Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A+
  • Video Rating: A+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A+
  • Extras Rating: C-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • 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. #4

By Chris Beveridge     February 16, 2005
Release Date: December 28, 2004


Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition Vol. #4
© ADV Films


What They Say
A War of Shadows…

Betrayals and revelations erupt across NERV when Unit 01 falls prey to terrifying new Angel. Swallowed by a living shadow, Shinji’s mind begins to collapse as bizarre hallucinations assault his sanity… or are these visions glimpses of the true reality? As Ristuko debates destroying both the Eva and it’s pilot, Kaji’s allegiance comes into question, and Misato finds herself trapped in the middle. The discovery of what lurks inside a top secret hanger is sure to shake everyone’s faith in Mankind! Prepare to be shocked by the most startling episodes yet in NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, THE PLATINUM EDITION, Volume 4!

The Review!
Past the mid-way mark in the series, the psychological side of the show comes ever stronger to the fore.

Audio:

As is becoming my mantra for this series, listening to the audio has been a dream. The Japanese 5.1 mix is smooth and rich, expertly mixed and subtle in execution. In other words, the technical quality and voice acting remain up the high standards set by the previous volumes.

After four volumes, I still can’t say that I actually like the English audio track. It’s still technically fine but every time I start to like anything about the performances, the artificial, stiff delivery and stilted dialogue return. I could forgive it if that was the only one available, but with the Japanese track right next to it, there’s just no real reason for me to listen to it. The novelty of trying the English has definitely worn off and now it’s simply a chore.

Video:

As with previous volumes, the video is gorgeous. Sure, the show’s old, but Gainax went through a lot to clean everything up and it really shows. Re-watching the series in the platinum edition is a treat for any fan who remembers the film scratches and frame jiggle of the original.

Packaging:

Volume 4 if Misato’s, which is sure to please all her fans out there. The cover shows her sporting the official NERV beret with a gun in hand. The back cover has the standard-format sell-text and brief episode summaries.

With only three episodes on this volume, the insert booklet’s staff commentary is understandably shorter so there are some additional resources added, like an index of all the 31 different versions of “Fly Me to the Moon” and the start of a glossary explaining terms from the show. Intriguing hints are dropped here and there, and the staff commentary was particularly interesting, talking more about the intent behind the structure of the episodes this time rather than simply the process behind the show.

Menu:

We have the same dignified white-and-water theme form the previous volumes. The animation is still smooth and pleasing, and well-laid out.

Extras:

In addition to the clean opening and closing, we also have animatics for episode 15, a commentary on the same and a brief expose on just how obsessed Tiffany Grant is with her role (Asuka).

Animatics are largely the same from one show to another and there’s little surprise here. “That Little Red-Haired Girl”, the video showing Tiffany’s frightening enormous and single-minded collection of Asuka merchandise, was both novel and disturbing at the same time. Amusing to have, but one of those things you show quickly to friends instead of re-watching yourself.

The commentary, however, continued the unfortunate course from previous volumes, almost stubbornly avoiding any topic that might be interesting. Without any agenda or even list of general ideas to talk about, Tiffany Grant and Matt Greenfield spend a half-hour either going on about what they’ve spent the last three volumes repeating or resorting to parroting what’s directly on the screen. This has become increasingly frustrating each time I watch it and this is easily the worst of the commentary tracks so far. It could only hold vague interest for die-hard fans of the dub or someone who hasn’t watched any of the previous commentaries (and this would be a poor choice to start with).

All in all, the extras are very thin on this volume, and I hope that ADV finds something else to pad out the last few volumes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

This volume is indicative of the dramatic change in the series. We’re just past the middle of the series and during this calm before the storm, the focus of the show is beginning its shift from the battle with the angels to the battle inside Shinji’s mind – which is ultimately the core of the show. This is the bait-and-switch that a lot of viewers couldn’t forgive, in the end, but also one of the things that makes the show so powerful and stretches it beyond the boundaries of a simple giant robot show.

The first episode on the volume is entitled “Those Women Longed For the Touch of Others’ Lips, and Thus Invited Their Kisses” and should get some kind of award for the name alone. Through a wedding Misato and Ritsuko attend, we get a glimpse further into their past, and their relationships with Kaji when he finally arrives, late and disheveled. He has spent his time investigating NERV and the organizations surrounding it. They all appear to be shells, tools manipulated by Gendo Ikari towards some undoubtedly sinister purpose. And then there’s the issue of the giant beast resembling an Eva or Adam crucified in the basement.

“Splitting the Breast”, the second episode, contains the infamous Sea of Dirac sequence. Often pointed to as the point where the director “lost it” or simply lost his budget, Shinji and Unit 01 are swallowed by the strangest angel yet. Waiting to die, Shinji suffers spectacular psychological deconstruction, forced to confront himself and his doubts and fears personified. Much shorter in reality than in memory, this break into pseudo-philosophy and psychology foreshadows the ultimate climax of the show and clearly demonstrates the change in direction the series has taken.

The final episode ends on a huge cliffhanger for those who have seen the series before. Toji has been chosen as the Fourth Child and prepares to pilot and Eva unit. The episode is largely piece of daily life from Shinji’s home and school. Only the more sinister scenes between Gendo and Ritsuko regarding the dummy plug system and their plans for the pilots gives any indication of the tragedy yet to come in the next volumes.

In Summary:

I’m rapidly running out of new ways to say “The new release rules. Go and buy it.” So I guess I’ll just have to say that flat-out. The extras are a bit thinner, but the release is up the standards set by the previous volumes – if you liked how they were done, you’ll like this. If you didn’t, well, I don’t think this is going to change your mind much.

The only other thing that I can of mentioning is that these episodes are something of a change for the show. Evangelion has switched gears before, but these episodes are indicative of everything that will follow. The psychological side of the show is one of the most divisive aspects of it – it’s love-it-or-hate it for most people, and I suspect that it was these episodes that cemented many fan’s ultimate opinions. For those of you watching for the first time, you can expect more of this.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Commentary with Tiffany Grant and Matt Greenfield,Full length animatics for episode 15,12-page profile booklet filled with screen shots, That Little Red-head Girl

Review Equipment
Panasonic CT27SX12AF 27" flat-screen TV; Koss KD365 DVD player; Onkyo TX-SR501 receiver; RCA 6-piece home theater speaker package; Component video and optical audio connections

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