Every Woman - Ayanami Rei

Ayanami Rei

Ayanami Rei is one of the main characters in Shin Seiki (Neon Genesis) Evangelion, the First Child, and pilot of Evangelion Prototype Unit 00.

Standard Notes: This is my opinion of this character. Very little of this is fact; this is my analysis of Ayanami Rei based on what I have seen of her, which includes the movies (Death, Rebirth, and End of Evangelion), and what knowledge of her I have gleaned from numerous EVA FAQ's and discussions (see link list on main EVA page).

Also, I've given up on trying to keep EVA character analyses entirely spoiler free; it's just not possible. So, yes, as much as I can, it's spoiler free, but Rei, like Shinji, requires quite a bit of SPOILING, so be prepared or read no further.

When I think of Rei, I think of Yui Ikari.

Not surprising, right?

We see three Rei clones in the course of the series. It's like Yui growing up all over again.

Rei I is a little girl who thinks of Gendo as a father figure. Yui as a little girl. Shinji is non-existent to this Rei/Yui. She speaks with a child's innocence and straightforwardness...which is what gets her killed.

Rei II is Yui in her teens/early twenties. Meeting Gendo, falling in love with him (don't ask ME why...I'd rather chew aluminum than have anything to do with Ikari Gendo), working towards their common cause. She doesn't quite know what to make of Shinji when she first meets him, but over time the maternal part of her awakens. Rei II sacrifices herself to save Shinji - a mother's sacrifice to save her son.

Rei III is Yui as Mom to Shinji. She is confused at first - part of her still loves Gendo, will always love Gendo, because Yui did, but she loves Shinji MORE, if in a completely different manner. Rei III is Lilith, Eve, Every Woman and None of them. She rejects Gendo and instead lets SHINJI be the deciding factor in Third Impact. She chooses her son over her husband. Perhaps this is a fully AWAKE Yui, who realizes how horribly Gendo's treated her son. There are obviously some residual memories from the previous Rei ("I think...I'm the third") and she may be feeling guilt from how she herself has treated Shinji before she realized WHO he was.

Of course, EVA 01 was always looking out for Shinji as the REAL Yui, not uploaded copies of her soul. But copy or not, it's still YUI'S feelings in Rei.

This is why Rei represents Shinji's past. She is where he came from, sort of. She is the mother he never really had, and the bond between them is strong.

Analyzing Rei is not easy because she is three different people. So let's focus on Rei II and a little on Rei III.

Rei II is the Rei we see through most of the series. Quiet, shut away, but around Gendo she comes to life. She loves him, and Shinji is just this other little boy around. She is grateful to him for fighting on her behalf in the battle against the 3rd Angel, but other than that she rarely smiles or speaks or expresses anything. That is because she is nothing but a downloaded soul in a copy body. She is not REALLY original.

She's an albino, paler than normal humans, and she is a pale imitation of an original soul.

Again, there may be a few residual memories from Rei I but not many; she didn't last long. So there may be an undercurrent of Electra complex accompanying her love for Gendo, as a holdover from when he was her father figure. (Electra complex is the female version of the more well-known Oedipus complex).

Certainly Gendo thinks of Rei as Yui, and even Shinji notices that Rei wrings a washcloth in a very Motherly sort of way. A child always knows its mother.

Eventually Rei acknowledges Shinji as her son. She has to, or else she would not be so willing to give up her own life for him. A mother will choose her child's life over any and everything else.

Rei III is, like Rei I, a short-lived little Rei clone. But that is because of Gendo's plans for Third Impact. There are more residual memories from Rei II because of that clone's longer lifespan. Gendo is now a stranger to this Rei. This is not the man who pulled her from an entry plug, burning himself badly in the process. This is not the man who came to visit her in the hospital. Those things never happened to HER.

Certain to be a vivid memory, especially since it was the last, would be her sacrificing herself for Shinji. And this is a more mature Yui soul. Also, keep in mind that Yui's soul is inside EVA 01. When Rei II was "born", EVA 01 was not active and certainly had not come across her son yet. Rei III however is coming from a Yui soul that DOES KNOW SHINJI. She is Yui as Mommy to Shinji and that is a big difference. Now I'm sure they don't download Yui's soul straight from EVA 01, but there has to be some sort of RESONANCE. The Yui soul in Rei II has already been in there for quite some time, is well established. But Rei III is something of a newborn, and I'm willing to bet that if they'd put Rei III in EVA 01, they would've gotten impressive results. Eva 01 with Rei II was different. That was Past and Present, or Past and Future, meeting. They sort of mesh and sort of don't. They work well enough together because of their fundamental similarities, but they AREN'T the same. Rei III and EVA 01 are much closer to being exact matches.

So as Mom, Yui makes her OWN choice, which is what she views as being the best for her son. She is the catalyst for Third Impact, as she was always meant to be. But she sets some of her own rules.

Rei becomes the Mother of Everything - but she has always been the Mother of Shinji.

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