Critic’s Log - Earthdate: June 27, 2014. Manga Review #1: Neon Genesis Evangelion.
In March 12, 2012. I posted my first Anime review which was on the Anime series Cowboy Bebop. I have been posting Anime Reviews since for two years. Now that I’ve been reviewing Anime for that long, I felt it was time for me to start reviewing Manga. Let’s face it, not every Manga gets an Anime adaptation, and some Anime adaptations do deviate from the Manga they are adapting from. There are even some Mangas that are adapted from Anime series as well… This Manga series I’m about to review isn’t really an adaptation to an Anime. My first Manga review is the manga version of what happens to be my gateway anime. That being said, here’s my first Manga review which is Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s Neon Genesis Evangelion
In 2000 A.D., a top-secret encounter between an Antarctic expedition and an entity known as an 'Angel' triggered a global catastrophe. It is the year 2015 and the Angels have returned. Shinji Ikari, a 14-year-old child of the new Earth, is summoned by his father Gendo to an underground city underneath Tokyo-3, where the United Nations research organization known as NERV is stationed. To match the fearsome power of the Angels, NERV has constructed a biomechanical weapon known as 'Evangelion',
To be technical… The art and story of The manga version to Neon Genesis Evangelion is by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto. The Manga may have started in 1994 but it did start roughly at the same time the anime was starting its production. This is why I am not calling this a manga adaptation. I strongly view it as the Manga version of Evangelion. The manga version was made to generate popularity for the upcoming anime. I am not sure what the end result was because the anime was such a huge deal back then at the time. It was popular in Japan, and it definitely was a big deal for American Anime fans. Whatever the case. The anime was a commercial success, but the manga was also a success as well. For the entire run of 14 Volumes consisting of 96 chapters. The manga version of Evangelion looks very good as its own standalone creation. It does have some hiccups and miniscule inconsistencies but it does not ruin the experience at all. Allow me to bring up the Evangelion anime. The major technical flaw in that show was it’s recycling of certain animation cels because of the show’s budget. The Manga version never has that problem. It is an advantage to the Evangelion manga, but at the same time… I understand that the technical flaw I just mentioned over the Evangelion anime were overlooked for that reason. In the long run (and I’ll say it again). It looks very good as it’s own standalone creation.
Another thing that is actually a nice breath of fresh air is how the characters are presented in the Evangelion manga. If you’ve seen the anime, Shinji may have gotten mixed reactions out of viewers and I get it. However...there are monologues that come up often in the Manga version. This allows the person that is reading the manga to understand the trials, complication, and struggle that these characters are going through. Granted, the anime does this too at times, but I notice this a lot more in the Manga. I never once found it as overkill. These monologues come in at the right time. The portrayal of Shinji is very identical to the Anime with some significant differences. Rei does develop a little more than in the anime, but not much is different. Asuka’s background is different but like Rei, not much is different from the Anime. Misato is nearly identical than the Anime with some differences with how the story is portrayed. Same with Ritsuko. Toji on the other hand was handled differently and that’s the only thing I’ll say on him. Kaji isn’t different from the anime except that he was given a backstory. Also, Remember Kaworu, who was in only one episode of the anime? Well, his timing and portrayal plays out differently than the anime. I have no complaints on this. Hell, even Gendo Ikari is played out a little different and I took a liking to that. Also, let’s not forget that penguin Pen-Pen… He’s even given a brief backstory of where he came from that led him into the series, despite his reduced appearance in the Manga, it was a little interesting to know about his past. As far as characters go, I am liking how they are portrayed in the Manga a little more than the anime.
Which leads me to the story as a whole. I could say there’s some room for argument in regards to the authorship of the Evangelion Manga, 90% of the manga is based off the anime, and it does reflect on elements that came from Hideaki Anno’s vision. Anno-san did work with Sadamoto-san on starting the manga and since I have not heard a single complaint regarding this. I guess the authorship of the Evangelion Manga isn’t really a big deal. Even though 90% of the manga is based off the anime. The direction of the manga is not really the same like the anime. There are some significant plot changes and there are even little miniscule differences which may be hard to tell unless you watch the anime and read the manga side by side. Personally, I like how the Manga plays out. It took out the filler that the anime had at a few episodes. It had more in-depth insights on characters, and the changes that Sadamoto-san made compared to the anime are welcoming because for the most part, certain events and/or developments didn’t feel forced whereas the anime did due to technical constraints. Sadmoto-san fixed some areas that are kinda broken. As much as I liked the anime, The Evangelion Manga is my favorite version of the Evangelion franchise. God is in His Heaven, All’s Right With The World. Amen!
The manga to Neon Genesis Evangelion is available by Viz Media, the manga spinoffs “Angelic Days” and “The Shinji Ikari Raising Project” are also available by Viz Media. The Evangelion Anime was available by ADV Films until they went under, it was re-licensed by Section23 but no re-release has been made since.
With everything said, the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga may be 90% true to the anime but Yoshiyuki Sadamoto took some liberties with the changes that were made (notable or small) that can be seen as acceptable, reasonable, and welcoming. If you liked the Evangelion Anime. I strongly recommend you to give the Evangelion Manga a try. It will likely not disappoint. I consider it to be a Masterpiece of a Manga series.
I give Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s Neon Genesis Evangelion a 9.6 out of 10, it is EXCELLENT!
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