Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition Vol. #1 -

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  • Audio Rating: A+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: £19.99
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition Vol. #1

By Bryan Morton     May 09, 2005
Release Date: February 21, 2005

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition Vol. #1
© ADV Films UK

What They Say
"Anno's Evangelion might just represent our next evolutionary strides." - Wired

Biblical prophecy, human drama and blistering hi-tech battle action collide as the award winning anime classic unleashes its fury with breathtaking remastered video and jaw-dropping 5.1 surround sound!

The year is 2015, and half of the Earth's population is dead, victims of the disaster called Second Impact! Answering a summons from his enigmatic father, 14-year-old Shinji Ikari arrives in the rebuilt city of New Tokyo-3 just as a gigantic creature identified as an "Angel" attacks! Forced into the cockpit of a giant bio-mechanical construct known as an Evangelion, Shinji must defend the city from the rampaging Angel or die trying!

The future is back like you've never seen it before, in NEON GENESIS EVANGELION - THE PLATINUM EDITION!

The Review!
One of anime's most famous series returns in a newly re-mastered edition, and ADV need to make sure it's a stellar release if fans are going to be persuaded to shell out for the series again. It seems they may have managed it.

I listened to the disc primarily in the original Japanese, and checked the English track for several key scenes. Both tracks are presented in 5.1 format, and from the moment the opening theme begins, all the available channels are put to good use. During the episodes themselves, background effects (such as background chatter in the NERV control room) can be clearly heard from all directions, although action scenes are more focused on the front soundstage. Overall, the new soundtrack definitely helps bring more life to the on-screen events. There were no obvious audio defects.

As with the audio, Evangelion's video has been given the re-mastering treatment, and the difference is clear to see. A quick comparison with my old Evangelion DVDs shows the colours are now much more vibrant, with the details in many scenes being much easier to pick out. The transfer is essentially perfect, with no visible encoding defects.

The disc packaging is two-part - a standard black keepcase, enclosed in a cardboard slipcover. The keepcase cover has an image of Shinji, looking over his shoulder, with the episode titles for the disc running down the right-hand side. On the back are short episode summaries, with episode titles in both English and Japanese, and some screenshots. Inside the keepcase is a profile booklet with detailed commentaries on each episode, profiles of the various Angels that appear on this disc, and a few more screenshots. The slipcover is thin silver card, featuring the same image of Shinji that appears on the keepcase, with some promotional blurb, screenshots and the disc's technical details on the back. It's a good-looking slipcase, but it appears to be slightly too large for the keepcase - it rattles around a bit inside - and is thin enough that it won't take much abuse before it starts showing signs of wear. Overall though, this is a very well-presented package.

The menus are very simple - black text on a plain background, with an inset 'video' of water, backed by a short piece of orchestral music & the sound of running water. Options are presented in the usual ADV style - each episode is selectable from the main menu, with sub-menus available for extras, language set-up and chapter select. The simple layout makes them quick & easy to navigate through.

The on-disc extras are quite minimal, with creditless opening and closing sequences provided along with episode commentaries for episodes 1 and 2. ADR Director Matt Greenfield shares his memories of both episodes, and is joined by Spike Spencer for episode 2. Most of the effort as far as 'extras' go seems to have been put into the accompanying booklet - see the 'Packaging' section for details of this.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
14-year-old Shinji Ikari has been summoned to meet his father, with whom he's had almost no contact since his mother died three years earlier. While waiting for his escort to pick him up, Shinji's caught up in an attack by an Angel, a strange alien creature, and watches as the UN forces fighting against it are comprehensively beaten.

As the UN retreats, Shinji's escort arrives - she's Misato Katsuragi, and she's about to become a major influence on his life, whether he likes it or not. She takes Shinji to the headquarters of NERV, a secretive military organisation set up to fight against the Angels and located deep beneath the city of New Tokyo-3. His father, Gendo, is the commander of NERV, and if Shinji had any hopes his father was wanting to renew family ties, they're quickly dispelled - rather, Gendo intends for his son to pilot one of the giant 'synthetic human' Evangelions, fighting machines of awesome abilities and the only hope for defeating the Angel that's still rampaging through the city outside. Initially he refuses, but when the only other Eva pilot is brought out, clearly suffering from serious injuries, he finally agrees and begins his life on NERV's front line against the Angels.

