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ADV Films presents
"It still smells like blood..."
DVD ReviewThis disc presents episodes 15-17 of this 26 episode series. Because this series places a strong emphasis on continuing storylines, I wouldn't recommend it to those unfamiliar with earlier events. To really enjoy this disc, you'll need to pick up the first four volumes, also available on DVD from ADV. Still, for the purposes of this review, here is a brief "back of the box"-style synopsis.
The year is 2015, and Earth is recovering from First Impact, a disaster that occurred 15 years earlier, which left half of its population dead. Humanity's newfound peace does not last, however, as mysterious and destructive beings begin visiting the Earth. These are the Angels. No one knows what they are or where they come from. The only defense against these invaders are the Evangelions, giant robotic creations which can only be piloted by 14-year-old children born after the First Impact; and the organization that operates them, NERV. The three chosen children are Rei, Shinji, and Asuka.
As I said, three episodes are included:
Episode 15: Lie and Silence
This is perhaps the most unconventional story in the series thus far. Unlike previous episodes, there is no Angel attack. Instead, the focus is on relationships - Shinji and his father, Misato and the mysterious Kaji. Shinji must deal with his problems relating to people as he visits his mother's grave with his father. Meanwhile, Misato attends a wedding with her old flame Kaji. She comes to realize some troubling things about her relationships with men, and Kaji discovers some disturbing facts about NERV and the Evas. Overall, this episode is good, but the focus is definitely on the characters more than the plot. There are several nice interactions between Kaji and Misato and a particularly funny exchange between Shinji and Asuka, but other than that, this is a pretty uneventful episode. Definitely one for the true fans.
Episode 16: Sickness Unto Death, and...
Another very unusual episode. An Angel attacks Tokyo 3, a black shadow that envelops everything in its path, including Eva Unit 1, with Shinji inside. His Eva is totally cut off from the outside as his life support system begins to break down. As he nears death, Shinji begins to hallucinate (?), and has a conversation with another version of himself about his inability to connect with other people. Meanwhile, on the outside, NERV attempts everything they can think of to rescue the Eva, which troubles Misato, since they seem to see Shinji's survival as secondary. Just what is so important about Unit 1? The Angel attack in this episode is one of the coolest thus far. The race to save Shinji is very interesting as well, and that element of the episode is nicely offset with Shinji's introspective moments. Some more hints are dropped as to the true nature of Eva as well.
Episode 17: The Fourth Child
This episode nicely illustrates the balance this series is able to maintain. In episode 15, we had the character moments. Episode 16 had action. Here, in episode 17, we have a furthering of the plot. Tokyo 3 is in turmoil after the U.S. branch of NERV disappears while testing a new type of Evangelion, built using a power source from an Angel. Meanwhile, NERV searched for the fourth child to pilot a new Eva, Unit 3. The fourth child isn't actually revealed in this episode, but who it is is pretty clear (the delayed revelation is used for quite a few laughs). There is a lot of talk concerning NERV's plans to develop a dummy pilot to operate the Evas without the children, adding a few new layers to the mystery of the Angels.
I can't really think of any complaints about this series. The animation is excellent, the voice acting is good (I even like the dub... so shoot me), and the storyline is amazing. This disc furthers the conspiracy elements of the show quite nicely and features some great action and character moments as well.
Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A
Image Transfer Review: The image transfer here is virtually identical to that on the previous disc in the collection. Colors look a bit washed out for animation. I noticed no digital artifacts, and black level is generally very good. Unfortunately, here and there the picture seems to jump in the frame a bit. I'm not sure if this is because of the transfer or the source materials, but it is only a problem in one or two scenes.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Once again, this is a good audio mix of the original TV materials. Dialogue is always clear and understandable. The mains spread out the score and sound effects a bit, but the soundstage really isn't very wide. There are some nice panning and directional effects during the action scenes, however. There isn't much difference in quality between the dubbed and subtitled audio tracks - dialogue is always clear and understandable in both (well, except for the whole "I don't speak Japanese" part). The quality of this mix is equivalent to the previous disc in the series as well.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Shadow-Riders, Generator Gawl, Spriggan, ReBoot, Bubblegum Crisis 2040, Nadesico
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsNeon Genesis Evangelion started off like a pretty average anime series. Robots? Check. Babes? Check. But as you move further into the show, it is clearly much more. In this collection, the more cerebral, introspective elements of the show are again the main focus. Some love this mix of action and difficult character interaction; others find it boring or pretentious. It is definitely worth checking out to find out which camp you belong to, and this disc from ADV is another fine presentation of this landmark series.
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