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Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン, "Shin Seiki Evangerion") is a long-running manga series by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and published by Kadokawa Shoten; it began in the February issue of Shōnen Ace in December 1994. It consists of 14 volumes, each composed of several "stages" or chapters. It was released before the anime of the same name it was based on, intended to increase public interest. In 2008, it was announced that the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga is approaching its conclusion. In July 2009, it was moved to a new Shoten seinen magazine, Young Ace, being published there until January's issue, when Sadamoto stopped writing the manga, putting the publication on hiatus in order to work on the latest Rebuild of Evangelion film, 3.0: Q Quickening.
The Japanese printing of the manga uses the anime's logo imagery for its title, while the American printing simply uses the English title.
- Shinji Ikari
- Shinji Ikari's eyes are brown instead of blue. He is also less introverted and expresses himself more, although he is still plagued by self-doubt and hatred for his father to the point where while dissolved in his Eva (episode 20), he imagines that he actually kills him. Also, his cello playing is not a part of the story.
- Rei Ayanami
- Rei Ayanami is more of a "human" character in the manga, in that she is slightly more talkative and becomes more connected with the people around her, largely through her interactions with Shinji. The manga also shows her thoughts and feelings, and indirectly shows that she is in love with Shinji. Sadamoto states Rei and Shinji have love for each other, with Rei as a motherly existence.
- Asuka Langley Soryu
- Asuka Langley Soryu is not as verbally abusive toward Shinji and more open about her true feelings, but still can be difficult to get along with and initially slightly more of a brat, putting on a "good girl" facade in front of authority figures. Her feelings for Shinji are not quite as obvious, though it is hinted in various chapters that she is attracted to him. She is left in a comatose state immediately after being defeated by Arael. She is a test-tube baby of genius parents, her first meeting with Shinji and his friends is different as Asuka acts more childish than in the series. Asuka would be Shinji's symbol for his longing for the opposite sex, differently from Rei.
- Kaworu Nagisa
- Kaworu Nagisa is introduced earlier in the storyline. He fights Armisael alongside Rei in Unit-02. Kaworu is portrayed as being ignorant of many aspects of social interaction, creating some comic relief, but is also colder and more of an unsettling presence than in the anime. Because of this, Shinji dislikes and distrusts Kaworu, while Kaworu makes advances toward Shinji and is upset that Shinji does not return his affections. Sadamoto stated this is because of him picking up Rei's emotions, though Sadamoto says he wrote their relationship as similar to a high school student causing an impression on a younger, middle-school one, "not romance", and that Shinji ultimately rejects him.
- Toji Suzuhara
- Toji Suzuhara's English-translated dialogue is heavily accented (due to him being from Osaka), and his hair color is changed. He is more verbally abusive toward Asuka, calling her "bitch" multiple times. He is killed during Volume 6 of the manga series instead of being crippled. Additionally, Shinji is aware that Toji is the pilot of Unit-03 before the battle against Bardiel.
- Ryoji Kaji
- Ryoji Kaji is given more of a back story; he tells Shinji of his past to motivate Shinji to return to NERV after the fight against Bardiel (this takes place in a hidden supplies cellar rather than a watermelon patch).
- Gendo Ikari
- Gendo Ikari is Shinji's Father, His behavior, looks and final desire are different from the anime series, making him a deeper character rather than a background character. He plays one of the most relevant roles in the manga, even more with the AT-field from Adam. Gendo successfully managed to take full control of that power and became crazy, with godly desires.
- Yui Ikari/Unit-01
- In addition to the presence of Yui Ikari's soul inside Unit-01, the Eva's Angelic aspect has its own identity, depicted as the unarmored Eva. This being shows itself to both Shinji and Rei while they are synchronized with the Eva, and it attempts to trap Shinji inside the Eva with itself after the battle with the Angel Zeruel by taking Yui's form and manipulating Shinji's desire for contact with his mother. Rei is able to establish a mental link with this Angelic part of Unit-01 while outside the Eva, and the two acknowledge that they are directly connected to each other.
Publishing history and critical success
Unlike it is sometimes assumed, the manga is in fact not the original version of the story, but instead it was created as a supplemental designed to promote the TV series and was continued thanks to the series' popularity. Sadamoto has also repeatedly stated that the manga is his own individual work and should never be used as a reference for anything in the anime or the Rebuilds. Though this interview is from April 1996, Sadamoto states that he "wrote the script of the manga using the anime "as a base", further implying that the Evangelion anime was produced first (even though the manga was released first). After the anime ended, Sadamoto decided to keep making the manga. Sadamoto has also stated he made the manga entirely on his own, without consulting anyone, in contrast to the anime's more collaborative production, and that all differences were decided by him, in an effort to "separate it from the anime". He has also denied links to the Rebuild movies.
