"Anno intended Rei to be creepy"

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Postby Monk Ed » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:25 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:Rei 2 is there to get you to lower your guard. Then all of a sudden there's this creepy leering kid, and a tentacle rapist Angel with the same creepy leer who sprouts Rei parts (some hideously deformed) and screams and giggles, and inanely-grinning sorta-sentient tanked clones that take manic glee in their own destruction, and a third iteration with all the physical integrity and enthusiasm toward life as a zombie, and...

I saw all of that as an attempt to creepify Rei by association, but it never contaminated my own perception of Rei. If Rei 2 herself had ever leered in that way, or been revealed to have a habit of chopping people up in the night while wide-eyed and grinning, or sprouted tentacles, then we can talk, but as it is, I really don't see the creepy.

All the stuff you described isn't really "her" in the way human perception works once you know someone. She is not her clones, nor the leering kid, nor the 16th Angel, any more than I am my own reflection in a funhouse mirror.
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Postby Reichu » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:40 pm

Monk Ed: It's really important to make a distinction here between "Rei 2" and "Rei in general".

Rei 2 is merely part of a greater whole. Rei 1, Rei 3, GNR, the clones, the transformations of Armisael and the harpies: these are all revealing the greater whole that is called Rei Ayanami (which happens to include a previous life as a freaky-deaky progenitor being). Rei 2's successor didn't want to look at all this stuff and consider what it means for her consummate identity -- though she eventually got over it and became one with her inner creepiness.

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Postby Monk Ed » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:33 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:Monk Ed: It's really important to make a distinction here between "Rei 2" and "Rei in general".

Rei 2 is merely part of a greater whole. Rei 1, Rei 3, GNR, the clones, the transformations of Armisael and the harpies: these are all revealing the greater whole that is called Rei Ayanami (which happens to include a previous life as a freaky-deaky progenitor being). Rei 2's successor didn't want to look at all this stuff and consider what it means for her consummate identity -- though she eventually got over it and became one with her inner creepiness.

I'm talking about real-life human perception of fictional-character identity here. All that stuff is not what people tend to associate with the very core of the idea of Rei; that is the "story crust" that builds up around the story-superseding identity called Rei, while the core of Rei that people think of when they think of Rei is, I think, the quiet blue-haired girl who sits on benches while reading complicated textbooks. That's what I mean when I say that all that other stuff is not really "her", from an outside-the-story viewpoint.
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Postby arkiel » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:34 pm

So, I guess the general insanity of the Japanese people is something that happened after EoE came out? I mean, anime fans could sexualize chain link fence if it was emotionless enough.

Silly Anno.

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Postby Reichu » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:22 pm

Monk Ed: I can't argue that the typical reaction is one of compartmentalization. I don't agree, however, that Anno et al. "attempted to make Rei creepy by association" and failed. The biggest point being made is that Rei has a dark, hidden nature that she fears deeply. It's psychological dissonance between the Rei that is visible to herself (and others) and the full extent of what she really is. The irony, of course, is that Rei is able to accept this in the end and bring her disparate aspects together, whereas most of the audience remains stuck on Rei 2 and psychologically rejects whatever doesn't fit that image. (Episode 23 and EoE must represent particularly unique challenges...)

...But that's no different from all the other things in NGE that the majority of the audience can't get over.

Rei always creeped me out because I didn't reject all the other "Rei Ayanami"s out of hand. They burned into my brain and demanded the answer, "WHY, ANNO, WHY????"
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Postby Monk Ed » Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:49 pm

View Original PostReichu wrote:Monk Ed: I can't argue that the typical reaction is one of compartmentalization. I don't agree, however, that Anno et al. "attempted to make Rei creepy by association" and failed.

My mistake -- I don't know or really care what Anno "attempted" to make us think, but rather, if the rumor that that's what he was going for were to turn out to be true, that's what I would say.

The biggest point being made is that Rei has a dark, hidden nature that she fears deeply. It's psychological dissonance between the Rei that is visible to herself (and others) and the full extent of what she really is. The irony, of course, is that Rei is able to accept this in the end and bring her disparate aspects together, whereas most of the audience remains stuck on Rei 2 and psychologically rejects whatever doesn't fit that image. (Episode 23 and EoE must represent particularly unique challenges...)

