|Rank / Title||First Children|
(Rebuild): First Girl
|Relations||Yui Ikari (derived from), Gendo Ikari (Nerv Commander),|
Shinji Ikari (son of Yui Ikari)
|Voice Actor||(English): Amanda Winn Lee (TV/Films), Brina Palencia (Rebuild), Ryan Bartley (Netflix)|
(Italian): Valentina Mari
(Brazilian): Priscila Concépcion
(Spanish, Spain): Joël Mulachs
(Spanish, Latin America): Circe Luna, Gaby Ugarte (redub)
(German): Marie Bierstedt , Samia Little Elk (Rebuild) , Franziska Lather (Netflix)
- 1 Character Summary
- 2 Profile and Relationships with Other Characters
- 3 Profile
- 4 Incarnations
- 5 Rei's depiction in the anime
- 6 In Rebuild of Evangelion
- 7 In Other Media
- 8 Notes
- 9 Trivia
- 10 References
Rei Ayanami was the product of Gendo Ikari and Kozo Fuyutsuki attempt to retrieve Yui Ikari from Eva-01 using her salvaged remains. This attempt failed. On some level, Rei Ayanami may incorporate DNA from the Second Angel, Lilith, because she is the vessel for Lilith's soul. Rei Ayanami was created sometime between 2004 and 2010, as suggested by her appearance in Episode 21. Seen in 2010, she has the physical appearance of a small child, perhaps around four or five years old. She is later seen in 2015 apparently aged 14 (she would have to appear the same age as Shinji's classmates since they are in the same class). Since Rei was created after Yui died and none of her bodies can possibly be 14 years old, it's implicit that Gendo and Fuyutsuki can manipulate her growth. In Terminal Dogma, a large tank full of spare Rei clones is maintained. These are referred to by Ritsuko Akagi as being "spare parts" for the Dummy Plug system. The Dummy System in Eva-01 also shows the name REI on it's side when it is activated during Episode 18. These clones are the origin of Rei's "If I die, I can be replaced" statement from Episode 19. Rei's birthplace in Central Dogma is also shown in Episode 23. It is noted by Shinji Ikari as being remarkably similar to Rei's apartment, and Ritsuko makes it clear that the room certainly has made it's mark on Rei's subconscious. On the concrete walls, different states of quantum particle spin and different quark names are painted. (Up, Down, Strange, Charmed, Top, Bottom- Up and Down quarks form normal matter, the other four are much rarer and have been generated only in particle accelerators so far). It is likely that this is where Rei spent the majority of her early years.
The reason Rei was created was also to establish a controllable link between Gendo Ikari and Lilith. It seems to have been Gendo's intention to use Rei to control Human Instrumentality Project, and allow him to see Yui again in the End of Evangelion.
Introduction and Injury
The very first time we see Rei is Rei 3's appearance to Shinji on the street near the beginning of the episode. The first time we see Rei 2, the Rei we meet for most of the series, she is badly injured and wrapped in bandages, in so much pain that she has trouble even sitting up. This evokes a sense of sympathy in us and Shinji. An extra piece of animation showing Rei collapsed on the floor in this scene was added in Death.
We learn later that these injuries were caused during the activation experiment with Eva-00 which Gendo supervised. While Gendo was concerned enough for Rei's safety during the activation test to rescue her himself, he now treats her coldly when Kozo questions Gendo sending out Rei in Eva-01. It has been suggested that using Rei in this way was a ruse to get Shinji to pilot Eva-01 when Misato and Ritsuko couldn't convince him.
During episode 2, Rei is wheeled past Shinji in a hospital bed, mirroring episode 1. Instead of vacantly staring up as she was in episode 1, Rei now glares at Shinji as she passes. In episode 3, Rei has crutches propped up against her school desk but isn't seen using them.
Main article: Episode 5
During episode 5 we learn that Rei lives alone in her apartment, numbered 402. Her apartment is part of a large block of apartment buildings on the western edge of Tokyo-3 that is in the process of being demolished. From this episode it becomes clear just how little Rei values her own personal space and comfort. When Rei emerges from the shower naked, she seems completely unconcerned that Shinji can see her. Instead, she is upset that he is handling Gendo's Glasses. Even when he falls on top of her, she treats it as a minor annoyance, and asks him to please move. She then gets up and dresses in his presence quite casually. It should be kept in mind that this scene is the first time they actually spoke to each other. When Shinji later brings the event up in order to apologize Rei doesn't seem to care. This seems to show that Rei has so little experience with other people that she has no idea of the effect that her nudity might have upon a teenage boy. Rei is only roused to anger in this episode when Shinji speaks disparagingly about his own father and Rei slaps him.
Rei participated in Eva-00's activation experiment in Test Facility 2. When the process of synchronization reached phase 3, approaching the absolute borderline, Eva-00 suddenly went berserk and the entry plug was auto-ejected. Rei was badly injured as a result of the ejection of the entry plug, her left arm and eye being damaged. This is when Rei obtains Gendo's glasses and this is the moment when we learn why Rei treasures them.
Just prior to the re-activation experiment, Rei smiles as she puts on her plugsuit, as she recalls when Gendo came to her aid during the failed activation experiment. In the manga, Gendo's glasses case is present on the bench next to Rei in this scene.
Rei takes Gendo's glasses with her into the Entry Plug during the re-activation experiment which helps to calm her and thus the re-activation experiment is successful. After the re-activation is complete, Rei tilts her head back in the entry plug and a number of air bubbles escape her mouth, this indicates that Rei had held her breath throughout the entire re-activation experiment, showing how nervous she was. Rei also takes Gendo's glasses with her into the entry plug prior to the fight with Ramiel, as she believed she was going to die during the battle.
