Shinji Ikari is a reclusive and withdrawn boy who was left by his father at a young age. At the beginning of the story, his dad has contacted him after an absence of more than ten years. It’s after this that Shinji gets involved in his dad’s work and is forced by him to pilot a giant robot, also known as the Eva, to fight aliens known as ‘Angels’ and save the world.The Eva is part of a larger project by Shinji’s father, who is the lead in a secret organization known as NERV. Shinji doesn’t want to pilot the Eva because he doesn’t want to have the responsibility of doing so. He’s only doing it because of his longing to get his father’s approval.
The series is famous for being a critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre, including many philosophical, psychological, and Christian themes. It’s also known as one of the most successful anime franchises in history. As this is the beginning, it’s close to the anime’s storyline and doesn’t add in or leave out many elements. The story’s narration is from Shinji’s point of view and, for this book, we only see the events he’s around for. We also hear his thoughts, as he’s practically dragged through the duty of having to save the world, being one of currently two teenagers able to pilot the Evas. It is the story of a hero who seriously doesn’t want to be a hero and quite refreshing if you’re tired of manga like One Piece, Bleach, and Naruto that all have idealistic protagonists.
The art is more realistic than other manga. There are fewer exaggerated expressions and the eyes aren’t stylized like typical “anime eyes.” The Evas, angels, and plugsuits all have very interesting and detailed drawings. The backgrounds are well drawn as well. At the beginning of each new chapter, the book has color pages as a very nice bonus.
The omnibus includes many extras: interviews with the creator, the anime voices of both Rei Ayanami and Shinji Ikari, and the designers for the angels, Evas, and characters. A sound effects glossary is included to romanize the sound effects that were kept in Japanese. There’s some concept art, character profiles, and color pages as well.
The series is famous for having a lot of fanservice (although it’s fanservice from the 1990s, so it’s certainly not as bad as fanservice in modern works). Implied nudity and quick references to certain body parts is most of the fanservice. In addition, there is some alcohol depicted, as well as smoking. The main character has lots of teenage angst, and later in the series even has some mental breakdowns.
Neon Genesis Evangelion, 3-in-1 edition vol. 1
by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
VIZ Media LLC, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: OT (16+)