Our special thanks to FUNimation Entertainment for providing CollectionDX with this free DVD copy for review!
All Menus have Evangelion Unit-01 in silhouette against an un-detailed hill/city background, each in a different color. There is no motion in any of the Menus, but a different musical soundtrack from the film plays each time.
Rated “PG-13” by the Motion Picture Association of America
(action violence and some nudity)
This film is the first in a series of four movies known collectively as Rebuild of Evangelion...
In the near future, the world was devastated by a single event known as the Second Impact. This had significant changes on the global climate- creating a perpetual spring/summer all year-long, all of the oceans turned red, bringing even the greatest of nations to their knees, and over half of the world’s human population was killed. Through careful interpretations by a secret organization known as SEELE, the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found to prophesies the arrival of twelve monstrous creatures called Angels (Shito, “messenger from God”) which could individually bring about another apocalypse, called the Third Impact. A United Nations organization, NERV, was established to find a defense against the Angels before they arrived. They created a secret fortress within & below the metropolis of Tokyo-3, Japan as their headquarters, and constructed several giant armored humanoid life-forms called Evangelion Units, under the direction of NERV’s Supreme-Commander Gendou Ikari.
Fourteen year-old Shinji Ikari has been chosen to become a candidate to pilot an Evangelion. He is a withdrawn and depressed boy with no close connections to any friends or family, and his father abandoned him eight years earlier without even saying good-bye. The world is suddenly thrust upon him as he is forced to pilot Evangelion Unit-One ("Evangelion Shogouki") in order to prevent the anticipated invasion of the Fourth Angel into Tokyo-3. Shinji is caught completely unawares and is highly reluctant to fight, not having a good reason to do so and being scared. He chooses to fight in Unit-01, but having no prior training, Shinji’s EVA is mauled by the Angel. But then the EVA mysteriously reactivates and brutally beats the Angel on its own until it self-destructs (Shinji being unconscious the entire time)! After recovering from his first battle, Shinji moves in with Lt Colonel Misato Katsuragi (NERV’s tactical officer) since his father still won’t take him in, and soon begins his pilots training. But even as the Fifth Angel appears weeks later, he still doesn’t understand his motivations for going through the trauma of being a pilot. After disobeying Misato’s orders (but successfully defeating the Angel on his own), Shinji sees no reason to stay at NERV if it causes him nothing but pain and he gets no praise. So he runs away, aimlessly wandering Tokyo-3. Meanwhile, the prototype EVA Unit-Zero ("Evangelion Zerogouki") is finally restored after going berserk during its early activation tests weeks earlier and nearly killing but seriously injuring its own pilot, the quiet & mysterious Rei Ayanami. After being confronted by Misato again, Shinji agrees to pilot once more even if he still doesn’t like it or know why. Now the Sixth Angel appears, but Unit-01 and Shinji are immediately overwhelmed by the ferocity of its massive energy blasts, and a good portion of Tokyo-3 is sacrificed to retrieve the badly-damaged EVA. Not being able to confront the powerful Angel directly at close-range as they usually would, Misato devises a desperate plan to attack it from miles away. Shinji awakens in the hospital with Rei standing over him, but he is too scared to fight. As Operation: Yashima is hours from beginning, Misato finds Shinji still at the hospital. She finally gives him a reason to fight: if an Angel were ever to get into NERV HQ, the Third Impact would occur…
After the End Credits run, Misato voices-over a Preview for the next film in the theatrical series, “Evangelion: 2.0- You Can (Not) Advance”, showing rapid snapshots of scenes from the new movie, and assures us that there will be plenty more fan service!
As a film created in Japan, there are two language tracks available, both available in 5.1 Surround Sound:
- English (DVD-default, dubbed using American actors)
There are also English Subtitles that are provided. However, there is a trick to the subtitles that I did not find in the menu here:
- The first is- what I’ll call- ‘substitution-text subtitles’, which show only when prominent Japanese text appears in the movie. These default to On when the English dialogue audio is activated. (They appear not even a handful of times, and there’s really nothing all that relevant that they describe. However, during the End Credits, the song “Beautiful World” plays and they are best used here to translate the lyrics.)
