Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga)

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Cover of the first English edition of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga, published by Viz Media in 1998.
(Shin Seiki Evangelion)
Genre Mecha, Post-apocalyptic
Written by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Published by Kadokawa Shoten
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen, Seinen
Magazine Shōnen Ace (1994–2009)
Young Ace
Original run December 26, 1994June 4, 2013
Volumes 14
Related works


Neon Genesis Evangelion (新世紀エヴァンゲリオン Shin Seiki Evangelion) is a long-running manga series by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (story & art) and Gainax's co-founder Hideaki Anno (original work) and published by Kadokawa Shoten. It began in the February issue of Shōnen Ace in December 1994 and ended in June 2013.[1] It consists of 14 volumes, each composed of several "stages" or chapters.

Initially released before the anime series of the same name, the manga was quickly outpaced and only reached its conclusion in June 2013, over 15 years after the conclusion of the TV series.


Neon Genesis Evangelion was created after a meeting between Hideaki Anno and King Records in 1993. Although the anime series was conceived first, the manga was the first to be released, to boost public interest in the upcoming TV series while it was still under production. Due to severe production delays, the anime ultimately aired a full 10 months after the manga first appeared in Shōnen Ace.

When the series finally appeared on TV in October 1995, Sadamoto's manga storyline had completed what would later become volumes 1 to 3, matching the storyline of episodes 5 and 6 of the TV series. The anime rapidly outpaced the manga, to the point that the chapters comprising volume 4 (which included content corresponding to TV episode 8) were not released until over a year after the TV series had finished airing.[2]

Despite an ostensible publishing schedule of one "stage" (chapter) each month in Shōnen Ace, Sadamoto's actual publication schedule was irregular as he divided his time between other projects, releasing a new volume roughly every year and a half. For example, between the publication in Japan of volume 4 and volume 5, two years elapsed.[3] While the manga ran for more than 18 years, only 14 volumes were published.

In 2008, it was announced that the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga was approaching its conclusion. In July 2009, it was moved to a new Shoten seinen magazine, Young Ace,[4] where it was published until the January 2010 issue. At that point Sadamoto stopped writing the manga, putting the publication on hiatus in order to work on the latest Rebuild of Evangelion film. The December 2010 issue of Young Ace announced that the manga would resume that winter (early 2011); the April 2011 issue announced the next stage would be published April 4, 2011.[5]

On February 12, 2012, half of the 90th Stage was published, retelling events as seen in episode 26 from The End of Evangelion. This was reportedly the final chapter.[6] On May 2, 2012, Kadokawa Shoten announced that the 13th volume of the manga would be released on November 2, 2012, with ANN noting that "neither Sadamoto nor Kadokawa has confirmed that the 13th manga volume is still the final one."[7]


Sadamoto was the original character designer for the anime with Hideaki Anno as the supervisor. His manga versions of the characters and plot often differ in subtle ways from the TV series.[8]

Shinji Ikari
Shinji Ikari is invited to Tokyo-3 by his father Gendo Ikari to pilot a mecha known as the Evangelion Unit 01. Shinji reluctantly agrees, and despite a rough start he learns to use Unit 01 to protect the city from creatures known as Angels that threaten to destroy mankind.
Unlike the anime, Shinji's eyes are brown instead of blue. He is also less introverted and expresses himself more, although he is still plagued by self-doubt and hatred for his father.
Rei Ayanami
Rei Ayanami is the First Child and pilot of Evangelion Unit 00. At the beginning of the series she is an enigmatic figure whose unusual behavior confounds her peers. However, she progressively becomes more involved with the people around her, and is revealed to be a key factor in the events that conclude the storyline.
She is slightly more talkative than in the anime and becomes more connected with the people around her, largely through her interactions with Shinji. The manga shows her thoughts and feelings, and indirectly shows that she is in love with Shinji.
Asuka Langley Soryu
Asuka Langley Soryu is the Second Child and the pilot of the Evangelion Unit 02.
She is depicted as strawberry blonde in the manga, rather than red-haired. She is not as verbally abusive toward Shinji and somewhat more open about her true feelings, but is still as difficult to get along with and initially puts on a "good girl" facade in front of authority figures. It is when she drops this facade that she begins to truly improve and be more open. Her feelings for Shinji are not quite as easily discovered in the manga, though it is hinted in various chapters that she is attracted to him. She is a test-tube baby of genius parents, her first meeting with Shinji and his friends is different, and she is left in a comatose state immediately after being defeated by the Angel Arael.
Kaworu Nagisa
Kaworu Nagisa is the Fifth Child, and is eventually revealed to be the seventeenth Angel, Tabris. He is introduced as a replacement pilot for Unit 02 after Asuka Langley Soryu's synchronization ratio falls below usability.
Kaworu is introduced earlier in the manga storyline. He fights the Angel Armisael alongside Rei in Unit 02. Kaworu is portrayed as being ignorant of many aspects of social interaction, creating some comic relief, but is also colder and more of an unsettling presence than in the anime. Because of this, Shinji dislikes and distrusts Kaworu, while Kaworu makes advances toward Shinji and is upset that Shinji does not return his affections. Sadamoto stated this is because Kaworu picks up Rei's emotions.
Toji Suzuhara
Toji Suzuhara is the Fourth Child. He dislikes Shinji for being indirectly responsible for his sister getting injured, but eventually comes to respect him, and the two become friends.
Toji's English-translated dialogue is heavily accented (due to him being from Osaka), and his hair color is changed. He is more verbally abusive toward Asuka, calling her "bitch" multiple times. He is killed during volume 6 of the manga series instead of being crippled. Additionally, Shinji is aware that Toji is the pilot of Unit 03 before the battle against Bardiel.
Ryoji Kaji
Ryoji Kaji appears to be a triple agent, working as the chief inspection officer for NERV (Internal Affairs) while secretly investigating NERV for the Japanese government, and at times seemingly acting as a cat's-paw both for and against Gendo Ikari and SEELE.
He is given more of a back story in the manga; he tells Shinji of his past to motivate Shinji to return to Nerv after the fight against Bardiel in a hidden supply closet.
Yui Ikari/Unit 01
Yui Ikari was a student of genetic engineering at Kyoto University, where she met her future husband Gendo. She served as the test subject for the Contact Experiment of Unit 01, but disappeared during testing. Though proclaimed dead, her soul lives on in Unit 01.
In the manga, in addition to the presence of Yui's soul in Unit 01, the Eva's Angelic aspect has its own identity, depicted as the unarmored Eva. This being shows itself to both Shinji and Rei while they are synchronized with the Eva, and it attempts to trap Shinji inside the Eva with itself after the battle with the Angel Zeruel by taking Yui's form and manipulating Shinji's desire for contact with his mother. Rei is able to establish a mental link with this Angelic part of Unit 01 while outside the Eva, and the two acknowledge that they are directly connected to each other.


