Mania Grade: A-
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- 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 0:2
By Jared Wietbrock
February 10, 2002
Release Date: November 21, 2000
Things really start to get interesting in this, the 2nd volume of fan favorite Eva. Before we begin, I want to get the technical stuff out of the way. This disc looks better than the first one, but upon my second viewing of it I really wasn't that impressed. I'm beginning to wonder if the image quality is more directly related to the source material than the authoring houses. Audio is fine, but then again my setup doesn't really let me gauge this very well.
The first episode on the disc is all about the mysterious and decidedly anti-social Rei. Shinji is told to bring her a replacement NERV clearance card, but walks in at the wrong moment. After a very awkward scene that can't be healthy for their relationship, Shinji isn't sure how to treat her. Things get worse when we learn that for some reason Rei is about the only person Dr. Ikari cares for, and vice-versa. Their relationship has potential, but right now I cannot stand the quiet, stubborn Rei.
The next episode is very interesting in its cinematic style. The 5th Angel has appeared and begun drilling into NERV headquarters. In an insane plan, NERV decides to borrow all the energy in Japan to fire a huge energy beam at the Angel and pierce its core. Shinji will fire the gun, and Rei's Eva will be defense. I really liked how this episode jumped around, which would normally be a bad thing. The captions at the bottom of the screen let you know where this particular scene was taking place, and the quick cuts from place to place created a real sense of urgency.
Following up that is an episode in danger of becoming filler. Misato and
what's-her-name (the blonde with the mole) are invited to go to the unveiling of the Jet Alone, a rival mech from a rival company that operates on nuclear power. Of course, the JA goes berserk and it's up to Shinji and Misato to stop it. The only reason this episode isn't completely filler is because there are bits of info leaked about the so-called Second Impact and we also learn NERV's standing with the rest of the world. Also, Shinji finally starts to loosen up in this episode and in the process becomes much more likable.
The final episode on the disc, "Asuka Strikes," is my favorite in the series thus far. We get introduced to the German wonder-girl Asuka, pilot of Eva Unit 02. Her mech is being transported to NERV headquarters, but for some reason is attacked by an Angel. A lot of mysteries are brought up in this episode, several surrounding another new character who was an old flame of Misato's.
This episode also decided for me which language to watch the show in. I may be alone here, but the dub is, in my opinion, better, largely due to Asuka's handling. Her character is completely over the top and brings a lot of humor and fun to the series, something the show desperately needs but the Japanese VA didn't do very well. However, in English, she's great. The actress is obviously having fun with the character. I also like how (in the dub) she peppers her speech with German dialogue delivered in a dead-on accent. I took three years of German and it sounds pretty authentic to me. My only gripe is that, if the actress is going to do the accent, she should do it all the time. Other than that, a great performance.
This disc continues to raise more questions than answers, however. There's talk about Eva units up to Unit 08, which makes me wonder just what NERV's up to. Dr. Ikari doesn't seem very interested in sharing his vision with anyone, and the Angels are a complete unknown. Where did they come from, what do they want, and why have they been hiding for the last 15 years? Why can only 14-year-olds pilot the freaky, almost living Evas? I hope we get some answers soon, but until then, I'm enjoying the ride.
KHL DVD 221, Sylvania 19" TV