Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 2 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

March 27, 2013 by  

A second omnibus volume that begins with happiness and ends in tragedy.  “Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Volume 2” is an excellent manga release based on one of the most critically acclaimed anime series. Illustration and storyline is fantastic and even if you watched the anime series, you may find something new in the manga. Exciting, action-packed, emotional and extremely entertaining! Highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © khara – GAINAX. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kadokawa Shoten, Co., Ltd.


RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on March 12, 2013

Once Shinji didn’t care about anything; then he found people to fight for – only to learn that he couldn’t protect them, or keep those he let into his heart from going away. As mankind tilts on the brink of the apocalyptic Third Impact, human feelings are fault lines leading to destruction and just maybe, redemption and rebirth.

All Shinji Ikari wanted was to be loved and acknowledge by his father.

But all he knew of his father in his mind is that he abandoned him and that he was responsible for the death of his mother.

Then out of the blue, his father calls him to pilot the 01 Evangelion unit, with no fighting or training experience, for what reason?  To have him killed?

But since becoming an Eva pilot, Shinji has made new friends within the UN Organization known as NERV.

And together, they have worked in battling the Angels who have tried to destroy Earth-3 for some reason.

This time around, Shinji is forced to pair up with a new Eva pilot named Asuka Langley Soryu, a girl with attitude.  Meanwhile, Misato is visited by a person from her past.

And a new fourth pilot is announced.  Who can it be?

The History of Neon Genesis Evangelion?

It all began with a deal between King Records rep Toshimichi Otsuki and director Hideaki Anno in discussion of an anime TV series and project. Suffice to say, both men would not know how successful the project known as “Shin Seiki Evangerion” (Neon Genesis Evangelion) would be.

With a 26-episode animated series by Tatsunoko Productions and GAINAX achieving critical acclaim in 1995-1996, two major films with “Evangelion: Death and Rebirth” and “The End of Evangelion” in 1997 and 1998, interest in Evangelion still continued in the next ten years with video games and eventually leading up to the 2006 announcement that four films titled “Rebuild of Evangelion” with an alternate retelling of the TV series would be released. And to this day, three of the “Rebuild” films have been released as of 2012.

But prior to the TV series and radio programs, the manga series by the anime series character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (“.Hack” series, “Royal Space Force – The Wings of Honneamise”, “Gunbuster” series”, “Summer Wars”) was released in Feb. 1995 (to help drum up interest in the anime series and toyline). Surprisingly, while the animated series was completed back in 1998, the manga series has somewhat been released in a much slower pace, with volume 13 having been released in Japan and the USA on November 2nd.

Flashforward to 2012 and Viz Media who have been releasing the “Neon Genesis Evangelion” manga series since 2004 would release the first three chapters/graphic novels again in an omnibus format titled “Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 1”.

“Neon Genesis Evangelion” is set in an alternate Japan, a.k.a. Tokyo-3 which is at war against giant creatures known as Angels.

A teenager named Shinji Ikari receives a message from his estranged father to go to Nerv headquarters. Picking him up would be Captain Misato Kasuragi and immediately, while she picks Shinji up, Tokyo-3 is under attack by an Angel.

Barely escaping the attack, the two managed to make it into Nerv HQ where they meet Nerv’s chief scientist Ritsuko Akagi. He is quickly introduced to a synthetic android and Earth’s weapon code named “Evangelion”. And not long after he sees the robot, Shinji’s father, Commander Ikari shows up to tell his son that he asked him to come to Nerv, because he will be fighting the Angel that is out there.

Shinji is shocked because he thought perhaps his father asked him to come to see him, but instead, his father wants him to immediately fight the Angel. Without any explanations, his father tells him to get inside which upsets Shinji who thinks his father contacted him to order him to his death. The Commander tells Shinji that if he doesn’t go out there, all humanity will perish and the existence of the human race is on his shoulders. Shinji refuses! And his father calls him coward.

While Misato feels for Shinji, when an injured Evangelion pilot named Rei is brought in and is badly injured, Commander Ikari requests that despite her injury, she has no choice but to fight again. Seeing that Rei can’t fight, Shinji reluctantly agrees to go out there with the Evangelion unit.

And immediately, he begins fighting the Angel, without any training, Shinji is getting himself beat to the point that the Evangelion has lost all function. But somehow, when Shinji starts screaming of how he does not want to die, the Evangelion somehow reactivates and is able to reheal the Evangelion defeating the Angel.