With the success of the anime, the manga has also become a commercial success; the first 10 volumes have sold over 15 million copies,[9] and the 11th volume reached #1 on the Tohan charts,[10] taking the total to over 17 million.[11] In particular, as the manga drew closer to its conclusion, attention surrounding it reached new heights, with the 11th volume staying on top of the Japanese Comic Ranking charts for 4 straight weeks, a remarkable achievement even for a long-running series.[12] It won the 1996 Comicker fan manga poll.[13] Volume 12 opened at #1 on Oricon's manga rankings and has sold over 600,000 copies.[10] As of October 2012, the series has sold over 23 million copies in 15 countries.[14]

English release

Viz claims that its releases of Evangelion were the first releases of an unflipped manga in English.[13] In August 2011, Viz announced that the manga would be serialized at $1 a chapter online and through its Apple apps.[15]


  1. Timeline (pg 16), Takeda 2002. pg 162 of Fujie 2004.
  2. Takeda 2002
  3. Neon Genesis Evangelion Vol.5 (Author's Notes). Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-403-6. You've been anxiously waiting for two years! Vol. 5 is finally here! First, I'd like to give a heartfelt "thank you" to those of you who bought this book and are reading it now. I know you kind souls won't ask any questions about why it is so late, and will wait just as patiently for Vol. 6. Yes... I know you'll wait. I think you'll wait. Probably.
  4. "News: Kadokawa to Launch Young Ace Magazine with Eva in July (Update 2)". Anime News Network. 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  5. "Sadamoto's Evangelion Manga to Resume in April". Anime News Network. 2011-03-02. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  6. "Sadamoto finally putting an end to Evangelion manga". Japanator. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  7. "Evangelion Manga Volume 13 slated for November 2". Anime News Network. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  8. "Carl Gustav Horn explains how the Angels are coming to America". Archived from the original on February 14, 1998. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  9. "9-9-06 (8:55AM EDT)---- Further Evangelion Shin Gekijou Ban Details". Anime News Service. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  10. 1 2 "News: Japanese Comic Ranking, March 29-April 4". Anime News Network. 2010-04-07.
  11. "Sadamoto designed characters for the legendary anime but was more involved in drawing the manga adaptation of Evangelion, which began its print run in Gekkan Shōnen Esu, a monthly magazine for boys, in February 1995--before the anime series was launched on TV. As of 2008, the anime series has already receded more than a decade into the past, and two movie versions have come and gone, but the manga series has not ended yet. It still continues, though irregularly, in the same magazine. So far, the manga episodes have been compiled into 11 volumes in Japanese, while San Francisco-based Viz Media has translated 10 of them into English. In Japan, the book form has sold more than 17 million copies in total." from The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo) March 7, 2008 Friday. "Grim, complex 'Evangelion' easier to digest in print form"; by Shigefumi Takasuka, Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer, Yomiuri; Pg. 13
  12. "Japanese Comic Ranking, June 26–July 16". Anime News Network. 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
  13. 1 2 "Carl Gustav Horn explains how the Angels are coming to America". Viz Media. Archived from the original on June 13, 1998. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  14. 史上最大!全世界15カ国&地域に2012 年11月2日同時発売!!! (PDF) (in Japanese). Kadokawa Group. 2012-10-30. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-16. Retrieved 2014-11-19.
  15. "Digital Version of Sci-Fi Manga Masterpiece Neon Genesis Evangelion Launces on and the VIZ Manga App". Anime News Network. 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2011-09-05.

General references

  • Fujie, Kazuhisa; Martin Foster (2004). Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Unofficial Guide. Tokyo, Japan; printed in the USA: DH Publishing, Inc. ISBN 0-9745961-4-0. 
  • Takeda, Yasuhiro (2002). The Notenki memoirs: studio Gainax and the men who created Evangelion. ADV Manga. p. 190. ISBN 1-4139-0234-0. 

Further reading

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