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Evangelion: 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 3, 2010 by  



“Evangelion 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone” has literally raised the bar for anime on blu-ray.  This film looks fantastic and the lossless audio for both audio tracks is just immersive and phenomenal.  This Blu-ray release is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © KHARA INC.  All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Evangelion: 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone

DURATION: 98 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition,English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 6.1, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: KHARA INC./FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Action, Violence and Some Nudity)

Release Date: March 9, 2010

 

Originally Created by Hideaki Anno

Chief Director: Hideaki Anno

Director: Kazuya Tsurumaki, Masayuki

Co-Director: Kobun Shizuno

Screenplay by Hideaki Anno

Storyboard by Shinji Higuchi and Tomoki Kyoda

Music by Shiro Sagisu

Character Design by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Art Director: Hiroshi Kato, Tatsuya Kushida

Chief Animation Director: Shunji Suzuki

Mechanical Design: Ikuto Yamashita

Director of Photography: Toru Fukushi

Executive Producer: Toshimichi Ootsuki

Animation Production by GAINAX

Featuring the following voice talent:

Kotono Mitsuishi/Allison Keith as Misato Katsuragi

Megumi Hayashibara/Brina Palencia as Rei Ayanami

Megumi Ogata/Spike Spencer as Shinji Ikari

Akira Ishida/Jerry Jewell as Kaworu Nagisa

Fumihiko Tachiki/John Swasey as Gendou Ikari

Motomu Kiyokawa/Kent Williams as Kouzou Fuyutsuki

Yuriko Yamaguchi/Colleen Clinkenbeard as Ritsuko Akagi

Hiro Yuuki as Makoto Hyuuga

Megumi Hayashibara/Monica Rial/Stephanie Young as Pen Pen and Yui Ikari

Mugihito/Bell Jenkins as Keel Lorentz

Takehito Koyasu/Phil Parsons as Shigero Aoba

Tetsuya Iwanaga/Greg Ayres as Kensuke Aida

Tomokazu Seki/Justin Cook as Touji Suzuhara

Tokyo-3 still stands after most of civilization was decimated in the Second Impact. Now the city endures the ceaseless onslaught of the deadly Angels, bizarre creatures bent on eradicating the human race. To combat this strange and ruthless enemy, the government agency NERV constructs a fleet of towering humanoid machines – the Evas – and Shinji Ikari is called into action, reluctantly taking his place at the controls of Eva Unit 01.

Living a life of loneliness and questioning his existence, Shinji struggles to accept responsibility for mankind’s battle for survival. Shinji will fight the Angels alongside the only person who might understand his plight: Rei Ayanami, the elusive and frail pilot of Eva Unit 00. Shinji and Rei will struggle to learn a simple truth: when carrying the burden of humanity’s survival on your shoulders, you are not alone.

Absolutely emo with action and destruction galore combined with beautiful, vibrant visuals, solid tweaking of the original storyline and the first rebuild film that “Neon Genesis Evangelion” fans will truly adore.  Evangelion: 1.11 – You Are (NOT) Alone is highly recommended and the Blu-ray release literally raises the bar for quality anime on Blu-ray!

In 2006, Japanese fans and anime fans of “Neon Genesis Evangelion” received exciting news that in the Summer of 2007, the first of four Evangelion films based on the anime television series would be released in theaters.   According to news reports, Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno watched the series from beginning to end and wanted to fix up a lot of questions and debates that fans had over the television series and most importantly, incorporate today’s new CG technology for the film versions.  Even furthering the excitement is that the original crew and cast have signed on to work on the new film.

So, with mass promotion in Japan, “Evangelion 1.01 – You Are (Not) Alone” became the #1 film in Japan making over $14.6 million (US), surpassing “The End of Evangelion” which brought in $14.5 million (US).  A limited edition DVD was released in Japan in 2008 which came with a script, music videos and an “Explanation of Evangelion” feature and needless to say, fans paid dearly for this limited edition DVD release (only 300,000 were made).  A Blu-ray and DVD release titled “Evangelion 1.11” which included a re-transfer of the film plus three additional minutes was released in May 2009 and is currently the best selling Blu-ray release in Japan and now the Blu-ray and DVD release of “Evangelion 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone” has been released in the US.

