Manga: RE-TAKE

aka: RE-TAKE

"Didn't you know? One does not 'get' answers... normally, one is forced to receive them."

RE-TAKE, a multi-volume doujinshi produced by Studio Kimigabuchi, presents an alternate storyline and ending to Neon Genesis Evangelion (and, by extension, The End of Evangelion). Due to its art and story, RE-TAKE became one of the most popular fan-created works amongst Evangelion's international fanbase in short order; by now, it has likely become the most famous Eva doujinshi in existence.

After seeing visions of a horrible future (which actually happened), Shinji Ikari — now armed with the knowledge of his potential fate — wakes up just before Bardiel attacks. Shinji's determination to prevent every problem that causes said horrible future lets him single-handedly defeat three Angels and raise his synch-ratio with EVA Unit-01 to unheard-of levels. Over time, Shinji falls in love with Asuka and dedicates himself to living with her. Asuka learns to share his affection, and the two plan to spend the rest of their lives with each other.

They just have one small problem standing in the way of their happiness: Shinji's visions of a ghost who looks exactly like Asuka and doesn't appear the least bit glad to see Asuka and Shinji together.

The original version of RE-TAKE (which contains explicit sexual content) consists of six volumes published in the following order: RE-TAKE 1, RE-TAKE 2, RE-TAKE 3, RE-TAKE 0 (which provides the experiences of the first three volumes from a different perspective), RE-TAKE 4, RE-TAKE After, and the in-between chapter RE-TAKE 1.5. (An "All-Ages" version, which features a completely new translation, condenses the story into three volumes and eliminates the original version's sex scenes while retaining the violence.)

Please limit trope examples to the All-Ages version.

RE-TAKE contains examples of the following tropes:

  • All Just a Dream: How the first book starts out.
  • Arc Words:
    • "I feel sick." (Less so in the All-Ages version)
    • "You're going to regret this."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Ghost-Asuka explains to Shinji and Asuka's daughter / God that she's seen all the alternate universes created by Canon-Shinji, and the one thread tying them all together is that invariably Shinji and Asuka fall in love; Ghost-Asuka therefore concludes that Shinji just sees her as a trophy to be won, as a reward for being "The Great Shinji."God then simply asks:
    God:''What if he just loves you?
  • Awful Truth: Ghost-Asuka to Shinji: "You are an Angel."
  • Back from the Dead: Asuka, in an extremely convoluted way that involves her and Shinji's unborn child using its AT field to save her from Unit 02's destruction, with the consequence of regressing her to a child-like mind. She eventually gets better.
  • Battle Couple: Shinji was being completely trashed by the MP-Evas. Then Ghost-Asuka joined him, and together they annihilated the MP-Evas.
  • Bleached Underpants: The All-Ages version.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Poor Shinji.
  • Break the Cutie: Everyone, especially the pilots.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The "All-Ages" version is essentially this to the Adult version, cutting out the sex scenes and fan service. (Volume 1 contains RE-TAKE 1 and 2, Volume 2 has RE-TAKE 3, 0, and the first part of 4 and Volume 3 has the rest of 4 and ~After~.) An example of Tropes Are Not Bad as most consider the story to flow much better without them.
  • Cosmic Retcon: This is practically the best definition for what happened in the ending.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Around once a volume, each with a different character.
    • Rei gets one in book one (she hangs herself).
    • For Shinji, this happens around the end of book 2 (the supposed "death" of Asuka) and book 3 (Ghost-Asuka playing with his mind).
    • invoked In book 0 and 4 (damn ordering), Ghost-Asuka suffers from this, and in the last part of After, Asuka gets this upon realising that she gave up her chance to be happy with Shinji. Swiftly subverted when she opens the door to go to the airport and back to Japan, only to find that Shinji is walking down her street looking for her house.
  • Doujinshi: it's not an official work by Gainax or anyone else involved with the original TV series or subsequent movies.
  • Driven to Suicide: Rei 2 decides to hang herself, as a result of being rejected by Shinji for Asuka.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Asuka, though not necessarily by choice.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: canon!Shinji and Ghost-Asuka come to realize they actually do love each other, and RE-TAKE!Shinji and his companions get to live out normal lives in a world without the Angels.
  • Eye Scream: As is evident in the page pic, Shinji loses an eye during the fight against the MP Evas.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot: The most popular of the Evangelion Peggy Sue stories, and possibly the reason they are such a popular Evangelion plot. Even though it's not actually a Peggy Sue. It can be argued that RE-TAKE has fertilized the Stealth Sequel Epileptic Trees for Rebuild of Evangelion.
  • First Name Basis: In one of the most TearJerking examples ever, involving Rei and Asuka. The night Rei (II) hangs herself, Asuka falls to sleep promising to start calling Rei by name: "Maybe from now on I should start treating her better... Starting tomorrow, I'll call her by her name, at least... Ayanami Rei" — last words of volume 1 (not counting Shinji's scream). Asuka tries later with Rei III, but gets a...cold reaction: "Umm... Rei, are you feeling alright?" "Why?" "You were hospitalized..." "Not that. Why do you refer to me by my first name?" "N...No reason in particular." "Then cease, Second. It is most unsettling."
  • Foreign Language Tirade: At the end, Asuka gives has a fairly romantic one, which is subtitled for the viewers. Shinji, however, doesn't speak German, and so has to ask for clarification. Asuka provides clarification via a tackle-hug and kiss.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The ending consists of Shinji viewing an ideal, normal future with Asuka, with barely any reference the EVAs, and then proceeds to shatter the fourth wall and stating that it's a possible future for Shinji. It got extremely weird from there.
  • From Bad to Worse: As they got worse in the main series, they inevitably start getting worse with Asuka nearly dying and the when it reaches the events of End
  • Gainax Ending: There are two different "endings" for each set of Shinjis. While the first is pretty comprehensible, the second goes into this territory.
  • A God Am I: "God", Shinji and Asuka's unborn child.
  • Go Into the Light: Asuka
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Kaworu's death, although his remains are actually shown.
  • Grasp the Sun: Asuka's "death", as it was in the movie.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Shinji and Asuka's unborn child, who is part angel and part human. She simply introduces herself as God. Though a scene from After implies that she is also from another universe like Ghost-Asuka and Ghost-Shinji.
