megumi Ogata as Kurama on Yu Yu Hakusho, but her Shinji is so bland and unfeeling that it was quite the shock to my system. I didn't recognize anyone else in the cast, but like I said, it's not quite up the par that everyone was proclaiming. Equally dull is the English dub, with Spike Spencer weighing on the 'whine' scale at about three tons. Allison Keith as Misato was decent, and while I do respect her as an actress, I just don't think this was the best move for her. Tristan MacAvery struts his stuff as Gendo, Shinji's dad, and actually pulls if off quite nicely, compared to the rest of the cast. I can't complain about his performance at all, but it's not like he had much to work with.
So, what to make of Evangelion after this? Don't buy it. Put your money toward something that a)makes sense within the first two hours of watching, b)has better animation, c)better and longer action sequences, d)doesn't seem like a straight sledgehammer to about a dozen and more religions, and e)is, above all else, fun to watch.
But, as with the comment I made about Devil Hunter Yohko, if you enjoy the kind of things I ragged on above, then by all means, watch it. For me, this was trash and that's where it went, split in half to boot. It was the first time I had ever seen an Anime I didn't like, and as far as I'm concerned, it is the worst Anime series I've ever seen. This has also led me to a total boycott of ADV Films, because I haven't enjoyed anything that they've put out, and actually been offended by some of the content. Too bad, fellas...maybe you should license something that actually has a point.
Admiral 19" Color TV, Panasonic DVDRV32K, Kentec dual speakers