With the success of the anime, the manga has also become a commercial success; the first 10 volumes have sold over 15 million copies, and the 11th volume reached #1 on the Tohan charts, taking the total to over 17 million. In particular, as the manga has drawn closer to its conclusion, attention surrounding it has reached new heights, with the 11th volume staying atop the Japanese Comic Ranking charts for 4 straight weeks, a remarkable achievement even for long-running series. It won the 1996 Comicker fan manga poll. Volume 12 opened at #1 on Oricon's manga rankings and has sold over 600,000 copies.
The manga ran from December 26 of 1994 to June 4 of 2013. The reason for this is that while ostensibly publishing one "stage" a month in Shōnen Ace, Sadamoto's actual publication schedule was irregular: for example, between the publication in Japan of volume 4 and volume 5, two years elapsed. (Volume 5 consisted of stages 27–29, published in January, March, and May 1998, with a year-long hiatus, then stages 30–33 were published between July/October 1999.) This would only get worse in the 2000s, with multiple years-long hiatuses. In 2016, Sadamoto said he just wanted to finish his involvement in the franchise.
While both the anime and the manga contain language that would normally be censored for television broadcast, the manga uses "fuck" twice (in volumes 4 and 5), although abbreviated to the first letter of the word. The word was not used in the English subtitles or dub of the original series, but appeared in the subtitles and dub for The End of Evangelion.
Viz claims that its releases of Evangelion were the first releases of an unflipped manga in English.
In 2020, a collector's edition was published with 7 volumes that came with bonus material and some alterations and complete new covers. 
- The title in the earlier stages of the serialization did not include "Neon Genesis", the title was changed into "Neon Genesis Evangelion" in the September 1995 issue of Monthly Shonen Ace.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku
- Timeline (pg 16), Notemki Memoirs (Takeda) 2002. pg 162 of Fujie 2004.
- Takeda 2002
- See here and here for distinctions in the covers
- "Although the basic events of each anime episode occur in the EVA manga, the way individual scenes unfold is often quite different from how things happen in the TV show...In the first installment of the manga, for example, before Shinji even arrives at NERV headquarters, Rei engages the Third Angel, using the Eva Unit-01 that will later become Shinji's to pilot. You won't find this incident in the first episode of the EVA anime. Shinji, our protagonist, also displays a subtle shift in character. He is somewhat less withdrawn in his actions than in the anime, yet more openly cynical. Compare Shinji's remark to Misato about NERV's purpose as they enter its headquarters; he says it in a neutral manner in the anime -- but in a markedly sarcastic tone in the manga. And check out the "Institutionalized" essay with which Shinji opens the story..." Carl Horn http://web.archive.org/web/19980214183438/j-pop.com/archive/manga/8/feature/feature4.html
- 貞本 義行. CUT Magazine.
- Sadamoto, Newtype December 1997
- "Speaking about Kaworu and Shinji’s relationship, I want to write it like what often happen between primary school boys and middle school boys. For the boys, instead a girl’s admire, they actually want to have admire from the other boys. That is why they imitate other boy’s behavior. The same thing happened to me. When I was a primary five student, a transfer student came to my class from Tokyo. Even though I thought “Tokyo is not great” in my mind, but I still felt that he looks handsome. He liked to say “だからさー”, though I said “it make me sick”, but secretly I thought it was very cool.(laugh) It is this kind of feeling. It is not romance……It is a delicate feeling in a delicate age." - Interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto from All About Kaworu Nagisa book, pages 148-152 http://blu3berrymuffins.tumblr.com/post/50182870783/all-about-kaworu-nagisa-book-with-sadamotos
- First, Sadamoto claims that he does not understand the success of Kaworu's character. Personally, he loved the voice of the character, thus finding himself in difficulty in making it on paper and therefore deciding to modify it compared to the anime. If in the anime he had remained deliberately ambiguous about the true nature of his relationship with Shinji, leaving the viewer free to create their own interpretation, in the manga Sadamoto decided to better define everything leaving less freedom to the reader. In the manga, Kaworu, whom Sadamoto remembers being an angel while Shinji is a human, feels for Shinji a reflection of Rei's feelings, however Shinji rejects him as he is not Rei. Milano Manga Festival: Reportage dei Sadamoto Days
- " A: I think that the theme of the animated version is that the main character's attitude changes little by little. I think that in the anime, Anno wrote the script in his own words, and that is why the change occurs. And the reason for the subtle changes between the animation and the manga is that Yoshiyuki Sadamoto is writing the script using Anno's characters. I think the anime is...I can't say cuter. But it has the feel of an honors student. The manga is a little more twisted...the feeling of a flunk-out. I think the reason behind this is that Anno was his class president in elementary and junior high schools, and flunking out was something he couldn't do, whereas I never had that problem. (laughs)" - [...] "Q: Concentrating on the story, where do you think the biggest difference is between the manga and the anime? A: Well I did write the script of the manga using the anime as a base. " Sadamoto's "My Thoughts at the Moment", 1996
- "Thank you. But that being said, you can’t use the manga to complement the Anime. This manga is just what I draw when I thought “it is should be like this, right?” Nothing more, nothing less."