  • Happily Married: Almost reached in RE-TAKE 2, and apparently reached by the end of RE-TAKE After.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: This is a S/A history, so this comes in play. Full-force. In a scene Ghost-Asuka theorizes Shinji noticed her because her hair colour is red.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Asuka, Shinji, Ghost-Asuka, Ghost-Shinji (I guess that would be the "correct" definition...), Rei (III), God, Gendo... most everyone, really. Subverted as everyone, save Gendo, survives. In Ghost-Asuka's and Ghost-Shinji's case (and likely God's as well) they simply return to their own world, their past unchanged, but emotionally healed, and they have granted their other selves a chance at a normal life.
  • Hope Spot: Rei using the positron rifle on the MP Evas, they still regenerate from it despite it blasting holes in them.
  • Hourglass Plot:
    • Shinji and Ghost-Asuka end up almost exactly mirroring each other's roles in The End of Evangelion.
    • We also have another occur, though it's with Shinji in place of Ghost-Shinji. After the MP-Evas are defeated and Misato is leaving to fight the remains of SEELE, she states she won't go after Kaji saying they haven't the right to be together, but Ghost-Shinji convinces her otherwise. After Ghost-Shinji and Ghost-Asuka leave we have the roles reverse, with Shinji afraid to go after Asuka since all the things that led to the two of them getting together before Asuka lost her memories weren't his doing, but Misato encourages him to go ahead.
  • I Am Who?: Shinji discovers he's an angel.
  • I Hate Past Me: Asuka feels somewhat vitriolic toward her past self, particularly when she enters into a romantic relationship with Shinji, whom future Asuka has much more reason to hate. There's also some self-loathing and jealousy involved.
  • Immune to Bullets: After The Reveal, Misato tries to shoot Shinji only for the bullets to be stopped by an AT field.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: Shinji screams that he'll kill Gendo when Gendo orders the destruction of Unit 02 and Asuka. He doesn't. Gendo still dies at the end — surprisingly, while acting like a father to Shinji.
  • Intertwined Fingers: The last image of RE-TAKE 4.
  • Kid from the Future: Shinji and Asuka's daughters that we meet in both timelines.
  • Kill the Cutie: Asuka (sorta), Rei (sorta)
  • Knight of Cerebus: Ghost-Asuka, providing the first sign that this is NOT some regular Peggy Sue fic.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Yep. Considered inferior to the original by many a fan, though.
    • Considering it was made by an Adult's Video Studio TMA who has been parodying other popular anime like Haruhi, it's the only one we can get.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Shinji starts hallucinating in 3. having a vengeful "Ghost" constantly messing with his mind probably helped this along. The fact that he EATS Kaworu to ingest a S2 engine is also a pretty good example.
  • Love Makes You Evil:
    • Shinji, very nearly — "I will throw the world into the pits of hell to find Asuka again!"
    • Gendo's Batman Gambit was based off this: force Shinji into a situation where he would initiate 3rd Impact of his own will just to see Asuka again, giving Gendo the opportunity to meet Yui.
  • Love Triangle: This is what causes Rei to hang herself in RE-TAKE 1. She then seems to get over it in the later volumes.
  • The Masochism Tango
  • Mind Screw: Especially after "God" shows up.
  • The Multiverse
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Shinji after Rei commits suicide, since he knows that it was his fault.
  • Never Found the Body: Asuka, Kaworu, or at least his top half; see above.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The All-Ages version still has all the gore from the original version, and even added some in. Perfect for Jimmy!
  • Not So Different: Shinji would throw the world into Hell to find the woman he loves again. Just like Gendo.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Ghost-Asuka is neither imaginary, nor (for the first 3-4 books) a friend.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Shinji fights the MP EVAs, and we don't get to see most of the fight. Then when Unit 1 awakens and gets the Lance of Longinus with Asuka's help, he proceeds to slaughter the MP Evas, and we don't get to see it.
  • One True Love: Ghost-Asuka told that after Third Impact countless alternate realities were born, all of them different and unique... and the single only unifying element was that Shinji and her ALWAYS met and fell in love.
  • Original Flavor
  • Oh, Crap: SEELE's reaction to seeing Shinji and Ghost-Asuka working together, and takes the Lance of Longinus and Unit-01 getting back in the fight, seeing they completely lost.
  • Peggy Sue: Subverted. "The past" is in fact an Alternate Universe, which Shinji experiences by possessing his analogue in that universe. While he is able to change some things in that universe, what happened in his own can not be undone, and in the end, he learns to accept that.
  • Pet the Dog: Teased when Gendo changes his schedule to attend Shinji's wedding. Turns out it was all part of the plan.
  • Race for Your Love: Done twice: once normally, with Misato chasing down a departing Kaji in a tank, and once as a subversion. Shinji gets there in time (thanks to, among other things, Misato's car and Rei's Evangelion), but Asuka decides that it would be kinder to Shinji to let him keep the image of a strong, self-reliant love in his mind rather than a broken, depressed love physically. It doesn't quite work like she intends it.
  • Red Is Heroic: Asuka wears a red plugsuit and rides a red robot.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Pulled off by Gendo of all people.
