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Title Tabidachi
Setting Off
(旅立ち)
Manga Book 14 (Issue 01) Cover
Manga Volume
Publish Date Nov 20, 2014
Stages 7
Preceded by
Volume 13 (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Setting Off is the fourteenth and final release of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto's manga for Neon Genesis Evangelion.

SynopsisEdit

The Instrumentality Project comes to its apocalyptic conclusion. With the Earth now covered in a sea of LCL, every human consciousness in the world has become one-- a combined entity waiting to be reborn. Deep within Lilith, Shinji comes face to face with everything he ever knew, loved, and feared. The fate of the world is in his hands, and the choice he makes will doom or redeem humanity. Everything ends here. Everything begins here. This is the final volume of Neon Genesis Evangelion!!

(Blurb from back cover of UK edition of Neon Genesis Evangelion Volume 14)

Stage 91: To where the Light ReturnsEdit

Shinji, lost within his EVA, recalls several times when people abandon him or leave him alone. He sees a bandaged Rei who asks whether anyone loved him and if he ever loved anyone. Back in NERV headquarters, we see how various individuals were turned into LCL, seeing someone they loved before they are transformed. Shinji then sees Gendo, who declares that the world is full of pain, where no one can ever understand another, so he intends to erase all the pain. After this, the giant Lilith takes all the souls within the LCL and pulls them up into a giant orb between her hands, floating above the planet.

Stage 92: BirthdayEdit

Curling up into a fetal position, Shinji thinks that the world should end now, in order to eliminate pain and loneliness (as well as love and other more pleasant sensations). Rei asks him if this is his wish, and he agrees.

Within SEELE, the individual monoliths start to vanish, while Keel nods happily, murmuring that the end is as the beginning. He morphs into LCL after the last monolith has disappeared. Inside NERV, Fuyutski first sees an apparition of Rei floating down to him, but she changes into Yui, and he recalls his conversation with her about her decision to merge with EVA Unit-01. He admits that he never told Gendo that she had chosen that fate, and also that he sneered at Gendo's grief after Yui went away. He apologizes to Gendo and wonders whether Gendo also saw Yui before he dissolves.

Still barely alive, Gendo sees Yui standing above him, and she chides him for not realizing she was by his side the entire time since the "accident". She tells him that Shinji will decide their future, which causes Gendo to point out that as he gave Shinji only pain and suffering, he doubts Shinji has any hope left in him. Yui counters that she is sure of Shinji, because he is their son. As Gendo dies (but does not dissolve), we see an apparition of Rei standing in the shadows, but Yui is still beside Gendo's body, blocking the younger girl. Then both Yui and Rei have gone, and Gendo is smiling peacefully in death, still unaltered.

Stage 93: Sea of LifeEdit

Shinji watches the swirling orb of souls between the giant LIlith's hands, and then hears the individual voices. Some are frightened, angry, sad, sickened, hateful, in love, happy, content... every possible emotion and age seems represented, before a bright light subsumes everything, and as it fades, nothing is left behind. Lying naked on his back in a sea of LCL, Shinji is straddled by a naked Rei, who has her forearms buried to the middle of each forearm within his chest, but Shinji doesn't seem to be in any pain.

Rei explains that this is the world he wished for, a world without AT fields, separation and pain. She declares that it is a "happy world", and Shinji, who has been holding onto Misato's cross with his left hand, finally opens his hand and lets the cross drift away on the LCL, apparently accepting things.

However, Shinji then starts to extract Rei's hands from his chest, then sits up. He agrees that he had once wished for this world, but he doesn't feel so now. Having seen the reality, he realizes that this world is "like being dead". Rei points out that if things return to their previous state, people will experience and give pain as well. Shinji agrees, but reminds her that only in that kind of a world can moments exist where joy and understanding can be reached, like the one they had in the garden. While Gendo maintained that people couldn't understand each other, he hadn't really tried to do this himself, and he intends to finally try.

Stage 94: PalmsEdit

Rei stands, and tells Shinji that it would be easy for her to continue the Instrumentality, but she will accede to his wishes. She then warns him that returning to the original state will mean that he can, and probably will, be hurt and rejected by others once again. Shinji stands and agrees, adding that he will also be able to hurt others, as well. He then asks to hold her hand once more. The two briefly hold hands, as if in a handshake.

As this occurs, the giant Lilith suddenly is slashed across her throat, spraying blood across the moon. Her wings disengage from her body, and then EVA Unit-01 bursts from one of Lilith's eyes. Unit-01 now has wings, and something starts spurting from cuts over Lilith's palms. Inside the EVA, Rei thanks Shinji, and tells him it is time for them to part. The orb that had been between Lilith's hands, which had gone black, begins to glow as lines of light cut across its surface, then the souls that had been subsumed reappear.

Rei thanks Shinji again, stating that she was lonely and empty before she met him. Smiling softly, she asks whether she has the correct expression on her face for their parting, before a bright explosion of light tears her apart. Shinji screams, and EVA Unit-01 takes the Spear of Longinus in its hands, which starts to glow. The Mass Production EVAs blow up simultaneously, as does Lilith's body. As pieces of Lilith scatter down over the Earth, they look like snow, and Rei promises to be waiting for Shinji when he returns to the planet.

