A couple years ago at a convention on the US east coast a friend of mine handed me a VHS tape. He said there was something about Evangelion stuff being on it or something. I was intrigued, but didn't get around to actually looking at it until just last week. Little did I know that it was a screening of Episode 1 of Neon Genesis Evangelion in the US prior to its Japanese debut in October 4th, 1995!
The tape is labeled "Asunaro Club Anime Primer 101." This was recorded at a convention held in a Marriott hotel in Anaheim, California back in July of 1995. The tape was recorded in EP Mode to fit 6-hours of video onto a typically 2-hour cassette tape (when recorded in SP Mode), so the image quality on the tape itself is pretty low. This was not aided by my digitizing system, which relied on DVDs for data storage, and a single-layer DVD can record only about 1 hour of video in 480p. The image size for the video was squashed down to 264i to fit the 6-hour tape onto one single-layer DVD. I might try again later and just record the whole tape over 6 different DVDs to preserve the video in the highest possible quality.
The first thing on this tape is a rather clean (albeit several-generation copied) recording of Fushigi Yuugi.
A photo of my duel-screen home theater system where I'm digitizing the tape.
Macross 7's OP is killer and I might need to watch the rest of the show.
Fansub of Maison Ikkoku.
This bit of fan service was so well-loved...
...the original owner wore out the tape.
After that, the tape begins play what appears to be a cosplay contest.
A Sailor Moon cosplayer performing to the song "I'm Cute" from Animaniacs. It was also during the wider shots of this event where I was able to spot "Anaheim Marriott" on the stage podium behind the cosplayers.
After the cosplay contest, more anime begins to play. I'm quickly realizing that this is the closest I was gonna get to having an actual conventions in the year 2020, so I ran out to the store and got a few beers while the tape was digitizing.
To summarize much of this tape, what it looks like it happening is the videographer is documenting his experience at the convention, and there's a fair bit of production value in much of this tape. The videographer will talk with the coordinator of the Masquerade Ball, and there will be background music dubbed in at the ending stage of the tape, usually from other anime, accompanying this interview and many of the other moments the videographer decides to record while at the con. No panels were included in this tape, but there's a lot of discussions at hotel rooms and hotel lobbies among friends. I don't think I would have been as enthralled about all of this if it weren't for the fact that all my convention fun had to be shut down this year due to the plague.
Anyway, the videographer points his camera at a computer monitor displaying text in Microsoft WordPad in order to include on-screen titles, and that's where I found any evidence as to the date this tape was recorded.
Presumably, "Megumi" is here.
I have no idea who "Megumi" is, and I'm not really gonna go back and rewatch the conversational bits in the tape to find out just yet. That is all besides the point anyway. The graphic was included to give a date to the time during which this tape was recorded.
July 7th, 1995.
There's some more conversations and going back and forth to the Artists' Alley and (I presume) the Dealers' Room, all with some anime playing between these segments. My guess is that the videographer is plugging his camera equipment directly into the VCR playing the tapes in the video rooms in order to get the cleanest possible recording of the shows he saw that weekend.
And then it happens...
I wanted to take the time to compare the difference between this version of Eva and the versions released on VHS by A.D. Vision later in 1996, but I don't have the equipment to bypass copy-protection on VHS tapes just yet. (It's cheap, but I'm both constantly preoccupied and often times forgetful.) But I did play my VHS copies of the show anyway just to compare the differences in the subtitles.
Asunaro Tape wrote:Like a cruel angel…
…young boy become a legend.
A.D. Vision Tape wrote:Like an angel that has no sense of mercy...
Rise, young boy, to the heavens like a legend…
Also, Asunaro Subs don’t translate the on-screen text in the opening credits. Asunaro subtitles are green for the songs, white for the Tokyo-3 broadcasted announcements, and yellow for the show’s dialogue, while A.D. Vision’s subs are yellow throughout.
the subbers also just placed a black box over the original Japanese text and placed the English translation of that text in the black box.
Only translating the interesting part of the message, I see...
No subtitle translating "Shinji Ikari" printed on the photograph.
"Angels," and not "Apostles."
This makes it sound like the original spoken Japanese word should have been "Naaaaani?!"
No need to translate English-ish type words, I guess.
So far I don't think any subber has put up with the original series' nonsense of using "Third Children" in a singular form.
"Father"? With a capital "F"? Do we also meet the "Son" and the "Holy Ghost"?
Weird how A.D. Vision's "I mustn't run away" became the iconic localization of the translation of the original Japanese phrase, to the point where everything else feels wrong to me.
After that, another set of text fades onto the screen, and then abruptly gets cut off by the videographer stopping the recording in order to videotape other things.
TV edition preview (last episode of the previous program)
Thanks to JoelcrNeto's post here.
The videographer then went on to record a bunch of AMVs being screened in another video room. They all kinda sucked, with a lotta gaps between shots edited together and tracking that adjusts with every new cut, but I gotta hand it to the folks who edited their own AMVs using two VCRs. I had to do that as a middle schooler with footage I shot, and I understand the struggle.
Later on in the tape, we get the final makeshift on-screen title from the videographer, giving us another timestamp.
There is footage of video games being played on the tape after this title card.
Last days of cons always depress me in a limbo sort of way.
July 9th, 1995.
There another cosplay performance that happens involving some kick-ass Appleseed Ex Machina characters, presumably during the convention's closing ceremonies, but I think I'll stop posting screen caps for the time being.
There it is. As far as I can tell, this is evidence that some lucky fans in Anaheim, California got to see Episode 1 Evangelion before many Japanese people did, which really blows my mind!