With many Americans waiting for “Evangelion 1.11” Blu-ray release, suffice to say, the film was released with a very short run at limited theaters and made over $100,000 and was screened at the anime convention Anime Expo in 2009 with great fanfare.

“Evangelion: 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone” is a film that takes the first six episodes of the TV series and features new animation and CG and a few different storyline details of certain characters but for the most part, creator Hideaki Anno made sure the film was faithful to the anime series.  The major difference between “Evangelion 1.01” and “Evangelion 1.11” is that the latter includes three minutes of extra footage (spread out during the first 15 minutes of the film) and scenes that were darker can now be seen much better.  Also, the Blu-ray edition boasts video and audio in HD and also comes with special features which 1.01 on DVD was barebones.

In the first film, Shinji Ikari’s father, the Supreme Commander of NERV, sends Lt. Colonel Misato Katsuragi to pick up Shinji, while the city is being attacked by another Angel (aliens destroying Earth).  When he is brought to Tokyo-3 at NERV HQ, immediately his father expects him to pilot the Evangelion Unit-01.

Shinji, who thought he could spend some time with his father or somehow have some father and son bond is shocked that he is brought all that way to pilot the Evangelion and immediately breaks down.  When Shinji refuses, his father asks for the injured Rei Ayanami to pilot her Evangelion unit.  But Shinji sees her, hurt and bloody from her last battle that he ends up accepting the mission and taking on the Angel.

Shinji pilots the Evangelion Unit-01 and defeats the angel but in the process, a large part of the city is destroyed.

Shinji is brought to Misato’s home and will temporarily live at her place but meanwhile, Shinji who wants his father’s love and attention, can’t understand why he is being used and why he is the one being selected to fight the Angels.  Weak and feeling alone, even his classmates bully and beat him up because of the destruction he caused while fighting the Angel.

This leads to Shinji questioning his life, his father and his purpose.  But when he meets Rei Ayanami, he starts to become curious towards her.  Meanwhile, more angels show up but with Shinji in such a negative and depressed mood, can he handle the burden of being the hero that must protect humankind?

VIDEO:

“Evangelion 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone” is featured in 1080p High Definition.  I had the opportunity to compare the Blu-ray to the 1.01 DVD release from FUNimation Entertainment from last fall and I can tell you right now that this Blu-ray looks fantastic.  Detail is much more apparent and the vibrancy of the colors of the film literally pop onscreen.   The CG animation is top notch and overall, Gainax definitely went all out in creating a fantastic anime full of detail, vibrant colors and staying faithful to the anime series but making sure everything is updated and looks amazing.

The DVD looks good but the main difference was that 1.01 was taken from a 35mm film transfer while the Blu-ray release was taken from the original High Definition digital file.  Not to say that the two look like night and day but there is a significant difference in terms of how vibrant and sharper the animation looks on Blu-ray.   “Evangelion 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone” looks absolutely beautiful!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for audio, I know how I was appreciative of the Dolby Digital 5.1 for  “Evangelion 1.01 – You Are (Not) Alone” but for “Evangelion 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone”, you get a Dolby TrueHD 6.1 English and Japanese lossless soundtrack and there are MAJOR differences between the lossless soundtrack and its DVD counterpart.  On lossless, there is good use of the various channels for this film.  From hearing the music and main character vocal coming from the center and front channels, you will then hear the loudspeakers through the surround channels and then the rear surround channels carry audio that is different.  For example, in one scene in which Shinji is asking out of his mecha, you hear the main characters and vocals through the center and front channels, loud speakers and musical instruments on the surround and on the rear surround channel, you hear Shinji screaming in agony behind you.

There is a huge difference between the lossless audio track and the Dolby Digital 5.1 track from the DVD.  Personally, the lossless audio is just phenomenal, how it is so immersive and envelops the soundscape from all directions was fantastic.  And I am so happy to find out that the Japanese audio track is lossless as well. Something that fans have wanted from anime on Blu-ray!

