Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion were both spawned after the success of Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series which lasted 26 captivating episodes. The main driving force behind these two movies was the mixed response to the original conclusion of the series that Gainax received from its huge fan base.
I suspect you already know Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion had previously been distributed on DVD separately by Manga Entertainment. With this new release both movies have been combined into a single, attractive, convenient package.
The first of half of Death and Rebirth (Death) is a brief re-telling of the events that took place throughout episodes 1 to 24 of the TV series; this also includes a few new animated sequences, which may give some of the fans who have already seen the series a reason to sit through this short re-cap of previous events. “Death” I feel is quite important and perhaps more relevant than most people give it credit for, mainly because you are about to watch “Rebirth” or End of Evangelion, so you need to feel up to scratch on all the events that have previously occurred. Even though I had seen the TV series fairly recently there where still parts of “Death” that I had forgotten, so for me this served as a helpful reminder.
When “Death” concludes, “Rebirth” commences. “Rebirth” is essentially the first third of End of Evangelion so if you are planning on watching this shortly after Death and Rebirth, then you may want to give Rebirth a miss.
End of Evangelion is the main part of this release that most of you will be eager to see. It is essentially a different version of the last two episodes of the somewhat disappointing conclusion to the series. End of Evangelion has a certificate of “15” and boy does it deserve it, kicking off with graphic sequences straight from the beginning through to the end of the movie. Though this violence is not without reason, I believe all aspects that earned End of Evangelion this rating are fully justified. Some maybe shocked at just how graphic some of the scenes are, but with such epic fighting scenes between biomechanical robots battling it out with an all out army assault on NERV headquarters there are bound to be bloody consequences.
Without a doubt the animation is truly top notch, from the exhilarating adrenaline pumped action sequences with Asuka piloting her EVA unit to the SEELE assault on NERV headquarters, no action fan would be disappointed.
Towards the end of the movie, everything starts to get a little bit complicated, this should come as no surprise to anyone after seeing how deep and densely layered NGE is. This may turn off some fans who were completely flabbergasted by the end result of TV series, but I believe it is not as much of a scrambled jig-saw puzzle as the TV series was. In my opinion this movie is defiantly going to benefit from repeat viewings, as I expect many NGE fans will not have completely understood everything that transpires by the conclusion, I certainly did not.
It is also important to understand that by the end of this movie there is not going to be a complete clear picture about the whole NGE saga, many different people will interpret what happens differently which is not a bad thing, just don’t expect everyone to come to the same conclusion and understand everything in pure clarity.
The menus for each DVD are clear and easy to navigate, the End of Evangelion menu being more attractive than both the Death and Rebirth ones. The special features range from standard fare like trailers to character profiles.
I am very impressed with the design of the DVD slipcover and fold out case. The artwork is rich and vibrant in colour; the imagery used is very professional and does indeed do justice to the epic status of this anime. On the back of the slipcover there are a few images taken from the movies, accompanied by some brief text giving a synopsis of the content, including special features, alternate languages and additional subtitles.
Inside is the DVD case that boasts the same stylish cover art as the slipcover. This then folds out into a pack holding all three DVDs. When you initially fold out the case you are presented with various images and text from Death and Rebirth and End of Evangelion in the exact same format as on the back of the slipcover. Behind each DVD there is a high resolution image from NGE which displays a nice professional touch.
I can only really recommend this release to people who have already had the pleasure of watching the TV series because even though Rebirth will bring you up to speed on the main events of the TV series, it is no substitute for witnessing everything the TV series offers.
The packaging is very attractive and impressive, Manga Entertainment have put a lot of effort into producing a fine looking release which will not let any fans down.