His first combat mission is a success (more through the Evangelion unit's own efforts than Shinji's), although the experience leaves him a little bewildered and horrified with what he's discovered about the Eva's true nature. Now that he's staying with NERV, arrangements are made for Misato to take on the role of his guardian, as his father's still showing no interest in him. In the hope of giving Shinji something approaching an ordinary life, she enrols him in the local high school - but even there he has trouble fitting in, running into problems with another of the students, Toji, when he admits to being the pilot of the Eva. Toji's sister had been injured during the Angel attack, and he's looking for someone to take his frustration out on.

It's not long before another Angel attacks and Shinji is called into action once more. Toji and fellow classmate Kensuke, a military otaku, sneak out of the shelter to see Shinji in action from what they think is a safe distance, but soon find themselves in the middle of the action and in serious danger. The Angel manages to sever the Eva's power cord, leaving Shinji with only a few minutes of battery power to either finish the fight or retreat - Misato orders him to retreat, but with his classmates in danger he disobeys and finishes the job.

After being chewed out by Misato for his disobedience, Shinji runs away, although he doesn't give any thought to what he's actually going to do and ends up just wandering aimlessly until NERV Security picks him up. Misato gives him the option of leaving NERV and returning to his old life that he initially accepts, but a chance meeting with Koji and Kensuke leads to a rethink.

Back at NERV, he gets his first chance to spend some time with the other Eva pilot, Rei Ayanami, who seems to have the sort of relationship with his father that he could never manage himself. While Rei is occupied with Unit 00's activation tests, another Angel attacks. Shinji is sent out in Unit 01, but the Angel is able to predict his emergence point, and his Eva is critically damaged before it can even launch...

At the risk of preaching to the choir (I suspect that the number of people considering this release who haven't already seen Evangelion in one form or another is quite low), the series sets out on two main tracks right at the beginning - on the one hand there's Shinji's story, and his battle to learn to live with himself, be accepted by others and be able to relate to them. On the other, there's the purpose of the Angels, NERV, and the political maneuvering that's going on behind the scenes, where Gendo and the other people involved seem to be fighting the one fight (protecting Earth) while each having their own hidden agendas - something that will be revealed piece by piece as the series progresses. Where these two threads meet, you get the Evangelion vs Angel action sequences, which provide a break from the heavier aspects of the story and present some classic 'giant robot' moments.

It has to be said that Shinji isn't the most likeable of lead characters - he's extremely low on self-confidence and seems prepared to do anything, if it will just earn him some praise and acceptance from others, and his oft-repeated "I musn't run away" mantra gets a bit tiring after a while, but with a father like Gendo (who has a lot more time for Rei, for reasons revealed later in the series) you can't really blame him for being the way he is. Misato is the only other NERV member who's been given a real introduction so far - while she comes across as outgoing & chirpy in front of Shinji, she too has her own issues to deal with.

The other characters that have been introduced won't get really fleshed out until events move on a bit, but most of the people with speaking roles in these episodes have some sort of part to play in future events - so pay attention!

From the start, Eva works well on two levels - you can watch it with your mind turned off and treat it as an action series, or you can pay close attention to what people say and do and see the depth and subtext that runs through a lot of the series. It's a combination that means that most people can find something in the series that appeals to them, and makes it easy to recommend. For those who really like to dissect their anime, hardcore fans will tell you there's a whole lot of symbolism in just about everything that happens here. While I'll admit that aspect of things goes pretty much over my head it's worth pointing out that it's there, even if it's not essential to your enjoyment of the show.

In summary-
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Plantinum Edition brings new life to an old favourite. Long-time fans may be a bit wary at being presented with yet another edition of the show and another way to part them from their hard-earned cash, but I have to say that the re-mastering work done does make it worthwhile. Having an above-average story underneath the newly-applied gloss makes the package even more worthwhile.

Japanese Language (5.1),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Closing sequences,Episode 1 Commentary - Matt Greenfield (ADR Director),Episode 2 Commentary - Matt Greenfield and Spike Spencer (Shinji)

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.


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