Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Detective Company Vol. 1
Written and drawn by Takumi Yoshimura
Darkish Horse, $9.99
At what exact level does the growth of a franchise cross over from considerable to ludicrous? Take the 1995 large robotic, teen angst and Christian iconography anime collection Neon Genesis Evangelion, for instance. Ignoring the opposite anime offshoots and video video games alone to focus solely on the manga, there’s the unique, official adaptation; Neon Genesis Evangelion: Angelic Days, a light-hearted model of the story primarily based on a parallel universe instructed by the anime; Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Elevating Challenge, a remixed, retelling as romantic comedy; Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse, which replaces the enormous robots with magical weapons; Neon Genesis Evangelion: Comedian Tribute, the just lately launched, single-volume parody; and now, Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Detective Company, which, because the identify suggests, casts the protagonist as a boy detective.
That’s a number of NGE comics, stretching the franchise in very totally different instructions, with this offshoot being maybe essentially the most totally different but, shifting the characters into a completely totally different style relatively totally divorced from their house milieu. That stated, we’re nonetheless safely on the suitable aspect of ludicrous, provided that this newest collection retains the characters so totally intact and is a extremely comedian comedian, specializing in laughs over drama and absolutely acknowledging that there’s one thing laughable concerning the franchise’s steady resurrection in newer, weirder varieties.
Manga-ka Takumi Yoshimura introduces us to excessive schooler Shinji Ikari, a quiet loner who classmates Toji and Kensuke frequently rope into hanging out with them…or serving to them out, as they’re within the technique of doing originally of the comedian. Apparently, they’ve gotten in bother with some native yakuza and assume Shinji may be capable of assist him. He agrees to go to the Kaji Ryoji Detective Company to rent assistance on their behalf, and there he meets Kaji, Misato, and Pen-Pen, with the penguin apparently serving as lead investigator.
Slightly than taking the job, they assign it to Shinji, teaming him up with Kaworu. By means of aggressive, even foolish, manipulation, the grown-ups shortly have Shinji working for them and dwelling as Kaworu’s new roommate, and the pair recurrently examine mysteries surrounding their very own faculty.
This manga differs a bit from previous ones within the quantity of consideration paid to the male members of the forged, with Shinji and Kaworu entrance and middle, and even Toji, Kensuke, and Kaji launched early and given the most important roles. Misato is current from the start, however performs a small function in Shinji’s life, no larger than that of Pen-Pen.
The ladies, Auska and Rei, don’t seem till relatively late within the first quantity, and it’s not till the climax that it’s revealed that they really work for a rival detective company, The G.I. Company. (Followers will guess who their boss is straight away; suffice it to say that the I stands for Ikari.)
The Evas are current, however they aren’t large robots, as a substitute taking one other type, as they did in Campus Apocalypse. Right here they’re genie-like servants that reside in gem stones that solely particular youngsters can name forth; they seem as cooler fighting-game variations of the children who name them. (On this quantity, we see these serving Asuka, Kaworu and Shinji; Rei’s hasn’t been revealed but.) Whereas they might play an even bigger function sooner or later, right here they appeared virtually superfluous, a mandated intrusion on the inter-character comedy that was working effectively sufficient with out them.
Yoshimura’s character designs range relatively drastically from these of authentic anime character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto; whereas they’re clearly the identical characters, Yoshimura’s are all taller, lankier, and considerably flatter, with smaller heads and smaller expressions. They’re a bit much less “open,” however, at this level within the franchise’s existence, they’re all recognizable at a look, so maintaining them constant quantities to little greater than “not screwing them up.”
There are a couple of gags on the franchise’s expense. Some are delicate, as when an exasperated Shinji vents over being press-ganged into detective work: “What’s improper with these individuals? I imply, forcing an untrained child to exit and do their soiled work for them…who’d ever imagine a factor like that?!”
Different gags are a bit extra compelled, as in a dialog through which Kaworu castigates Shinji for dismissing the supernatural when they’re investigating sightings of a ghost: “I imply, what’s extra doubtless,” he asks Shinji, “That we’re reborn souls of a distant ancestral races, flowering from seeds planted within the moon, billions of years in the past…or that we simply…developed?”
Such in-jokes might not make a lot sense to readers staring their NGE expertise right here, however, on the similar time, they’re simply jokes, and for all intents and functions, it is a contemporary begin, so no earlier expertise is de facto required.
It’s in all probability not one of the best place to begin with NGE comics, however that’s solely as a result of it’s not one of the best NGE comedian, not as a result of there’s a threshold of required foreknowledge or something. I think about it will enchantment most to franchise followers although, as they’re the readers who will doubtless discover the occasions of the ebook the freshest, as they’re actually solely new and creative inside the context of the franchise.