Saturday, March 7, 2015
Review: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION Volume 14
VIZ MEDIA – @VIZMedia
STORY/ART: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
ORIGINAL CONCEPT: khara
TRANSLATION/ENGLISH ADAPTATION: John Werry, Evan Galloway
LETTERS: John Clark
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7835-4; paperback (February 2015); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
200pp, B&W, $9.99 U.S., $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK
Neon Genesis Evangelion is a long-running manga series that is tied to the beloved anime series of the same title. Written and drawn by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, the manga was initially released in 1994 (in Shonen Ace magazine) before the anime debuted (October 1995), but the anime ended 15 years before the manga finally concluded in 2013. VIZ Media recently published the 14th and final English-language graphic novel collection of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Neon Genesis Evangelion is the story of humans at war with hostile beings called Angels. The human side of this conflict is led by the paramilitary organization, NERV. The Earth is defended by giant mecha called Evangelions (also known as “EVA” and “Evas”) that are piloted by teenagers. The lead character is Shinji Ikari (who is 14-years-old when the story begins); he is the pilot of EVA “Unit-01.”
Shinji's father, Gendo Ikari, NERV Supreme Commander, initiated the final phase of the Instrumentality Project. As Neon Genesis Evangelion, Vol. 14 (Chapters 91 to 95 to the Final Chapter) opens, things have not gone according to Gendo's plan. The Instrumentality Project reaches its apocalyptic conclusion.
Earth is now the “Sea of LCL,” as every human consciousness in the world has become one. It is a combined entity waiting to be reborn. In this, the source of life, Shinji and Rei Ayanami meet, and have a meeting of the minds and bodies. Shinji makes a decision about the future and about what it means to feel love and despair. Also, Yui and Gendo, Shinji's parents, reunite.
[This volume includes the extra chapter, “Eden in Summer.”]
The Neon Genesis Evangelion manga was my first experience with the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. I read Volumes 12 and 13 of the manga, and I liked 12 more than I did 13. Neon Genesis Evangelion Volume 14 is the final volume of this series. Like Vol. 13, this final volume reminds me of Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. I would like to think that Yoshiyuki Sadamoto would be the perfect comics creator to adapt 2001 into comics.
Neon Genesis Evangelion Volume 14 is one of the most beautifully drawn final volumes of a manga that I have ever read (and it may be the most). Without spoiling the story, I must say that I am quite happy with this ending. Part bittersweet and mostly lyrically beauty, it speaks truth about what what it means to live a life that involves living with other people. The same hand that can hurt can also love. I think I want to start anew and read Neon Genesis Evangelion all over again.
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux
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