A second release for ADV's Neon Genesis Evangelion blockbuster, and its not hard to see why. Even 10 years after its initial release, Evangelion still impresses with its tight plotting, angst ridden drama and of course, those uniquely gruesome EVA units.
Every anime fan worth their salt will know at least the premise of the show - invading aliens known as "Angels" attacking the remnants of humanity following the disaster labelled "Second Impact", the creation of the NERV organisation and their mighty EVA mechs piloted by 14 year old kids. It sounds formulaic, but with some resonating religious imagery, complex characterisation and layered agendas, EVA remains one of the principle achievements of Japanese animation. And now we get to visit it all over again.
With the series already available on DVD, we need to concentrate on the improvements made with the Platinum line. The most immediate are the sound (now Dolby 5:1 and some redubbed dialogue to make it closer to the Japanese original) and the picture quality, which is taken directly from the Japanese masters. As such everything comes in crystal clear, with deeper colours, clearer lines and absoloute picture stability, though I confess that I hadn't noticed any serious deficiencies in the previous DVD's.
The packaging is first rate. A shiny cardboard sleeve, a glossy booklet (something of an ADV speciality and something to be commended) and some excellent cover artwork adorning the inner sleeve, with the Japanese kanji proudly announcing the shows origins.
The animated menus are some of the nicest I've seen in ages as well - very subtle, nice use of the show's background music and fairly untuitive, there's clearly been some thought given to this release. Extras include a couple of commentary tracks, the usual ADV previews and clean opening/closing titles. Of these, the commentaries are probably the best value, although they only cover 2 of the 5 episodes on this disc and inevitably drop into talking about the voice actors careers, something of an ADV staple. This is forgivable though as unlike, say, the Simpson's DVD's, we're only getting the views of people who translated the series, not the original creative team.
Overall then, the release is clearly desirable, and a worthy upgrade for those of us with a complete set of the tapes. With extra episodes per disc, there's less DVD's to shell out on compared to the previous release, but I can't honestly say that the improvements are great enough to demand reinvestment from those people who have the previous DVD sets. For purists however, this is the set to have - expect quite a few bargain Eva DVD's on Ebay as fans make room for the new batch!