I disagree that it's appropriate to call it ironic in the sense that people "should" feel the same way you do or are somehow wrong-headed for not being creeped out. (That's the meta-message I'm reading between the lines of your post.) People treat fictional characters differently from real people, but furthermore, I don't think one has to compartmentalize Rei to still not be creeped out by or forsake her. I didn't see the clones or the leering or any of that as creepy myself. I rather liked GNR. She looked really kind to me, and from the first moment I saw her I trusted that she'd bring back the dead. All that "creepy" leering was, if anything, kind of cute. I've seen my dog make scarier faces. But even if I was creeped out by the clones and GNR etc, it doesn't have to taint my perception of her. I accept the fact that she probably poops too, and that pooping is good and necessary if unsightly; would I have to enjoy watching it or eating it or something to count as "accepting" it? I'm doing this all on the fly (when normally I spend hours on a post, and I'm trying to cut down on my editing obsession) but I hope I'm communicating this aspect of my thinking clearly.
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Postby Alaska Slim » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:38 am

View Original PostMonk Ed wrote:Rei 2 herself had ever leered in that way, or been revealed to have a habit of chopping people up in the night while wide-eyed and grinning, or sprouted tentacles, then we can talk, but as it is, I really don't see the creepy.


Rei II appeared as a ghost in EoE in the scene of Gendo being chomped in half, all the while ominously staring off, disinterested.

I call that creepy.

Also; Episode one book-end introduction. From that, it's clear the character was meant to unease the viewer from the very beginning.
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Postby User-iel » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:55 am

I also support Monk Ed's 'compartmentalization' argument. While my experience differs, this seems like a simple and direct explanation of much fan attention towards Rei. But a long view of Rei seems to put the original intent of her journey firmly in line with the SciFi adulation that is rife in this work. So in the end, it's probably better to ask the topic's question in the way of: If 'Gaia' were to become a person you met, what would you think of her? If taken at face value, it's a very challenging situation. Most people are not in any position to face any philosophical or material absolute. In EoE, just ask Maya.

@Reichu Your framework for the understanding of the plot as relates to this is quite nice. Projecting out into empty space from there, would this make sense as the analysis of motives? I think Anno wanted to present her as 'poisoned bait' for hardcore otaku, where her transition from II to III is essentially castigating the viewer who can't get past growing an attachment to the 'kuudere' stereotype, by having her simultaneously lose her social virtues and grow some teeth.

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Postby Monk Ed » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:19 am

View Original PostAlaska Slim wrote:Rei II appeared as a ghost in EoE in the scene of Gendo being chomped in half, all the while ominously staring off, disinterested.

I call that creepy.

If she were real and we were there watching it actually happen, maybe. But since she's fictional, if anything it only makes her cooler. People treat fictional characters differently.
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Postby ReiAyanami25 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:21 am

Some may think that Rei is creepy, others do not. It is a matter of opinion.
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Postby child of Lilith » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:12 am

I'm also in the not creepy camp, which should be obvious by now. Though I can see why most people would hold a different opinion.
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Postby AuraTwilight » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:45 pm

I don't feel it's really fair to lump in Rei-Associated-Imagery in as part of Rei Ayanami and her identity. The three different Rei clones? Alright, fine. Maybe even Lilith or GNR. Things like the Rei faces growing out of the MP Evas, or the legs twitching out of Lilith's body?

Totally not her fault.

That being said, I only find GNR creepy. Lilith? Not enough information. Rei 1? Also not enough information, and what we do know about her is filtered from either Naoko's POV or is from after she got murdered, had her soul split in half, and shoved in a broke-ass bio-robot cloned from her antithesis.

Rei 2? Totally not creepy. Charming, even. I'd like to hang out with her to talk about books or something?

Rei 3? See Rei 2, except she kind of needs a hug and a stupid "you are you" anime speech.

Also she loses any creepy points by telling Gendo where to shove it (NOT HER WOMB LOL).
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Postby Final Messenger » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:49 pm

I only ever found some of the GNR moments in EoE to be creepy (like when she stares at Shinji) but Rei I never found to be creepy.
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Postby Bagheera » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:03 pm

To this day I do not understand how people can not find Rei II creepy. The people I've known in real life with demeanors approximating hers always creeped me out. I mean, look at some of the specifics:

-- She lives in a dump of an apartment with bloody bandages scattered around, and has no problem with that.

-- She considers herself disposable, and has no problem with that.

-- She appears to be largely emotionless, having no input or opinion on much of anything.

-- She often shows up to class in bandages, and doesn't seem to care.

-- She has no sense of modesty (or any other social norms) whatsoever.