Towards the end of episode 5, Rei curiously watches Shinji and Eva-01 as he moves out from the cage.
The End of Evangelion
When the JSSDF begin attacking Nerv Headquarters, Rei is found by Gendo inside of the lower levels of central dogma, staring at the destroyed corpses of her clones. She turns to Gendo, giving him a cold stare, one of her first signs of retaliation towards him. Gendo reveals that the promised time has come. During the fray above, the two go to Terminal Dogma, specifically to Lilith's resting place. There they encounter Ritsuko, who fails in an attempt to destroy Nerv Headquarters, and is killed by Gendo.
Rei's AT Field is beginning to fail, as her left arm falls off and begins to dissolve into LCL. Gendo, using the Embryo of Adam within his hand, penetrates Rei's remaining AT Field as part of his plan. However, while this happens, Eva-01 begins awakening as the trigger of Third Impact. Realizing Shinji needs her, Rei denies Gendo and takes his arm (and Adam's embryo) into herself, regenerating her lost arm in the process. She then turns and approaches Lilith, stating "I'm home" (to which Lilith responds "Welcome home"). Lilith ingests Rei's body, and her soul, Adam's embryo, and Lilith's body merge, and transform into a new Lilith, resembling a giant, white Rei. The new Lilith then floats up to Shinji, passing through the rising Black Moon, to begin Third Impact.
Third Impact begins with Lilith appearing to Shinji in a strange form; Rei's eyes are missing, instead having ominous black pits in their place. When Shinji addresses the being as "Ayanami", the pits turn into Rei's eyes. However, Shinji is traumatized already by the events, and so Lilith appears to Shinji in the form of Kaworu (who is believed to be within the new Lilith). It is at this point that Shinji relaxes, and lowers his AT Field, allowing Lilith to penetrate Eva-01's core. The result of this penetration is the creation of the Tree of Life. With the tree of life created, and the Black Moon ascending into space, the new Lilith appears as an even larger, angelic Rei. Angelic Rei begins collecting the souls of humanity into the Doors of Guf, their deaths signified by apparitions of Rei, followed by apparitions of those who they love the most. From within the tree of life, Shinji is given the option to proceed with Instrumentality, or to return humanity back to Earth as individual beings. Shinji, choosing the latter, kills the new Lilith, who falls apart and releases the souls of humanity back unto Earth. Shinji wakes up on the surface of Earth, and is visited one last time by an apparition of Rei, which parallels the apparition in Episode 01.
Profile and Relationships with Other Characters
"Making something... Nurturing something is really great. You can see and learn so many things from the process."
Rei's relationship with Shinji is one that plays a large part in the series progression. The two meet when she's brought out to pilot Unit 01 when Shinji refuses, despite being in critical condition.
The two still are apart at first; many awkward scenes playing out between them, both due to each other's lack of social skills. In one particular scene, when Shinji goes to her apartment to give her her new ID card for Nerv. He finds her naked; having just gotten out of the shower. Later, when talking to Shinji, he criticizes his father: Gendo, to which Rei responds with a hard slap across Shinji's face.
However, once the fifth angel Ramiel attacks, the two start getting close, with Rei protecting Shinji from the angel's destructive beam, damaging Unit 00 and herself in the process. When Shinji breaks down crying after seeing her alive, she responds with confusion at what to do, but soon smiles when Shinji asks her. It's the first one not aimed at Gendo.
From then on, Rei continues to build her relationship with Shinji, despite her abnormal nature. To her, Rei sees Shinji as the first one to give her kindness after Gendo's selfish use of her.
Rei's bond with Gendo is one of the most complex throughout the series. Being at least partially derived from the salvaged remains of his wife, Gendo has kept Rei very close to his side. Until Shinji becomes an Eva pilot, Gendo is the only one who is established to have shown Rei any act of kindness. Her memory of Gendo saving her after Unit 00 goes berserk during an activation test has been held cherished to her, so much so that she keeps his burnt glasses held in a case as a memento. Despite this, Rei claims to not pilot the EVA because of Gendo, but because it is her "bond" with all people.
As time went on, Rei became more wary of Gendo, focusing more of her attention of Shinji; even countering Asuka's claims that "She's the special one" in Episode 11. Her disobedience starts when she refuses to take down Unit 03 after being affected by Bardiel, knowing that Shinji's friend Toji is trapped in the entry plug, even getting herself hurt in the process. It's taken to extremes when she sorties without orders to fight Zeruel on her own, or when she disobeys direct orders to eject from her EVA when she sacrifices herself to defeat Armisael, protecting everyone (in particular, Shinji) from getting killed as all EVA's were out of commision.
Despite dying, Rei returns to life through NERV's cloning technology, and she still retains a vague remembrance of her past life. The trauma causes Rei to reflect more deeply on herself and her relationships, coming to antagonize Gendo as a result. Thus, when Gendo tries to assume control over Instrumentality through her, she flat out rejects him and instead rushes to help Shinji.
From the moment Rei rejected Asuka's request to be friends in Episode 09, the two are set up to have different feelings for each other. Rei shrugs Asuka off at first as "the other Eva pilot" during her inner monologue in Episode 14, in part due to her lack of social skills.
She is seen by Asuka as a stuck-up girl who thinks she's better then everyone else; constantly being picked on and nicknaming her "Wonder Girl". On multiple occasions, when Rei is with Shinji - whether it be working or hanging out with him - Asuka gets more fired up. Rei's silence only adds fuel to the fire when it's misinterpreted for arrogance.
