Neon Genesis Evangelion is a long-running manga series by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (story & art) and Gainax’s co-founder Hideaki Anno (original work) and published by Kadokawa Shoten. It began in the February issue of Shōnen Ace in December 1994 and ended in June 2013. It consists of 14 volumes, each composed of several “stages” or chapters.
Initially released before the anime series of the same name, the manga was quickly outpaced and only reached its conclusion in June 2013, over 15 years after the conclusion of the TV series.
Neon Genesis Evangelion was created after a meeting between Hideaki Anno and King Records in 1993. Although the anime series was conceived first, the manga was the first to be released, to boost public interest in the upcoming TV series while it was still under production. Due to severe production delays, the anime ultimately aired a full 10 months after the manga first appeared in Shōnen Ace.
When the series finally appeared on TV in October 1995, Sadamoto’s manga storyline had completed what would later become volumes 1 to 3, matching the storyline of episodes 5 and 6 of the TV series. The anime rapidly outpaced the manga, to the point that the chapters comprising volume 4 (which included content corresponding to TV episode 8) were not released until over a year after the TV series had finished airing.
Despite an ostensible publishing schedule of one “stage” (chapter) each month in Shōnen Ace, Sadamoto’s actual publication schedule was irregular as he divided his time between other projects, releasing a new volume roughly every year and a half. For example, between the publication in Japan of volume 4 and volume 5, two years elapsed. While the manga ran for more than 18 years, only 14 volumes were published.
In 2008, it was announced that the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga was approaching its conclusion. In July 2009, it was moved to a new Shoten seinen magazine, Young Ace, where it was published until the January 2010 issue. At that point Sadamoto stopped writing the manga, putting the publication on hiatus in order to work on the latest Rebuild of Evangelion film. The December 2010 issue of Young Ace announced that the manga would resume that winter (early 2011); the April 2011 issue announced the next stage would be published April 4, 2011.
On February 12, 2012, half of the 90th Stage was published, retelling events as seen in episode 26 from The End of Evangelion. This was reportedly the final chapter. On May 2, 2012, Kadokawa Shoten announced that the 13th volume of the manga would be released on November 2, 2012, with ANN noting that “neither Sadamoto nor Kadokawa has confirmed that the 13th manga volume is still the final one.”