Wednesday, January 19, 2005

NGE: Death + Rebirth

NGE: Death + Rebirth

4/5 Stars

Director: Hideaki Anno
Studio (US): Manga

Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of the most popular and well know anime series ever. It's combination of action, comedy, and human drama caused it to almost single handily revive the giant robot genre of anime. It's ending, however, left many fans unsatisfied, confused, and even angry. Death & Rebirth is the first part of GAINAX's attempt to retell the ending in a form more pleasing to fans. Unfortunately, the movie cannot really stand on it's own and must be seen with the second NGE movie, End of Evangelion to be fully appreciated.

Episodes 25 and 26 of the original series delved into the psyche of Shinji as the Third Impact took place. That ending has often been compared to 2001: A Space Odyssey in it's weirdness. Death and Rebirth takes another look at the ending, this time showing the viewer what's going on in the world outside of Shinji's head. The movie itself it broken into two parts. Death, the first part, is a recap of the series, with highlight of the major events, focusing on the main characters of the series. It also provides new footage and explanation, including a look at the 2nd impact and Adam. This part of the movie is worth watching for the explanations and extra footage, but if you're not a die hard fan of the series it might not be worth buying.

The second part of the series, Rebirth, gives us lots of great new animation. We finally get to see what happens after the last Angel is defeated, and the Third Impact is about to begin. Unfortunately, everything that's in Rebirth is included in the first part of the next movie, End of Evangelion. If you can't wait to see EoE, or are determined to know everything about Evangelion possible, then get Death & Rebirth. If not, try renting it or watching a friend's copy. Death & Rebirth is also much more "mature" than the series, not just from the lack of humor, but also from the large number of violent human deaths and the sexual themes.

Luckily for those of us who simply must own a copy, Manga (the US distributor), has made a superb DVD. Almost all of the original voice actors from the ADV Films release of the series are back, so no jarring shocks for us there. The video transfer and sound are superb, and due to the higher movie budget, the new animation is great. The DVD itself is worth wile, with a wonderful reference section that has definitions and explanations of various terms from the series and movies. It really makes understanding the series a whole lot easier. Death & Rebirth is definitely worth watching if you're a fan of the series, or to refresh your memory without watching 13 hours of anime. Just keep in mind that it's an appetizer for the main course, End of Evangelion.

Neon Genesis Evangelion - Death & Rebirth (DVD)

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