However, overtime, Rei becomes a lot more sturdy in standing up for herself. Starting in Episode 11, with overgrowing suspicion of Gendo, she shuts down Asuka's claim on being treated better then everyone else. It continues in Episode 16 when ignoring Asuka's frustration at Shinji getting the highest sync ratio and if she pilots the Eva for her own benefit instead of helping others. Naturally, both moments are meant with bitterness.
In Episode 22, after a long period of ignoring each other in an elevator ride, the two get into a heated argument with Rei trying to convince Asuka to calm down if she wants to improve her below average sync ratio stats. Asuka, with her downward descent into depression, lashes out more then usual at Rei, calling her Commander Ikari's doll and even slapping her when Rei says how she'll die if commanded to. Even with Rei's best intentions, the image of her as a useless puppet stays planted in Asuka's mind throughout the series, and it is unknown if she ever comes to terms with it.
Rei Ayanami is the First Children and exclusive Pilot of Eva-00. Officially, Rei Ayanami is fourteen years old, but it is stated that all records of her background have been erased. Unusually for a child her age, Rei lives alone in an decrepit apartment. Rei attends Tokyo-3 Junior high school and is a member of Class 2-A.
Rei Ayanami is most famous for her distinctive appearance. She has blue hair, pale skin, and red eyes. It has been stated that Rei's unusual appearance was intended by the creators of the series to make her stand out. Strangely, Rei's unusual appearance is never commented upon throughout the series, even by Asuka.
Rei is a vegetarian. This is seen in Episode 12.It is not clear whether this is by choice, or through quirk of her physiology. It should be noted that series creator Hideaki Anno is also a vegetarian, as was Nadia Ra Alwar of Nadia: Secret of the Blue water
Outwardly, Rei can seem somewhat cool and aloof, often spending time on her own reading books. Yet, she can easily be confused by emotions, and is somewhat detached from her own. This is most obvious in Episode 6, when Rei finds her self unsure how she is supposed to feel after being rescued by Shinji Ikari. In Episode 12 Rei did not come to Misato's party, even though she was specifically invited by Asuka. Rei was specifically brought to the synch-training party at Misato's apartment in Episode 09, but that seems to be because Misato actually brought her. Rei isn't simply mysterious to people she doesn't know at first (i.e. during the introductory episodes): Rei is disconnected socially even from the other Eva pilots. When Rei is invaded by Armisael in Episode 23, the Angel forces her to feel her own true loneliness and pain. In the next scene, Rei is shown crying and not even understanding why she is crying. Episode 25 further shows that Rei has a deep despair and a wish to return to nothingness.
Rei has been shown to place no value on her own existence. In Episode 19 she states that If she dies, she can be replaced, but it is not unitl Episode 23 that finally the audience understands what she means by this. This is further shown by her indifference towards her own comfort or personal space. In Episode 5, she shows nothing but indifference to Shinji when he accidentally falls on top of her, in what would be seen as a compromising position. Yet, she is also aggravated enough when he makes disparaging remarks about Gendo Ikari to slap Shinji in the face for it.
Yet she is also capable of placing value in investing herself in people. She has a strong connection with Gendo Ikari throughout the series. Rei keeps a broken pair of Commander Ikari's glasses as an memento of his rescuing her after EVA-00's failed activation test shown Episode 4. It can be suggested that Rei is seeking to stave off her own despair, by investing herself fully towards the needs of one single person, in order for her to be recognized as a person.
As the series progresses, Rei began to distance herself more from the Commander. Meanwhile a bond began to develop between herself and Shinji Ikari; beginning shortly after the attack of the Sixth Angel, Rei was shown talking with Shinji on several occasions, something stated within the series that she almost never does to anyone else. As the series finale approached, Rei eventually chooses Shinji over Commander Ikari and allows Shinji to control Third Impact through her. She also destroys Commander Ikari's glasses, the symbol of her bond with him.
Through the run of the series, Rei Ayanami died at least twice. On these occasions, she was apparently resurrected through the use of the Dummy Plug system and the tank of cloned bodies. Despite this process causing her to lose recent memories, in Episode 23 she is apparently able to recognize that she is her own third incarnation. Her new incarnation differs from the preceding one (See below).
Rei 1 was first Introduced in Episode 21. She is shown as a small child wearing a simple red dress. She is later murdered by Naoko Akagi, for revealing that Gendo Ikari referred to her as an 'old hag' behind her back (displaying behavior noticeably different from her later incarnations).
The term "Rei 1" is also used in the script for the distorted image of Rei that is seen inside Eva-00, suggesting strongly that the part or the whole of Rei 1 was used for Eva-00's soul. For more on this theory, see Eva-00's soul. Rei 1 is also shown alongside her two 'sisters' and Yui Ikari during Commander Ikari's final scene in End of Evangelion.
Rei 2 was the incarnation of Rei for the majority of the series, until Episode 23. This Rei is shown to have a strong attachment to Gendo Ikari, and a building attachment to Shinji Ikari. It is likely that Rei 2 was created soon after the death of Rei 1. Given that this occurred in 2010, this would suggest that in reality, Rei 2 is four years old at the most, despite appearing to be fourteen years old. In addition, it is theorized (see Eva-00's soul) that she has only part of Rei 1's soul. She is shown with her sisters in Episode 26' wearing the same bandages that she first wore after being injured in Eva-00's failed activation test.
