Title: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Volume 4
Story and Art: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Creator: Hideaki Anno
Adaptation: Fred Burke & Carl Gustav Horn
Publisher: Viz Media
Available from Amazon.com
A new Eva pilot has arrived in Tokyo-3: Asuka Soryu Langley. In front of adults she is polite, kind and deferential. When adults are not present., she is abrasive, violent, and a bully. She is also an incredibly skilled Eva Pilot. When the next Angel attack requires her and Shinji work together in tandem, will Asuka swallow her pride and work with Shinji?
Sadamoto does an excellent job with the synchronized fight against Israfil, along with making Asuka a very expressive character.
Part of what made the comedy here work in the show was the idea that Shinji & Asuka were going to have to live together under the same roof long term. Here, by putting them together in temporary housing for this one mission, there’s a sense that their gains are going to be temporary as well.
Originality: This volume moves Shinji’s first meeting with Asuka from the Aircraft character to Tokyo-3, plus a few other details. 4/6
Characterization: As with volume 3, this volume does a good job of setting up a baseline for Asuka, so her relationships with her fellow pilots and Misato can develop from there. 5/6
Emotional Response: There’s some good humor here, and at the end of the volume, there’s a sense that Shinji & Asuka have some chemistry forming. 4/6
In total, this volume gets 35/42.
- Shinji, Kensuke, and Toji don’t meet Asuka on the carrier, so consequently she solos Gaghiel, the Angel that attacks the convoy. This also means that the first time Asuka and Shinji ever fight together is against Israfil.
- Asuka is depicted as a martial arts expert.
- Asuka and Shinji, while training, live in a suite in the Geofront, rather than Misato’s apartment.
- Asuka is specifically stated to be a test tube baby. The implication is that unlike the anime, where she defines herself as an Eva pilot, her identity is instead tied up in being better then everyone else–a higher bar to reach, and a higher point to fall from.
- Asuka’s mother is explicitly stated to be dead.