"No, unlike Anno, I don’t have a life worth telling.(laugh) Perhaps I won’t express myself overall……But I can’t just copy Anno’s work. In this condition, I have to come up the theme myself, try to use different methods to describe. Every version of EVA has a different ending, I think the manga will have a different ending, too. As a work, entertainment is more important, so I can’t make the work same as the anime. But if I make the manga something completely different, then it can’t be called EVA. So not too close, not too far away. Rebuild is in the same position." - All About Kaworu Nagisa interview with Sadamoto
- The publication of the Evangelion manga anticipated the airing of the anime by a year. Had you already planned what story the series would tell and to what extent?[The translator admitted to having trouble with this question.] We actually didn't think when we started, how it would develop, let's say things kind of expanded on their own. The anime ended and I continued doing the manga instead. There was no planning in the beginning. - Milano Manga Festival 2013
- "As for the Evangelion manga, Sadamoto claims to have made it entirely by himself, without consulting with anyone, so any differences with the anime were all decided solely by him; this is in contrast to the anime where all decisions were made as a group, all sitting in the same room and arguing." "Sadamoto replied in the negative, as his only work as a mangaka is nothing more than a reworking of a pre-existing work." Milano Manga Festival: Reportage dei Sadamoto Days
- "First off, for the original [aired in 1995] animated series of Evangelion, we, including the Director [Hideaki Anno], all didn’t know a whole lot about Christianity but it seemed interesting so we went ahead and started the project. While the anime was airing, we started to learn more and started to add more ideas from Christianity. For example, the appearance of Lilith and even adding some new content at the last episode of the series. We just kept on applying new ideas that we learned while the show went on, although it's pretty ironic to talk about it now.Regarding my manga, I really wanted to separate it from the anime. So I decided to not research it at all. Some of the ideas may have came from Shinto... hmm now that I think about it, there aren't many reincarnations involved in Shinto. Well, it could be the Eastern way of thinking, the thought of where does the soul goes. So I didn't do any research about religion for the manga." - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Interview @ JX USA 2013
- Interview with Sadamoto, includes his confirmation that the Mari bonus chapter was just fanservice Next question is about Evangelion Rebuilds, do you know about the symbol of the last movie (repeat sign in music)? Sadamoto: Just to start, I’d like to clarify my position on the Rebuilds. I’ve only done the main character designs so… (laugh) Ah I see. It’s this (shows the symbol of Rebuild 3.0+1.0). We weren’t even able to read the title. Sadamoto: (looks) Right, I’m sorry but it’s the first time I see it, to tell you how little my implication is. [...] A question about the Evangelion manga, were you completely free on the script or were you consulting director Anno? Sadamoto: There isn’t any script. When you make anime there are the storyboards, right? We were just sharing them, so I’m on the same level as a fan. I just wrote it on my own, looking at the storyboards. So I didn’t consult anyone, and of course no one from the TV series’ staff intervened in my manga. So, in the last page of the manga there is Mari, one of the Rebuild’s characters… Sadamoto: Oh, that’s not in the storyline, it’s just an extra chapter for the manga volume. It’s even apart from the movies, like fanservice. Just something you mustn’t think too hard about. (laugh) It’s just something that went through my mind, I thought it would be funny if it were like that. I see. So it was not a request? Sadamoto: It wasn’t and… since she appeared in Jo, Ha and Q, I wondered what her role in the story would be, and when I asked the staff, they told me that it won’t be possible to really go further in one film, so they had to tie the main story up, and that Mari may have almost no screen time. So I wondered what the point was, and decided to add a little bit of her story in the manga, on impulse. So it’s really not something the staff of the movies thought about or asked me to do, just something you can consider as a play of mine. I see, since you know, fans tend to read deep into that kind of thing. Yamaga: Yeah, particularly on Evangelion. They think every little detail has a meaning. (laugh) Sadamoto: Well, but of course when we see Mari in Jo or Ha and see her call Gendo Gendo-kun or smell Shinji’s odor, she’s doing many strange things. Besides she seems to like songs of the Showa era very much since she’s singing them. [...] But again, it’s only me imagining all this. (laugh) Has director Anno decided about that? Sadamoto: Like I said, director Anno hasn’t approved or refuted that idea, he has nothing to do with what I just said.