The Third incarnation of Rei Ayanami is first seen in Episode 23, after the death of Rei 2. This incarnation of Rei shows little attachment to Gendo Ikari, attempting to break the glasses that Rei 2 had kept after being rescued by Gendo Ikari from Eva-00 after its berserker incident. This incarnation appears capable of Angelic abilities including an A.T. Field (all but stated aloud in Episode 24) and rapid regeneration. Rei 3's distaste for Gendo results in her betraying him and handing control of Third Impact to Shinji in Episode 26'. In Gendo's final scene in Episode 26', Rei 3 is shown naked with her "sisters", Rei 1 and Rei 2.
Rei's depiction in the anime
For information regarding Rei's psychology and for a examination of her character throughout the anime:
In Rebuild of Evangelion
Rei as seen in Rebuild of Evangelion begins as much the same as her anime counterpart, although according to Hideaki Anno, her "settei" (roughly "background") has been changed, and she is named after the later JMSDF destroyer Ayanami rather than the Fubuki-class destroyer to reflect that change. In Eva 1.0 and 2.0, she has been seen to have the same relationships with Gendo Ikari, and maintains much the same distance from her classmates. Rei sits on her own while other members of her class are swimming, or talking in groups.
Two important differences are worth noting in Evangelion 1.0. After the battle with Sachiel, Shinji is visited by an apparition of Rei in the first of the Personal Hell traincar scenes in the movie series. Gendo and Yui discuss how Shinji would've been named Rei, if he had been born a girl. Rei is heard repeating the names "Shinji Ayanami" and "Rei Ikari" before correcting herself with "No, Rei Ayanami." when an apparition of a naked and demented looking Rei appears--in much the same way as the moment Eva-00 runs berserk in Episode 14. Shinji wakes up in the infirmary after this.
In the film's final scene where Shinji is with Rei in the entry plug of Eva-00, Rei is depicted holding Shinji Ikari's hand.
Rei's character continues to develop in Evangelion 2.0, with Rei even asking Gendo for permission to hold a dinner for her fellow pilots, and putting a very determined effort at cooking for the party. Although, Shinji is unaware that Rei invited Gendo to the party. Rei shows visible shock after hearing about the Ninth Angel incident and Asuka's fate.
When the Angel Zeruel appears and Mari fails to fend off the attacking Angel, there is no one left to defend humanity. Rei therefore decides to pilot Eva-00 against the attacking Tenth Angel, now with Mari's help. Rei brings a large N^2 rocket which she intends to use in a decisive strike against the Angel. The attack is delivered successfully, and before the explosion Rei is able to save Mari by throwing her clear of the explosion. However, the attack did not damage the Angel enough, and Rei is swallowed by the Angel and trapped. Shinji observing this, is overcome with emotions of guilt and remorse for having left her behind, and he rushes to pilot Eva-01. Shinji is able to topple Zeruel, and aims to save Rei from Zeruel. Rei at first protests from the Angel's core, saying that she can be replaced, but Shinji says that there is only one Rei before saving her. Shinji embraces Rei and thanks her for her efforts of trying to get Gendo and Shinji on good terms. This is where Rei is last observed in the Rebuild series, as she is not to be found in it's sequel, much to Shinji's dismay. Shinji's heightend emotional state during the attack on Zeruel forces Eva-01 into awakening and becomes part in causing Near Third Impact.
Rei's character within Rebuild 3.0 is depicted in a much more mysterious light. She is shown being a part of the New Nerv organization sporting a new Black Plugsuit. She has seemingly no recollection of previous events depicted in 2.0 and doesn't share many key traits, like reading books. It's made clear throughout the entirety of 3.0 that this Rei Ayanami is a different clone, made after the events of 2.0. The fandom has come to dub this character "Rei Q" or "Kuronami" (coming from kuro-, meaning black).
In Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0, she's called as Rei Ayanami (Tentative Name) or Miss Lookalike (name given by the Toji and Hikari due to her "resemblance" to the Rei Ayanami they knew). In this movie, Rei receives this nickname when the pilots arrive Village-3, there, Toji and Hikari greet Rei warmly, and she is encouraged to take care of Tsubame and cooperate with the village, working with the locals. She is very curious about these activities and over time develops the desire to stay in the place. Later, Rei goes to look for Shinji. Rei goes to Kensuke's house, but finds only Asuka, who informs her that her feelings for the Third Child have been programmed into the Ayanami-Series since the beginning, as part of their inherent Eva-like restrictors as Eva pilots (notably, Asuka includes herself in these statements as well). Rei tells her she doesn't mind the artificial feelings, as they feel real to her, and Asuka gives in and tells her where Shinji is. Rei then goes to Shinji to return his SDAT along with some rations, but Shinji is still too distraught and knocks it away. Rei leaves with the SDAT, but leaves the rations behind. Eventually, Rei retuns and she is able to get Shinji to talk to her, where he claims that he was the one who destroyed everything, and that he just wants to be left alone, and expresses confusion as to why people were being nice to him even after everything that happened, to which Rei replies that it is because they all like him.
Getting used to the daily life in Village-3, "Miss Lookalike" is asked to create a new name for herself, in which she searches for Shinji for help. Shinji decides to call her "Ayanami" anyway. Unfortunately, Rei is revealed to require constant exposure to LCL to maintain her existence. She farewells to Hikari shyly through a letter with the words she discovered during her stay, and thanks Shinji for helping her find happiness before turning into LCL before his eyes.