Stage 95: Thank you ∞ GoodbyeEdit

The Mass Production EVAs drop from where they've been hovering, while EVA Unit-01 extends its arms and assumes a pose above the Earth. Shinji, meanwhile, appears to be floating in water when he hears his mother's voice calling to him and thanking him for remembering their promise. She tells him that all life that had been on Earth has the ability to restore itself to its original state now.

Shinji sees an island rise from the water, and a large tree spread branches thick with healthy leaves. Shinji asks what Yui will do, and she (from the EVA) promises to watch over him for all his life, and through every reincarnation he may have. Shinji stands, finding the water now only reaches above his ankles, and he sees Yui (as a human woman) appear beneath the tree. After a moment, Gendo also appears beside Yui. Gendo tells Shinji to live and experience what life has. Yui promises that everything will be all right, as long as the sun and moon and Earth exist. Shinji whispers, "Father... Mother... Goodbye."

Final Stage: Setting OffEdit

Shinji, wearing a heavy coat and other wintry things, tramps through heavy snow towards a train station. As he reaches it, his phone rings, and his aunt asks him to call her when he arrives in Tokyo. Two boys show up on the outside of the fence beyond the station to see Shinji off, and they banter about school and the future. He thanks them for coming before boarding his train.

Once on the train, Shinji remembers thinking that he once had no hopes or dreams for the future (as he said in the essay mentioned in Volume 1), but declares that he now believes he didn't find hope before because he wasn't looking for any. He then hears a small child ask her mother about the strange large statues outside in the countryside. Shinji reacts-- the statues are weatherworn Mass Production EVAs. The mother explains that these statues are "remnants", and are being studied by archaeologists. She says no one knows when they arrived, or how, or who put them where they are.

Shinji disembarks at his station, but there is a huge mass of people there, so he has to push his way through. He then hears a girl shout that she wants to get off her train, and he sees a slender hand. Calling to the girl, he holds out his own hand, and pulls her off her train. But once he sees the girl, he goes still-- it's Asuka. She smiles at him and thanks him, but then tells him he can let go of her hand. Shinji asks whether they've met before, and Asuka snaps, "Are you trying to hit on me?" Shinji protests that he isn't, which irritates Asuka, but she then smiles warmly and goes away.

Kensuke then appears, commenting that there are pretty girls in Tokyo, and he asks whether Shinji is trying to get into the academy, and smacks Shinji across the shoulder, challenging him to do his best. Rubbing his shoulder, Shinji smiles, and agrees as well. As he walks off, looking up at the wintry sunshine, Misato's cross reflects a glimmer of light from where it's tied on Shinji's bag handle.

Extra Stage: The Summer Colors of EdenEdit

This chapter is set in Kyoto, 1998. Yui Ikari has fallen asleep on her books in a biology lab, while a girl looks at her and thinks Yui looks silly. Another student enters the lab, and tells the mystery girl that the Dean wants to see her. After the two girls leave, Yui wakes up and wonders where her glasses are.

In the Dean's office, he tells the girl that she has been recommended for a university in England, and with her grades, he believes she'll do well. He asks how old she is, and she replies that she's 16. The Dean pauses, but goes on to say he's still sure she's right for the research position. The girl suggests that another student at this university is far more qualified: Yui Ikari. The Dean agrees that Ms Ikari would be qualified, but she's already been asked to join a government run institution. The girl sees Yui with a young Gendo outside the window, and stares at both of them.

Later, Yui gets the wrong drink from a vending machine due to still not having found her glasses. The mystery girl and another girl are on a bench, and the other girl muses that all the guys in their department are really upset because Yui is with Gendo. Yui gushes that Gendo is cool, and tells the two girls about how she met Gendo and decided to get to know him better. The mystery girl claims the story is disgusting, and leaves for class, and the other girl wonders why the 16 year old is "always" so rough on Yui.

On another day, the mystery teen knocks on Professor Fuyutsuki's door to ask for an extension on her paper, only to find Yui on her hands and knees in the room. Yui admits to knocking over the rats' cages, releasing them, and the mystery girl snaps that she'll help gather them. One rat crawls onto the mystery girl's face, and Yui snatches it, knocking the girl's contact lens out. Yui apologizes for messing up her hair, too, and the girl backs away, dropping her bag, which spills its contents on the floor... including Yui's missing glasses.

Blushing, the mystery girl says she hates Yui for being bright, talented, etc, but also for being the sort of person who won't change how she acts when she realizes that the mystery girl has a crush on her. Yui pauses for a second, then asks the mystery girl to let Yui fix her hair. Yui combs her hair gently while not talking for awhile, and the girl apologizes for saying she hates Yui, then explains she's going to England soon. Yui smiles, then places her own glasses on the girl, saying she isn't sure they're the other girl's prescription, but agreeing the girl can keep them. The girl thanks Yui, and says she'll be wishing Yui and Gendo the best "from a faraway place." Yui smiles back, and we learn that the girl is Mari Makinami.

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