Sunday, 23 December 2012

Book Review - Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-In-1 Edition Volume #1

For years I have been craving to read the manga adaptation of Neon Genesis Evangelion. While I do like anime, I have not read much manga. Only a few here and there. Earlier today I made a run to a nearby Barnes and Noble and amongst other items, I picked up the first volume of the Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-In-1 Edition. It's exactly what it says it is, three volumes of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga in one book. I was so psyched when I stumbled upon this. I just had to get it, and once I did I began reading it and couldn't put it down!

Neon Genesis Evangelion is set in the year 2015. 15 years ago, a cataclysmic event occurred called Second Impact. It is told to the world that a meteor struck Antarctica, instantly melting the ice cap and raising sea levels by 60 meters, flooding coastal areas and putting the world in a state of chaos and desperation. 15 years have past and through the advancement of technology and ingenuity, mankind was able to rise back up amidst a post apocalyptic world. Our main protagonist is Shinji Ikari, a 14 year old boy, abandoned by his father, Gendo Ikari, as a child. He is called to Japan's new capital, Tokyo-3, by him for what he believes to be a 'happy' reunion. He is suddenly caught in the middle of an attack by a gigantic creature called and Angel. Shinji soon discovers his father's true intentions for him. Shinji is to be the pilot for Evangelion Unit 01 and his mission is to protect humanity against the deadly onslaught of the Angels.

I am all to familiar with the Evangelion story. I've watched the original anime series as well as the more recent Rebuild of Evangelion movies (spare the most recent movie, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo). The 3-In-1 Edition covers the events of episodes one to five in the anime. In all honesty, I think the manga does the Evangelion story much more justice than the actual anime itself.

Shinji's characterization is handled way better this time around. The story is mostly told through his perspective, so we peer into his mind a lot more in the manga than in the anime. His monologues shed more light on his troubled past as well as his difficulties in his relationships with his father, Misato, Rei, and his friends Toji and Kensuke. Unlike in the anime where Shinji is timid and shy, he is a lot more outgoing in the manga, even to call Misato a "weirdo" right to her face. Also his back-story was changed slightly. In the anime Shinji was living with his sensei prior to the series. In the manga, it was with his aunt and uncle. After his first battle with Ramiel (the diamond shaped Angel), where he's in the hospital, he has a flashback to when he was living with his aunt and uncle. This little flashback helps us get a little more insight to why Shinji is the way he is. One of the things about Shinji that I noticed a lot more in the manga is his relationship with Misato. Misato is attempting to act like a motherly figure towards Shinji. It was her that 'forced' Shinji to live with her in order to 'fix his attitude.' Unseen in the anime, Shinji realizes that he is living with Misato merely for her to keep an eye on him, which makes him resent her. He believed that Misato actually cared for him, which she actually does. I liked how the manga fleshed out their relationship. I feel that it's a lot more stronger in this adaptation of the story than in the anime or movies.

Overall, I consider Neon Genesis Evangelion a classic, no matter what medium it is presented in. This is my first time reading the manga, and I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it. It had details that were absent from the anime, and provided a lot more insight on some of the characters, especially Shinji and Misato. I give this volume a 5/5. The second 3-In-1 Edition with Volumes 4, 5, and 6 is due out next March with the third following up in May. While I do have the means to acquire the individual issues of the manga, I wish to wait to get the rest of the 3-In-1 Editions.

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