Later, Shinji enters Eva-01 out of nowhere and the original Rei Ayanami appears to him inside, with her hair grown very long. She apologizes to him for not being able to make it so that he wouldn't have to get into an Eva, but Shinji thanks her and says he will take care of the rest. During the final sequence, Shinji talks to Rei Ayanami about creating the "Neon Genesis", and she is seen accompanied by Kaworu at the train station.
Rei also appears in 3.0 preview wearing normal school clothes. Its been speculated that this Rei is either not real, or is similar to the phenomenon that occurred in the opening moments of 1.0. See more in: Theory and Analysis:Evangelion "2.5"
In Other Media
Rei Ayanami features in much of the officially licensed Gainax media.
- Rei features as a character in all officially licensed Eva manga: Evangelion Academy, Angelic Days, and Shinji Ikari Raising Project.
- Ayanami Raising Project is a dating game licensed by Gainax that features Rei as the main character.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion on the N64 features Rei and Eva-00 as playable characters.
- Akihabara Hobby released a 1:1 scale model of Rei in 2007 (along with a large model of Eva-01) as part of Gainax's Eva Works series.
- The OST The Birthday of Rei Ayanami features recordings of A Cruel Angel's Thesis, Tamashii No Refrain, and Fly Me to the Moon sung by Megumi Hayashibara, Rei's voice actress. The OST also features most of the music in NGE that came to be associated with Rei.
There is also much unofficial media circulating which is cantered around or featuring Rei: garage kit models, dojinshi, etc.
In the manga adaptation by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, Rei's character comes off as being a much warmer and more open, at least with regards to Shinji and despite having the same initial reaction to Shinji in the anime, she soon becomes Shinji's romantic interest.
Unique to the manga, in Vol. 01 she pilots Eva-01 against Sachiel and loses, her injuries seemingly being a direct result of the defeat. Though Vol. 03 of the manga includes the Eva-00 berserk incident from Ep. 05 of the anime, and seems to be implying that she received her injuries at that time. If so, then she was piloting Eva-01 while badly injured, and when Gendo tried to shame Shinji into piloting, he was threatening to send a severely injured Rei into battle for the second time that day! Including the Ep. 05 material may have been an attempt by Sadamoto to retroactively correct the source of Rei's injuries to match the anime.
For information regarding Rei's psychology and for a examination of her character throughout manga:
Rei in other Eva based Manga
Most notorious is Rei's appearance in the Girlfriend of Steel 2 manga. She is regarded by some as being Rei in Appearance Only (RiAO), in that while she shares the same basic character design, her entire personality is different. Being based on the AU from Episode 26, Girlfriend of Steel 2 depicts Rei as a bubbly and excitable transfer student to Shinji's school, almost a mirror image of her character in the original animé series.
In the latest Neon Genesis Evangelion Academy manga, Rei is seen to be acting in a much more Rei-like manner.
Like many of Evangelion's characters, Ayanami's surname comes from a Japanese World War II naval vessel, the Fubuki-class destroyer Ayanami. Her first name comes from the character Rei Hino of the anime and manga series Sailor Moon. This was done to get one of Sailor Moon's directors, Kunihiko Ikuhara, to work on Evangelion. Written in kanji, Rei (零) can also mean "zero", "null" and is a pun on her Evangelion 00. The band Kinniku Shōjo Tai's theme song Doko e demo ikeru kitte and its line "hotai de masshiro na shojo" (lit. "the white girl with bandages") inspired Sadamoto to draw Rei. The same band produced a song named Fumimi no kodomo (福耳の子供), in which a female monologue is audible, and Sadamoto tried to portray a girl with a similar voice. Ukina, a character from Sadamoto's previous work Koto, served as Rei's model, giving her "shaggy, bobbed, wolf-like hair". Another source of inspiration was The Snow Goose, a novella written by Paul Gallico; the story describes a painting portraying the protagonist, a thin and pale girl in an empty room.
Anno requested a ""cool character with short hair" and designed Rei originally as a brunette with dark eyes; however, it was necessary to distinguish her from the other female protagonist Asuka Langley Soryu, so Sadamoto designed her with eye and hair colors opposite to Asuka's. Initially, Anno requested her as "gloomy". While Asuka was conceived as "an idol-like figure" in Neon Genesis Evangelion and a symbol of "heterosexual desire", Sadamoto designed Rei as a "mother figure", thinking of her as "the Yin opposed to Asuka". As such, he decided to give Rei more room in the manga, emphasizing Rei's maternal role. One of Sadamoto's early designs include a black-haired girl called "Yui Ichigo", though this might be an early version of Yui Ikari, also alternating between green and teal hair. Anno also suggested that Rei's eye color be red, a feature he believed would give her more personality and distinguish her design from those of the other characters. Her hair color changed to blue, similarly to the main character from Aoki Uru, the never-made sequel to The Wings of Honneamise. Sadamoto also gave her black socks, inspired by a women's handball team he saw playing when he was still in middle school. Black allowed him to differentiate her from the characters of the series released in the same period and go against their trend.
As with many other Evangelion characters, Anno transposed some aspects of his life into her character, including the choice to not eat meat and maintain a vegetarian diet. He also took inspiration from Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic concepts and the Oedipus complex in particular, since "there was this replacement by a robot, so the original mother is the robot, but then there is a mother of the same age, Rei Ayanami, by [Shinji's] side, who's also by the side of the real father". In a discarded draft of Rei's character background, Rei was a more sensual character than her final version. Sadamoto, unlike the more frank and explicit Hideaki Anno, decided to give her a much more "enigmatic" and bland eros. According to Sadamoto and assistant director Kazuya Tsurumaki, she was conceived as an alien entity, but Gainax later went on to make her at least genetically human; Rei should have had both the human genes of Yui Ikari and the First Angel, Adam, associating her condition to a Devilman, a hybrid from Go Nagai's manga.
