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



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  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: ADV Films UK
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • 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 Bryan Morton     March 21, 2006
Release Date: October 17, 2005


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


What They Say
The Beast Inside...

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 released in NEON GENSIS EVANGELION, THE PLATINUM EDITION, Volume 5!

Episodes Comprise
18 - Ambivalence
19 - Introjection
20 - Weaving a Story 2: oral stage

The Review!
Just in case you hadn't realised that the Evangelions are more than mere machines, here's three episodes that do their best to make sure you never forget it.

Audio:
The audio for this release is presented in both English and Japanese 5.1 versions. I listened primarily to the Japanese track, while checking the English track during several key scenes. As with the previous volumes, the new 5.1 mix is a delight to the ears, with plenty of use made of the available channels - snippets of background dialogue come at you from all directions, while the music has also been enhanced. This volume sees the return of some impressive Eva action scenes – while the effects for these are more focused on the front soundstage, they're still impressive to listen to. There were no noticeable problems with either track.

Video:
Presented in its original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect, the remastered video is clean, clear and colourful, and looks noticeably better than the original DVD release. There were no apparent encoding problems.

Packaging:
As with previous volumes, both a standard keepcase & a silver slipcover are provided with this release. Both covers feature an image of Kaji, wearing one of his more serious expressions. Episode titles are listed along one edge of the keepcase's front cover. The back of the slipcover has ADV's promotional blurb, episode titles & screenshots and the disc's technical info panel, while the keepcase has episode descriptions and screenshots. Inside is another 12-page booklet with episode commentaries, profiles of this disc's Angels, a look at the differences between the on-air and video versions of Evangelion, a glossary of terms used in the series and a few more screenshots.

Menu:
This volume's menus are the same as those used with previous discs - 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.

Extras:
There's a good batch of extras on this release, starting with the "Mythology of Evangelion", an ADV-produced half-hour extra looking at the mythology that some aspects of the series are based on. If you want to make a start at interpreting Evangelion's symbolism instead of just treating it as a giant-robo show, this is worth a look, although it maybe tries to read too much into events at times. There's also a commentary track for episode 20, by Matt Greenfield (ADR Director) and Sean McCoy (an Evangelion "expert", as seen in the Mythology segment). Rather than the usual "your experiences on the show" segment, this one looks at McCoy's interpretations of what's happening on the screen & is more of a traditional "commentary" that what's been presented on previous discs. To round things off, there are full-length animatics for episodes 18-20 and some clean opening & closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Misato heads to Matsushiro for Unit 03's activation tests, having still not managed to get around to telling Shinji who the pilot is - although Asuka and Rei already know. Koji himself hasn't been overly keen to spread the word, either. While Koji tries to deal with the implications of becoming an Eva pilot, Hikari tells Asuka about her feelings for him and Shinji tries to quiz Kaji about his father. Later, Koji heads to Matsushiro to begin testing his Eva - but no sooner is his entry plug inserted than Unit 03 goes berserk.

With the only thing able to restrain an out-of-control Eva being another Eva, it eventually falls to Shinji to bring a halt to Unit 03's rampage – but he knows there's a human pilot trapped there and isn't prepared to risk taking a life. Gendo's prepared for just this situation, and orders the use of the dummy plug, removing Shinji from the control loop and leaving his Eva to its own devices – with predictably gruesome results.

Calling Shinji angry at his father's action would be an understatement - he sees the use of the dummy plug as his father's attempt to force him to kill his friend with his own hands, and it finally gives him the guts to quit NERV. This is one of those rare occasions where Shinji shows some backbone, much to the surprise of those around him, but it's a short-lived defiance. Just as he's leaving Tokyo-3, a new Angel appears - the most powerful yet, and able to break through the Geo-Front with almost no effort. With Unit 00 out of action, Unit 01 refusing to accept Rei or the dummy plug as a pilot, and Unit 02 quickly decapitated, Shinji finds himself drawn back into the fight as the desire to protect his friends takes over.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, it's because it is – Shinji had a very similar brush with determination back in episode 4, which led to pretty much the same results, although it's perhaps noticeable that his willpower seems a little stronger this time around. There's another dose of dj vu during episode 20, as well, as Shinji's built-in need for praise becomes key once again. The more you learn of Shinji and his inner thoughts, the harder it is to feel any sort of sympathy for him – it's often his own internal needs that put him into the situations he'd rather avoid, and he never seems to learn from the experiences (a lot like a certain other Eva pilot, perhaps).

When it's not dealing with Shinji's inner thoughts, the final episode on the disc is dealing with some other consequences of the latest Angel attack, as there are both physical and political issues for NERV to deal with – physical in that the command centre has been pretty much decimated by the attack, and political in that SEELE are once again becoming concerned at Gendo's actions and the lack of control he seems to have over the Eva's.

I have to admit it was good to have a few old-fashioned action scenes on this volume – and ones that play a fairly key role in the progression of the story, rather than the Angel-of-the-week stories that were a feature of the early discs. Pretty much every scene here has something in it that can be lifted out and interpreted as part of the larger stories that are going on around NERV's public mission, so it pays to pay attention to what's happening on-screen. In particular, there are some significant hints here as to what Gendo's grand plan really is.

While most of this disc was enjoyable to watch, the second part of episode 20 was a bit of a battle to sit through – taking place in the depths of Shinji's mind, "surreal" doesn't even begin to describe it in places, but with this disc being loaded with significant pieces of information, it does need to be watched. There is a general feeling with these episodes that things are beginning to happen – it's just not easy yet to figure out exactly where the story, or Gendo's plans, are going.

In Summary:
Events are beginning to pick up speed again after a rather lacklustre 4th volume, with a series of episodes that seem to be dropping significant hints at every opportunity. There's also a good mix of action scenes and more through-provoking moments, which should help to keep most people happy. With only 6 episodes to go from here, there's a definite feeling that things are beginning to click into place – and with the upcoming "Director's Cut" episodes being new to me, I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out.

Features
Japanese Language 5.1,English Language 5.1,English Subtitles,"The Mythology of Evangelion",Full-length Animatics (episodes 18,19 & 20),Episode 20 Commentary (Matt Greenfield & Sean McCoy),Clean Opening & Closing Animations

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

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