Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: February 2013
When Neon Genesis Evangelion hit the airwaves in 1994, it blew people’s minds both in Japan, and all over the world. Through its unconventional use of storytelling devices, complicated plot, and memorable situations, the series leaves a lasting impression on the viewers. On the surface, it is the coming-of-age story of three teenagers who have the fate of the world in their hands. Heavily influenced by Catholic and Medieval Mythology, Jungian Psychology, and a nervous breakdown by series creator Hideki Anno, NGE tells a complicated tale about the last days of humanity.
For this tribute project, the staff of Young Ace Magazine, a magazine for people too old to read comics, perform the manga equivalent of a comedy roast. Writers and artists take many scenes from the source material and lampoon them. Each page points out the source’s absurdity in a playful, joking way.
What the book does well is capture the schizophrenic nature of the Anime series, and the source material’s disjointed tone. Some parts are darker while others are lighthearted. Some parts let the audience guess what happened, and others beat you over the head with the exposition. The book captures that approach in shockingly exact detail. In one page, you have a serious discussion about real teenage problems and in the next, you have a lot of sexual innuendo (which made me feel icky because the characters are 13 and I’m not.)
But the book won’t be any fun unless you’re a superfan of Neon Genesis Evangelion and therefore get all the jokes. Although I am of the right age group for it, it’s been too long since I’ve seen the anime, read the manga, or even worn my NGE shirt. Had this book came out 15 years ago, I would have loved it.
Final Thought: Negative.
Although I watched the series as a teenager/ young adult, I did not see it enough times to get the point of this project. The jokes flew over my head a lot more times than they should have. If you have seen the source material recently or are a super fan of the series and have seen it enough times to know the scenes by heart, please pick it up. You might find something to enjoy.