I know earlier in the week I was hinting at talking about my trip back home to Michigan and the various thoughts and emotions that were running through my mind, but then today while at the bookstore I found this little gem:
And I thought “Fuck that noise” and wanted to talk about that instead but then realized that Eva Vol. 14 dovetails nicely into how I felt coming back home for a spell and what the series meant to me as a whole and oddly how it mirrored my life.
See ever since I graduated high school I’ve been pretty much a nomad. I went to college out of state and once graduating I moved to the west coast, then lived in Japan for 3 years and now I’m currently living in NYC. Suffice it to say, my time in Detroit has been fairly short during my 20s, almost to a “blink and you’ll miss me” situation for many of my close friends and some family members. Being gone for so long and living in so many different places I’ve never really been able to stay up to date with people or even follow trends. Even now everything I learn pop culture wise is after the fact. It’s one of the downsides chasing your dreams and one of the things that really hit home when I listen to Counting Crows’ “Dreaming of Michelangelo”.
Coming back home to visit this past week after almost a year away and after clawing my way out of what I call “the Summer of Hell” last year, I’ve come to notice more and more that a lot of things that tethered me to that person I was after high school are coming to an end. Last May I went to the area where the first comic store I ever frequented was and it was closed. Now I knew it was closed before then from the previous time I visited home, but sitting in the car looking at the place where my love of manga fully bloomed, where I got into Yu-Gi-Oh, where I was able to discover my favorite manga, Gunsmith Cats, it fucking HURT knowing it was gone and even though it was closed, they left the damn signs up!!
Seeing that place gone still brings the feels. So coming back to the present, I didn’t get a chance to fully go everywhere and do everything that I would’ve liked and the time I got to spend with my friends was pretty limited as well. Through all of that it became apparent to me that this was the ending of a chapter.
Which brings me to the final volume of the Evangelion manga. I first got into the manga back in high school, when manga was sold as individual issues like US comic books (you little weeaboos nowadays don’t know how good you have it). I knew of it, but never saw the series (and I wouldn’t until the series hit DVD a few years later). The story was a bit convoluted so I never continued it until I came across the graphic novels starting with volume 3. As I got to know the series and characters from the DVDs, the manga became a hell of a lot easier to read and a fun supplemental to the series. Once I hit college I kinda forgot about it, only picking up a new volume whenever I saw one through happenstance. After watching the series multiple times over (including the movies) I grew to love the manga since it made sense of the batshit insanity of everything. Once I was in Japan, I saw the monthly magazine it was featured in but refused to read it because I wanted the official US release so I was denied the joy of Eva while I was overseas (that is if you don’t count the Rebuild movies I watched while I was over there).
Once I came back to the states I picked up the volumes I was missing and sat patiently waiting for this final volume. Once I read it, of course it was super mega awesome and such a beautiful ending to a series that is mostly known for being frustrating to the point you hate-to-love and love-to-hate it. Reminiscing on Evangelion as a whole though, I think I’ve been drawn more to the manga rather and the anime versions because 1) it told a better cohesive story and 2) simply put, I grew up with the series. I knew so much about Evangelion thanks to the manga that it sorta became that series that perked me up or focused my rage when I saw the animations. It taught me how to draw and how to think a bit deeper on some issues.
Reading the final volume is a tad bittersweet but at the same time fits with my feelings of where I’m at with my life now that I’m reaching the end of my 30th year of life. Shinji going through Instrumentality to only come out on the other side with a better refined focus mirrors the utter Hell I went through last summer only to hit bottom and find a new calm and a new peace that allowed me to become better focused and ready to tackle the future through my art and new perspective on things.
Loyal reader, even though I felt a bit sad that it feels as though with all the changes Detroit is going through that my home is no longer what it used to be or that it’s just plain gone. The truth is, that is only the ending of my own personal Instrumentality and now it’s time to see what’s out there and really put my best foot forward not only art wise but as someone with a new perspective on how their life should go.