Friday, August 21, 2009

Evangelion Anima

Today, I am here to raise awareness of an amazing little project happening in Japan involving Evangelion.

No, I'm not talking about the "Rebuild" movies. I'm talking about Evangelion Anima. If you are an Eva fan you might have heard of this, but perhaps not. Evangelion is my world, and I just heard about this yesterday.

Evangelion Anima is a "light novel" series being serialized in Japan as we speak. It started in 2007 and continues to this day.

The plot of Anima is a Evangelion otaku's wet dream. It is an Alternate Universe take on the end of the original TV series. The conceit being, what if Kaji had been successful and actually twarted SEELE from destroying NERV. The plot goes from there and Instrumentality is shut down before it can even take off, along with SEELE (going into hiding I believe).

Flash forward four years later, and here is where I don't really know anything else. My assumption from the art is that SEELE returns with new mech's to take on NERV and the UN.

What this does is turn Evangelion into a limited one Angel at a time, into a more serialized mech wars type show, thus giving it a much longer lifespan then the impending third impact. Of course this sacrifices the psychological aspect of the show, but we got that in the original series, EoE, and now in "Rebuild". If I want that I can go to those at any time (and I will, again, and again, and again). This gives a little more light hearted affair that I can enjoy without worrying which of my favorite characters will be mentally destroyed this week.

The legitimacy of this work in the grand scheme of "Evangelion Canon" is what fans are in dispute over. Of course it isn't Anno, so fans are calling it glorified fan fiction. However, the sentiment seems to be that only works by Hideki Anno, and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto can be remotely considered canon. The flaw in this thinking is Sadamoto.

Sadamoto was the character designer for the original series, and Rebuild. He then went on to do the Manga version of Evangelion, which now gives him cred as a co-creator of Evangelion and near the same exalted level as Anno. But people forget he only reached that because he had a part in the original series, and then made an original work based on Eva that was pretty darn good.

Now, the author for Anima is Yamashita Ikuto, who was ALSO involved in the original series and Rebuild, just as Sadamoto was, as the mech designer. This is the guy who made Evangelion Unit 01. So I think that gives him some street cred. On top of that in this book he is playing to his strength, mech design and mech fights. Sadamoto's manga is praised because it goes more into depth with the characters, that he designed. Again, playing to his strength. Now Ikuto is doing the same with the mech's and fans are trying to make it seem not as legitimate. It is on the same level in my opinion.

Also, for some reason, Evangelion is seen as a franchise that can only have alternate stories if handled by the original team. Stories not made by them tend to get ignored. And this is usually for good reason (see Angelic Days, or Shinji Ikari Raising Project). However, when you look at a series like Gundam that has a million shows, most of which are handled by different authors, it makes you wonder why Evangelion is played so close to the chest. Why hasn't the series attempted to branch out more. I'm partially playing devil's advocate here, because personally I really don't want an Evangelion Franchise, like a Gundam Franchise. Over saturation can easily kill a property.

But a couple of things like Anima can come out every few years, and I think that is good enough. What I would really like is to see Anima animated. In OVA form perhaps, just for the hard core. And I don't think that is too out of left field. Gundam Unicorn is being made into a full on series, and it started in much the same way. Also, Gainax is doing a pretty good job promoting Anima in Japan. They display giant art boards of the new Eva mech designs in public places, they have a deal with Bandai to make models and figures based off the series. There is even an article where some guy named "Hideki" (though it can't be confirmed as Anno 100%) says he supports the project. Which if it is Anno, that is a HUGE endorsement.

I just went through all that conjecture for something I haven't even read, because I can't, and that is the entire reason I made this lengthy post. Currently there is no one translating the book. Maybe ADV will pull out of their slump and bring this to the States, or maybe some fan translation is in the works I just don't know about. Regardless someone needs to get this translated.

Super Evangelion Unit 01

Asuka is now 17... legal in Texas.

By far the hottest picture of Rei I've seen. She looks good in black.

Shinji, 17, takes a cue from Kaji's fashion sense.

If you want RAW's of the books thus far, EvaGeeks has been keeping tabs on it with downloads like the ones seen in this post.

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