Anime Contamine' is back with a blu-ray review of a popular anime series and it's latest film in that series!
Evangelion 2.22 Blu-ray Review
By LT Tran
Grab your progressive knives, crank up your Eva, and strap on your plug suits because Hideki Anno's cinematic re-telling of the seminal anime tv series continues with this domestic Blu-ray release of Evangelion 2.22.
If you remember all that's happened in the original tv series, prepare yourself for a wild ride! The story of Shinji Ikari continues and revolves around his desire to find acceptance with his father Gendo. Along the way, a new character appears who's name Mari Illustrious. Also joining the cast is fan favorite Asuka Langley
Soryu Shikinami. Though
the former has only made a few brief appearances in the movie, they are no less
interesting and dramatic. There are big
hints in stored for Mari's role as the series continues. While Asuka, different from her original TV
motivations, plays a rather alternate role within Eva 2.0. She's still rambunctious and maybe even more
anti-social but her reasons for being so are subtle and unique to this Rebuild.
Shinji is still Shinji with a tad bit more backbone. The poor kid tries so hard to get closer to his father, Gendo and you can't help but feel for his plight. As far as Gendo is concerned, he just makes you want to make a voodoo do1l version and stab it without remorse in response to the man's utter ruthlessness.
Characters aside, the plot of the movie itself starts with a bang and the pacing is better balanced as compared to the plodding of the first Rebuild (re-hash) movie. The quieter moments of the movie are peppered with humor and character drama. However, when the action starts, elements that were mentioned during the serene moments are either put to the test, elevates a character's standing, or immerses the viewer into a moment of awe and emotional involvement. Basically, everything that happens in this movie is relevant and moves forward in a way that benefits the quadrilogy as a whole.
Epic, that's all I have to say. Epic. Anno is the master of conveying larger than life images and not because he uses giant towering Evas but also in capturing the ideas that are often bigger than our lives and of ourselves. With the aid of computer animation and a sizable budget, you can really see that the animators under Anno were really having a go at uninhibited storytelling.
On top of all this, it's in high definition! The transfer is clear, colorful, impeccable, and there are no signs of aliasing or jaggy jagged edges. The lines are clean and the blu-ray format is ideal for the effects heavy and uber dramatic cg battles. Oh, and speaking of CG battles, I have to give special mention that each of the angel designs and battles are a glory to behold! The CG animation is very fluid and the textures of the characters are detailed. The implementation of motion capture on the Evas are effective and convincing.
As expected, the Japanese voice cast is top notch and the sound mix is well balanced. Though, personally, I was more curious about the English dub. What's really interesting about this localization is the fact that they brought back the original voice actors of Shinji, Misato, and Asuka from the original AD Vision release! My sense of continuity with these actors feels nostalgic and it's almost like a reunion with old friends. Spike Spencer has mastered his role of Shinji and you can really feel the intensity in his voice more so compared to his earlier days back in the nineties. The same can be said of Allison Kieth (Misato) and Tiffany Grant ([Asuka]No German spoken, unfortunately).
The English sound mix takes advantage of the surround sound effects much different from the original Japanese sound mix. Let's just say that with the Japanese mix, its more oriented towards dialogue while the US mix is more suited for a home theater setting which allows for an immersive experience.
Special acclaim should also be given to the film composer, Shirou Sagisu whose music drove and elevated the drama and action of the movie. Particularly, the scene where Mari goes into battle with the tenth angel and the melding of animated fury and a choir accompanied orchestra comes into cohesion with great effect. His inclusion of two popular Japanese pop songs were memorable due to their juxtaposition against some of the most violent and visceral images ever captured on celluloid.
“But Long,” you say. “I see nothing but compliments and praise in this review! Isn't there anything about this release you didn't like?” Why sure there is! The movie is too short. The disc itself is an off-plum color. Special features are limited (but the audio commentaries are interesting). There. Those are my complaints.
Overall, I've heard purists complain about the alternate path of the second rebuild movies being way too different. It is and were are headed into territories unknown come the third and fourth movie. However, it really doesn't matter in the long run (though I will acquiesce that the first movie was a re-hash). They can't argue the fact that this re-envisioning is just as entertaining and substantial as the TV series. In some way, due to a more limited time that they are allotted in the cinematic format, it seems more visceral to me. So there you have it, the score is below and I am now ejecting from the entry plug.