Hideaki Anno’s “Neon Genesis Evangelion” is one of the most iconic and influential anime series ever created. While it hasn’t endured a long shelf life like, say, “One Piece,” its elements can be found in much of pop culture. Particularly, it can be found in Western pop culture from children’s animated series to right up to cinema. While I’ve never been big on this kind of anime before, sitting through “Neon Genesis Evangelion” was a unique and entertaining experience.
The series follows a group of Children Test Pilots of EVA, Mechas designed to defend Earth from “the Angels,” a nearly indestructible extra-terrestrial race whose motivations for destruction are unknown and seemingly inexplicable. As these Children are pushed and prodded by their “Government Minders,” the various Politicians and Scientists whose motives are shadowy. As this group of Children grows in number and skill the toll is taken on them. Slowly they along with the people that hurt and protect the Children begin to realize there is something larger and more complex going on.
“Neon Genesis Evangelion” hasn’t aged a bit since its initial run in 1995, with all twenty six episodes of the show flowing seamlessly together beautifully. Even if you’re not much of an anime fan, the series garners rich drama and unique characters that we can root for. There are also some very menacing villains, all of whom have so much more going on with them than what they initially seem at first glance. The series perfectly establishes the Angels as threats that Earth is simply unprepared to fight, and the welfare of civilization is sadly pushed on to children. With the reboot now showing streaming, it’s a benefit to see the original article.
Hell, new fans might just end up enjoying the original so much more. It’s easy to see why a series like this is being given such buzz and rabid reaction, now that it’s officially on Blu-Ray in both massive Deluxe and Standard Editions.
The five disc release includes most extras in Japanese with English subtitles and comes with the pair of films that continue the saga. Included are EVANGELION: DEATH (TRUE)2, and THE END OF EVANGELION, all in their complete, uncut form. The exhaustive extras includes Title-free Opening, without any of the Burned in Titles. No English Subtitle Option. There’s the 30 Second Next Episode Previews included on 20 of the 26 episodes, there are TV Commercials from the Japanese VHS Release, including 4 ads promoting both VHS and LASERDISCS in Japan during its original run. There is the TV Commercial promoting the Soundtrack release in Japan during its original run, the TV Commercial promoting the video game adaptation of the series, The TV Commercials for different Anime/Manga Magazines that had Evangelion content, and there are also TV Premiere Promos for the the premiere of the Anime series in Japan.
There are Five Audition Tapes for the various Japanese Actors; Megumi Hayashibara (Rei), Yuko Miyamura (Asuka), Kotono Mitsuishi (Misato), Yuiko Yamaguchi (Ritsuko), and Fumihiko Tachiki (Gendoh). Genesis 0:0 IN THE BEGINNING is an archival recap program produced for Japanese TV. It’s Essentiallyea clip show, it’s designed to give an audience all the details of the characters, EVAs, the Angels, the characters and much more. The show includes some commentary from the creators about their intent and development of all aspects of the show. Image Board Collections is an image gallery of the various characters and development of the design work that can be paused but not navigated through.
There is the Japanese Blu-ray Box Commercial, an impressive Ad from Japan promoting the Blu-ray release of the show. There is also the Music Video: The Cruel Angel’s Thesis, the song from the opening credit sequence. Also included are eleven episodes exploring the episodes in animatic form which should be wonderful treats for fans of animation, anime, and the art of creating an animated series, altogether. Included are Episode:9 Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!, Episode:15 Those Women long for the touch of others’ lips, and thus invited their kisses, Episode:18 AMBIVALENCE, Episode:19 INTROJECTION, Episode:20 WEAVING A STORY 2: oral stage, Episode:21 He was aware that he was still a child, Episode:22 Don’t Be, Episode:23 Rei III, Epsiode:24 The Beginning of the End, or “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, Episode:25: Do you love me?, Episode:26 Take care of yourself. Genesis 0:0’ The Light from Darkness is a short featurette that first aired on Japanese Television in 1997 to promote the upcoming movie, and goes through all of the particulars of a recap first with characters, technology that makes up the Evangelion series.
In the second half of this special, the various Japanese Cast members discuss their characters, a Music Video, ads for the home video release, the premiere of the movie, and finally a look at the movie that was in production at the time. There is the eleven minutes Deleted Live Action Scene presented in Japanese but without subtitles. There’s also the Making of the Live Action Scene, a short documentary, which offers a look at the technical aspects of the footage. There’s the Theatrical Teaser filled with the live-action footage that was eventually cut from the film, The Theatrical Trailer with just the Titles Announcing the Film, Two fifteen second TV Spots, The Final Scene Alternate Take, a different version of the ending scene that plays out very similar but a different bit of dialog at the end, there’s the Full Song for Musunde Hiraite; the song plays over a black screen with Japanese subtitles.
Finally there’s the partial animatic episode for Episode:25’ Love is destructive. This also includes only music and vfx. Last but certainly not least, there are the slew of music videos including Soul’s Refrain, Thanatos – If I can Be Yours, Armageddon, and Memories of Heaven.
Also Available on Digital Download to Own.