NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: DEATH & REBIRTH (1997)
DISTRIB. COMPANY:  Manga Entertainment
DVD reviewed by Dennis A. Amith
DIRECTED by Tsurumaki Kazuya and Masayuki
CHARACTER DESIGNS/ANIMATION by Hideki Hamasu
RATED:  Unrated, Parental Discretion is Advised

DURATION: 115 minutes

 
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Anime Synopsis:

AT THE DAW OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM, MANKIND HAS AWAKENED A THREAT UNLIKE ANY FACED BEFORE - THE ANGELS. Conventional weapons are useless against them. They can only be stopped by the means of the Evangelions - bio-engineered vessels born from the Angels' own technology. But this forbidden knowledge is also the key to bringing about a startling new genesis for the human race. Placed in the hands of three young pilots, the final fate of humanity resting upon their shoulders, the Evas are the World's last hope.


DVD EXTRAS:

Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only) Animated, Color, Widescreen Mokuji Interactive Feature and Commentary by Amanda Winn Lee (English Language Director, and voice of Rei Ayanami) Theatrical trailer(s) Subtitle options for Dialogue & On-screen Text In-depth index of Characters, Angels, Evas & Terms Photo Gallery Japanese Production Credits End of Evangelion Preview Manga Previews Web Links Manga Fan Club Widescreen letterbox format

KNOWN DVD SECRET(S): None that I know of

 


DVD REVIEW:

One of the most popular Japanese animation's of all time, "Neon Genesis Evangelion" is given star treatment from Manga Entertainment who own the rights of the first half to the conclusion of the series.

When I say star treatment, Manga Entertainment delivers because this is perhaps one of the most beautiful anime on DVD at this time. Not only is it packed with special features galore (which is surely lacking in anime DVD's), it also features a Mokuji Interactive feature for the seasoned Evangelion fans eager to know more about the series. Also, it features an awesome menu screen that makes you just want to kick back and just watch. Beautifully designed!

Before I go on to the special features, a little background on this film. In 1997, Gainax released "Death & Rebirth" which are two films and the first half of the conclusion to "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (the second and final conclusion is the "The End of Evangelion" film).

Originally, fans in Japan were not to happy with the final episodes of Evangelion and the truth is, how can a series like Eva be completed in a 30-minute episode. "Death & Rebirth", the first half of the ground-breaking epic was released.

The first half of the film starts out with "Death"; an orchestrated retelling of episodes 1 through 24 which includes new animated sequences and insight into the personal worlds of the characters conceived by the series' director Hideki Anno.

The second half of the film is "Rebirth"; where we see an alternate vision of episode 25 of the original series. In this version, SEELE (the secret international organization behind the development of both the Evangelion project and the Human Complementation Project) is concerned about how the projects' director, Ikari Gendo, is proceeding. Convinced that Gendo is implementing his own plans, they decide to wrest control of the projects, capture EVA Unit-01 and to undertake a full-scale invasion of Central Dogma and to literally destroy NERV using the nine-production model Evangelions.

For followers of the television series, the films are a must and "Death & Rebirth" is a wonderful first half which many Evangelion fans will be proud of.

But even more, Evangelion fans will be proud of the DVD. This DVD should set a high standard for anime DVD's with simply the most beautiful menu I have ever seen on an anime DVD and also packed with features which include, the English and Japanese trailers for the film, audio commentary by the English language director and voice actress of Rei Ayanami, Amanda Win Lee. An indepth index of characters, Angels, Evas and Terms, photo gallery, the End of Evangelion preview and much more.

The DVD is featured in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound (English only) and is in letterbox format. The film sounds beautiful with its awesome soundtrack and action scenes. The Japanese stereo track is available as well as English subtitles for dialogue and on-screen text.

As for those who worry that their favorite English dub actors may be different with this Manga Entertainment release, they shouldn't because all key roles in the English language version of "Death and Rebirth" are reprised by the voice-actors from the "Neon Genesis Evangelion" series.

The true gem is the Mokuji Interactive Feature which allows the viewer to select from an on-screen, chapter specific index of Eva-related terms, character descriptions and other valuable information while viewing the film.

This DVD in our mind is worthy of an A+ and should set a standard in showing the anime industry how anime DVD's should be. A beautiful film and a high quality DVD. Highly recommended!

THE MOVIE: A+
THE DVD EXTRAS: A+
THE DVD OVERALL: A+