Evangelion is a saga that will have marked in many ways, both Japanese animation and its fans. In its own way, the manga adaptation of the series will have been a great success. Character-designer on the anime production, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto launches this version several months before the start of the anime’s broadcast. It was in December 1994 that the magazine Shônen Ace from Kadokawa Shoten editions hosted another reading of Hideaki Anno’s creation for an adventure that would last almost 20 years. Suffering from a sporadic publication, the main manga Evangelion will end in November 2014 in Japan, with its 14th book.
Far from being a mere promotional manga (if only on the principle of a publication that has lasted well beyond television broadcasting), Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s manga will mark the spirits enough for a so-called “collector’s” edition to be launched. in Japan in early 2021. In the form of luxurious double volumes, the 14 original volumes are compiled into 7 large volumes including the color pages of the pre-publication. A real gift for fans who, at the time, were impatiently awaiting the fourth and final film in the “Rebuild of Evangelion” saga, another rereading of the initial series.
Glénat, always very attentive to its flagship series, will announce this version with us even before the Japanese publication of the first volume. First planned for spring 2021, the start of construction of this version, renamed Perfect Edition for us, will be delayed to finally point the tip of its nose on May 18, 2022. A wait rewarded if only by the look of this first volume, editorial qualities to which we will return later in this column.
For those uninitiated in Evangelion, if there are still some, a little reminder of its basic plot. In the year 2000, the fall of an asteroid will remain in the history books under the term “Second Impact”, in addition to causing multiple climatic degradations and leading society to its decline. Fifteen years later, humanity is not spared when the “Angels” appear, combat humanoids that human technology cannot match. However, when the government organization named Nerv manages to develop combat robots capable of competing, the Eva, hope is once again allowed. Shinji Ikari, a teenager who grew up in this world in ruins, is suddenly called by his father, spawn of Nerv, after having been abandoned by the latter. If the boy does not have much hope for his future, the apprehension of finding this parent will be turned upside down when he discovers the reason for his call: An integral part of the Eva project, he must board one of the machines in order to fight against the Angels. But for this disillusioned boy, the task will not be easy…
Evangelion is an almost legendary work, in the same way as the first Gundam series, but which knew how to impose itself more in the world than did the saga created by Yoshiyuki Tomino. The manga, although a tad less famous than the animated series, has not left people’s minds, the trait of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto coupled with its fidelity to the original work and the time that the paper version knows how to take to develop this rich plot having served this adaptation, to the point of justifying this new version. So, the Perfect Edition seems to be at the right time to name both to allow fans to enjoy the manga in the best possible version, and for neophytes to discover Sadamoto’s Evangelion.
In this exercise of loyalty to the original series, this first volume draws on the first episodes to skilfully develop its basic idea, which involves as much the conflict depicted as the dilemmas that are built around the first characters established in the scenario. These beginnings obviously offer a very fine concept in terms of robot series, opposing humanity to unknown entities suspected of being the work of the divine, while enriching themselves with another depth through their dramas, and in particular those experienced by his hero. We understand it with this first part, Eva walks in the footsteps of Gundam, bringing what was at the time a new idea, and pushing the poisonous relationship issues even further.
Two perspectives then captivate us on this first phase, one of them being Shinji, a very particular hero who will not create empathy in all readers. A boy almost spectral in his temperament as he shows little of his expressions, despite his often highlighted regrets, the protagonist enjoys a real complexity from the outset, marked by his conflicting relationship with a father he wants so much. challenge than satisfy, while forging an intimate, almost filial bond with the bubbly and seductive Misato, not to mention a few connections with classmates that are established chapter after chapter. On its elements, which however only form the bases, the reader will have understood the skill of the writing, the multiple ideas which are hidden behind Evangelion, and the will of the title to speak about the human, to be filled with contradiction , made here fascinating.
And next, Yoshiyuki Sadamoto tells the story of the series, that of a human group confronted with an invader who came from nowhere. The plot of Evangelion, with its multiple gray areas, does not lack panache, and this first part manages to condense all the promises of the plot, ranging from the origin of the Angels to that of the Evas, secrets which Shinji’s father keeps to himself, to the few government machinations that are being built in the shadows.
In its scenario as in its themes, developments and other biases of reflection, the first volume offers a real field of experimentation and captivates by all of these elements. At the end of the reading, there are a thousand and one questions to ask and many ways to appreciate the casting as well as to doubt it. But concerning the overall development and the final result of Hideaki Anno’s writing here taken over by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, only a complete reading of the manga will be able to give us the final word. Readers who have gone through the anime know it, Evangelion is a work conducive to debate, which brings together as many fans as it does not put off its completion, to the point of still fueling discussions today. While the recent series of “Rebuild” films concluded a few months ago, bringing back to the spotlight this other version of the story, now complete, sounds like a good idea to crystallize the depth that Evangelion embodies.
And since we are talking about the series taken over by Sadamoto, it is difficult not to mention his style, very expressive and with a stamp that is a bit dated but attractive, while his cutting of the action is with little onions. It is often difficult, in a manga, to transcribe with fluidity the opposition between two mechanical giants, which the mangaka does here brilliantly to the point of making the clashes immersive and perfectly understandable.
The edition offered by Glénat, by virtue of its quality, contributes to such a comfortable experience, which is due both to its large format and to the quality of a thick paper which leaves little room for transparency. The presence of the color pages is also a visual pleasure, the style of Sadamoto taking on another aspect in these colorizations.
The whole forms a beautiful object by the coating, that of a high quality jacket as well by its model as by the paper with the very particular grain and accentuated by various effects of selective varnish. Contrary to the proposals of another publisher, the term “perfect” is not usurped on Evangelion.
We wish to give thanks to the author of this article for this remarkable content
Review Vol.1 Neon Genesis Evangelion – Nerv Edition – Manga
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