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Manga Review - The Shinji Ikari Detective Diary

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Well, another day, another Neon Genesis Evangelion Spinoff Manga. To be fair, the reason I keep on reading them is that most of them manage to be more than passingly amusing. Either classically entertaining, or simply funny. The Shinji Ikari Detective Diary falls somewhere between Campus Apocalypse and the Shinji Ikari raising Project. Leaning slightly closer to Campus Apocalypse in terms of theme, but more like Raising Project in terms of tone.

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From the Publisher:

When even a tough dude like his school pal Toji is getting menaced by gangsters, a nice guy like Shinji Ikari feels obliged to seek out the local private eye, Ryoji Kaji, and his striking young assistant, Kaworu Nagisa. Somehow, though, Shinji gets drafted into solving the case himself, with Kaworu's help - although Kaworu quickly proves to be a mystery of his own . . .

PROS:

  • Brave new world. Occuring in yet another Alternate Universe, Detective Diary (DD) takes a more circumspect approach, not directly attached to the TV series or Rebuild (both Angelic Days and Raising Project are ostensibly spun off of the 'Fairytale' alternate universe from the series).
  • Tie In. Like AD & SIRP, this is also spun off of a branch of the Gainax video game family tree. As such, there is already a bit of work done on the setting, though the game seems to have the classical 'Big Robot' genre rather than the 'Pokemon Trainer' EVAs of the manga.
  • The Same, But Different. Much of the gang is here, even in volume one. And while they are all recognizably Evangelion characters, some of them go in a different direction.

CONS:

  • The Same. In some instances, it seems like they are just sliding into EVA tropes right off the bat. For instance, Shinji falling on girls has been done. It's the entire premise of SIRP. It only happens once in volume 1, so I'll allow it, but here's to it not becoming a habit.
  • The Triangle. The classic Shinji-Asuka-Rei triangle seems like it will be in full force for this series. I would like to see the Shinster take a different tack. Why no Mana?

In summation, it's simply too early in the game to see how this is going to pan out. Hopefully, this will be a long and successful series, and we'll get to have as much fun with it as the Shinji Ikari Raising Project was.

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