RELEASED BY:   DARK HORSE
  AUTHOR / ART:  

OSAMU TAKAHASHI

  FORMAT:   JAPANESE / B&W
  PAGES:   184
  RATING:   16+
  RELEASE DATE:   06/17/2009
  REVIEW DATE:   08/29/2009
  REVIEWED BY:   SCOTT CAMPBELL



Another Evangelion spin-off!? Awesome! They honestly can’t come out with these faster, as many other fans of Evangelion would agree. It’s great fun to delve into alternate universes that relate to characters and a story we love, so any Evangelion spin-off series is worth a try. Now, not all spin-offs are a great idea, or even well made, but Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Raising Project is most certainly a worth-while series even just on its own. The characters and their personalities have been well captured in this side-story/alternate universe, and the first volume shows a huge amount of potential to be a big hit with Evangelion fans, and just plain old manga fans alike.

As the story goes, stunning, hot-headed Asuka Langley Soryu has been friends with Shinji Ikari since they were little. And she always sort of assumed they'd stay together – until the day the beautiful, brilliant Rei Ayanami showed up in class! When Shinji starts to get curious about Rei, Asuka needs to figure out if she wants to be just friends with Shinji, or something more. But why are so many people keeping an eye on these relationships – people like homeroom teacher Misato, school nurse Ritsuko, and Shinji's mother – NERV's chief scientist, Yui Ikari?

Based on the alternate world glimpsed in the final episode of the famous Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series, The Shinji Ikari Raising Project explores Evangelion’s famous characters through love, comedy, and a new set of mysteries! The Evangelion legend continues this fall with the movie Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone from Funimation, and continues to grow as a franchise, even after almost 15 years since its conception.  Now, the story is great for a “light” work, of which it is seemingly (unless you want to get all “crazy Evangelion fan” and debate the meanings of ever subtle detail within this new book) – it’s funny, and charming, and leaves a number of smirks on your face as you read through it. The story is just getting going, but the writing is good and should impress readers as more volumes become available. So what about the art though? WOW. Honestly, it’s very impressive, and very “Evangelion”, as it should be. As a big Evangelion fan myself, and therefore pretty hard to please/judgmental when it comes to all things Evangelion, this series totally passes the test art-wise. It’s well-drawn, it looks great, and the characters are true to the look they were created with 15 years ago. It’s amazing sometimes how people will try to change a “good thing’ just to be different – but obviously this author/artist knew what they were doing and kept Evangelion just like we know it. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series – very exciting!


IN SUMMARY:
Evangelion fans rejoice! This is a great new series and should be on every Evangelion fan’s “must have” list – no questions asked. As for other readers, give it a try and maybe you’ll find yourself consumed by the Evangelion universe you’ve been missing out on for way too long!

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