When even a tough dude like his school pal Toji is getting menaced by gangsters, a nice guy like Shinji Ikari feels obliged to seek out the local private eye, Ryoji Kaji, and his striking young assistant, Kaworu Nagisa. Somehow, though, Shinji gets drafted into solving the case himself, with Kaworu's help—although Kaworu quickly proves to be a mystery of his own...
Shinji Ikari Detective Diaries is a doujinshi that somehow got translated and licensed by Dark Horse to be published in the United States of America, and now I am going to review it. I've only actually read the first volume, but I'm not some kind of respected authority or something, so whatever.
The story is... weird. But as far as I can tell, completely competent. No mind-blowing, intense, gorgeous conspiracies of crime-solving, unlike similarly described series such as Death Note, Terror in Resonance or Durarara. But there's no mind-blowing, intense, gorgeous failures of writing either. It's okay. It's just... conceptually, weird. Just makes you wonder where
Takumi Yoshimura, the writer and artist of Detective Diaries, even got the idea.
The art is... weird. But competent. As far as I've been able to find, Takumi Yoshimura is a yaoi artist, so the anatomy is a bit wonky and unstable, but other than that, it's technically fine. The scene and panel composition are perfectly fine, but the series doesn't lend itself to particularly strenuous scenes; there's supernatural fights, but they're far from the vein of something like JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. The original designs of the EVAs are fine, if a little shallow.
The characters, on the other hand, are often kind of off. That probably seems like a nitpick, but it's somewhat important for an adaption that doesn't serve to redesign. But the small, fine smile that graces Rei Ayanami perfectly, doesn't work so well when it's meant to be a creepy grin on Kaworu Nagisa. This is obviously mostly a problem with Takumi Yoshimura's artistic range, and I don't dislike so much that it's not accurate, so much as it doesn't even seem like there was much effort put in to try.
Now we get into important bits for an adaption: Characters! They're okay, I guess. Shinji is still a loser. Asuka is still a tsundere. Rei is still a kuudere. Kaworu is still a mysterious creep. Kaji is still a mysterious creep. Misato is still... Well, Misato is barely there, honestly. PenPen is still a penguin, God bless. Everybody's bits are where they should be, and nobody's any more hatable or likable than they are originally. It's leagues better than Shinji Ikari Raising Project, at the very least.
Overall, Shinji Ikari Detective Diaries is conceptually weird, but technically fine. If you're familiar with so-bad-it's-good media, you're probably also familiar with titles that seem like they'll be absolutely horrible, but then turn out to be just okay. Detective Diaries is definitely one of those. If, that is, you're not a "fan" of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and... "Spoiler alert", I suppose, choose to ignore the JoJo Stands that show up completely out of left field halfway through the first volume, and then turn out to be half of the plot. But on the other hand, I think how into Neon Genesis Evangelion, weird fanfiction/doujinshi, or even JoJo's Bizarre Adventure you are, is directly proportional to how much you'll like Detective Diaries.
Personally? I love Shinji Ikari Detective Diaries. I love Shinji Ikari Detective Diaries more than I loved the original Neon Genesis Evangelion manga, which I liked more than the pieces of the anime I've seen, which I hated so much that I hyperventilated and passed out. Then I woke up in some weird hot guy's room, which was, in contrast, the best thing ever. Then I woke up again, and ate some sausage for breakfast. I liked the sausage, it was a new brand, but I didn't like it as much as I love Shinji Ikari Detective Diaries. I literally only read Neon Genesis Evangelion so I could read Detective Diaries. That's not even a joke. The only reason I haven't read the entire series eight times over is because I'm adverse to online shopping for books.