  • Spanner in the Works: No amount of planning by SEELE or Gendo could possibly prepare them what foils their plans this series.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Kaji, though it's never made clear if that was a result of Shinji messing with the past or he just survived normally in that timeline.
    • Also Touji, as Shinji knows that if doesn't do anything, Gendo will activate Unit 01's dummy plug, cripples it without killing him, though he's Put on a Bus for the next two chapters since he was still injured during the fight.
  • Survivor Guilt: Shinji gets this. Twice. (Possibly thrice, if you count 1) Original End of Evangelion ending, 2) Rei's suicide, 3) Asuka's sacrifice.
  • Tank Goodness: Misato chasing down a departing Kaji in one, no less.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball
  • Tomato in the Mirror: See Awful Truth above. though if you want an explanation, here's an attempt: As explained above by Peggy Sue, RE-TAKE takes place in an Alternate Universe, which canon-Shinji (or rather Ghost-Shinji) experiences by possessing his analogue in that universe. However, by bending the universes in this manner, he has unknowingly created a new kind of alternate human being (i.e. a human possessed by an other-worldly entity), meaning that he is the final angel instead of Kaworu.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • You wouldn't think it possible to make Gendo more of a bastard. They did.. It is indicated that Gendo KNEW that sending Asuka out against Armisael (the 16th Angel — the floating helix-ring) would result in her death, and did so anyway to make sure that Shinji, when implementing Instumentality, would follow Gendo's scheme to meet their loved ones. Let me just make this clear: Gendo sent his soon-to-be-daughter-in-law (one day later, and it would have been daughter-in-law) and his grandchild to their deaths merely to make sure that Shinji followed Gendo's basic desire in Instrumentality. What. A. BASTARD!
    • Shinji suffers from this a bit, at least in Volume 2: "No, it doesn't really matter. She's the third, anyway." Granted, he knew that one hadn't developed any feelings, though Asuka didn't know that.
    • To an extent, also Asuka... though only Ghost-Asuka, seeing as though she is following Shinji around everywhere he goes just to screw around with his head, though her motivation is somewhat justified considering that she feels Shinji both left her to die in the real world and is disgusted by what happened in the hospital room. She gets better, though...
  • Tragic Dream:
    • Ghost-Asuka sees Shinji's dream (married to Asuka, with a child and living peacefully in some sort of Avalonesque utopia) when repairing his mind. Needless to say, not everything is...quite right. Firstly, the reason why Shinji's mind needs repairing is that just last volume, Asuka self-destructed her Evangelion to save Shinji. Secondly, Ghost-Asuka is bitter at Shinji for abandoning her in End of Evangelion and is repairing his mind so she can keep on punishing him. Lastly, Shinji is being possessed by Shinji from End of Evangelion, so this might not really be that Shinji's dream.
    • Subverted when Shinji has the chance to achieve his dream but he turns it away because it would doom the world he has saved — he says himself being so selfish would be unforgivable... and because if he took it, Ghost-Asuka would be alone.
  • Victory Guided Amnesia: After the MP-Eva's are defeated, Shinji and Asuka (the pair from the alternate universe, not Ghost/Canon Asuka and Shinji) wake up but have no memories past the events of the 12th angel.
  • Willfully Weak: For the most part of the first chapter Shinji intentionally keeps his sync ratio below Asuka's because he knows that nothing good will come from beating Asuka.
  • With This Ring: The ending to RE-TAKE After. Shinji flies to Germany to meet Asuka again. Right when she thinks that her pride will get in the way of her heart again he asks her closing her eyes for a second. When she opens them, she is wearing an engagement ring.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Shinji's reaction to Gendo's swift change from nice, almost fatherly figure to an uncompromising, uncaring nigh monster who orders, without flinching, the destruction of Unit 02 and Asuka, on the day Shinji was going to marry her.
    • Shinji EATS KAWORU.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Shinji assumes he's in a conventional Peggy Sue fic. The end of the first chapter gives him a rude awakening. Ghost Asuka assumes the story is every bit on the edge towards cynicism as the canon Evangelion she starts to realize she's wrong around the point where she actually helps Shinji.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Subverted, as Shinji ends his own existence rather than destroy the world. Shinji is still alive, but he loses all the memories of the events in RE-TAKE. So let's explain it with spoilers! Shinji, who is actually Shinji from Universe A (canon/ghost Shinji), possessing Shinji from Universe B, realizes that if he stays in Universe B, he will be the end of humankind in Universe B because HE (Canon/Ghost Shinji) is the final angel instead of Kaworu. Thus, to ensure survival of the people in Universe B, he relieves his control of Universe-B Shinji, who afterwards has none of Universe-A Shinji's memories (and is no longer an angel). This is about close to as we get to an explanation.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Touji. And what a hit!

"But... I'm alive. Alive. If I don't live my life to its fullest, I can't die. That's why I'll fight. Even if... I have no chance of winning. Even if... there's no future for me there."