Neon Genesis Evangelion - Platinum: 04 Review

The world is full of liars and conspirators; everyone knows it but they don’t expect those who are closest to them to be the perpetrators. Misato, Gendo, Rei, Kaji – just what is going on at NERV? As the truth slowly trickles out Shinji begins to suffer from hallucinogenic visions. Prophecy or madness? What are the Evas? Where do they come from? Who is Rei and what does Ritsuko and Gendo want to hide so badly? Most of these questions won’t be answered in the fourth volume of Neon Genesis Evangelion.


As everybody tiptoes around NERV headquarters we finally begin to learn of people’s ulterior motives within and outside of the organisation. The key players in this volume are of course Gendo, with Kaji and Dr. Ritsuko hiding a little something up their sleeves. There’s a lot of hoo-hah as SEELE become increasingly frustrated with the Human Instrumentality Project which also involves Gendo’s dummy plug tests. Gendo insists that there isn’t a problem, though it seems as if he won’t be able to keep handing out excuses for much longer. Then we have Central Dogma, located deep within NERV; Gendo keeps Rei here regularly, connecting her to some kind of giant brain that as yet hasn’t been detailed. Ritsuko, supposedly one of Misato’s best friends keeps tight-lipped over certain NERV projects. There are hints that there’s far more than she’s willing to let on, and when cornered her character quickly changes into a more commanding figure. And it’s her knowledge, paired with her friendship toward Misato that ultimately has Misato growing ever tired of being kept in the dark. How is it that even she knows so little about what’s going on at the organisation she works for?

Like everyone else Misato has also been harbouring her own secrets, for a few years now, but more so she’s been concealing her true feelings toward others. Having opened up about her father she must now face Kaji and free the burden of guilt surrounding their break up. This moment of reflection subsequently offers a great contrast between the two ex-lovers. While she’s finally telling the truth he’s lying about the real reason behind his stay at NERV. It all amounts to a significant conspiracy involving the so-called Marduk Institute and all of its dummy corporations. The friendship between Kaji, Misato and Ritsuko is put to the ultimate test, but they’re no longer children anymore and the responsibility and loyalty that they have toward their employers might just jeopardise their loyalty to one another.


Shinji continues to mope around, this time worrying over having to meet his father on the anniversary of his mother’s death. Those around him think of him as being cowardly; Misato empathises with him due to being in a similar situation, while Shinji does himself no favours by running away from everything that he’s afraid of. Later on his character does perk up a little when his sync rate improves and he becomes the number one pilot of the three children. However it also gets to his head. Shinji realises his importance and decides to no longer hold back; his actions eventually prove to be dangerous as he places not only himself but also his team mates in danger. His impulsive tendencies to prove himself worthy to his father ultimately hold him back and when he’s placed into a situation from which he might not return his mind begins to wander and we’re taken into a surreal trip where reality and fantasy becomes blurred. Meanwhile Asuka’s jealously continues to rage, while she does her damnedest to hide the fact. Rei continues to be puzzling: the writers keep pulling her back just when something important is about to surface. This becomes a little awkward at times because there’s just not enough for the viewer to go off. She’s not entirely likeable, but neither is she dislikeable; she’s just so dull that it’s hard to generate any feelings for her. Of course we know her to be a major player, and surely there will be a pay off to all of this, but for now she’s far less interesting - though intriguing – than Asuka and Misato.

In terms of utmost importance the writers draft in an unlikely candidate to take part in the Eva tests. The Fourth Child is soon called upon to man the brand new Eva-03, and it turns out to be none other than Shinji’s friend Suzuhara. When Misato and the children find out they’re puzzled by this choice, but logic dictates that he’s right for the job. We’ve yet to see how much of a burden this will have upon the young man as his introduction as a significant player within the series is but a teaser in this volume. Likewise we have yet to feast our eyes upon Eva-03.

