Tony Takezaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion

He who laughs last has not yet heard the bad news.” – Bertolt Brecht.

Every anime fan will be aware of the fact this is year which Neon Genesis Evangelion takes place. The year 2015 is one which is seeing otaku exclaiming why Shinji won’t get in the f***ing robot, while at the same time checking the skies to make sure we are not about to be attacked by Angels.

But aside from the whole general fandom, the appreciation of the original series, its spin-offs, and the seemingly never-ending wait for Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo to be finally released on DVD and Blu-ray in this country, there are all sorts of other ways that we can still enjoy this classic series – even if it means taking the piss out of it.

Released in English by Dark Horse, Tony Takezaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion is an affectionate parody of both the anime and its manga adaptation. It is only a short book at that, with even shorter chapters: 22 in a book that is 176 pages long, not including little bonus pages. However, this collection is still very funny, whether you are a die-hard fan of Evangelion or have just a passing interest. 

Some of the stories are parodies of actual stories in the series, others are complete one-off sections, and some are little prequels to the original. All the regular characters are there, and some minor characters have boosted roles.

Much of the humour in the book is low-brow, gross-out comedy. It is not a manga for the easily offended, with much of the comedy being sexual or toilet humour. At times it is like you are reading Viz – by which I mean the adult British comic book, and not Viz Media the American manga publisher. Chapters in the book include Shinji acting as a masochistic pervert and wanting to be abused more and more by Asuka; Gendo and Ritsuko performing bizarre sexual fantasies such as Gendo hiding under Ritsuko’s lab coat and putting his arms through the sleeves while she is wearing it; Misato trying to light her own farts; the entire NERV crew trying to create as much fan service as possible; and an EVA Unit becoming so sick after eating an Angel that it ends up pooing and vomiting all over NERV’s base and indeed on its people. Yes, it is not the cleverest comedy, but you can’t help but end up laughing at the sight of Ritsuko calmly talking while she has a gigantic EVA turd on her head.

There also parodies of other works too. For example there is the story set in Shinji’s classroom where the teacher suddenly reveals what NERV and the UN are actually trying to do, thus revealing the whole plot of the show, before being silenced by some “Men in Black” who make the class look into a strange light and wipe their memories.

Some of the jokes that have been translated from Japanese into English do get lost, but are explained in the book. Either that, or the book just simply says: “Look it up!” 

The book is very funny, and also the art is not compromised. It would be easy just to make the art look silly and comic too, but Takezaki sticks to the depictions of the characters and setting as you would see them in the original work.

Tony Takezaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion is a very quick, very funny read. It is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who like their comedy to be bawdy you should find this an entertaining collection.

9 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

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