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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.[1] 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.[2] 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,[3] 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.[citation needed]

The Japanese printing of the manga uses the anime's logo imagery for its title, while the American printing simply uses the English title.[4]

Characters[edit | edit source]

Sadamoto was the original character designer for the anime with Hideaki Anno as the supervisor; his versions of the characters and plot often differ in subtle ways from the TV series.[5]

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.
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 a test-tube baby of genius parents, her first meeting with Shinji and his friends is different, and she is left in a comatose state immediately after being defeated by Arael.
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.
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[edit | edit source]

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.[6][7] 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). 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.[8] He has also denied links to the Rebuild movies.[9]

With the success of the anime, the manga has also become a commercial success; the first 10 volumes have sold over 15 million copies,[10] and the 11th volume reached #1 on the Tohan charts,[11] taking the total to over 17 million.[12] 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.[13] It won the 1996 Comicker fan manga poll.[14] Volume 12 opened at #1 on Oricon's manga rankings[11] and has sold over 600,000 copies.[11]

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.[15] (Volume 5 consisted of stages 27–29, published in January, March, and May 1998, with a year-long hiatus,[16] then stages 30–33 were published between July/October 1999.) This would only get worse in the 2000s, with multiple years-long hiatuses.

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.

Apparently, Sadamoto's authorship of the manga caused problems for Gainax as multiple publishers felt "that he was too passé to be bankable".[17]

Viz claims that its releases of Evangelion were the first releases of an unflipped manga in English.[18]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Timeline (pg 16), Notemki Memoirs (Takeda) 2002. pg 162 of Fujie 2004.
  2. Takeda 2002
  4. See here and here for distinctions in the covers
  5. "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
  6. " 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
  7. "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
  8. "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
  9. 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.
  10. "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" [1] [2] by the Anime News Service.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2
  12. "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
  13. Japanese Comic Ranking, June 26–July 16;
  14. "...the EVANGELION manga was the 1996 winner of Japanese manga-focus magazine COMICKERS' fan poll for best manga."
  15. "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).
  17. pg 167 of Takeda 2002.
  18. "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."

External links[edit | edit source]

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