Despite beating the Angel, there is no close relationship with his father and as for Shinji, he doesn’t know why he has to fight. But he eventually becomes Misato’s roommate and attends the local high school and wonders why his father cares so much about the pilot Rei Ayanami, than caring for him.

As Shinji is not so sure why he is being part of this whole project, he still feels that with him being there, it may lead his father to finally get close to him. But with the weight of humanity on his shoulders, even though he doesn’t want to be part of it, Shinji has no choice but to become the pilot of the Evangelion and defend humanity from the creatures known as Angel.

In volume 2 of “Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition” (featuring graphic novel volumes 4-6), a new pilot named Asuka Langley Soryu has come to join the Japanese branch of NERV but with her brash attitude of feeling superior to everyone, she and Shinji don’t get off on a good start.

And when the two go against an Angel who can split themselves into two, both Asuka and Shinji fail in their first attempt.

So, in order to get them in rhythm as partners, Misato comes up with a plan.  Having Asuka move into Shinji’s room and together, they must practice and work together.

Meanwhile, Misato’s ex-boyfriend Kaji also accompanies Asuka to work at the Japan branch.  But for some reason, Misato hates him with a passion. What did Kaji do?

In the next storyline (graphic novel volume 5), it is revealed that Kaji maybe working against NERV and Misato’s past is revealed.

But what happens when the power of NERV’s headquarters is shut down for some unknown reason, Misato and Kaji are stuck inside an elevator, meanwhile Asuka who becomes jealous that Shinji gives too much attention to Rei, wants to see if Shinji will kiss her.

Also, Kaji reveals the truth to Misato of why he returned and Shinji remembers his past and what happened to his mother.

In the final arc of this omnibus (graphic novel volume 6), a fourth pilot for NERV is selected and this person has a connection to Shinji.  Meanwhile, something tragic happens to one of the major NERV facilities and a major character is killed.

“Neon Genesis Evangelion” gets better with each of the three graphic novel arts as the first half begins with humor, while the second ends with tragedy.

This has been the staple of the series.  To have these characters who continually face major challenges but also have characters that are not perfect.  Each person having a past that is shrouded by mystery and with volume two of this latest omnibus of “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, graphic novels 4-6 gives readers a chance to know that the past of these individuals are painful.

Misato, who was involved with the second impact, was the lone survivor of the tragic event and vows to find out who was responsible for it.

Asuka with her tsundere attitude is not always mean and cold, but deep inside, she does care, but also is a teen living in pain due to her past.

Shinji is a boy who has faced nothing but pain when it comes to his father.  Does he even have a father or does this man want him dead?  Does his father acknowledge him as a son or just a pilot?  These are answers that Shinji wants answers for but nothing is clearcut.

But Kaji, a new character has come in, willing to show Misato and Shinji that NERV is not what they think it is.  In fact, there are major secrets that are being held and right below NERV headquarters is an Adam, the designation of the first Angel and the genetic basis of the Evangelions.

But what this second volume brings to viewers is introducing Asuka, a major player in this series and how she and Shinji are forced to be roommates and eventually pilots who must be in perfect sync with each other.

Kaji is a person who also works for NERV but also is a former boyfriend of Misato and suffice to say, she is not happy that he is back.

And as for the tragic sixth volume, I rather not spoil it for anyone but it’s the first significant death of a character in the series so far.

I mentioned that reading the manga for “Neon Genesis Evangelion” has made me enjoy the series, where the anime series made me go nuts of hearing Shinji’s continuous whining.  The manga does feature whining but the fact that it is not audible, makes things much easier for me to enjoy the manga series.

But I do like the fact that we get to see the various sides of Shinji in this volume, from happiness to outright pain.   So much pain between father Gendo and son, Shinji that you wonder what Gendo is trying to do to him?  Does he want Shinji to hate and kill him?  Does he think that this tough love will make Shinji stronger?

Suffice to say, Shinji will not be the same after these three graphic novel volumes included in the vol. 2 omnibus of “Neon Genesis Evangelion”.  But each volume does get better especially with the introductions of Asuka and Kaji.

So far, “Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Volume 2” is an excellent manga release based on one of the most critically acclaimed anime series. Illustration and storyline is fantastic and even if you watched the anime series, you may find something new in the manga. Exciting, action-packed, emotional and extremely entertaining!

“Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 2” is highly recommended!

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  • Just wanted to say thanks for this review. I will try to purchase this soon. Also I noticed a few years ago you reviewed SMAP albums. Thanks to your reviews I bought their COOL and 007: Gold Singer albums. Great music on both! Keep up the good work.