I wouldn’t be surprised if Shinji shoots his head and summons Eva-01…
This was the year of ’96. I barely had entered my teen years and the only decent stuff on public TV was Samurai X (Rurouni Kenshin) and animes like Tenchi Muyo and Lost Galaxy. Then, without any kind of advertizing, a new anime starts to air at Saturday at 10 am. That anime was Neon Genesis Evangelion and changed the way I was looking into anime.
From those times to the current days, there was alot of spin-offs of the main serie ranging from OAV’s like End of Evangelion to high school romance versions like Angelic Days, showing the trend that when japanese like one thing, they will milk it until it runs dry, similar to what happened to Doraemon, Pokemon and Gundam.
Now, we have the most recent “milkage” of the Evangelion branch, a manga called Shinseiki Evangelion: Gakuen Datenroku, which can be better described as “Persona 3 setting meets Evangelion cast”. Is this actually a fresh and decent adaptation of the Evangelion universe or a lame attempt of exploiting a bit more the name of Evangelion?
High school is such a dangerous place these days.
Ikari Shinji is your typical student at the NERV Foundation Academy, the top elite academy in Tokyo. But his peaceful days end one night with 2 events: the finding of a odd marble on the ground and the sighting of classmate Rei Ayanami with a mysterious guy, which is later revealed as the new transfer student, Kaworu Nagisa.
He looks even dumber than before….
Perplexed by the indiference that Kaworu and Rei show for each other and the apparent interest that Kaworu reveals for Shinji, he decides to stalk both of them. Then he gets involved in a fight between them and a misterious guy, Ramiel, who has black wings and calls himself an angel…
Because NGE was one of the animes that marked my adolescence, I tend to view the spin-offs as lower quality material. But this new manga has managed to pick my interest in several points. Being a recent manga (in only has 5 chapters so far), there isn’t many details of the plot revealed so far, but we can already apprehend some aspects, like the high school warriors thematic, similar to Busou Renkin and Tokyo Majin Gakuen Kenpuchō: Tō. The elements of NGE universe are well transplanted into this story, such as the weapons they use (lol at Rei using the Lance of Longinus) or several terms like EVA, AT-Fields and Lilim.
But one of the best conversions of those elements are the Angels itself: they are portrayed as bodyless consciences, similar to a viral mind, who take over the body of other creatures, killing the original mind of the host in the process. When they are in human hosts , they can spawn black wings, making the term Angels even more litteraly in this manga. They seem to possess powers derived from the mythological angels they are named from (Ramiel, which litteraly means Thunder of God, is able to produce electric based attacks)
An Angel that is an angel. How ironic.
Also, the concept of Yggdrasil is a smart plot element added; deriving from the Multiple Universes theory, the World Tree is portrayed as the physical manifestation of the boundariess that split this version of the universe from the others. If you know the details of the Instrumentality Project from NGE, you can see how that conversed to a time-space equation.
Speaking about the artwork and design, it’s kinda akward adapting ourselves to these new versions of the characters; Shinji even looks more of a wuss than his NGE counterpart. But in spite of this detail, they have a solid design and it helps the manga differenciate from the original. The rest of the artwork is normal, although it doesn’t have anything that it’s remarkable to comment.
Read It or Drop It?
This was a nice start, considering it has the handicap of having some raised expectations due to the fame that NGE has. If they keep this plot reminiscent of Persona 3, this could turn into a fairly nice story, so I’ll keep reading it. And i’m alsy dying out to know if Kaworu is gay for Shinji…again.