Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A+
  • Video Rating: A+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & 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. #5

By Derek Guder     March 05, 2005
Release Date: February 08, 2005


Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition Vol. #5
© ADV Films


What They Say
The first test of the new Eva turns into a disaster! As the giant bio-humanoid runs out of control, the combined efforts of Asuka and Rei fail to stop it, leaving Shinji to face the berserk monster alone… but will his compassion for the fellow child trapped inside the monster become his undoing? As Gendo unleashes the monstrous power of Unit 01’s dummy plug, it becomes horribly apparent that the Evas are far more than just machines. The truth behind the sinister mask of the Eva is revealed in NEONS GENESIS EVANGELION, THE PLATINUM EDITION, Volume 5!

The Review!
Three dramatic episodes showcase just how much some of the cast has changed over the course of the series.

Audio:

The audio continues to be amazing for the release. I love the richness that the 5.1 mix gives to the music, as well as the subtle air it lends to the general dialogue. It is used to great effect in the Japanse track, which continues to impress.

This will be the final volume I bother watching again through in English, however. Not only do I not have enough time to go through the final two volumes (which contain the original on-air episodes as well as the director’s cuts) another time to test the English dub, but I really just can’t take any more. I’ve given the whole series more than a fair shake and the dub still just isn’t up to par. Evangelion is a very subtle show and the English audio misses a great deal of that. After 20 episodes I still find everyone’s performance to be stiff, artificial, forced and (in the case of particularly multi-facetted characters like Shinji, Rei or Misato) shallow or mis-representative. Shinji’s too whiny, Kaji’s too chipper, Misato’s too shallow, Ritsuko’s too stilted. Through all of the tragic events of this volume, I didn’t feel any emotion from the characters. None of Shinji’s growth or development show through in his voice, for example, and his whole character remains ineffectual and laughable in the dub.

It’s just never going to work for me, and it typifies the problems I have with a lot of dubs, so I’m giving up on it. I doubt my opinion will change in the last few volumes and I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing my complain about it.

Video:

Just like previous volumes, the video quality is a quantum leap above the original release, and it occurs to me that the minor jiggle that showed up in some scenes on the first few volumes is definitely gone.

Packaging:

A somewhat resigned Kaji greets us on the cover of this volume; fitting as his is something of a temporary father-figure to Shinji this volume. The slipcase and DVD cover follows the same excellent format as the previous ones.

The insert booklet this time has brief bits on the various sources and formats for these episodes, commentary on the included episodes, information on the two angels faced in the volume and the second installment of the glossary begun in the last release. The glossary has some interesting information (and a few spoilers) but it’s the staff comments that provide an explanation of the psychology terms used in the titles of each episode that were the most insightful.

One other thing worth noting is that the metallic slip-case seems a bit more solid this time around. I’m not sure if it’s anything was really changed with it, but the gaps don’t seem to bow out as much, which was a minor annoyance with the first few volumes.

Menu:

Again, the menus are clean and dignified. Really do like the design quite a bit.

Extras:

This time around we have animatics for 3 full episodes, a commentary on one and “The Mythology of Evangelion.” The latter is something of a rambling discussion of various symbols and imagery of the show by some of the American staff. With the one-two combo of not having any notes or outline and trying to pin deep significance on even the smallest detail, it manages to avoid really amounting to much more than any random fan debate from an Internet forum or convention hallway. And don’t even get me started on the obsessive tying everything to sexual symbols or meaning.

The commentary track, however, was far more interesting. Matt Greenfield (the English ADR director) was on it again as usual, but this time he was accompanied by Sean McCoy, who actually seemed to have something he really wanted to say. I’m not familiar with Mr. McCoy, but during the course of the episode, he brought up a lot of very interesting points, even if he didn’t have the time to expound upon them much. I would have really liked to see what he would have had to say in the “Mythology of Evangelion” segment, but he wasn’t included.

I’m really not sure what ADV kept that particular extra in-house. There are plenty of people who’ve put together large bodies of plausible and pseudo-scholarly discussions of Evangelion that they could have recruited together for a truly amazing extra. Personally, I would have liked Carl Horn to be given free reign to helm that particular extra, but I guess I can’t get everything I want from this new release.

