From Dark Horse comes the next volume in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse, a series that offers a twist on the traditional Neon Genesis Evangelion story.
Volume 2 picks up around the holidays as the school is opened to the public for a Christmas play and festivities. With the first chapter focusing on the school play it takes some of the pressure of as Shinji struggles to decide if he truly wants to use his Eva and if he will be able to help the team fight against the Angels. The group also meets without Shinji believing that he may not be able to handle the job.
At the same time the Angels are beginning to make their move against “The Organization”. With their numbers low a plan has been set in motion that gets the angels access into the NERV Academy and many of the students are falling into a deep sleep after playing a mysterious computer game that one of Shinji’s friends uploads onto the school’s computers. Shinji and company also discover the identity of a witness to their last battle with one of the Angels that Shinji let leave without first making sure she didn’t see anything.
With the main focus of volume 2 being the story things do slow down a bit as there are no battles but there are some secrets revealed, including things about Shinji’s past that he doesn’t yet know along with Ryoji and Misato’s involvement in it and a small bit of information about his father. There is also more revealed about the other characters and their insecurities as well as Shinji’s as he struggles with his decision and even a bit of jealousy.
Volume 2 offers quite a bit in the way of getting a feel for the characters and their growing relationships. Seeing Kaworu as a more vulnerable person when he stays the night at Shinji’s gives him a more human feel as it shows he isn’t always calm, cool and collected which also inspires the two to grow closer even with Shinji trying to understand what Kaworu and Rei’s relationship is.
Once again the text was clear and easy to read but the use of slang still seems a bit out of place, though that could just be the way it was meant to be translated. The character art continues to impress but most of the panels seem to be the character in front of a blank background with no real detail. The panels that do include backgrounds however are very well done.
The cover art is a nice compliment to the first volume as this time around it is a white cover with Rei and Shinji wielding their Eva in their school uniforms. Included at the back of the graphic novel is something for fans as there are more character sketches as well as fan letters which make a nice addition.
For Evangelion fans Campus Apocalypse is continuing to offer an interesting look at the series and a whole new opportunity to see the characters interact in ways they wouldn’t traditionally in the real story. The lack of action and battles does make the story drag a bit but the tradeoff of the character interactions make it worth it.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse Volume 2
Publisher: Dark Horse
By: Ming Ming
Number of Pages: 160
Age Rating: 16+
Release Date: January 26th, 2011
(A review copy of Neon Genesis Evangelion: Campus Apocalypse Vol. 2 was provided by Dark Horse for review.)
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