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Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days, originally released as Neon Genesis Evangelion: the Iron Maiden 2nd (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン 鋼鉄のガールフレンド2nd, "Shin Seiki Evangelion: Kōtetsu no Gārufurendo 2nd"), is a manga by Fumino Hayashi and an adaption of the video game of the same name.
Angelic Days continues the dream sequence from Episode 26, in which Shinji imagines a happier world where Asuka is a childhood friend, Misato is his homeroom teacher, and Rei is a new transfer student. The Evangelions and Angels make up little of the story and are not fully explained; they first appear near the end of the second volume, during which Shinji and Rei battle Sachiel. The series concludes with a much happier ending than that of the original anime.
The Iron Maiden 2nd is published in Japan by Kadokawa Shoten. It was serialized in Monthly Asuka from 2003 to 2005 and collected in 6 bound volumes. Angelic Days is published in English by ADV Manga, in Thailand by Siam Inter Comics, in France by Glénat, in Germany by Carlsen Comics, in Italy by Panini Comics, in Spain by Norma Editorial, in Mexico by Grupo Editorial Vid, in Argentina Editorial Ivrea, and in Brazil by Conrad Editora.
As in the original anime series, the first four volumes of the manga deal with the Angel invasions, but from a much different angle. Moreover, several more mundane sub-plot tropes common to Japanese manga occur at the same time at the invasions, such as:
- Asuka and Shinji are childhood friends, but both are reluctant to risk their friendship and form a deeper relationship. Nonetheless, Asuka becomes jealous when Rei is attracted to Shinji.
- Kensuke has an unrequited crush on Asuka, but is afraid to act because of Shinji's possible feelings. Rei is in a parallel position, with the roles reversed.
- Toji and Hikari date, even though the invasions threaten both of their lives.
- Kaworu is also a childhood friend of Shinji. However, their friendship originated from childhood incidents when Asuka fought with Shinji, and he and Asuka never got along. By the time of the manga, Kaworu has failed to form intimate relationships with anyone besides Shinji, and resents Shinji's closer relationship with Asuka, and also tries to prevent Rei from getting closer to Shinji.
- Gendo Ikari's work schedule and cold personality alienate Shinji, who in turn resents his father's attitude towards his mother, Yui.
At the end of the fourth volume, the main characters, as Evangelion pilots, are broken up and posted to different spots around the world, although they plan to (and, with one exception, do) meet up after the Angels' threat is over and they grow too old to work as pilots anymore.
The fifth volume is a flashback to Gendo and Yui's youths. This flashback presents Gendo as a violent juvenile delinquent in high school, abandoned by his parents, who hates the world. Yui is introduced as a star student who is attracted to Gendo and helps him overcome his problems.
The sixth and final volume returns to the main story arc after the Angels' defeat, specifically the actions and fates of the characters as they grow up. The volume attempts to tie up loose ends, including:
- Rei and Ritsuko, who are stationed together, both realize their romantic feelings will remain unrequited - Rei's feelings for Shinji, and Ritsuko's feelings for Gendo.
- Hikari and Toji endure a long-distance relationship, made complicated by the constant dangers in Toji's job.
- Shinji and Asuka, now dating, are forced to deal with strains in their relationship on their own, especially since Kaworu is (apparently) no longer around to defuse their arguments.
Kaworu's true identity, goals, purpose, feelings, and eventual fate are hinted at during both story arcs, but are never explicitly identified.
The characters of Angelic Days are alternate versions of characters in the anime series.
- Shinji Ikari
- Shinji Ikari is the male protagonist of the series. He is timid, quiet, and easily influenced by his peers. He is very much like his original persona, however he is more sociable and friendly than before. Shinji is also a childhood friend to Asuka Langley Sohryu.
- Asuka Langley Sohryu
- Asuka Langley Sohryu is a redhead with fiery temper, and although friends with Shinji she often torments him. Her rage is especially violent in the beginning of the series: she is openly hostile with Kaworu and splashes boiling water on Shinji in a jealous fit during a cooking class. However, she cares deeply for her friends, and will aid or defend them when she is able. She has appointed herself as Shinji's chaperon and has a clear sense of right and wrong. Although she can be demanding, in truth she doesn't want to burden anyone or feel useless, especially to her parents or Shinji, similar to the original character's feeling of inferiority in the anime series.
- Rei Ayanami
- Rei Ayanami is an excitable extrovert, the polar opposite of her original persona. However, she is socially inept and clueless as how to perform simple tasks such as cracking an egg open. She is disliked by the girls of her class for "flirting" with boys and wearing her old uniform rather than buying the school's own regulation clothes. Flashbacks also reveal that she was given positive encouragement and praise by those who raised her.
- Kaworu Nagisa
- As in the anime, Kaworu Nagisa has a mysterious past that NERV officials work to uncover. However, despite the lack of official records, Shinji remarks that he and Kaworu have been friends for about a decade, or as long as he has known Asuka. In particular, Kaworu and Shinji often perform music together (Shinji on cello, with Kaworu on violin). Also, Kaworu has what is termed an unusual "fondness" for Shinji, and sometimes appears to be part of the "love triangle" around him. His appearances in both Shinji and Gendo's story arcs strongly hints at a deep connection with the Angels.
- Toji Suzuhara
- Shinji's classmate, Toji Suzuhara, is one of Shinji's friends accepted into NERV's piloting program along with him. He reciprocates Hikari's crush once she makes her feelings known to him. Much like his anime counterpart, he is shown as the tough jock of the group, and occasionally has verbal bouts with Asuka. However, he does have a much more vulnerable side; while on standby to pilot the Evangelion, he was frightened, but admitted he would risk his life for Hikari's sake.
- Kensuke Aida
- Kensuke Aida is another one of Shinji's classmates who is accepted into NERV's piloting program. He has a hobby in camcording. In this incarnation, he has a crush on Asuka and is usually trying to gain some acknowledgement from her. He later openly states his feelings and then asks if he is "good enough to take Shinji's place," causing Asuka to run from him. After an exchange with Asuka while on standby, he realizes that she won't reciprocate his feelings, and later accepts his role as just a friend to her.
- Misato Katsuragi
- Misato Katsuragi is the homeroom teacher for Shinji and Asuka's class. Misato has some operational duties at NERV. She also teaches cooking (so apparently she can actually cook well).
- Ritsuko Akagi
- Ritsuko Akagi is the school nurse, and is in love with Gendo Ikari. Ritsuko is also portrayed as the Head Medical and Science officer at NERV.
- Yui Ikari
- Yui Ikari, Shinji's mother, is still alive and working at NERV along with her husband Gendo and Asuka's parents. Her high school life and relationship with Gendo is chronicled in Volume 5.
MangaLife found that many of the characters were much less emotionally unstable in Angelic Days. Ed Chavez, writing for Mania Entertainment, felt that Angelic Days was "based on inconsistencies", while enjoying the high school romance comedy aspect of the manga, and being afraid for the teenagers due to the machinations of the adult characters. Internet Bookwatch describes the series as "less bleak" than the original Evangelion, but notes that the characters "still have their own personal demons to confront".
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: the Iron Maiden 2nd
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga)
- Shinji Ikari Raising Project
- ADV Manga website
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days at the Anime News Network
- Planete BD vol 1 review
- Planete BD vol 2 review
- Planete BD vol 3 review