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Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 14 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 31, 2015 by  



evangelion-14

It has been a long journey but “Neon Genesis Evangelion” the manga series ends here with volume 14th.  A finale worth reading and a conclusion that is highly recommended!

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

MANGA TITLE: Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol. 14

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 February 10, 2015

The Third Impact has come. As the unbelievably massive form of Ayanami towers over the Earth, the Instrumentality Project enters its last stages. While the world shudders in terror as it is engulfed in a sea of LCL, Shinji’s consciousness merges with Lilith’s, and he searches his memories for a final understanding of himself and the fate of humanity.

The final “Neon Genesis Evangelion” manga volume!

Shinji is devastated that everyone around him has been killed.  All alone, Shinji starts to reminisce of the past but we also get to see a past of decisions made by Shinji’s mother in regards to an Eva and how the fate of humanity rests on the decision that Shinji makes.

Meanwhile, we are presented with an “EXTRA STAGE: EDEN IN SUMMER” featuring a past story involving Yuri Ikari and Mari Makanami.

What is 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.

And in volume 13… Who will survive the onslaught from SEELE?

Which leads us to the final 14th volume of “Neon Genesis Evangelion” as Shinji is the last remaining person left in the world.  Humanity decimated by the angels and everything seems as all is gone.  What if humanity rests in a decision left to Shinji?    Will he be able to make that decision with the burden of humanity over his shoulders?

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 and now we have the final conclusion to “Neon Genesis Evangelion”.

All have perished with one person remaining…Shinji.

We have seen the unstable Shinji going through a lot for a young man his age.  Making difficult decisions, having to look at his current relationships, may it be with his fellow co-pilots or even his parents, sometimes it has seem as he is unpredictable because of those rough emotions he harbors within himself.

But with the final volume of the manga series, we get more insight to Yukari Endo and why Shinji is important to humanity.  It’s because the state of humanity rests on the final decision that he must make.

And which decision would that be?

Meanwhile, an extra side story is included.  As the second film “Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance” featured the debut of Makinami Mari, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto creates a side-story around her.  So, this is a major plus for those who enjoyed the character of Mari.

Personally, I found the entire “Neon Genesis Evangelion” manga series 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 differences between the manga series and anime were quite numerous and I found it to be much better.  Granted, with the films still ongoing in Japan, I also liked what they have done with those films as well, to change things from the way the anime series would eventually end.

It’s important to note that this volume is not a 3-in-1, it’s the final 14th volume.  For those who are reading the 3-in-1’s, will need to hunt down vol. 13 via an online retailer, as it was released back in 2012.  At this current time, there is no news of a 2-in-1 featuring the 13th and 14th volume together.

Overall, “Neon Genesis Evangelion” vol. 14 is a must-buy for those who have read the previous volumes, especially if you stuck with it, this long.  The conclusion is much more fitting and I absolutely found this series exciting and captivating from beginning to end.

It has been a long journey but “Neon Genesis Evangelion” the manga series ends here with volume 14th.  A finale worth reading and a conclusion that is highly recommended!

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