Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project Vol. #02

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project Vol. #02 Manga Review

By Matthew Alexander     November 27, 2009
Release Date: September 23, 2009


Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari Raising Project Vol. #02
© Dark Horse

Evangelion meets Gilligan’s Island, and it isn’t ooh la la Ginger, it is more like Mrs. Howell and the nerdy Professor.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Osamu Takahashi
Translation: Michael Gombos
Adaptation: Carl Gustav Horn

What They Say
Even as Gendo plots to submit his entire staff to aerobics training, the sinister SEELE has sent Kaworu Nagisa to sabotage Gendo and Yui's more private objectives... which means he's soon enrolling in Shinji's class! Such a pretty boy starts turning heads inside homeroom 2-A, even Shinji's - which causes Rei and Asuka to agree to join forces, on the grounds that Kaworu's presence could cause trouble for NERV. The irony is that, even if that's just their excuse, they're right!

The Review!
Content:
I am happy to see that the author of this series can plot his own course at times, which becomes obvious when he introduces Kaworu pages into this second volume.  Kaworu is yet another transfer student interested in Shinji, much in the same odd way that Kaworu did in Anno’s ‘Evangelion’ version.  Kaworu’s blatant advances makes for some humorous scenes as Asuka and Rei’s yaoi-laden imaginations get away from them.  It is even enough for them to form a truce for the sake of saving Shinji from his trip to the ‘Forbidden Realm’.  Unfortunately, their plan doesn’t work very smoothly.  Who will come out of this looking the best in Shinji’s eyes, Asuka, Rei, or Kaworu?

Through preposterous scenarios Rei is made to live at the lab, while Shinji and Asuka move in with Misato.  This scenario is rather disappointing for me as I was hoping the author would keep as unique a perspective as possible.  Keeping true to character, Misato is quite the slob, but surprisingly, Shinji really takes charge to get the place cleaned up and he cooks meals.  Going back to school the next day kicks off the stan-dard school trip to Okinawa scenario that is so prevalent in manga.  The whole thing plays out with some humorous scenes and surprisingly avoids the beach horseplay with bikini’s coming undone scenario.  Instead, some of the characters pair off and try to secretly sneak around on dates.  This makes for some fun scenes, but you’ll have to read it to find out the pairings.

This volume really jumps the shark when the first hint of an angel attack finally arrives.  While everyone is at the lab, the power mysteriously cuts out and the backup generators fail to work.  Then the unthinkable happens.  Shinji’s father orders everyone to ride a stationary bike to power the lab!  WTF!?!  Is this Evangelion meets Gilligan’s Island?  Ugh, just turning the pages is painful.  Please get this story back on track!

In Summary:
Something I really enjoyed in the first volume of this new ‘Evangelion’ incarnation was the twists between this re-imagining of ‘Evangelion’ and the Sadamoto/Anno version.  Unfortunately, some of those differences disappear in this volume.  While different fans will either enjoy Shinji and Asuka moving in with Misato or not, it is difficult to argue the awkwardness of the reasons for them living together.  I just don’t buy the idea that Shinji needs to live with his homeroom teacher because his parents spend too much time at the lab, and the idea that Asuka suddenly needs to because she doesn’t like her housekeeper is even more unbelievable.

Beyond some of those annoyances, it is fun to see the kids exploring their awkward feelings for each other.  Furthermore, it is refreshing to see Rei behaving like a normal girl and not so mechanical as she is in the original version.  I honestly don’t know who I would prefer to see Shinji end up with, Rei or Asuka, but I have always been partial to Asuka.  I don’t know what that says about my psyche, but it probably isn’t all that good.

From here I can only hope that this volume is the last of the silliness and things pan out better.


 


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