During Evangelion's production and first broadcast, Anno encountered difficulties writing the character, not feeling "particularly interested" or relating to her, but he thought of her as a representation of his unconscious mind likening her to Kaworu in that regard, in contrast to Shinji, Asuka and Misato as his conscious parts. She is also likened to Kaworu by staff in many other instances. He also conceived her as "the unconscious Shinji". For a long time he forgot to "explore Rei's personality". In Episode 08 she does not appear in any scene, while in Episode 07 he "finally remembered her" giving Rei a brief appearance in one shot. After many episodes, he decided to focus on her and "explore her emotion", adding Rei's stream of consciousness-like monologue in Episode 14. While working on the monologue, he wanted to develop her in a "schizophrenic" direction and wondered how to portray a kind of madness. He was loaned a magazine-like book entitled Bessatsu Takarajima (別冊宝島) on mental illness that contained a poem by someone who suffered from a mental disorder, and that triggered his imagination. In Episode 21, the first Rei clone, killed by Naoko Akagi in the final version of the script, would eventually survive after being strangled and having lost consciousness momentarily, awakening in an empty command room without Dr. Akagi.
Anno acted instinctively, without following a well-defined plan for the development of the characters, but from the beginning he had the idea of Rei's death, then presented in the twenty-third episode. Compared to most other characters, Rei received relatively few changes compared to her earlier ideas, with the notable exception that in Episode 1 she would have still defeated the Angel on her own, piloting Unit-00, though not kill it. During production, Ikuhara, annoyed by the idealized image and the fetishism that some fans built around the character, proposed to Anno that they "betray" fans and show her as a real girl who gets married and "gets pregnant in the last episode", but Anno rejected the suggestion. In the original finale wanted by Anno, the giant Rei added in the film EoE was not foreseen, since it was conceived at a later time. Anno himself declared he considered her character "already finished" in the episode six smile scene: "In short, if she and Shinji completely 'communicated' there, then isn't she over with? At that moment, Rei, for me, was finished.
- Rei in Japanese (レイ) is sometimes a synonym for "zero". Fitting, as Rei is the pilot of Eva-00, or that Rei is "zero" (or "nothing"), a case of identity that troubles her throughout the series. "Rei" spelled with different Kanji is the word for "spirit" (霊). Rei's name thus becomes a double pun, she is the pilot of Eva-00, and the vessel for the spirit of Lilith.
- In Episode 20 Shinji (dissolved inside Eva-01) hears a conversation between Gendo and Yui before his birth, where Gendo says, "If it's a boy, Shinji. If it's a girl, Rei." While it need not mean that Gendo alone had given Rei her name, it shows that Gendo wanted to give his own daughter that name, and suggests to some extent that he sees Rei as his daughter.
- In the original Japanese dub of the series the characters refer to Eva-00 using the half-English term "zerogouki" ("-gouki" = "unit"). "Reigouki", however, wouldn't be an entirely inaccurate alternate rendering of it's name.
- In Episode 20 Shinji (dissolved inside Eva-01) hears a conversation between Gendo and Yui before his birth, where Gendo says, "If it's a boy, Shinji. If it's a girl, Rei." While it need not mean that Gendo alone had given Rei her name, it shows that Gendo wanted to give his own daughter that name, and suggests to some extent that he sees Rei as his daughter.
- Ayanami (綾波) literally means "twill wave", the Kanji meaning "twill" and "wave". Ayanami was one of the Fubuki class destroyers of the former Imperial Japanese Navy. The Nihon Kaigun website's page on warship names  gives the (nonliteral) alternative "wave patterns" or waves "whose beauty suggests figures woven in silk".
- For a discussion over whether Rei 1's soul is present in Eva-00:
- See Eva-00's soul.
- For information regarding Rei's repeated association with the Moon:
- See Rei and the Moon for more details.
- For information regarding Rei's psychology and for a examination of her character throughout the TV series and manga:
- For an interpretation of Rei's monologue or poem:
- See Rei's Monologue.
- For an interpretation of the relationship between Shinhi and Rei:
- For an interpretation of the relationship between Gendo and Rei:
- In Episode 01, Rei mysteriously appears before Shinji in a brief instant before disappearing once more. This same scene is repeated during the final scene of Episode 26'. This effectively creates two "bookends" at either end of the series.
- See Rei's Ghostly Appearances and Quantum Mechanics for more information.
- Rei’s blue hair and red eyes are the inverse of Asuka Langley Soryu’s blue eyes and red hair, a visual reminder of their opposite personalities.
- According to Misato it took seven months for Rei to synchronize with Eva-00. It is not clear if Rei's accident in which Eva-00 went berserk, which chronologically seems to happen right before this episode (and is seen in flashbacks in Episode 05, is what Misato is referring to as Rei's first synchronization, or if it happened sometime earlier.
- Evangelion Chronicle has a character height chart, however it does not clearly state each character's height. An user has calculated their heights based on it here, taking Misato's height from Episode 25 as a reference.
- Rei is a pun on the Japanese word for "zero," and Ayanami is the name of a warship, the [Ayanami destroyer]. For more information on how Rei and the other characters were named, see Character Name Origins.
- Remember that Rei is actually part of a series of clones produced in Nerv HQ; the Rei we see here is actually the second Rei, or "Rei II." When one Rei dies, she can be replaced with another. So why would Gendo risk badly injuring his hands to save Rei if, by her own admission later in the series, she can be replaced?
