As I posted about this back in late 2012, ( berlioz-ii.deviantart.com/jour…
) I wondered if Vol.13 was to be the last of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's manga version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and was curious if this was the case considering the rather incomplete ending seen there. Well, there was indeed one last volume to come and I just picked up Vol.14, the very last entry to a manga that has been ongoing since 1995. How does it stand up as a grand finale? Well… in comparison to the original End of Evangelion movie, to which events this edition corresponds to, it is much more low-key and self-explanatory, following very much in Sadamoto's more conventional storytelling style. As such it somewhat perhaps loses its impact when you take out all of Anno's stir-crazy surrealist post-modernism and replace it with a quiet conversation about hands with a naked Rei on top of a naked Shinji in some metaphysical environment of LCL.
Whether one considers this an improvement or not is a matter of taste, but I do feel the philosophical aspects of the pros and cons of exposing yourself to human hurt (which the hands come to symbolically represent) came across a bit one-note perhaps, and not as striking as Anno's forays to playgrounds, alternate timelines, live-action self-reflections, and happy suicide songs, but in terms of narrative translucence this manga will likely frustrate much less those who couldn’t stand all of Anno's confusing pseudo-intellectualist posturing. Personally, though, the manga gets a little too literal and conventional at times to make all this seem rather anticlimactic really. Also Sadamoto forgoes with the enigmatic, and in a certain way rather depressing and highly surrealistic, final scene of the movie in favour of a straight telling on what happens after Shinji decides to restore humankind in favour of a non-existence of floating in a vague environment of emptiness devoid of either happiness or sadness.
There is a fun bit involving Shinji happening to meet Asuka again, though she doesn't recognise him, and Shinji just feels a strange feeling of familiarity, and it's interesting that we never see any of the characters who previously were confirmed dead prior to the Third Impact starting (possibly they were never resurrected even though their bodies were also absorbed by the Rei giant), so again if people were mainly just bewildered with what the heck Anno was driving at with the final scene of End of Eva, may be much more receptive to this more conventional outcome. There's also a final extra chapter featuring Yui Ikari during her school days, her meeting Gendo, and how there's this coldly distant girl who proves to have some lesbian feelings for Yui (which is why she's so confrontational with her). This girl in the end proves to be Mari Makinami, a character first appearing in the Rebuild of Evangelion movies, which is likely included here as a small promo bit rather than really a necessary part of the manga's story itself.
But anywho, this is now the definite
ending for this manga that originally started as a promotional version for the TV series, but quickly went in its own direction thereafter. Almost 20 years in the making, it's been a long haul, but it's finally done. To Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, thank you. To Hideaki Anno, farewell. And to all the children… congratulations!