by Avery Mathews
Now, I’ve been a fan of Evangelion for only a short time, compared to some people. But I watched every episode of the original series, and watched the first two movies as soon as I could get my hands on them. It is a huge series to get into; with various manga surrounding the series, including the original Neon Genesis Evangelion manga and spanning other entries into the series like Campus Apocalypse and The Shinji Ikari Raising Project, which takes place in alternate universes, it is truly a massive fandom.
When I heard about the Shinji Ikari Detective Diary, I was quite interested in the concept. Shinji, the fully 3-dimensional protagonist of the Evangelion series, trying to solve mysteries? Sounds like a manga that I could have quite a bit of fun with. It turns out that it was as fun as I expected it to be, perhaps a little more so with the introduction of some interesting concepts. But this is Evangelion in name only; the characters are the only thing they took from the original series. They manage to pull off their personalities very well, despite the ridiculous plot, but there are very few other connections to the original.
In the Shinji Ikari Detective Diary, Shinji is still a high schooler who tries to stay out of things he thinks he doesn’t belong in and things that could end poorly. In this case, he’s forced to help out his two friends in school who are being harassed by the Yakuza for something they didn’t do. He is forced to go to the Kaji Detective Agency, where he meets mysterious, pretty boy Kaworu, who agrees to take his case.
It is in dealing with the Yakuza members that the writers play around a bit with the concepts. Kaworu manages to summon, in a very Persona-esque fashion, something from an amulet he carries called an Eva. These are, according to the author’s note at the end, a humanized version of the Evangelions from the original series.
This manga was a lot of fun. While it didn’t have a lot of substance to it, it was pure fun. Shinji acted exactly the way he did in the show, with pretty boy Kaworu acting as his partner in their pursuits to solve the mysteries of Tokyo-3. The good thing about the fact that it is fun is that they don’t take anything seriously. During a climactic battle between Kaworu and one of the antagonists, they both summon their Evas to fight — and the Evas refuse because they’re related. So instead, Kaworu and the antagonist have a staring contest.
As I was reading the author’s note, I was upset to hear that it was only two volumes. Needless to say, I’ll be waiting for the next volume because this brought happiness and fun to a serious anime.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Shinji Ikari Detective Diary Volume 1 TPB
Writer: Takumi Yoshimura
Artist: Takumi Yoshimura
Cover Artist: Takumi Yoshimura
Publication Date: September 04, 2013
Format: b&w, 184 Pages; TP, 5 1/8″ x 7 1/4″
Age range: 14
“When even a tough dude like his school pal Toji is getting menaced by gangsters, a nice guy like Shinji Ikari feels obliged to seek out the local private eye, Ryoji Kaji, and his striking young assistant, Kaworu Nagisa. Somehow, though, Shinji gets drafted into solving the case himself, with Kaworu’s help—although Kaworu quickly proves to be a mystery of his own . . .”