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Evangelion Returns! Omnibus Book 1

Neon Genesis Evangelion Omnibus Book 1
“The Shinji Ikari Raising Project”
Story and Art by Osamu Takahashi
Created by Khara
Translation: Michael Gombos
Editor and English Adaptation: Carl Gustav Horn
Lettering and Touchup: John Clark (John Clark is as common as John Smith.)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Wow, oh wow and we thought that Eva was over! This book collects the first three volumes (Stages 1 – 21) of the manga “The Shinji Ikari Raising Project” into one place.

If you’ve been away from Evangelion for a while like I have this will plunge you right back in at just the right spot. But, here’s a quick refresher in case you’ve forgotten.

Evangelion are mecha developed by NERV to defend Tokyo-3 against the Angels and must be piloted by certain children. Shinji Ikari is one of these pilots, as is Rei Ayanami and Asuka Soryu. Kaworu Nagisa joins them, but he turns out to not be whom, or what, they thought. Shinji’s mother was a brilliant scientist that vanished during the creation of Evangelion unit 01. It’s believed that her soul or spirit inhabits unit 01. None of this makes a bit of difference to read this book!!

What will make a difference is this: remember the dynamic between Asuka, Rei and Shinji? It’s all there. If you’re just picking this up for the first time, you’re in for a treat. It’s a classic anime/manga love triangle that’s really more of a line, but Asuka doesn’t see it that way. Rei enters into Asuka and Shinji’s lives as a transfer student and a “very distant” relation of Shinji’s. This acts more like a prequel because the Evangelion units aren’t in the picture yet, but there’s “research” being done that requires a lot of time spent at the Artificial Evolution Lab, where Rei spent a lot of time before she came to live with the Ikari family.

Rei evolves slowly in these first stages and Asuka still doesn’t like her (Shinji does and that matters, right?), but it’s not all about them now is it? It’s all about Shinji, which is mentioned over and over again but is something Seele (Is Seele evil or is it NERV?) doesn’t figure out. At least not yet. But they do have the presence of mind to infiltrate NERV with an operative, I mean they’ve already infiltrated the school Shinji, Asuka and Rei attend with not one but two operatives in the attempt to figure out what Gendo Ikari is up to.

You won’t be disappointed in this collection. I do recommend owning the paperback version, not the digital download. But if you must go green, don’t read it on your laptop. Nook, Kindle, or other tablet please; after all, it is manga.

Mecha… my favorite kind of anime, right? Now, I can’t wait for book two!

I give this book 5 out of 5 Evangelions!

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