Otaku USA Magazine
[Review] Tony Takezaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion

“Not another Neon Genesis Evangelion spin-off manga,”
I groaned. But Tony Takezaki isn’t just another spin-off artist; the creator of the A.D. Police manga adaptation and the untranslated Dr. Kishiwada’s Scientific Affection, Takezaki is a mad genius of science fiction with a wicked satirical imagination and an ultra-detailed art style. (His first magic trick: changing
his 80s-ish, Katsuhiro Otomo-like artwork into
a passable imitation of Evangelion character designer Yoshituki Sadamoto’s neotenic designs.) It’s a rare glimpse of an individualistic mangaka who hasn’t had a graphic novel in
English for 20 years.

Unfortunately, it’s also another Evangelion spin-off manga, and the readers’ enjoyment will depend on how much they like in-jokes based on the classic (also 20 years old this year) anime series. Takezaki’s loves bio-horror and slime and has a Mythbusters-esque fascination with weird science: one gag here revolves around Maya Ibuki, the shy computer technician, pointing out the hard truth about how phallic and gross all the Evangelion equipment is. Another sequence starts with the famous scene where the Evangelion goes into a rage and eats its opponent, but continues with the giant mecha defecating, then flinging poo at NERV Headquarters.

When the jokes aren’t gross-outs (“Have you ever seen someone light their fart in a manga before? Well, now’s your chance!”), they’re often otaku in-jokes, like the bit when Ritsuko redesigns the Eva armor to look like bulky giant robot suits from 1960s giant monster shows. Some of the jokes are even more obscure to English speakers, such as the riffs on manzai comedy and Jo-ha-kyu (I Googled it and I still don’t know).

There are sex jokes too, but nothing sexy, the anime’s fanservice flirtations becoming as clinical as a breast exam in Takezaki’s deconstructionist eyes. (“These rote bendings-over and breast-shakings are now as meaningless as a barista’s ‘Have a nice day!’”) But as much as Takezaki pokes fun at Evangelion in this comedy roast, even he can’t find anything new to say about it, whether to really dig into the commercialism that caused this book to exist or to take his toilet/body humor over the line into the kind of Shintaro Kago territory where it would actually offend people.

Tony Takezaki is a good artist, but this book is only for hardcore Eva collectors and nostalgic 80s-90s manga fans. As gooey and goopy as it is, it’s commercial science, not mad science.

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