Rei Ayanami (綾波レイ, Ayanami Rei) appears in Neon Genesis Evangelion as a main protagonist and pilot of Evangelion Unit-00. Rei first appears in the first episode of the anime in an injured state after a failed activation test with her Evangelion. After she recovers from her injuries, she goes on to assist Shinji Ikari in defeating the Angels with their first major victory being against Ramiel. Rei's next significant Angel encounter occurs during Matarael's attack on Tokyo-3 where she cooperates with Shinji and Asuka to defeat the Angel. Rei is seemingly killed by Armisael late in the series yet she returns under mysterious circumstances; it is then revealed that the resurrected Rei is in fact the third incarnation of Rei, the first having been killed years prior to the series.
Rei Ayanami is voiced by Megumi Hayashibara in the original Japanese version, Amanda Winn-Lee in the original English version of the anime series by ADV Films, Brina Palencia in the English dub of the Rebuild of Evangelion movie series, and Ryan Bartley in the newer English dub of the TV series on Netflix.
Personality and Traits
At the start of the series, Rei is socially withdrawn, seemingly emotionless, and rarely interacts with anyone, except for Gendo, to whom she initially displays loyalty but with whom she has a generally distant relationship. Even since the beginning of the series, it was noticeable that something was genuinely not right about Rei, because when Shinji visited her in her apartment and caught her still with towel, she didn't got embarassed nor upset with him, even when the latter accidentally fell on her and touched her chest by accident. As the series progresses, she begins to develop relationships with others and to show moments of genuine emotion, like the ability to become sad and cry. In particular, she begins to develop a bit of a friendship with Shinji. Conversely, however, she develops a rather antagonistic relationship with Asuka, though the antagonism is pretty much solely from Asuka's side since she can't stand how emotionless she generally is, to the point she compares her to a doll.
- Her second English voice actress, Brina Palencia, is best known for voicing as Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler series, Eve, Tearju Lunatique from Black Cat, Tamama from Sgt. Frog, Holo from Spice & Wolf series, Ennis Prochainezo from Baccano!, Miharu Rokujo from Nabari no Ou, Isuzu Sohma from Fruits Basket, Ryōko Ōkami from Ōkami-san and her Seven Companions, Kazumi Yoshida from Shakugan no Shana series, Yumi Azusa from Soul Eater, Ibuki Mioda from Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School series, Shirayuki from Snow White with the Red Hair, Natsuki Shinohara from Summer Wars, Touka Kirishima from Tokyo Ghoul series, Kurumu Kurono from Rosario + Vampire, Tony Tony Chopper from One Piece series, Puar, Chaozu from Dragon Ball Kai, Hideyoshi Kinoshita, Yuuko Kinoshita from Baka and Test - Summon the Beasts and Moro from xxxHolic.