-- Her response to an offer of friendship is "if I'm ordered to."

-- She has bright red eyes and blue hair, which is weird.

And this is just stuff her peers can see -- when you add in her relationship with Gendo, her penchant for spending lots of time in LCL tanks even when she's not piloting/doing sync tests, her status as a clone of the protagonist's mother, and the like it just gets insane.

Rei II is creepy as hell. It makes no more sense to me to call her charming or whatever than it does to call Asuka nice or Shinji assertive. Yes, she's an anime character, and we judge them by different standards, but come on! If we saw her in real life we wouldn't think she was a charming girl at all -- instead we'd think she was a bookish, emotionless recluse with bad hygiene and a complete inability to meaningfully interact with other people. If that isn't creepy I don't know what is.
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Postby Reichu » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:37 pm

View Original PostAuraTwilight wrote:I don't feel it's really fair to lump in Rei-Associated-Imagery in as part of Rei Ayanami and her identity.

Why would it be in the show if it had no relevance to Rei Ayanami? The imagery is prevalent and persistent and damn near exclusively hers. It would be unfair to disregard it.

(And what happens to the harpies IS actually her fault.)

(NOT HER WOMB LOL).

But that wasn't her womb. :devil:

Monk Ed: GNR's is a face that most people would instinctively distrust/fear. Compare that vapid bug-eyed coital grin to the sort of smile people make when they're genuinely joyous. The eyelids should scrunch down on the irises: hence why the smiley goes ^_^ and not O_O.

Dogs are allowed to make crazy dog expressions because they're not expected to conform to human norms.
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Postby Stryker » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:35 pm

She may be creepy, but I'm surprised people (who generalize) don't find her uncanny. Of course, to us, she isn't (at least, the one's who understand her), but even then, she is rather an alien in human form.

Look at it this way,

From a schoolmates perspective:

-She has blue hair
-She has red eyes
-She's pale as a ghost
-She looks outside the window as if she is waiting for something
-She barely speaks
-(As said by Toji and Kensuke) She hasn't made friends since seventh grade

Doesn't it seem sort of off that it looks like nobody really cares? That nobody just looks at her purely off of this info and says, "What the fuck?"

And then we go deeper, from lets say, Commander Ikari's perspective:

-She's a clone (which I still suspect is illegal) of your now "gone" wife
-On top of that, doesn't even look like her
-You have entire bodies of her in basically an aquarium
-She died twice
-By EoE, her body parts are falling off of her and she's shrugging them off as if they're bruises
-She becomes a gigantic marshmallow person.

Okay, maybe to Ikari, considering how he was part of the Katsuragi exposition and was at ground zero when half the human population was gone AND witnessed his wife get sucked into a gigantic beast (what the hell would that look like?), it isn't so bad, but to us, who hasn't been through that, that would be pretty messed up.

Now, why it would be uncanny: For the schoolmate, she isn't acting like an actual human, despite that she is in the shape of one. Actually, in fact, she barely looks human. There is no existing gene in humanity that can make you have red eyes that almost look like they glow, and blue hair. The fact that she doesn't have any friends is even more uncanny, due to the fact that a real human, despite all the social problems they can have, could at least make one friend. But not her. She doesn't have one. The only other thing that looks like a human and doesn't really have any friends are those moving model dolls that you see in Japan and try to look cute in the clothing they make them wear. And, I might be pushing it here, but.. when she looks out the window... what the hell is she looking at? Is there something there we don't see, or even know for that matter? Could it do something to her? To me? When I put all those facts up front, and then bring the last fact up, it makes sense to wonder this.

Now for Ikari: She isn't your wife. She is the closest thing to it though. The Blue haired, red eyed, albino thing that you have created trying to bring back your wife is the closest thing you have to your wife. It doesn't even look like her, albeit the little bangs she has that hang like your wife. She doesn't even act like her. (as I have reiterated over and over) She barely acts like a human. Yeah, you can talk to her, she smiles a little, but that's it. And that's the closest thing to your wife? Yep. You clutch on to her, but not physically. I doubt you (Ikari) would even embrace that. Instead, you make a bunch of bodies for the chance that if she dies, you can just make another. That alone, isn't that uncanny?

