Neon Genesis Evangelion - Platinum: 03 Review
“The enemy of mankind is mankind.”
Shinji, Rei, Asuka – you’ve all gotta learn to get along, alright? Why am I telling them that? Anyway they have you see, because all these Angels are attacking and NERV is in great danger. And what is it with NERV? It attracts Angels like spiders to flies. Oooo that was quite good, ‘cause there actually is a giant spidery thing in this one.
As we get into the middle of Neon Genesis Evangelion’s run we see the strain of several relationships take effect. The third volume collects a number of episodes that finally brings together Shinji, Rei and Asuka as a decisive team; this of course is integral to NERV’s operation, but being children they still carry certain tendencies that threaten to break up the unit, and each pilot has his or her own circumstances to deal with. Shinji remains our priority focal point for now, as a character that is all the more fully relatable to. We know of his awkward relationship with his father Gendo Ikari and we realise that all he wants is some kind of acknowledgement for his actions and a little love from his family. But as we find out in this volume he does have someone: Misato. It’s here that we learn of Misato’s past during a flashback to the year 2000. Fifteen years ago an event changed her life for good, prompting her to join NERV in order to fulfil a personal vendetta. That I won’t spoil, but as things move on and Shinji learns a little more about her he realises that the two are not all too dissimilar from one another, sharing almost the same sentiments toward their fathers; for all the things that she seems to annoy him with she’s the only person he can feel comfortable around. Elsewhere though we have Rei and Asuka. While Asuka is still taking pride in herself for being the best of the best - which is certainly debatable – Rei remains a puzzling entity. In fact all we can really muster up is wonderment as to what her true purpose as the first child is, and why Gendo prizes her above anyone else.
Soon we’re taken into the heart of NERV once more when the MAGI system is put to use during a training session. We never knew much about the MAGI before, other than the council obeys it at all times, but here we’re shown the story behind it for an episode that focuses largely on Dr. Ritsuko. At this stage we finally witness Ritsuko’s importance within the series, and like the other characters she has certain unresolved issues relating to family and the need to prove herself in the science field. Her willingness to take responsibility for everything that goes wrong is commendable, even when she doesn’t need to, and it’s a side that has the audience warm toward her. So the third volume continues to deal with characters on a fairly deep and personal basis; there’s still plenty of ambiguity and while the storyline feels as if it’s progressing there still isn’t a wealth of information to obtain. The main factor is that the young pilots are now showing more promise than ever before, and despite their differences, when it comes down to taking drastic action they’ll be the first to heed the call.
Episode: 11 The Day Tokyo-3 Stood Still
When all power in Tokyo-3 shuts down NERV immediately sets out to investigate the matter. Shinji, Rei and Asuka are heading home from school and must try to reach NERV by themselves, when soon enough they spy an Angel advancing toward headquarters. Back at NERV preparations are under way to manually activate the Eva units. The kids better hurry up.
Episode: 12 She said, “Don’t make others suffer for your personal hatred.”
Misato has been promoted to Major, which has her look back on the day fifteen years ago that forced her to join NERV. The Second Impact would change her life forever, and soon Shinji will know why. Meanwhile the 10th Angel has been detected in space where it’s been trying to bomb Tokyo-3. Soon it will give up and throw itself down.
Episode: 13 Lilliputian Hitcher
The children are called in for a new simulation exercise that Dr. Ritsuko has been working on with the MAGI. When some corrosion is detected Ritsuko realises that the 11th Angel is residing in the same tank as the children. Quickly she evacuates Shinji, Rei and Asuka and locks down the container. She will need to get inside MAGI if she’s any hope of defeating the latest invader.
Episode: 14 Weaving a Story
The SEELE gather to go over previous events involving the Angel attacks, where Gendo covers up the 11th Angel intrusion. They issue a warning against him, which goes ignored. Meanwhile Rei and Shinji undergo a new test, which seems to be going well until Rei’s Eva-00 goes mental.
The third volume in ADV’s platinum collection features a regular amaray case featuring some groovy artwork of Asuka, housed in a shiny silver slip-case. Accompanying this is another swish-tastic glossy, full-colour booklet that contains an introduction to the new sound remix, stills, episode commentaries and profiles for the ninth, tenth and eleventh Angels, along with one for Eva-01.
Same as usual:
ADV have acquired the newly restored Japanese masters, which present the series in a way it has never been seen, reportedly surpassing the quality of those originally broadcast in 1995. This is how all remastered anime should look. Like the extensive work put into their Robotech releases ADV present a series that looks nothing short of stunning, even for its age and original hand painted artwork. Looking at the series in a time where the likes of Studio GONZO continually impress with their updated techniques, Neon Genesis Evangelion still looks amazing. The budget shows and the animation is often beautiful. This is all complimented with a lovingly restored print that shows little in the way of dust and dirt, although a tiny amount of edge enhancement is present. Still, the colours are exuberant and detail is amazing. Considering the age of the series and its naturally inherent look and what has been done to make it look as best as it possibly can, this gets almost perfect marks. A top notch effort, one that I wish could be made for more shows. I must point out though that this is an NTSC – PAL conversion.
Presented in 5.1 Surround, both the Japanese and English audio tracks present a rich amount of spatial effects, that impress from its opening, but it is when we hear the cries of the Eva unit, the sound of battle rifles blazing or the extremely emotional vocals of its main cast that the series really comes alive. This is an ear blowing experience that is up there with the best and thankfully the problems from before appear to have bee rectified.
Optional English subtitles provided, being well times and free from error.
Audio Commentary with Tiffany Grant (Asuka) and Matt Greenfield (ADR Director)
Joining Tiffany is her husband and ADR Director of the series, Matt Greenfield. They start things off by telling us about how six members of the cast, including themselves, wed after completion of the series. We certainly get a feel that ADV is a pretty tight family unit now, and there are always fond memories to be had. Eventually they get to talking about casting and point out many of the background voice artists. Tiffany Grant is a very excitable woman and a quick talker; she usually jokes about and obviously adores her character Asuka. She tends to take over most of the track and I believe she inadvertently gives a spoiler away in regards to Rei. Curses…
Audio Commentary with Matt Greenfield and Wade Shemwell (Sound Remix)
This is the most technical track so far, going into detail about re-working the entire soundtrack. They talk about obtaining new stems for a 5.1 remix, synching, transferring eight year old digital back ups, separating sounds, recording voices and re-editing. There’s plenty for them to divulge here and we get a clear idea of how much hard work they put into the process.
The English Remix Process (18.31)
The inclusion of this, alongside the audio commentary is somewhat ill judged. Basically they go over the same ground, but here we have video footage of them talking. I’d advise that you listen to one or the other; you won’t learn much more from taking both in.
Clean open and close sequences, along with ADV previews are also included in the extras menu.
The third volume of Neon Genesis Evangelion is the darkest yet; it’s almost entirely barren of humour, with a lot more focus toward those who had been lesser developed in previous volumes. The storyline, while still not giving much away, is certainly heading toward something big, and I imagine the next volume will start to get real gritty.