Tuesday, February 2, 2016

CBR Petit Eva: Evangelion@School

SUPER KAWAI SD CHIBI PARODY Neon Genesis Evangelion!!

Aka Petit Eva.

Fly me to the moon, and let me review Evangelion among different mediums:

Comic title: Petit Eva: Evangelion@School also known under the title Puchi Eva ~Evangerion Atto Sukūru, or simply Petit Eva/Puchi Eva or also Evangelion School as well

Written & drawn by Ryūsuke Hamamoto/Maki Ozora

Published by Kadokawa Shoten (Tonkam in most of Europe)/GAINAX/Studio Khara 
From 2007–2009
Lineup Evangelion series/Parody/Yonkoma manga
Format: Tankōbon/Manga-sized softcover trade paperback.

Considered by many anime purists a seminal work of fiction. Love it or hate it, you have to admit Neon Genesis Evangelion is a cult classic vintage anime that covers so many subjects and tropes now common to the entire medium. In fact it was designed by creator Hideaki Anno and the rest of the crew at GAINAX as their ultimate tribute to everything they loved growing up.

Giant robots. Giant monsters. Post-apocalpytic science-fiction. Fanservice. And deep physiological interrogations about life! Along questions regarding God, mankind as a species and some oedipal issues and you got an idea of what Eva is about.

Of course after the success of the TV series and due to the slow schedule of the official manga, a few spinoff series were launched over the years to satisfy the fan demand. After a first shojo manga, The Iron Maiden 2nd, and an ecchi comedy series,
Shinji Ikari Raising Project, a third spinoff was created. 

This time it's a cute "kawaii" parody yonkoma series, or 4-koma comic strip series!

What if Evangelion was... a gag-driven parody of itself?

That's precisely what GAINAX offered us with Petit Eva: Evangelion@School.

Petit Eva is a "chibi" super deformed parody. It was originally conceived by Ryūsuke Hamamoto, who redesigned all the characters, and published by Kadokawa Shoten in Shōnen Ace from 2007 to 2009. 2 volumes were released.

After a pretty good success, the series was adapted into an anime and it also launched an entire line of Petit Eva products, all based on Hamamoto's designs and illustrations.

Finally a third final volume was produced under the title Petit Eva Bokura Tanken Dōkōkai/Petit Eva Explorers Club, this time illustrated by Maki Ozora and prepublished in Kerokero Ace instead. It was a bit sillier and more childish, and closer to the tone of the anime.

Petit Eva follows the daily adventures of the main cast of Evangelion.. @School as the title implies!

It's a parody series that uses this different art style and setting to make fun of a lot of elements from the original EVA series.

The characters basically covers the entire cast from NGE including the ones that were dead in the main series, the Evas and the Angels. I mean they even make use of the Artificial Evas from the End of Evangelion movie as well as the MAGI computer!

Everybody is now student at the NERV Junior High School, in Tokyo-3.

The series takes as much inspiration from the main EVA anime, as well as the alternate world glimpsed in the final episode of the show, the game Shinji Ikari Raising Project or the manga The Iron Maiden 2nd.

Shinji is always tormented by Asuka and the others. There are 3 Rei sisters, a child Rei based on Rei I from the anime, a regular Rei based around the main Rei II seen through the original series and an hyperactive, sportive and clumsy Rei based on the Alternate Rei from the alternate reality. The EVA Unit 01 is also a classmate, here he's a human-sized robot who dresses like a "bosozoku" (gang member). His sister Unit 02 is a cute one-eyed girl with blue hair. Chairman Keel (from the SEELE council in the original series) runs the school... as good as he can. But he totally loses it whenever pop idol Maya Ibuki shows up at the school! Oh and Shinji's parents Gendo and Yui are completely crazy!

Hilarity ensues!

Petit Eva is a really funny silly series.

These type of 4-koma (4-panel comic strips) have always been pretty popular in Japan. They really work well with repetition jokes and visual gags.

The SD look actually works nicely with the Evangelion characters. It's nothing new to manga, there's been a lot of "chibi-fied" parodies over the years. At least, EVA could lighten up a little, it's such a depressing serious anime.

The series can be kind of confusing if you're not familiar with Evangelion, there's way too many characters used in these strips and so many references constantly.

Who is this series for, you ask? Mostly fans of EVA. If you're not familiar with the franchise, it's kinda a generic comedy series.

Humor can be a bit hit and miss. I really feel the stronger jokes and the ones built on repetition.

Most chapters revolve around a specific setting or story, which always open with a few pages-short story setting up the new episode.

The art is pretty simple but fun enough. The characters are well parodied and recognizable.

There's a lot of fun references to the original anime series. And yet for once this is a spinoff that really distanced itself from the original series with a different concept, art style, plot and tone.

It's also one of the rare positive outlook on the world of Evangelion.

Shinji and Gendo are really funny. Once more Yui is seen alive (and so are most of the other dead protagonists like the other Reis or Ritsuko's mother). The NERV staff gets a pop star career.

The Evas and the gang of the Angels are hilarious! The Evas can't get too far from their power source. The Angels run this gang of destruction.

It's really funny to see how every detail get reimagined in Petit Eva, such as the MAGI computer turned into these Magi 3 girls related to Ritsuko!

Petit Eva is just the cutest!

It's not the funniest version of Evangelion out there, that would probably go to the Shinji Ikari Raising Project, but it's definitively the most charming version of Evangelion. With very simple and lovable character designs.

Some parodies really work great into the story, I just love how funny and cleverly wrote into this series the Evas and the Angels are. Just a bunch of weird robot and monstrous classmates!

The best thing to have come out of Petit Eva is probably the countless SD EVA figures the series has inspired ever since!

Overall, Petit Eva: Evangelion@School is a silly funny parody series. It's kind of dumb at times, but it's also really fun!

I recommend you have a look, it is probably Worth a Look if you're either a fan of EVA or 4-koma manga series! While not all jokes hit the mark and some stories can fall a bit flat, it's still a pretty good gag-based comedy series. And those dumb repetition jokes always get me!

The series are been collected in 3 volumes. The 3rd vol. marks a little difference, it's actually a separate series that was published alongside "Evangelion@School", Petit Eva: Explorers Club. These chapters from Maki Ozora are an attempt to bring the manga closer to the anime adaptation - more on that below. This third book was a lot more childish and not as fun, for older EVA fans. Ozora only use a few of the main character, doesn't make any clear overt allusions to the original series and keep things simple. I barely laughed with that volume.. Other than that, the first two volume are solid parodies that make uses of the entire series in this hilarious chibi parody!

The designs are probably the most memorable aspect from this manga. In fact the series had so much success on its own it has already spawned as much merchandising as the main EVA series on its own! It reached such popularity it's in fact the only Evangelion spinoff to receive its own anime adaptation which was just as popular as well. There's been 24 episodes of 3 minutes, produced by Kanaban Graphics done in 3D CGI. The anime differs a little since it doesn't have any dialogue, it's aimed at a slightly younger crown with more juvenile visual humor. It's the first EVA product entirely handled by Studio Khara and not GAINAX anymore (since Anno's departure from GAINAX). There also was a Nintendo DS game based on the show.

I give it:
2 / 3 Bobobos!

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