- Gendo might be trying to keep up the charade that Rei is not a clone to the other Nerv personnel involved in the activation experiment; most of them do not know that she is a clone.
- Gendo might have just been swept up in the moment; he cares a great deal about Rei because of her connection to Yui, and might just not want to see any harm come to her even if she can be resurrected.
- When Shinji enters Rei's apartment, he notices that her floor is conspicuously dirty and badly scuffed by her shoes, before proceeding to take off his own shoes. In Japan, it is of course customary to take off one's shoes when entering a home, and this is a telltale sign to a Japanese audience (perhaps not quite as noticeable to a North American audience) that Rei is indifferent and aloof to her surroundings. Also, she apparently hasn't opened any of her mail in quite some time, but just lets her mailbox overflow. There is still blood on Rei's pillow from when she was injured. As she is not injured now, and wasn't wearing bandages even the day before, it appears that she just didn't bother to wash it.
- Similarly, it is possible that her Adamite counterpart, Kaworu, has no idea of how his suggestion that he and Shinji go to bed together might be interpreted.
- Rei appears unusually relaxed when sitting in the LCL of the Entry Plug, after the reactivation test ends. At several points throughout the series, Rei almost seems to "bathe" in LCL.
- This Rei is sometimes referred to as "Giant Naked Rei", or GNR for short.
- See Theory and Analysis:Rei's Ghostly Appearances and Quantum Mechanics for more details.
- It is possible that her responses come out that way because of a possible attraction towards Shinji.
- Hideaki Anno's Roundtable Discussion.
- One of my favorite bands is called the Buff Girl Team and in one of their songs, there's this line a white girl in bandages. I had an image of her even before I started Evangelion. Like a girl with a dark past. I thought it'll be interesting to have a girl in bandages. And maybe she'll have the antibacterial smell like hospitals. If I had known her when I was 14, I would have hesitated to get close to her. She's cute, but her world's the farthest away from mine. But I end up admiring her. In the anime, I designed her as kind of an idol figure. - Sadamoto, Genesis 0:0 - In The Beginning, translation
- Sadamoto, Japan Expo 2008
- "Interview with Sadamoto Yoshiyuki", Der Mond
- Schizo, pp. 164-165
- In creating Rei Ayanami, both from a character and physical point of view, were you inspired by someone who really exists, such as models or actresses?It's a question I'm often asked, the question of inspiration, but as we said before there is no single answer...for example, in the case of Rei, the director gave me as an indication "a cool character with short hair" and from there I had to figure out what to create. The main inspiration came to me by hearing a song, and the voice singing it. From that voice, I envisioned the character. I took the song to the director and said "I see her like this, Rei, a girl who has this voice". Sadamoto Days – i fan meet e l’intervista
- Q: What about Rei?
A: I played around with a character, Ukina, in a story I wrote a long time ago in NEWTYPE called Koto ("The Ogre on the Desert Isle"). You take her, give her shaggy, bobbed, wolf-like hair, and you've got Rei. Really, I just played with her a bit-the way the eyes are drawn, the basic character is the same. Her character was locked in as translucent, like a shadow or the air. The kind of girl you can't touch. The girl you long for, but there is nothing about her that you can grab a hold onto
Q: The same type of stance that Kensuke and Toji feel about Rei?
"A: Even more distant. The first time you see Rei, she is all bandaged up. The group Kinniku Shojo Tai has a song called "Hotai de Masshiro na Shojo" ("The Girl White with Bandages"). When I heard that song, an image popped into my mind, and I drew Rei according to that. I thought, "I'd like to draw a girl like that." This girl who is fated to pilot a robot. I wanted to draw her even before I heard of Shinji. There were two things that went into the decision to make her eyes red: one is the fact that she didn't have enough outstanding features, and the second is from a buisness standpoint, the makers of the game wanted her differentiated from the other characters, but personnally I think it turned out to have a great effect. She's so quiet you can only tell her character from her gaze and her facial expressions, so she leaves the impression of having a strong stare." - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto - "My Thoughts At The Moment"
- Sadamoto, Milano Manga Days 2014
- Q: Did Hideaki Anno exert tight control over your design process while working on animations where he was the director? A: For the past few works that I have done, I have worked with a number of directors (including Tsurumaki and Anno) and I would often be asked to be involved. The most "simple" director I’ve Ever worked with was Anno, who would typically work with exactly what Sadamoto gave him. The only information Anno told him about Rei was her age, blood type and that she was "gloomy". [...]A: In the case of FLCL, the music inspired the story rather than the characters. Haruko was inspired by JPOP music. A band Sadamoto used to listen to supposedly inspired Rei from Evangelion. [this is confirmed in the Milano Manga Days interview] - Yoshiyuki Sadamoto Panel at FanimeCon 2003
- Sadamoto: "The Other Side of the Story"
- "Interview with Sadamoto Yoshiyuki", Der Mond