As for the dubbing, personally, I have never listened to the original ADV Films English dubs, so I can’t comment on how the newer voice dubs are with the original but from what I hear from friends and have read, fans were more than grateful for the English voice dubbing for “Evangelion 1.01”.  As for the Japanese voice acting, I’ve always felt the voice acting was solid.  Both tracks are similar for the most part in terms of audio featured on a certain channel but I did notice that the Japanese lossless track took advantage of the space.  For example, in the beginning you will see Shinji, his father and the scientist in a large open space.  In the Japanese lossless audio track, the sense of emptiness in that area and the echoing can be heard quite well on the lossless Japanese audio track.  But I also feel that the English dub was a slight more louder than its Japanese counterpart.  So overall, both lossless audio soundtracks are well-done.

As for subtitles, the subtitles on the Blu-ray are in English only.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Evangelion: 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone” contains the following special features:

  • Rebuild of Evangelion 1.01 – (15:14) This segment features two versions of the pre-rendered 3D compared to the final cut.  The two versions are the Shiro Sagisu Version and the Joseph-Maurice Ravel Version and both music are different from one another but the segment is the same.
  • Angel of Doom Promotion – (2:20) A music montage video from scenes taken from the film.
  • News Flasher – (:55) Text teasers for “Evangelion 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone).
  • Movie Previews – The movie previews contain the Preview 1 (Color Corrected Version), three versions of the “Fly Me to the Moon” and three versions of the “Beautiful World” themes (sung by Hikaru Utada).
  • FUNimation Entertainment Trailers

When I first heard that the rebuild of “Neon Genesis Evangelion” would take place and that these new films would be based on the television series, I wasn’t so surprised because the series is so popular that it would definitely generate an extreme amount of money for GAINAX.  But one thing that I was not looking forward and what drove me crazy about the TV series was the character of Shinji Ikari.  Back in the mid-90’s, I can easily remember how his whining really tested my patience and looking back, he was such an anti-hero, mainly because he was “emo” most of the time.  Always negative, always in a bit of depression and funk as he always felt people didn’t care about him (and yes, I know that Hideaki Anno was clinically depressed when he was creating this film and parts of show was based on his depression) but it did get on my nerves at the time.

But here we are nearly 15 years later and watching “Evangelion 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone” and after it was all done, I was excited and hoping the second film would come out stateside very soon.  Yes, Shinji still whines and is still depressed but the fact is the film is structured a bit differently from the anime TV series and somehow, the pacing is much easier to take for the viewer with the film version and felt that the screenplay for the first film, the quality of the animation and artistic backgrounds and the music all worked together fantastically.

In a way, some part of me wants to rewatch first six episodes of the television series to find out the key differences (it’s been 14 years and I can’t recall too much from the television series except certain key scenes and the final episodes) were but personally, I found myself happy and content with this film that I look forward to seeing how Anno and the GAINAX crew tweak the next three films (and I can’t wait until the final film).  But for the most part, I felt that the film, the voice acting, the animation, the art and everything else about the film was well done and fantastic.

As for the Blu-ray release, this release was just fantastic.  I felt the Eva 1.01 DVD release was good but after watching this Blu-ray release, “Evangelion: 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone” is just fantastic and just an overall exciting release.  Fantastic picture quality, as well as phenomenal lossless Japanese audio.

As for the PG-13 rating, yes, “Evangelion 1.11” has its share of violence and nudity, so this is not a series that you want to have your little kids around watching at all.  But overall, in the end, it was great to see Evangelion again but this time with the much improved reboot.  Nearly 15-years-later, it was definitely great to see Evangelion again but this time in a film sporting newer animation, CG, artwork and a solid screenplay and soundtrack.   But most importantly,  done in the way that the director Hideaki Anno had wanted but also what the fans have wanted as well.  And after I watched the film,  I can tell you that I loved it! The action, the drama is still intact.  Things may be a little different but still, fans of the original series will definitely enjoy this film release.

“Evangelion: 1.11 – You Are (Not) Alone” is in the top 3 for best anime release on Blu-ray.  This release is absolutely fantastic and I definitely recommend this film in HD!

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