- The other is a general translation of all spoken words when the Japanese dialogue is activated. With this option, the substitution-text also appears when needed, so you will see both at the same time. (If you want to compare the translations with the English actors’ performances, you can mix the English subtitles with the English dub. There are subtle - though, in my opinion, I would not say significant- differences and they cannot match word-for-word because of the different grammar of the two languages, and how the English dubbing is performed.)
Apparently, the substitution-text subtitles do not appear when the audio is switched to Japanese and the Subtitles in the menu are turned off; however, they default to On when English dub is selected even if the Subtitles have been turned Off. Using your own DVD controller, you can carefully sort through these Audio Options as you see fit. (In other words, it’s a nice feature to have, but it’s hard to understand how it works!) Regardless of which Options you select, the End Credits of the movie will always run in English text.
[There are not separate Closed Captions (CC) for the hearing-impaired. Indeed, CC will not display anything during this DVD.]
The movie is broken down into thirty-three chapters, each specifically set to start at the beginning of a[ny] scene rather than randomly placed.
There are trailers here for other TV series and movies recently being imported by FUNimation (various ratings):
- "Spice and Wolf" (reviewed on Anime.CollectionDX.com)
- "Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid" (reviewed on Anime.CollectionDX.com)
- "Claymore" (reviewed on Anime.CollectionDX.com)
- "Fullmetal Alchemist"
- "Tower of Druaga"
- "Nabari No Ou" (reviewed on Anime.CollectionDX.com)
- "Gunslinger Girl"
Conclusions & Comments
It’s a pretty basic & standard anime DVD we have here, nothing particularly special or important beyond the movie. The movie itself, though, has a significant flaw that has come to my attention after-the-fact. Apparently, the film did not transfer very well to the DVD format, and there is a lightening issue. Where? Well, in every single shot that takes place in darkness! If you watch the battle between Unit-01 and the Fourth Angel in the first 20 minutes, you can barely see anything at all except maybe streetlights, the Angel’s core, and the EVA’s striking neon-green armor highlights... and that’s it! All of those trucks, trains, and power generators seen being assembled before Operation: Yashima? They’re also cloaked in darkness… and it is a blank-state which becomes even more pronounced when I tried to play the DVD on my computer! For dramatic moments which take place at night or in darkened regions, you can’t see many of the details, and can only guess as to what is going on by sound. (My sympathies thus go to the deaf, for they will get nothing out of it at all…) An interesting start to this new series of movies. When it ends, I hope they make a TV series about it- maybe a sequel of som--
Wait- there already was a TV series? When was somebody gonna tell me this-!?
As a long-time fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion, I cannot believe that I actually find myself insulted and disturbed that absolutely no nod or tribute or tip-of-the-hat was made to the franchise which captured my attention so long ago. If you didn’t know about the story before, this is certainly the place to start. But if you didn’t know that the four films are actually an updated version of a popular-yet-controversial 26-episode anime series, you have no idea about many of the details that are being left out and which were fleshed out more thoroughly in 1995. Of the significant changes that are being wrought in this film series which could not possibly be accomplished on a TV series’ budget & time constraints. How a good majority of the movie is nearly shot-for-shot from the series, but was completely repainted and updated for the big-screen. And not only that, but that the series and two previous theatrical sequel movies have already been brought over to English-speaking audiences! Spike Spencer and Allison Keith-Shipp return to fill [perhaps] their most-recognized dubbing roles (Shinji Ikari and Misato Katsuragi, respectively), and there’s no note of that. (For that matter, the entire original Japanese cast was reunited for the four films, and there’s no mention of that significant arrangement either!) There is no acknowledgment, documentary, or even puny text-only notes whatsoever to tell newcomers that this film would not have been possible without the staying-power of its fans on both sides of the Pacific and the dedication of its creators in returning to give us a new light on a classic series. “Evangelion: 1.0- You Are (Not) Alone” is a brilliant remastering of the first six episodes of the TV show (even if a little difficult to see at times), but this single DVD would have you think otherwise… that it’s all just another average, ordinary day in the world of anime.
Be sure to also read the review for the two-disc special-edition version, "Evangelion: 1.11- You Are (Not) Alone", written by CDX's own Ginrai!