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on 12 April 2015
I have been an Evangelion fan for quite some time now, and I've been trying to catch with this series for some time. So, what do I have to say after reading the first fifteen books; it's okay.

The story is quite simple, as this a comedy of some sorts. It's nothing stellar that many Evangelion fans have come to expect at this point, but it is still entertaining to see what situation Shinji gets himself into. Considering that this is set in the alternate reality in episode 26 of the original Evangelion series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, some fans may find some minor differences to that reality. But none the less the setting is still a good one and works well with the basis of the series.

While a lot of the characters will be the more or less the same as we already know them there are some that might act differently; the biggest difference being how Gendo acts. In the anime he is a cold, heartless, farther, but in this series he is a loving farther that can sometimes be a bit too supportive of Shinji and is an outright idiot a lot of the time. This isn't a bad thing because the setting is different from the Evangelion anime, so it makes sense for characters to act a little different and it is enjoyable to read how the characters will act in a world that isn't surrounded by death.

The art style used for this manga series isn't too far off the art style that some fans might be used to seeing. There are times when it is noticeable that the art is different than how some fans might prefer a character to look, but they are still recognisable as the characters we all know and love. Though there is one thing I'm a little disappointed with, and that is the amount of fan service. I didn't mind a little bit here and there in the beginning, but around volume 6-10 the fan service starts to get a little too much for my liking with jokes going a little too far and the fact that there is a naked girl once or twice in each volume until the current 15th. The fanservice about half way through just feels a little unnecessary.

If you have seen anything do with Evangelion, whether it be the original series or the new movies, this is an enjoyable manga that I think Evangelion fans should check out. It's fun and filled plenty of comedy and little bits of romance to keep fan interested. This has to be the best Evangelion spin-off that any fan could read and I recommend it to fans only, as newcomer to the franchise might not get much of kick out of it to which I recommend Nisekoi for people who aren't that of a fan or not know that much about Evangelion to care enough to read this.
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on 19 December 2012
This is nothing at all like NGE as you know it, obviously. Centred more like Love Hina in it's style of comedy, The Shinji Ikari Raising Project is a romantic comedy about the EVA characters getting into silly situations at the expense of Shinji, who finds himself at the centre of an unwanted harem.
The series is fun for a light read that you can pick up and put down and still enjoy, but not for those who like a serial with a set plot and clear path to where it's going, that's what the main Evangelion Manga is for.

As for the main cast, Asuka is her usual Tsundere self, sans the crippling neurosis of her canon counterpart (mainly thanks to her mother still being alive, and nothing short of an airhead whose all for marrying her daughter off to Shinji) Ayanami is her usual reserved self, only more open with her emotions than you know her in the past. Coming to our hero, if Shinji can ever be called that, he's basically himself less his self-loathing and mother-issues, which makes him almost likable.

Onto the supporting cast. Misato is as always Misato; beer-loving and carefree, serving as both a member of the artificial evolution laboratory (which is NERV, less the EVA research) and also their high school teacher (as does Kaji, her 'rival' and Maya, who has a crush on Ritsuko and often ends up crying in her arms when the borderline pervy craziness catches up with her.)

The version of Gendo in this will make you laugh, as will Yui being the sane-man(woman) next to his crazy awesomeness. We also get Mana Kirishima for some reason, who pops up to fawn over Shinji from time to time, and Kaworu, who's subtextual love for Shinji not at all sub-textual. Naoko has also joined the cast and is bizarely young for her age and like Ritsuko, is fawning over Gendo.

Basically this is a character driven manga, with little in the way of core plot. There's something involving SEELE, and the research the laboratory is doing, but the manga delights in avoiding this. There are no EVA's in this (despite the title) and the 'research' seems to be more on how people develop and their relationships than any kind of top secret research into pseudo-gods and Angels. The experiments are basically carried out via harmless virtual realities putting Shinji in embarrassing situations with Rei and Asuka, much to Yui's exasperation.

Basically, if you want to enjoy this, don't read at all beyond the surface and just enjoy it for what it is; zany romatic comedy where your brain is telling you there should be angst and drama.
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