Review by: Kiki Van De Kamp
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $34.98 US
Running Time: 110 minutes
Release Date: Available Now
Welcome to the rebuild of a beloved classic and why it made my Blu-ray player happy.
Normally I’m the one in this office protesting against messing with a classic whether it’s digitally enhancing a favorite like George Lucas did with the original Star Wars trilogy a few years ago or television producers who ran out of ideas that they have to ruin a classic like Beverly Hills 90210 by giving a different take on the story and characters. When I heard about the theatrical rebuild of Neon Genesis Evangelion I protested against it until our Editor-in-Chief took me to a screening and I was more than just pleasantly surprised … I was downright impressed.
While I loved the first 1.01 version releases on DVD not too long ago, Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone on Blu-ray is definitely the way to go if you want to experience the film the way it was really meant to be seen in this era of HD. Sporting gorgeous crisp and colorful visual presentation and a far superior sound quality, the 1.11 version should have came with napkins because, Evangelion fans, this Blu-ray will make you drool.
Evangelion 1.11 tells a story very familiar to Neon Genesis Evangelion fans and that’s mainly because the story is taken directly from the series itself … more specifically, You Are (Not) Alone covers the first six episodes from the series. The rebuild still revolves around Shinji Ikari who lives in a futuristic version of Tokyo that has been ravaged by a war against mysterious invaders called Angels. Shinji finds himself in a most unusual situation when he is whisked away into an underground bunker belonging to a United Nation’s sanctioned group called NERV. You see, Shinji’s father works for NERV and wants his only son to pilot a giant Mech called the Eva Unit and use it to fight against an Angel attacking the city.
Of course, Shinji’s first reaction is that he knows nothing about piloting some experimental Mech and yes it’s scary to think that his father would allow him – a mere High school student – to put his life in danger without even an explanation. Yet when his father attempts to place a cute white-haired girl in the cockpit of the Eva Unit, Shinji steps up and begins his life as the pilot of the Eva Unit-1. Poor Shinji realizes that the fate of the entire world rests on his ability to pilot the Eva Unit-1.
This, of course, is a job Shinji is not ready to accept so willingly despite the fact that he won his first battle. He begins living with an attractive older woman named Misato Katsuragi who also acts as his handler and who attempts to keep Shinji in line. Unfortunately for her, Shinji just doesn’t want any part of fighting Angels and so far nothing good as come out of it. He even gets bullied in school.
Yet Shinji is somewhat interested in another Eva Unit pilot by the name of Rei Ayanami who also happens to be in his class back in school. Rei is certainly mystery but what we do know about her is that Shinji’s father takes good care of her as if she were his own daughter. Shinji gets to know Rei and even come to join her in battle. In fact, Shinji even finds inspiration to fight thanks to Rei.
Watching Shinji go from insecure and cowardly to understanding his role and accepting his fate is endearing and shows how much heart the original series so early in the series. There’s action aplenty and a great final battle as the film introduces the things we can come to expect from the upcoming sequels that make up this rebuild. It’s no wonder that Neon Genesis Evangelion is the ultimate Mech series that other series try hard measure up to in the end.
For those fans who dreamed of seeing Evangelion in a gorgeous high-definition format should dream no more because Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone is here. The rebuild is true to the classic in just about every way and now it’s looking better than you could ever imagine so, Blu-ray owners, this is the one you will want to have in your Blu-ray collection.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
Basically taking the first six episodes of the Evangelion series and turning into part one of a series of films, You Are (Not) Alone is the story of High school student Shinji Ikari who finds himself immediately thrust into the role of an Eve unit mech for an organization called NERV. His job is to help NERV eliminate invaders known as Angels that come to wipe mankind off the planet.
VIDEO QUALITY: A+
While the Evangelion 1.01 was nothing to sneeze at it is this 1.11 rebuild that looks crisper and far more colorful seeing as it comes straight off the digital print. You really have to see it in high-def to really get the benefit of how gorgeous this movie looks on Blu-ray.
AUDIO QUALITY: A+
You can expect this one to sound just as amazing as it looks thanks to its Dolby TrueHD sound for both the Japanese and English dub and yes this is the kind of movie you want to watch with the volume cranked up because the voice acting, sound effects and music come together beautifully just like it did on the big screen.
This edition comes complete with a number of extras that include seven different takes on the original movie preview, loads of trailers and the promotional music video of the score’s most impressive tune, “Angel of Doom.” The Rebuild of Evangelion 1.01 has two features one with the music of Shiro Sagisu and the other with the music of Joseph-Maurice Ravel.
Evangelion 1.11: You Are (Not) Alone is exactly what your Blu-ray player has been waiting for in terms of displaying an anime feature film that rightfully deserves the high-definition treatment. Evangelion fans, this is the definitive version of this soon-to-be classic rebuilt of an anime favorite so no one will blame you if you want to stop reading this review and run out and buy it right now.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment