Viz Manga - Special Collector's Edition
by Charles McCarter
Like all other things EVANGELION, the
manga reviewed way back in
EX Issue 1.1 (Whoa! How retro!) has now made it to U.S. shores under the guiding
hand of Viz. Viz is releasing this manga in two formats, the "regular" one
and a "special collector’s edition," which seems to prove that fans of EVA
will buy almost anything.
The other aspect of this "original format" orientation that is addressed in the translation is the flow of the panels. A pair of glasses with arrows indicating which direction to read direct the reader’s eyes along the correct path. Again, one who is familiar with reading manga this way needs no such markers, but to Viz’s credit, they are relatively unobtrusive and easily ignored if not required.
The story (thus far) retells the first part of the first episode. It ends with Shinji arriving at NERV. And that’s perhaps my biggest problem with this comic—the story has barely got underway when the issue ends. But that’s what happens when you chop up manga into 32 page chunks for the American market.
Translation, from what I have seen, is good and manages to preserve the integrity of the original without making it sound stilted or forced. However, Misato does seem to come off as more of a space cadet when her car gets trashed during the battle between the Eva and the Angel than she did in the anime. But she quickly recovers later on and becomes the authoritative woman so many fans know and love.
The black and white medium, combined with Sadamoto’s liberal use of shadows and extensive shading, give the manga a gloomier edge that did not present itself quite so early in the television series. Still, since this is his version of the EVANGELION story, one cannot expect everything to be the same as the television show.
Fans of EVANGELION will enjoy this manga, and many will undoubtedly rush to buy the Special Collectors Edition. If you haven’t had enough EVANGELION yet, this will augment your supply very nicely. Good packaging, good translation, and a good product from which to start with are all essential ingredients for success.