Neon Genesis Evangelion (2004)


Volume 9

Neon Genesis Evangelion - Volume 9 (2004)

Author/Artist: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Original Story: Gainax
Publisher: Kadokawa Comics Ace

Asuka's failure to sync with Unit 02 prompts the selection of the Fifth Child, the enigmatic Kaworu Nagisa.

This volume corresponds to Episode 22 and part of Episode 23 in the original series with one key difference. There have been degrees of variance with the original series up to this point, but this volume marks a significant departure by introducing Kaworu a fair bit earlier. We were teased with his existence back in Volume 7 and now he enters the story proper. Personally, I preferred the way they had it in the original series where he comes out of nowhere once Shinji hits rock bottom. He's not at this point yet, which changes their dynamics quite a bit. You see, in the original series, because Shinji has nothing when he meets Kaworu, he latches onto him in his desperation, but here, because he still has something left, he rejects Kaworu's advances. Whether this setup is to draw down the homosexual overtones of their relationship or not is uncertain. Also, what Kaworu does when he's introduced is fairly controversial, which seems to further serve to demonize his character.

The key story here explores Asuka's tragic backstory both before and during the confrontation with Arael. Because there's no audio, we don't have the Hallelujah Chorus ruined for us. The addition of Kaworu for the Armisael fight adds and interesting new element to it. We just get a little of the beginning of the fight, which will continue into the next volume.

The quality of the art remains high. You'll have no complaints about the visuals (well, maybe a few but not due to Sadamoto's skill with the pen).

I'm not a big fan of how Kaworu gets introduced here (any ailurophile will agree), but I will admit that the way things get shaken up by bringing him in at this point is interesting and work toward making the manga more its own story. Asuka fans may be a bit mixed on how her character is handled. All the same, if you've been reading this long, you're going to want to keep going.

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