Blu-ray Reviews “Evangelion: 1.11” and “Evangelion: 2.22”

Actors: Colleen Clinkenbeard, Spike Spencer, Allison Keith-Shipp
Directors: McFarland, Hideaki Anno
Rated: Unrated
Studio: Funimation
DVD Release Date: March 09, 2010 / March 29, 2011
Run Time: 98 / 108 minutes

Films: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“Neon Genesis Evangelion” is no question one of my favorite animes of all time. It is also one hell of a confusing and strange anime as well, especially in its closing episodes. Fans has been wanting more ever since it only consists of 26 episodes and ended all the way back in 1997. Hideaki Anno decided to “rebuild” the series instead of continuing it. That is where “Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone” and “Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance” come into play. These are two of four feature films, which are the redo of the “Neon Genesis Evangelion” anime series that give Hideaki Anno the chance to deliver the show the way that he initially envisioned it and this time not being restricted by technology and budget. I have to admit, I love this show and I love even more these redoes, the series was great but it did have some problems. The colors are so much more sharp and the CG effects added really lend a lot of new polish to this series. Overall, the animation just looks so much more crisp. Plus since “Neon Genesis Evangelion”  has never been released on Blu-ray, this is a great way to experience what I like to call “the best of” of the series but together. I have to admit, I even feel that at times I am watching an entirely new show since they have really advanced this show so much. A must have for any fan!

Official Premise for “Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone”: The stunning rebuild of the anime masterpiece is now extended and enhanced with never before seen new animation and 266 visual and audio improvements. Tokyo-3 still stands after most of civilization was decimated in the Second Impact. Now the city endures the ceaseless onslaught of the deadly Angels, bizarre creatures bent on eradicating the human race. To combat this strange and ruthless enemy, the government agency NERV constructs a fleet of towering humanoid machines – the Evas – and Shinji Ikari is called into action, reluctantly taking his place at the controls of Eva Unit 01. Living a life of loneliness and questioning his existence, Shinji struggles to accept responsibility for mankind’s battle for survival in this visually striking rebuild of one of the most important anime of all time. Shinji will fight the Angels alongside the only person who might understand his plight – Rei Ayanami, the elusive and frail pilot of Eva Unit 00. In this film experience not to be missed, Shinji and Rei will struggle to learn a simple truth: when carrying the burden of humanity’s survival on your shoulders, you are not alone.

Official Premise for “Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance”: The landmark anime Evangelion evolves, reaching new heights of intensity in the feature film: Evangelion 2.22. In this explosive new story, brutal action and primal emotion clash as a group of young pilots maneuver their towering cyborg Eva Units into combat against a deadly and disturbing enemy. In the battle to prevent the apocalyptic Third Impact, Shinji and Rei were forced to carry humanity’s hopes on their shoulders. Now, as the onslaught of the bizarre, monstrous Angels escalates, they find their burden shared by two new Eva pilots, the fiery Asuka and the mysterious Mari. In this thrilling experience for fans of giant robot destruction, the young pilots fight desperately to save mankind – and struggle to save themselves.

Even though this series was made in the late 90’s, the Blu-ray presentation does not represent that at all. In fact both “Evangelion 1.11: You are (Not) Alone” and “Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance” are absolutely stunning. Their 1080p transfers presented with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 are absolutely brilliant. The mix of the regular animation with the CG effects work so well and really gives this amazing anime the face lift it deserves. The colors like I mentioned are so vibrant and the line detail really looks amazing on Blu-ray. There are two audio tracks included the English dub and original Japanese track, both in Dolby TrueHD 6.1. I have to admit, they are both freaking epic. I LOVE the Japanese track so much but I remember watching the English dub on Adult Swim also so it holds a special place as well.  The action and the amazing music in the show are captured so well and when those cyborgs go to battle hold on to the frames on your walls!

In terms of special features, I wasn’t as blown away as I would have hoped but they are still good and worth checking out. “Evangelion 1.11: You are (Not) Alone” is much weaker of the two in this area. First up we have “Rebuild of Evangelion”, which is a collection of a storyboards, animatics and test footage mixed with new CG footage.  There is an “Angel of Doom” promotional video and a few short News Alerts, There are also some trailers included and remixes of “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Beautiful World.”  “Evangelion: 2.22 You Can (Not) Advance” learned from the first releases mistake and amped up things a little bit (but not much). There is a U.S. Cast Commentary, which is quite interesting and definitely informative.  “Rebuild of Evangelion 2.02” is another collection of animatics from storyboards to CGI rendering and also backed to great music. “I Would Give You Anything Noguchi Version” is a remix version of the film’s song. “Omitted Scenes” includes four short scenes in various aspects of animation. Lastly, there are a few trailers and TV spots included along with an amazing 20 insert booklet giving great information on the franchise.