The Neon Genesis Evangelion Films (Death & Rebirth, End, 1.11 and 2.22) were all in the qualifying round of the GSFFT. In preparation for our podcasts discussing these films, I’m taking a look at the Evangelion manga, which recently came to an end in Japan.
Title: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Volume 1
Story and Art: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Creator: Hideaki Anno
Translator: Mari Morimoto
English Adaptation: Fred Burke & Carl Gustav Horn
Publisher: Viz Media
Available from Amazon.com
Shinji Ikari is living an aimless life with his aunt and uncle, after his father, Gendo Ikari, sent him to live with them after his mother’s death. After being asked to come to Tokyo-3, Shinji comes, hoping to finally be accepted by his father.
Except his father wants him to come to Tokyo-3 to pilot a giant robot (well, cybernetic organism), called an Evangelion to protect humanity from giant monsters called Angels, which emerged after half of humanity was wiped out 15 years earlier in an event called Second Impact.
The fate of the world lies on the shoulders of a 14 year old boy. Will his soul survive?
Shinji is characterized in the TV show in a fashion that works for a moving medium, but not a stationary one, like manga. Thus, his characterization is changed to fit the medium, and the work benefits because of this. Specifically, Shinji here is more willing to speak his mind, though he’s still not direct. Generally, the manga has more dialog overall then the anime, which kickstarts everyone’s characterization.
The action sequences in this volume are a little difficult to parse. To be fair, the first has Shinji and Misato being caught, effectively, in a giant monster attack at ground level, and in the second Shinji has no idea what he’s doing, so I suspect the disjointed style is deliberate.
Originality: The plot sticks fairly close to the plot of Eva’s first two episodes, with some changes to characterization and dialog. 4/6
Artwork: Sadamoto’s art is very good, which makes sense, as Sadamoto was the character designer for the show, and was an animation director on the first couple Eva movies. 5/6
Story: The original story was fairly well written in the show, and it works just as well in the manga. 5/6
Characterization: Characters are fleshed out more in this volume, in part due to changing the tragedy of the series from being a failure to communicate through silences, to a failure to communicate by beating around the bush and leaving things unsaid, and expecting people to read between the lines when they’re not in any condition to do so. 5/6
Emotional Response: We get to know Shinji a little better in this volume then we did at this point in hte series, in part because the way the medium works means it’s easier to let the audience know his inner thoughts. 4/6
Flow: See the low point. 5/6
In Total, NGE Vol. 1 gets 33/42.
Differences Between Show & Manga
As I go through the manga, I’ll give significant story beats that are changed between the two. These will be spoiler tagged.
- Shinji does not see Ghost-Rei (III) during the attack.
- Rei (II) sorties to keep the angel away from Shinji & Misato in Unit-01
- Unit-1 does not move on its own to protect Shinji.
- The Human Instrumentality Project is name-checked.
- First hint that Yui Ikari has been absorbed by Unit-01.