Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Edition Vol. #7 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A+
  • Video Rating: A+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 105
  • 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. #7

By Derek Guder     May 26, 2005
Release Date: April 19, 2005



What They Say
In the deadly aftermath, the unexpected arrival of the Fifth Child hits like a hurricane. Has Shinji found a kindred soul… or does the unearthly Nagisa Kaoru have a soul at all? Prepare for the shocking conclusion to the most controversial animated series ever produced. Where Angels fear to tread, Shinji must go alone. The circle will be completed. It is Final Genesis.



The Review!
So. It’s finally here. The end of Evangelion. It doesn’t even try to answer all the questions that have been raised, but it sure has a lot to say.

Audio:

Again, as with volume 6, I only listened to the Japanese audio track. I had neither the time nor the desire to give a full viewing to the English audio. From the samples that surface during the commentary track, I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything.

That said, this might be the volume where the new 5.1 mix is used to its greatest extent. The true depth of the sound stage had barely been plumbed in earlier psycho-analytic scenes but with fully two episodes of disembodied voices debating the purpose of life, directionality is fully explored to differentiate between speakers and import. The richer sound environment does a great job of drawing the viewer even more deeply into the scene, enhancing the surprising tension of near-constant dialogue and on-screen text.

Video:

The video quality remains up to the standards set in previous episodes though, admittedly, it’s much harder to notice here as much of the volume is motionless or only text.

Packaging:

Kaoru gets the cover of this volume, which has the same packaging as previous ones: metallic-finish slipcase, DVD case and insert booklet.

The booklet contains, in addition the per-episode comments, a brief discussion of the “two endings of Evangelion” and a time-line that helps to put a number of events in order. It’s all information that could be gleaned from watching the last volume, but still very useful to have collected together in print.

Menu:

The menus remain just as simple and quick as ever, with that touch of elegance I love so much.

Extras:

This volume has the conclusion to the “Mythology of Evangelion” segment begun in volume 5. This time around it’s a bit more interesting and informative. It seems a bit more focused (aside from the random flashing for NERV warnings and SEELE logos that’s cute at first and then a bit annoying), relying more on Sean McCoy’s comments. It could have benefited from a more solidified structure, but does serve to reinforce some important ideas and elements from the show that come to the fore here at the end.

The commentary for episode 26 does something of the same thing. It doesn’t stunning revelations or deep insights. Instead Matt Greenfield and Sean McCoy make connections to other parts of the show and reinforce what’s on the screen itself. Aside from the very first few commentaries where we were treated to anecdotes about the production process, I think this might be my favorite bit of commentary.

The animatics for episodes 25 and 26 are also included, but I’m sure some people would argue that those were already little more than that to begin with.

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

This volume contains both the original broadcast version of episode 24 as well as the director’s cut. Watching them back to back, the differences are surprisingly few. Kaoru arrives as the Fifth Child, a replacement for a broken Asuka. With alarming ease, he disarms Shinji and works his way into the boy’s heart – only to betray him immediately afterward when he is revealed to be the 17th Angel. Taking control of Unit 02 and sending it to combat Shinji in Unit 01, Kaoru penetrates all the way down to Terminal Dogma, apparently intent on reaching Adam and destroying humanity. When he finds that the giant is Lillith instead, he steps back and seems to want Shinji to kill him. After much deliberation, Shinji does so.

Most of the new footage is simple affirmations or further reinforcement of things already hinted at. Unlike the previous director’s cut, these add little new information to people who have already seen the entire series.

The final two episodes are something of an inseparable pair. This is where the show takes the audience, sits them down and proceeds to pretty much deliver the entire point of the show flat-out. Not unlike what we watch Shinji go through.

With shocking (and totally unexplained) abruptness, the Human Instrumentality Project has been initiated and all of mankind flows together to collectively examine their souls and identities. We see key members of the cast all try to answer the same questions: “What do I want?” “What do I fear?” “What am I worth?”

Episode 25 touches upon several different characters (Rei, Misato, Asuka and Shinji) but episode 26 focuses on Shinji alone. He is an example for what’s happening world-wide. He is the proxy for humanity as everyone struggles to determine who they are and what they ultimately want – and to then have the strength to actually accept those truths and live with them.

It is through Shinji’s deliberations that we see that Evangelion has always been about how people form their identity – their sense of self – and how they interact with the world around them. Who you are and how you deal with the people around you. It’s the Hedgehog’s Dilemma all over again: interaction with other people brings suffering but it also brings the potential for happiness. Identity and existence bring boundaries and borders – denying absolute freedom – but they also bring the ability to strive and achieve happiness. Without distinction, without a “self” and a “not self”, there is nothing to ever be attained and thus no joy or sorrow.

In Summary:

It’s been quite some time since I’ve sat down to watch the ending of the TV series. I have seen the beginning time and time again, but the end only a few times. A few things really struck home upon watching it again.

First, I’m not even more firmly convinced of my long-held opinion that the television and theatrical endings are not separate but are in fact merely different sides of the same story. The television ending is the telling while the movies were the showing. The insert booklet comments on this, saying that the TV ending followed the theme while the movies the story, but it also seems to emphasize the differences between them, likening the version to two different endings to a video game. Sean McCoy’s comments and the rather desolate world beneath Shinji’s feet in the final scenes reinforce a very close relationship between the two “different” endings.

Second, the whole question of “What is Evangelion all about?” really is answered simply and directly in the final few episodes. I’ve summed it up above but that’s honestly a big simplification. Going through the ending again has made it clear that the big mystery of the show is now “What was the point?” but instead “Okay, so I guess I get it. Now explain to me how all these pieces fit together? Where does that character fit? And what did this whole sequence here mean?” The end of the show is pretty much completely uninterested in answering those kinds of questions, and I honestly think that’s part of the genius of the show. It’s those gaps and questions that make the show so engaging and timeless.

Finally, going through the ending with a critical eye (focusing lesson on what’s being said than how it’s being delivered) I can better understand the feelings of people who absolutely hate the television ending. Even in episode 24 I felt that Kaoru’s transformation was far too abrupt and almost rushed. The transition from “normal show” into “armchair psychiatry” in the final two episodes can easily throw everything off. Sure, we do get an explanation for what’s happening, but it’s far less satisfying to simply be told “By the way, instrumentality is starting” than it is to actually see its effects. Looking at it now, it’s only natural that they would have roused such strong emotion among fans and the movies are almost necessary to make everything feel complete. Though plenty of people hate those as well for other reasons.

To comment on the entire Platinum re-release as a whole, I stand by my original impressions: this is a dream come true for any Evangelion fan. The video and audio upgrades are more than worth the cost of buying the whole thing again. The new sleek packing and design is just icing on the cake, the extras and booklets with tidbits of knowledge sprinkled throughout make the cherry on top.

Features
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation,The Mythology of Evangelion Part II, Animatics for Episode 24 and 25, Commentary with Matt Greenfield (ADR Director) & Sean McCoy

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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