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The Plot Thickens in "Evangelion Platinum: 02"

The Angels, beastly, calculating creatures, are still attacking Japan, and it’s up to NERV to prevent a Third Impact. With their giant Evangelions, things have been going relatively smoothly. But with the introduction of Unit 02 and its pilot, Asuka Langley, things get heated in this ADV re-release, Neon Genesis Evangelion Platinum: 02.

ImageEpisodes included on this disc:
Episode 6: “Rei II”
Episode 7: “A Human Work”
Episode 8: “Asuka Strikes!”
Episode 9: “Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win!”
Episode 10: “Magma Diver”

I’m going to remind you guys about this first, so I don’t get any “You’re missing all the symbolism” e-mails. Neon Genesis Evangelion is supposed to have this whole higher level of symbolism, what with “Angels” and what the Evangelions are or something but… here’s my status. My first exposure to Evangelion was its Toonami run. And then, it was Platinum Volume 1. So, I’m essentially probably one of the few people on the Internet who hasn’t seen the whole series. For me, it’s a show about a few high school kids getting cool giant robots and fighting the Angels.

And what a show it is.

“Rei II” wraps up the last episode of the first disc. An Angel that cannot be defeated by physical attacks, thanks to the energy blasts it fires when anything enters its vicinity, requires a new take. Borrowing all Japan’s electricity, Shinji must use a huge sniper rifle to pierce the Angel’s AT Field and defeat it. Rei, for once, will only be providing cover for Shinji.

Bringing back some Dai-Guard memories, “A Human Work” has a new mech on the side of good. Well, it starts out on the side of good. When the Operating System gets a Blue Screen of Death, Misato and Shinji have to deactivate the darn thing before it blows up — nucularly. I feel confident using that word as a descriptive adjective as I’m sure our President has said it at least once.

Probably the highlight of the disc (aside from the ridiculous “Both of You, Dance Like You Want to Win”… but that’s covered next) is “Asuka Strikes!” Misato, Shinji, and friends take a trip to an aircraft carrier transporting Third Child Asuka Langley, a fiery German teenager, and Eva Unit: 02. When an Angel appears on the ocean, Asuka and Shinji must take it down. There’s a snag, though: Evas can’t swim.

The show may have been made in the ’90s and set in the near-future, but this episode seems like a trip back to the 1980’s. “Both of You, Dance Like You Want To Win!” is easily the funniest episode of the series so far. When an Angel shows it can split into two parts, Shinji and Asuka must cooperate on a new level. Getting their old school groove on, the pair train for a week to be completely coordinated in their upcoming Round 2 with the Angel. Training, in this situation, means playing a lot of Dance Dance Revolution and having Shinji dress like a girl. This leads to one of the most stunningly animated scenes so far in the series—one minute of choreographed mech action. Seems fitting that a Sailor Moon staffer worked on this ballet-inspired battle.

An Angel is found under the Earth’s crust, still inactive. Thus, a “Magma Diver,” an Eva equipped with a magma-protection suit, must dive down there and retrieve it for examination. Asuka’s chosen for the job, though it won’t go exactly as planned. Honestly, despite being the last episode I watched… it was mostly forgettable.

I can easily say this has been a great series so far. It only gets better with Asuka, easily one of the more likeable characters. [Likeable? Oh, you just wait! -Ed.] It’s interesting to view her from a non-Japanese standpoint, as she’s constantly complaining about the weird stuff Japan does (Why don’t doors have locks? Why are the beds on the floor?); she’s a foreigner, and she’s asking questions we all would. I’m not sure if it’s endearing or annoying that she uses German phrases sometimes. While it certainly adds uniqueness to her character, it’s somewhat annoying not to understand what she’s saying. Shinji begins to grow a little, with the inclusion of another female roommate. Rei, on the other hand, quickly falls back in the shadows after the first episode, which is odd, as she seemed to grow a little at the end.

Extras are enjoyable, for the most part. Clean opening, clean closing, and trailers for ADV products are standard stuff. I love commentaries, and we get one on Episode 8 with Tiffany Grant (Asuka) and Allison Shipp (Misato). They mainly reminisce on the fact that Evangelion keeps on returning every few months. This struck me as funny, when a voice actress said “Don’t want to give away any spoilers though; some people watching this may not have seen the whole series yet… as crazy as that is to think…”

Well, call me crazy.

A very special extra is the animatic for Episode 9. This would be a cool bonus… if it didn’t get boring two minutes into it. Still, if you’re in to the creation of animation, you’ll hopefully like it.

For packaging, you get the shiny slipcover, just like Volume 1. Also, included in the case is a 12-page profile book. While not as epic as the Weekly Abeno-Spoiler from Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi, it gives insight into the Angels, the episodes, and the intro for the series.

If you haven’t seen Eva yet, go grab volume one and two. Assuming you have, I honestly can’t tell you how much better this release is. Neon Genesis Evangelion has great battles with a dark background. Can’t wait to see more revealed.

… also can’t figure out where I’ve heard that opening bit of the theme song…

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