Neon Genesis Evangelion On-Air vs. Director’s Cut Comparisons

Last Updated 16/06/2020

Note: These videos have been taken down for copyright reasons, I’m keeping this post up for posterity. If you want to these videos send me a message through the contact me page.

Old Post:

A playlist of comparison videos that show the differences between the original on-air and director’s cut versions of Episodes 21-23 of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Neon Genesis Evangelion was the first anime series I watched all the way through. I watched on an anime streaming site, something like a 2007 version of kissanime. It’s stuck with me ever since. Along with the story and characters the stories behind its production are part of what makes it engaging. A lot has already been said about things like how the director, Hideaki Anno, worked personal issues into the story but what’s less talked about is the changes that have been made to the series since its initial TV broadcast.

Evangelion ran for 26 episodes from October 1995 to March 1996. It was released on VHS and Laserdisc from ‘96- ’98 and 3 DVD sets were produced from 2000-2002. There was a boxset sold by the online retailer Rightstuf, an 8 volume DVD set and a collection of those volumes called the Perfect Collection. These releases contained the unaltered version of Evangelion as it was seen during its broadcast. They also suffered from a poor transfer that had a grainy picture quality and other visual problems.

Screenshots showing the poor video quality of these DVDs. These episodes were rendered in an incorrect frame rate- making frames blend together or “ghost”. You can often see upcoming shots underneath the current one before a cut.

A film called Evangelion Death, a re-edit of NGE, was made after the series ended. It remade some scenes with improved animation and added new scenes to flesh out the story.

Episodes 21-24 of the series were arguably the most important in the series in terms of story and character development but budget constraints had left them with generally sub-par animation. In the early 2000s Director’s cut versions of these episodes were made that integrated some of the extra scenes and improved animation from Evangelion Death. These Director’s Cut episodes (also called Evangelion Renewal in Japan to make things extra confusing) were included in the next DVD release, the Platinum Collection, and all subsequent home releases.

These DVD sets also included the on-air versions of episodes 21-24, but for Episode 22 the “on-air” versuin still used the updated animation from Death, just without the extra scenes and redone dub. Whenever a website claims to have the original edit of Episode 22 they almost always have the episode’s original edit with the redone animation. This makes the home video releases from the Perfect Collection backwards the only ones that have the actual on-air version of Episode 22 to my knowledge.

These sets are rare, with used copies of the Perfect Collection costing around $170 and new copies going for $500-$700 on Amazon.

Out of sheer luck, I found some volumes of the Perfect Collection at my local DVD store, including the volumes that have episodes 21-24. Because of this I’m going to make some more comparison videos to highlight the differences between the Director’s Cut and actual on air versions of Evangelion.

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The DVDs are the Australian editions of the volumes that make up the Perfect Collection.

I’ve seen the on-air version of Episode 22 all the way through and it feels very different to the versions on later home releases. The animation is cruder and the dub sounds flat for such a serious episode. This broadcast version leaves a lot less of an impact than the director’s cut. It’s interesting to see how small changes in the way characters are drawn can made a big difference to the feel of scenes.

As with my series of videos comparing the movies to the original series, this series of videos has the audio from the original edit coming out of the left speaker and the director’s cut audio coming out of the right.

Enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments!

2 Replies to “Neon Genesis Evangelion On-Air vs. Director’s Cut Comparisons”

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