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The Other Side of the Story

Mar 07, 2021

~Newtype December '97~

As the anime "Eva" reaches its conclusion, another story remains behind.

This is Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's manga "Neon Genesis Evangelion" (currently serialized in "Shōnen Ace(*1)").

*1) A monthly shōnen manga magazine in Japan published by Kadokawa Shoten, started in 1994. Unlike the big shōnen weeklies with circulation figures in the millions, Ace is aimed at a less mainstream audience, and has a particular emphasis on anime tie-ins. (Wikipedia)

The fourth volume of the comic has been released, and the series will resume in the January issue (on sale November 26).

We had a direct and exclusive interview with the manga, whose future development is expected to be even more exciting!


Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

Born on January 29, 1962 in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. Blood type A.

Became an animator after graduating from Tokyo Zokei University.

Active as a character designer and animation director.

Representative works include the movie "Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise" (character designer), the original video animation "GunBuster" (animation director), and the TV series "Nadia, The Secret of Blue Water" (character designer and animation director). He was also the character designer and manga artist for Neon Genesis EVANGELION.

A member of Gainax.


Characters moving in a "Shōnen manga(*2)" style.

*2) Japanese comics marketed towards young teen males between the ages of 12 and 18 The age group varies with individual readers and different magazines. (Wikipedia)

With the end of the anime "Neon Genesis Evangelion" with this film version, I think "Eva" fans are going to focus more and more on your manga. What do you think?

In the anime, they don't create a story with "answers".

They just plant a seed and let the audience figure out the rest on their own.

I think manga will be a little different.

I prefer to have a clear statement, so I hope to draw in that direction, even if it is poorly done.

To tell the truth, I really like "Doraemon" and "Anpanman", and I can be moved to tears by something so simple.

But in the end, because of the difficult content of "Eva", it's still difficult to understand.

Sadamoto-san's "Eva" has a somewhat orthodox "Shōnen manga" feel to it. Do you have any favorite manga or other works?

I love Kazuo Umezu's "The Drifting Classroom", the anime "Gamba no Bouken", Leiji Matsumoto's "Galaxy Express 999", and when it comes to Shōnen manga, this is my favorite.

What these three have in common is that the main character travels in search of his place in the world.

Even when things are over, they don't go back to where they came from, they go out again to find their place in the next adventure. It's cool.

In Shinji's case, seeking a place to live means finding a way to live with the people he's currently with, and I'm wondering if there will be an adventure-like episode for Shinji in the manga.

Right now, the main character is stuck in one place.

While aiming for a "Shōnen manga" style, the main character is not a simple and clear-cut hero image, but has a complex mind.

The main character of "Eva" focuses on the world as seen from Shinji's point of view, but in the end, I created the character Shinji thinking about how I would think now, or how I would have thought when I was 14 years old.

What kind of boy were you yourself?

I think I was pretty sociable. But I didn't like to stand out.

In terms of characters, I was probably more like Kensuke.

I wasn't that straightforward, honor student type, and I was often told that I was calm.

It seems that I give up quickly, but in fact I am persistent.

I wasn't what you'd call a delinquent, but I did a lot of bad things and reflected on them.

I think that part of me is similar to Shinji in the manga.

The Role of Characters in Manga

In the manga version, you've added original parts to the story setting and the personalities of the characters that differ from the anime.

Actually, the manga was the first to start talking about communication with people.

I thought that the main focus of animation would be the battle against Angel, but Anno-san also shifted towards communication.

That's why I've been trying to change my approach lately.

I thought I'd venture away from the main theme of the anime version, which is the failure of communication.

The personalities of the characters are also gradually becoming different from the anime.

In the manga, Asuka also appeared in the recently released volume 4, what kind of girl are you planning to make her?

Asuka's personality is similar to the anime in that she pretends to be a good girl and two-faced.However, I hope that Asuka will become someone Shinji can respect and admire as a person of the opposite sex.However, I hope that Asuka will become someone Shinji can respect and admire as a person of the opposite sex. Sometimes they're friends, sometimes they're rivals, but sometimes they're opposites.

In the story where Asuka and Shinji form a unison to defeat Angel, I didn't dare to draw the kissing scene that was in the anime. From a man's point of view, the first kiss is a fascinating event. But when you think about what a kiss is, it's the first time you are physically connected to the girl you like. I think it's more realistic for me to have a psychological connection first. I also felt that the emotional connection between a man and a woman could be depicted more purely in a 14-year-old than in an adult. The scene I drew in the manga where they dance to the music is like a kiss for me.

In the manga, Asuka's birth is supposed to be a test tube baby.

Asuka has a very painful twisted side to her, and I wanted to bring that out strongly. Asuka is not a child born of heterosexual love. Asuka's mother was never loved by a man, and she thinks that she can live without a man. But somewhere in her heart, she wants a father or a masculine figure, and so she depends on Kaji. That's how I hope to portray her.

What about Ray?

From Shinji's point of view, if Asuka is the symbol of the opposite sex that he longed for, then Rei is the symbol of motherhood. She seems to have the genes of Shinji's mother. If I had to choose between Asuka and Rei, I'd probably go with Rei. She has a maternal quality in her, and when Shinji feels like he's about to lose it, she's always there to gently "rebuke" him. Rei says to Shinji, "You're running away again," which is pretty harsh. If the two were friends, they would have been cut off from each other, but for some reason, they are not. That's because a mother never gives up on her child. I wonder if Rei is like that person for Shinji.

What he will do to portray Shinji in the future.

As the manga series continues, Shinji seems to be growing up, expressing his own will and so on. How do you see him changing in the future?

Growth doesn't mean that people can change so much in their essential nature. Even if at first glance it looks like he's grown up, I'm not sure that's true. That's why I think I have to beat him up once he seems to have become a positive, mature person, making friends and finding the opposite sex he's interested in.

Up until now, Shinji has been able to blame everyone around him for his cynicism, including his father and uncle. However, as you grow up, that doesn't work anymore. People can be hurt by what you say or what you do. So from now on, Shinji will not be able to get away with things by staying in his shell and keeping quiet, as he has done in the past, but there may be more tragic things to happen to him in the future.

It's still a long way off, but what will the end be like? Will it be about the connection between Shinji and Asuka like the anime?

That's the hard part. I don't know how it will turn out yet. I want to make a happy ending, but it's difficult to say what is happy. The movie version is happy in its own way. Humans are nothing when they are born and at the moment of death, so if the process of living is not enjoyable, they cannot live. Shinji had a hard time, but he wanted to live. That's why he's happy. Still, on the other hand, as a shonen manga, I wonder if there could be a more straightforward happy ending.

What do you think will be the key to the story in the future?

In the end, I think it comes down to my way of life itself. In order to portray the process of Shinji's decision to live, I myself have to say, "My life was good.". I haven't lived long enough to be able to look back and say that, but I'm going to go through a lot of trial and error so that I can say that my life was good, and as a result I hope that I can make Shinji say, "Oh, so that's how I should think.".


What did you think of this interview, which covered a variety of topics? The manga is about to get even more exciting, so stay tuned!

<Original JP site: http://anime-room.jp/modules/evangelion/eva-doc/siryou10.html>

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