- Young Ace: The current Evangelion manga series has really begun to take a departure from the original television series. Can you tell us anything about the direction the manga will head in?Sadamoto: The original Evangelion film, End of Evangelion really expressed (creator) Hideaki Anno's psychological landscape at the time. I'm taking Anno's story as a basis, and filtering it through the lens of my own interpretation. I've always considered Evangelion to be, at its heart, the story of the relationship between a father and his son. I've been pursuing this angle from the outset of the manga series, and I'd like to pursue it to the end.YA: How are you involved in the recent film updates of Evangelion?S: The new films were originally intended to be a sort of "digest" of the original television series, but as you can see particularly with You Can (Not) Advance, they've begun to take a direction of their own. The theme will be that of isolation, if I'm not mistaken, and I don't believe that the story will be connected to my manga adaptation. That said, I'd like it if fans appreciated the new films and my manga version as separate stories. - Sadamoto Interview (Young Ace n.3, 2009)
- "In that time new things with story have happened and Sankei Shimbun has interesting new information on the project already. First off they mention the original 3 Eva films made 4.5 billion Yen in total at the Japanese box office. The manga published by Kadokawa Shoten has exceeded 15 million copies sold over the existing 10 volumes." from "9-9-06 (8:55AM EDT)---- Further Evangelion Shin Gekijou Ban Details"   by the Anime News Service.
- "Sadamoto designed characters for the legendary anime but was more involved in drawing the manga adaptation of Evangelion, which began its print run in Gekkan Shōnen Esu, a monthly magazine for boys, in February 1995--before the anime series was launched on TV. As of 2008, the anime series has already receded more than a decade into the past, and two movie versions have come and gone, but the manga series has not ended yet. It still continues, though irregularly, in the same magazine. So far, the manga episodes have been compiled into 11 volumes in Japanese, while San Francisco-based Viz Media has translated 10 of them into English. In Japan, the book form has sold more than 17 million copies in total." from The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo) March 7, 2008 Friday. "Grim, complex 'Evangelion' easier to digest in print form"; by Shigefumi Takasuka, Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer, Yomiuri; Pg. 13
- Japanese Comic Ranking, June 26–July 16; AnimeNewsNetwork.com.
- "...the EVANGELION manga was the 1996 winner of Japanese manga-focus magazine COMICKERS' fan poll for best manga." http://web.archive.org/web/19980613050234/http://www.viz.com/eva/eva.shtml
- "You've been anxiously waiting for two years! Vol. 5 is finally here! First, I'd like to give a heartfelt "thank you" to those of you who bought this book and are reading it now. I know you kind souls won't ask any questions about why it is so late, and will wait just as patiently for Vol. 6. Yes... I know you'll wait. I think you'll wait. Probably." (Emphasis in the original. Author's note in Viz's volume 5, ISBN 1-59116-403-6).
- After all these years working on , how do you feel about the series?'
As an anime industry worker, for me has been just another job, and I need to get work apart from to keep going. It's a I don't really want to work on anymore at this point – but it's an important in Japan and there are many fans, so I take it seriously. He has not returned to work in the final Rebuild movie. - Interview: Legendary Evangelion Illustrator Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, ANN
- pg 167 of Takeda 2002.
- "In an unprecedented move for manga in English, Neon Genesis Evangelion is being offered in two special monthly formats: regular, reading from left to right; and Neon Genesis Evangelion Special Collector's Edition, printed from right to left with original sound effects, exactly as first published in Japan. Comic connoisseurs have for years requested 'unflipped' manga in the original Japanese format, and now Viz Comics answers the demand." http://web.archive.org/web/19980613050234/http://www.viz.com/eva/eva.shtml