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Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 4 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

September 11, 2013 by  



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Who will live and who will die as SEELE attacks NERV headquarters!  Also, all is revealed in Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s “Neon Genesis Evangelion” 3-in-1 vol. 4!  Highly recommended!

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

MANGA TITLE: Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 4

STORY AND ART BY: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

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

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on August 13, 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.

Shinji is devastated that his friends, Rei  and Asuka have been severely injured and are incapacitated.

He has been wondering what has this fighting been all for?  Is it to please his father?  Why does he fight when those close to him die or get badly injured?

In the fourth volume of “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, SEELE has had enough of NERV’s Gendo Ikari and feel that in order to fix the world and humanity by destroying it, they must destroy NERV.

But what they don’t know is that Gendo is not exactly trying to save humanity either.

The revelation of what the second impact and what the Angels are is revealed in the latest 3-in-1 omnibus (featuring volumes 10-12) of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s “Neon Genesis Evangelion”!

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), Toji becomes the 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 Toji’s Evangelion becomes possessed by an Angel.

Losing control, the Evangelion begins to work on its own and fighting against the group leaving only Shinji to fight his good friend.

This leads us to the volumes featured in “Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 3”.

For volume 7, due to Shinji’s father ordering a dummy plug to take control of his Evangelion, the EVA-01 ends up killing Toji. Upset with his father, Shinji has never felt so much hatred towards him and the argument leads to Shinji quitting NERV. But also leaving Rei and Asuka to fight the Angels. But with those two, are they enough to beat them?

In volume 8, seeing how Rei and Asuka were getting defeated by the Angels, Shinji comes to their rescue. But with power levels nearly draining to zero on the Eva-01, something takes over and allows the Eva-01 to defeat the angel but also consume the S2 engine. But because of that, Shinji is comatose for a month and allows him to communicate with his mother in his dreams. Meanwhile, is Rei starting to have feelings for Shinji?

Meanwhile, Kaji begins acting and kidnaps the NERV Professor Fuyutsuki and brings him to SEELE. The history of Professor Fuyutsuki and Shinji’s parents Gendo and Yuki and the Second Impact is revealed.

Another major character death.

In volume 9, with the death of the major character, it begins to have an effect on Misato and Asuka.

Meanwhile, the Fifth Child (pilot) of NERV is revealed. Kaworu Nagisa is unlike other pilots and he has no past or records at all.

Asuka then fights an Angel by herself, but in the process, the Angel possesses her mind and Asuka’s past is revealed.

Meanwhile, Kaworu Nagisa may be the new EVA-02 pilot but he also has secret ties that NERV is unaware of.

In volume 10, Shinji can only watch as the Angels have come into physical contact with Rei and are trying to take control of her body.  While Kaworu Nagisa, the fifth child, is developing feelings and emotions that he had never felt before. But as Shinji is sent to rescue Rei, she chooses to sacrifice her life to save him.

And with Rei and Asuka no incapacitated, NERV is pretty much defenseless without them.  Meanwhile, Ritsuko tells Misato and Shinji the truth about Rei.

In volume 11, Kaworu starts to deal with emotions that he has never had.  He sees Shinji caring so much about Rei and Asuka but wants to know why he cares about them so much and he wants him to care the same way for him.  And wants to know how Shinji feels about him.

SEELE commands Kaworu Nagisa to destroy NERV from within and so Kaworu tries to infiltrate the lower level.  Meanwhile, NERV gives Shinji a direct order to kill him.  But can Shinji do it?

In volume 12, SEELE has decided that the only way to take out NERV is an all-out attack.   Soldiers try to infiltrate NERV and kill anyone in sight.  Because of the desperate situation they faced, Asuka who is in a coma is put into her Eva unit to protect her and set her out in hopes she would be protected from harm, meanwhile Shinji learns the truth about his father and his goals.

Who will survive the onslaught from SEELE?

For those who have watched the “Neon Genesis Evangelion” series back in the ’90s, many remember being shocked about how characters they have read and followed, would eventually meet their demise.

In the manga series, while there are differences between the anime and manga, the storyline is now ramping up to one of the most brutal storyline in the entire Evangelion series and that is NERV being attacked by SEELE and an onslaught of soldiers ordered to kill everyone from NERV.

This latest 3-in-1 omnibus feature volumes 10-12 also feature significant answers that people have been waiting for.  Why was Gendo so interested in Rei, how did Ritsuko and Gendo become a couple and what was Gendo’s actual goal for NERV and what was SEELE’s actual goal.  But most importantly, what was the second impact really about?  Who is Adam? Who is Lilith?

A lot of important answers are finally revealed and this is possibly one of the most captivating chapters one will read in the entire “Neon Genesis Evangelion” because so many lives are lost and characters that you have read and followed and perhaps even enjoyed, may or may not survive.

Personally, I found the manga to be exciting, deep and so entertaining whereas the anime series, the constant whining of Shinji really irritated me.  Shinji is emotional, he whines quite a bit in the manga but it’s not constant, nor can you hear it.  And it made it much better for me to read the manga series.

The storyline employs a boys-love angle as well, Kaworu Nagisa, doesn’t know why he has these strong, intense emotions with Shinji.  Going so far to kiss him and wanting Shinji to show compassion and love to him.  Sadamoto even explains during his chapter concluding notes of writing these scenes with Shinji and Kaworu.

Also featured is an interview with Asuka voice actresses Tiffany Grant and Yuko Miyamura who talk about playing Asuka. It’s important to note that if you have not seen the anime series, then don’t read this portion as it has a major spoiler.

It’s important to note that with this omnibus, it’s probably going to be the last omnibus for awhile.  Vol. 13 was released in Japan in November 2012. And Yoshiyuki Sadamoto works on three chapters (one volume) per year. So, the next time we see a “Neon Genesis Evangelion” fifth omnibus may be in 2014 or 2015.

“Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Volume 4” was another excellent omnibus in the series with a heavy hitting, complex but entertaining storyline. Illustration and storyline is fantastic and even if you watched the anime series or even the animated films, you may find something new in the manga. But there is no doubt that Sadamoto’s manga series is exciting, action-packed, emotional and extremely entertaining!  For the price, these omnibus are simply worth owning!

“Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition, Vol. 4” is highly recommended!

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