The most captivating aspect of this volume though is the revelation of Adam, the first Angel,
The following text contains spoilers. Click and drag over this box to view.
who is kept deep within a vault located at NERV HQ. Finally we’re let in on where the Eva units came from, as some kind of clone from Adam, which suddenly adds a whole new element to the series.
In the past we’ve seen the Evas do some unpredictable things, considering that they’re manned by humans and shouldn’t be able to act upon their own free will. In this volume Shinji’s Eva-01 goes berserk which soon raises a few questions. Gendo worries that Rei and Shinji will react adversely once they know the truth, while Ritsuko wonders what NERV will do with the Evas once they’re no longer needed. Their instability can bring forth reckoning, but furthermore just how much of an understanding do they have of the human mind? Are we being led to believe that the synchronisation process is far more dangerous than anyone anticipated, and if so then what will the future bring? Misato realises that perhaps they’re pushing the things they don’t yet understand too far, which in turn may just signal mankind’s destruction. And just what is Code 707?


Episodes

Episode: 15 Those women longed for the touch of others’ lips, and thus invited their kisses
Kaji is called to Kyoto for a secret mission, while back at NERV Misato and Ritsuko reminisce about their past. Shinji is nervous about seeing his father and visiting the grave of his mother, whose face he cannot recall.

Episode: 16 Splitting of the Breast
The 12th Angel attacks and the children are released to the surface in their Eva units to do battle. Their weapons have no effect and so Shinji decides to take matters into his own hands. He’s quickly swallowed up by the Angel’s shadow and Dr. Ritsuko informs Misato that rescuing him won’t be easy. As Shinji’s life support dwindles he begins to have visions of his other self. What could it all mean?

Episode: 17 Fourth CHILD
SEELE calls in Misato for questioning in regards to the latest Angel attack. Soon it is learned that NERV’s second branch in Nevada has disappeared after tests involving the Eva-04 and the new S2 engine. As the Eva-03 is transported to NERV HQ in Japan a fourth child is sought to pilot it.


The DVD

The fourth volume in ADV’s platinum collection consists of a regular amaray case featuring artwork of Misato, with the same image being found on a shiny silver slip-case. Accompanying this is a glossy, full-colour booklet that offers a glimpse into the restoration process, episode commentaries, stills, profiles for the 12th Angel and Eva-00 prototypes, a look at how many version of “Fly Me to the Moon” can be found in the series and an A-C glossary featuring some nice facts.

A/V

ADV has 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.

Extras

Audio Commentary with Tiffany Grant and Matt Greenfield
These commentaries have so far been the most non-productive ever recorded. Unless you are strictly fans of the dub and like hearing about Tiffany and Matt’s lives then there’s very little point in listening. Obviously I don’t expect the participants to go into any detail about the show’s production and it’s not exactly a slap in the face by including them, but they are little more than jolly japes and repetition; stuff we’ve heard a few times already, nothing essential to wrap you ears around.

Full Length Animatic for Episode 15
This is pretty similar to the previous one: no recorded dialogue, but sound effects are included. The animatic consists of animated scenes, test footage and sketches that have been captured on a very dirty looking film. These are interesting for those wanting to get an insight into the animated process, although a lot of the markers placed throughout are not translated into English, so many viewers might be left wondering what they all mean.

That Little Red-Haired Girl (6.49)
Voice actress Tiffany Grant narrates as she takes us on a tour of her personal collection that consists entirely of Asuka memorabilia. She’s very enthusiastic about her favourite character and her collection is very impressive, ranging from key chains, mugs and music boxes to figures and limited edition pieces.

Clean opening and closing animations and ADV previews for titles that I can’t be bothered to mention because they’re always the same finish off the disc.


Overall

The volumes are getting slighter now in terms of episodes. While there are just three here there are some worthwhile developments taking place. We’re now past the half way point and there is still plenty of mystery and convoluted strands within the series to have us wondering how things will continue to evolve.

Film
8 out of 10
Video
8 out of 10
Audio
9 out of 10
Extras
5 out of 10
Overall

8

out of 10

Last updated: 23/06/2018 18:53:51

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