Where Studio Gainax is King

By Shannon H

Not too much coming out this week, but at least everything we got is a title that is worth writing home about. First and foremost, there is volume 16 of the sci-fi epic, Gantz. For those who live under a rock, Gantz is a futuristic tale about two friends who are killed in a train accident and are then thrust into¬† sort of post-mortum “game” fighting aliens, recruiting them for missions whenever they are needed and allowing them to continue their everyday lives when they are not. If you’re into ridiculous sci-fi action with a nice helping of intrigue and extraterrestrial invasion on the side, Gantz is definitely the series for you. I mean, with alien dinosaurs how could you possibly go wrong?

But enough about that. The real moneymaker this week is Volume 12 of Neon Genesis Evangelion — the *original* one that is based on the infamous 1995 Gainax series. If this is something you’ve never heard of, the rock you live under is probably a mountain. Neon Genesis Evangelion is, without a single doubt, the most definitive anime of all time, and has grown to become a franchise that might even rival that of Gundam. This is quite impressive considering the fact that Studio Gainax started out as a club of fanboys who happened to strike it big with an original OVA often referred to as the Daicon Film. It is interesting to note that, though obtaining copies of the incredibly rare Daicon Film is hard, the amounts of references to it in other anime is incredible, such as the opening sequence for the Densha Otoko television series, or the bunny girl outfits you so often see Haruhi Suzumiya and her cohort, Mikuru, wearing.
As for the actual Evangelion manga, despite the fact that Yoshiyuki Sadamoto is probably the laziest manga-ka of all time, since that even in Japan, the time between volumes is the length of a Bible, it is always worth it when he finally delivers. What’s great about the manga is that in addition to having beautiful artwork, the story expands on many elements in the original plot that were left somewhat vague in the anime. But don’t think that this somehow ruins the integrity of the series: the sort of development that you get is more psychological, which, for anyone who knows better, is pretty much Eva’s calling card. For instance, there is a scene in an earlier volume, where Shinji has a fantasy about brutally stabbing Gendo to death, an event that never occurs in the series, but is completely in tune with Shinji’s relationship with his father. (And you thought you had daddy issues.)
By the by, if you still need more Eva in your veins, be sure you check out the new films that have been coming out! The first film, You Are (Not) Alone is already on DVD/Blu-Ray, while the second film, You Can(not) Advance, is coming out later this month. Don’t think that these first two of four films are just a re-hash of the series you’ve already seen: they are a complete retooling of the original and just short of orgasmic. And while we’re on the subject of Gainax anime,don’t forget that FLCL has come back into print and is available once again on DVD and Blu-Ray. If you’ve never seen it, fix that immediately! You might think it is the most insane six episodes of anything you will ever see, but underneath the guitar-swinging aliens on mopeds and the robots that sprout from the skulls of young boys, there is an amazing coming of age story. If you snag those, grab yourself some Tengen Toppen Gurren Lagann, Aim for the Top! Gunbuster and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, and you’re totally set up for an epic Gainax marathon that will rock your socks right off!

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