But that's not all. Not only does she die just to get replaced, she dies twice. Okay, what human does that? That's not only creepy, but reaches into the uncanny valley because, knowing that she died, she comes back with a little amnesia and acts like nothing happened. Of course, you know that happens as a sacrifice for bringing her back, but just sit and think about it. That is just wrong, isn't it? Let's move a little forward, you know, to the point where your about to penetrate her body with your hand straight to her chest.
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Yeah, your wife is coming back, but that must feel really weird and inhuman to have your chest in a living body while the person irks only slightly. Actually, it kinda looks like from her face she got molested. But, it's that.

Her pieces are falling off of her. You can see the ends of her bones. You can see the muscle tissue. You can see the pieces of her body that fell off. The most uncanny thing in the valley is a moving corpse. At this point, that is what she is. That is irking at the least. The funniest thing at that point is that Gendo is acting as if it isn't happening. And then she melds with the stay puft person you keep in the basement becomes a marshmallow person at the end. When I watched Ghostbusters, I was extremely irked by the marshmallow man (maybe it was the special effects, but even then..), so imagine a gigantic, naked, marshmallow lady. What. The. Hell. The thing, which barely looked human in the first place, became with the thing that made humans and became a gigantic white human thing. That actually may make her less uncanny, actually

Although, of course, it is an anime (so it doesn't look like they're uncannily human), so it is okay. To add, we understand, and have empathy for Rei. But, had that been in real life and actually factual and we were all a part of it, I think we'd be "wtf" too. I know I would, and I love Rei.
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Postby Monk Ed » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:49 pm

Monk Ed: GNR's is a face that most people would instinctively distrust/fear. Compare that vapid bug-eyed coital grin to the sort of smile people make when they're genuinely joyous. The eyelids should scrunch down on the irises: hence why the smiley goes ^_^ and not O_O.

But people are also able to overcome their base visceral reactions and look past mere surfaces, especially of people they feel they know. To put it in cheesy cliche terms, people are also able to look past creepy exteriors and see the beautiful heart inside. By that point in the story we know Rei, so it's understandable that a considerable portion of the fanbase would not be put off at all by the funny faces. "a face that most people would instinctively distrust/fear" becomes less so when it's attached to someone you already trust and have reason to believe (from story cues and past experience, etc) that they're in their right mind.

In my case, I trusted her by that point, and I felt vindicated by the end when it seemed clear that thanks to her everyone was going to resurrect. I thought it was kind of weird that she was making all those faces as GNR, but I chalked it up to a quirk of her new body or the transformation process. She never conformed to normal human expressions in the first place so it was no big deal to me. In fact the only thought going through my head during her weird faces was "Oh jeez, you're gonna scare poor Shinji doing that! Oh Rei, you never did know how to interact with people properly."

You might say Rei 2 indeed got me to lower my guard -- the guard of prejudice, that is. :toothy: Let me reiterate that a lot of this only makes sense because we are real and she is fictitous. The fact that she literally can't hurt me is responsible for a lot. My greatest concern by that point was as to what she was going to do to the characters I cared about. What I trusted about her specifically was that she would be the plot device responsible for the resurrection of the characters who were dying. She carried that through, so I consider my trust vindicated.

Dogs are allowed to make crazy dog expressions because they're not expected to conform to human norms.

And I think GNRs are allowed to make crazy GNR expressions because they're not expected to conform to human norms, so :tongue:. I can only speak for myself but I can't be alone.
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Postby child of Lilith » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:43 am

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Rei II is creepy as hell. It makes no more sense to me to call her charming or whatever than it does to call Asuka nice or Shinji assertive. Yes, she's an anime character, and we judge them by different standards, but come on! If we saw her in real life we wouldn't think she was a charming girl at all -- instead we'd think she was a bookish, emotionless recluse with bad hygiene and a complete inability to meaningfully interact with other people. If that isn't creepy I don't know what is.
Speak for yourself Bagheera. Once again you seemed to be making the mistake of believe everyone holds the same values/beliefs as you do. I for one do not. I personal would be delighted to meet Rei if she were real, and for many of the same reasons you find her creepy.
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Be careful what you tang for... B)

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Postby Alaska Slim » Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:51 am

View Original Postchild of Lilith wrote:I personal would be delighted to meet Rei if she were real,

Her breasts would be non-existent, and her complexion rather homely, throwing in cotton-candy blue hair.

Now would you like to meet her? :heehee:
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Azathoth
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Postby Azathoth » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:16 am

I'm kind of surprised no one has mentioned yet that she's implied to reek of blood.
Nothing is so valuable that it need not be started afresh, nothing is so rich that it need not be enriched constantly.


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