Evangelion 3-in-1 Edition Volume 1 Review: How well does Viz’s edition of the manga stand up?

neon-genesis-evangelionIn the year 2000 over half of the world’s population was wiped out by a disaster known as the second impact. The impact is widely believed to have been caused by a meteorite, and its effects are catastrophic. The population’s struggles are only worsened by great economic stress and the nuclear wars which countries begin to wage against each other. Despite this however the Seele organization manage to achieve a number of scientific feats following the second impact, including: the construction of the giant humanoids the evangelions and the building of the new city Tokyo 3.

Fifteen years after the second impact the fate of mankind tilts on the coming of the third impact. 14 year old Shinji Ikari is summoned to Tokyo 3 by his father to pilot Evanglelion Unit 01 on the eve of an angel attack. Before Shinji didn’t care about anyone, but with the fate of the human population on his shoulders he must learn the importance of protecting and helping others.

Despite having only seen the two recent Rebuilding of Evangelion movies I still really enjoyed this book. Any copies of the original anime that I have found online have always been put at a ridiculous price point so this reproduction of the manga (which was based upon the series) was a godsend for me. Rather than watching the two recent movies I would recommend reading this edition first to understand the phenomena as a lot of the concepts and plot points are rushed in the movies and sequentially the manga makes a lot more sense. If you have seen the original series, (from what I’ve heard) the ending of the manga is different to that of the anime and in terms of plot there is a lot more detail contained within each volume.

images-1Whilst on the surface, the franchise just appears to be a simple mecha anime, Evangelion is far more than that. The plot is deep and complex and holds strong messages for today’s world. Whilst some of its’ messages – such as the religious ones are – a bit controversial, those related to how we should treat people as human beings not as machines and those which explore Freudian theories are incredibly interesting. Shinji and Rei are two of the most compelling (and depressing) characters I have ever found in manga and anime. Their struggle to show and empathize with human emotions is incredibly interesting and both of the characters backgrounds are just as captivating. Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s comment, saying that he wonders whether it is that Rei cannot feel emotion or that she simply does not hold the ability to express it further shows how deeply complex her character is. Whilst it is questionable whether fourteen year olds would have such thoughts and would consider their lives completely worthless, their feelings demonstrate how mentality can be greatly influenced and matured by both upbringing and life threatening situations.

Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s artwork really captures the feel of the anime and the panels containing the Evas are the most impressive in the omnibus. All of the characters’ emotions incredibly displayed, Rei’s gazing stare and her blank expressions really prompted me to question what could be going on in her mind. Whilst some panels feel rushed, action sequences are dynamic and flow well. However the level of detail in backgrounds is inconsistent and there is an incredibly questionable scene (which was in the anime) in which Rei lies naked on the floor with Shinji on top of her, (which I’ll never understand the importance or relevance of).

Viz’s edition itself is impressive. Included are twelve coloured pages, accounts written by the voice actors who played Rei and Shinji, an interview with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, plus an incredibly funny and bizarre four panel gag strip. The interviews and accounts both give a further insight into the minds of pilots and an impression as to what the mentalities and work styles of Sadamoto and Hideako Anno are like, I can only hope that the next omnibus will contain an interview with Hideako Anno himself.

If you’re a newcomer to the franchise or if you’ve only seen the movies then I couldn’t recommend picking up the first omnibus any more. The story and characters are compelling and the themes contained in the plot and the art style is just as noteworthy.


Neon Genesis Evangelion 3-in-1 edition 1 is available from Viz Media now.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. Jordan

    I would love to take a look at this. I have picked up a few of the manga volumes in the middle and the manga seems to go in a different direction to the anime (besides the ending). Do you know anything about this?

    • WillStocks

      Zac Bertschy from Anime News Network and the ANNCast said that he read the first five or six volumes but didn’t really notice a difference – he just said that there was a lot more detail (in terms of story) in the manga, he seemed to think that the different direction comes in at around volume 6 to nine

  2. AnnaLar

    So this is one of my favorite reviews of yours Will! Are you still writing that massive Manga retrospective article you told us about earlier?

    • WillStocks

      Thank you! 😀
      I haven’t had time to write that article yet I’m really sorry 🙁 I’ve got exams on at the moment which could make or break my future so for the next two weeks I’m not sure how often I’m going to be able to post articles. What’s probably coming up next from me is either going to be a review Viz’s new edition of Nausicaa or my top 3 picks from the beginning of the Winter Anime Season. If you’ve got any idea’s for articles though I’m all ears and I’ll try and do my best 🙂

    • Liking the sound of that idea!

    • Amanda Duke

      Liking the sound of that!

      • WillStocks

        I think I should have my best picks for this season up around this time next week as my exams will be finished by then, I’m not sure about my review of Nausicaa though, I’m trying to plow it at the moment

        • Nilson Thomas Carroll

          Late post, but I really recommend the anime if you still haven’t seen it. The final climax is worthwhile, especially for fans of animation and anime. I truly do believe it is the greatest anime series of all time.

  3. I have this manga, it was the first manga I purchased and to this day, it is my favourite manga to read. The art’s good and the story is really well told. The only down side is the price, the volume I bought was quite expensive but if you are looking for quality you won’t go wrong here.

  4. I second this opinion. Great series, and if you’re inclined to read it (although, I definitely suggest watching it first), the 3-in-1s are the way to go (if for no other reason than the super high quality print).

  5. One thing that I have heard fairly consistently is a negative critique of Shinji. The critique is that he isn’t so captivating in that he focuses much on his sorrows.

  6. Everyone resonates with angst differently, but NGE is able to captivate large audiences with what some might perceive to be highly angsty teen psychology. It’s very difficult to do this without turning away large groups, and so it is very impressive.

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