- Asuka and her relationship with Shinji have a central role in the series, while in the manga she is kept in the background compared to Rei. What is the reason for this difference?(laughs) Anno and I have a different point of view on this. The manga is less spectacular than the anime, there's less action, so I preferred to focus on the relationship between Shinji and his mother, which is the core of my work. The anime, on the other hand, precisely because it's more spectacular, has another point of view. Of course, the relationship between me and my mother is different (laughs). A manga that influenced me a lot was Hyouryuu Kyoushitsu, by Kazuo Umezuo, which talks about the relationship between mother and son. Any mother in the world wants the best for her child, and my manga is about that. - Sadamoto Days – i fan meet e l’intervista
- Der Mond - The Art of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
- Sadamoto, SWEET TIME EXPRESS
- Sadamoto, World Seifuko Project Summit
- “By the hand of man” and “a miracle has value when it is brought about” are two lines that are familiar from some of Director Anno’s previous works. In this episode, it is revealed that Rei dislikes meat, but Nadia: Secret of Blue Water was also a vegetarian. Director Anno himself is also famous for not eating meat. Incidentally, Rei orders a garlic ramen without the pork at a ramen shop, but the script has Rei ordering seaweed ramen. It is a rare example of pure adlibbing on the part of a voice actress in this show. - Platinum Episode Commentaries
- Film Book Vol. 4
- Kodansha 2003
- Schizo, pp 179
- Schizo, pp.95
- Schizo, pp. 93
- Eva Special Talk with Anno Hideaki and Toshiya Ueno (Newtype 11/1996)
- When you disassemble the character for his last name, “Nagisa”, it becomes “shi” and “sha”. Thus, it is a play on the sub-title, “The Final Messenger (saigo no shisha)”. The “Nagisa (shore)” also forms a pair with Rei Ayanami's “nami (wave)”. - Platinum Episode Commentaries
- "I: And Rei and Kaworu is the same type of existence right? The “you are like me”. Z: Both possessing the genetic code of Angels. - Schizo/Prano interview collection, "judging Hideaki Anno in his absence"
- Anno: If the planned relations had worked out - the plan was that the ‘unconscious Shinji-kun’ would be Ayanami Rei, the Shinji-kun who appears on the surface would be Ikari Shinji, and the ‘ideal Shinji-kun’ would be Nagisa Kaworu-kun. [Kaworu was] supposed to be an ideal male but when I tried putting him together he was just a strange fellow (laughs). That was something of a lack of capability on my part. - 2000 December Anno: Interview ‘with a member of Waseda University for the purpose of “character study.
- Oizumi: Exactly. And, on the topic of substitutions, can we think of Rei Ayanami as being a person like your mother?
Anno: That’s not quite right.
Takekuma: There’s also nothing like the image of a girl you previously dated [in her], right?
Anno: No. Well, Rei is probably [the character] closest to my deep psyche. I don’t really understand her. … The truth is, I have no emotional attachment to her at all.
Takekuma: Huh? Is that right?
Anno: Yeah. I have no emotional attachment to her. Well, Nobita-san wrote [about her] as being a symbol of schizophrenia. There were parts where that was actually what I wanted to do [with her].
Takekuma: But she is the character best received by the fans in the outside world. Even I was drawn in by Rei at the beginning.
Oizumi: That’s right. Megumi Hayashibara’s voice was also incredible.
Anno: But Rei is [the character] I least understand. In addition, I’m not really that interested in her. There were parts where that’s what I was consciously doing, actively trying to put aside my presuppositions, trying to bring out the most primitive, the most core, the purest parts within me.
Oizumi: So Rei is perhaps [something] embedded in your unconscious [that] can’t be expressed in words.
Anno: Even in the midst of making Eva, I suddenly realized I had forgotten her. Her very existence. In episode seven, I remembered, and added a single shot with Rei. I had no emotional attachment to her at all. I think that was fine, because she didn’t appear in episode eight, not even for a single shot. -Parano
- When it came to Rei, I was completely blocked. I couldn't write anything at all. I had intended to make Rei a schizophrenic (分裂症的) character, but when I tried to write, I couldn't think of anything - nothing at all. Finally, I thought, when writing madness, one has no choice but to become mad. At that time I consulted a bit with my friends. When I asked if there was something composed by a madman, I was loaned a "Bessatsu Takarajima"  volume on mental illness. It was an "easy and reasonable" book [イージーでリーズナブルな本] (laughs), but inside it there was a poem written by a madman. That was extremely good. When I read the poem I had a strong impression, as though this was the first time that I had come close. I had a feeling like a light glinting upon the tip of a sharp knife. It was certainly not the feeling of an ordinary man. That was good. If I think about it now, this sort of 'capacity' was [already] within me (laughs). [??2] It's mad to believe that the writings of a madman are of the highest quality. I read that [poem] and was filled with images; I was able to write [Rei's monologue] in one sitting. - 2nd JUNE Interview
- Evangelion Original III
- Parano, pp 97
- Evangelion Proposal
- Historical Warships in Evangelion
|Main characters: Shinji Ikari | Rei Ayanami | Asuka Langley Soryu|
|Nerv staff: Misato Katsuragi | Gendo Ikari | Ritsuko Akagi | Kozo Fuyutsuki | Ryoji Kaji | Maya Ibuki | Makoto Hyuga | Shigeru Aoba|
|Classmates: Toji Suzuhara | Kensuke Aida | Hikari Horaki|
|Other characters: Kaworu Nagisa | Yui Ikari | Naoko Akagi | Kyoko Zeppelin Soryu | Dr. Katsuragi | Keel Lorenz | Pen Pen|
|Rebuild of Evangelion: Asuka Shikinami Langley | Mari Makinami Illustrious | Sakura Suzuhara | Ryoji Kaji (Jr)|
|Miscellaneous: Minor Characters | Minor Characters (Rebuild) | Extracanonical Characters|
|Theory and Analysis: Name Origins (Warships) | Designs | Relationships | Profiles|
|Resources: 2015: The Last Year of Ryohji Kaji|