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

There are only three episodes on this volume, but they are pretty huge and significant ones. The very first episode is the climax of Toji’s selection as the Fourth Child. With the social relationships of Shinji’s classmates hanging in the background, he finds himself unable to fight Eva Unit 03 after it is taken over by an angel and reclassified as an enemy. Unaware that one of his only friends, Toji, is inside, he just imagines that it’s another child like himself and refuses to fight. The “just like me” feeling is further enhanced by the way that the angel moves in almost the exact same way Unit 01 did when it went berserk during its first battle. The angel is only defeated when Gendo orders the use of the dummy plug system, cutting Shinji off and effectively turning the Eva into a killing machine set on autopilot. The brutal and bloody slaughter (I hesitate to call it a “battle” as it’s entirely one-sided) ends only when the Eva actually crushes the entry plug with the pilot still inside. Shinji only finds out who was inside after the rescue team pulls the battery Toji from the corpse of his Eva.

A great deal happens in the following episode. Feeling like his father has betrayed him more than ever before, forcing him to nearly kill Toji with his “own hands”, Shinji tries to hold NERV HQ hostage, but is easily defeated and his father dismisses him as child throwing a tantrum. Resolved to never pilot Eva again, Shinji tries to leave and live as a normal human, but doesn’t have the opportunity to before yet another angel appears and quickly dispatches both Asuka and Rei. A “coincidental” meeting with Kaji makes Shinji face the truth – only he can pilot Evangelion Unit 01 and save the world and he has to do so because he decides to, not because someone forces him. Thankfully, he does so just in time and attacks the angel just as it pierces the final defenses and breaks into the main control room. A brutal and spectacular fight follows and the Eva goes berserk yet again, literally ripping the angel apart – and then consuming it. The feral and predatory Unit 01 stalking through the forest of the Geo Front to feast upon its kill, breath misting in the cold, is still one of the single most memorable and creepy scenes I’ve seen, anime or not. Through this feast, the Eva takes the angel’s core into itself (giving it an internal power source), and Ritsuko finally begins to share with Misato what the Evas really are, admitting that the “armor” they wear is actually restraints.

The final episode on the disc is very similar to the previous one where Shinji was taken into the Sea of Dirac. Much of the episode revolves around Shinji’s fears and doubts about his sense of self and his relationships with others. Having reached a 400% synch ratio with the Eva, his lost his “ego border” and physical body. It could be said that he lost his sense of self and floats inside the Eva’s mind, searching for what he really is. Many of the core questions of Evangelion become apparent here, such as “How do we define exactly who we are?” and “What kind of influence do others – and how others see us – have on who we end up being?” The NERV staff do their best to bring Shinji back themselves (Ritsuko cryptically reveals that his was attempted once before, and failed) but it is ultimately Misato’s grief and Shinji’s attempt to answer the question “What do I really want?” that brings him back to physical form and real world. As the episode ends, we see several characters enacting their own secretive plans or manipulations. Misato is digging deeper to find out what is really going in NERV and Gendo has all but told SEELE and “the committee” that he’s got his own agenda and the old men have no way to stop him.

In Summary:

As mentioned in the staff comments in the booklet, this volume really does show how much the characters have changed. Shinji finally attempts to assert himself like a man, even as he runs away from anything that causes him pain. The episode was intentionally structured to contrast with the last time he fled his responsibilities, and his changes really come through strongly. Even if his actions are remarkably similar, his attitude is quite different. Rei also shows a great deal of change herself, as she begins to realize that she has an emotional attachment to Shinji. Asuka’s carefully crafted façade of irrational confidence is actually beginning to crumble as well. The behavior of both girls (Rei’s attempt to sacrifice herself and Asuka’s deep-seated fears) foreshadows what they go through in the next volume.

I think that this might be one of the show’s more clearly structured volumes, as well as one of the more shocking in some ways. It is certainly one of the most memorable. I can still recall the feeling I first had when I saw Eva Unit 01 go berserk and consume Zeruel. Whether to like Evangelion or not, whether you enjoyed it or not, it’s hard to deny the power that it has, and this volume contained some of its most iconic moments.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,Commentary with Matt Greenfield and Sean McCoy,Frrrrrrrrr full length animatics for episode 18 - 20, The Mythology of Evangelion

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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