This volume, Shinji is forced to make a sadistic choice, and The End (of Evangelion) begins.
Title: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Volume 11
Story & Art by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Based on the series by Hideaki Anno
Translated by June Honma
English Adaptation by Carl Gustav Horn
Published by Viz Media
Available from Amazon.com
Kaworu takes control of Unit-02 and proceeds to Central Dogma to trigger Third Impact, while Shinji attempts to stop him in Unit-01. He discovers that he is unable to do so because he needs to come into contact with Adam, and Central Dogma contains Lilith. Kaworu asks Shinji to kill him, and Shinji regretfully complies.
Shinji reaches his psychological nadir as SEELE prepares to pull the trigger on Third Impact, first with an assault on the Magi, and then with an attack by the Japanese Self Defense Forces.
The End begins…
While I don’t buy into Shinji & Kaworu’s emotional connection in the manga, I do buy into the emotional tone of the two’s final confrontation.
I’m also very, very glad that Shinji doesn’t masturbate over Asuka’s comatose form, as in End of Evangelion..
For the TV series and the manga, up to this point, the military was very sympathetic. They were a bunch of people making the best of a bad situation. However, for the assault on NERV, it seems like they’ve been replaced with HAMMER (from the Marvel universe). They are ordered to kill, not capture, the Eva pilots (children), and all personnel, combatants or not, armed or not, surrendering or not.
Further, based on the actions of characters around them (who expect that surrendering will be expected), this response is not normal, implying that the Geneva convention is still A Thing That Exists, a are war crimes. As someone with friends & family who have served, having the story fall back on the old “Soldiers are jack-booted murderous thugs” trope, especially with a work with such character depth is someone what unfortunate.
I understand why they’re doing this – they’re trying to set up that Humans are the last Angel. Still, we could have the same shades of gray, with having the soldiers be just as caught between the machinations SEELE & Gendo as the NERV crew is.
To be fair, Sadamoto is sticking with the story as told in End of Eva (which is generally more conductive for telling in a manga then the ending of the TV series is). Still, I expect better.
Originality: This volume has few differences from the original story, save for some some shifts of imagery. 4/6
Story: This entire volume is amazingly well written. 5/6
Characterization: How Kaworu chooses to go out actually gives him the characterization he needs to become much more sympathetic. 5/6
Emotional Response: I wasn’t sure if the manga was going to go the same route as End of Evangelion, and seeing that Sadamoto is taking us that way was a hell of a moment. 6/6
In total, this volume gets 38/42.
- Kaworu is entirely crushed inside the hands of Unit-01.
- Shinji does not masturbate over Asuka’s comatose form.