James Sucellus wrote:
Fair enough, I just have a different interpretation of the show than you do.
This goes beyond a matter of interpretation.
This is a matter of the painfully obvious: If she was truly meant to be and be percieved as a meat robot, she wouldn't have hesitated to shoot EVA 03 in episode 18.
Episode 5 would portray her as following Gendo 'because he says so', not because she's genuinely loyal and willing to slap your face if you aren't/smiles at the thought of him. (Which isn't that uncommon for kids with suboptimal parents who don't really know what 'normal' is like before more life experience comes in - Heck, Shinji tries to win Gendo's favor untill ep 18. Does that make him 'inhuman and robotic'?)
Ultimately, she is, like her two fellow pilots (and ep 26 really beats you over the head with the parallel) a lonely person who doesn't think they have much value or significance, and thus poured all that they are in just one task because they know no other way to get in contact with other people and 'enter into their worlds', because that's the only thing they have, or think they have.
All three, in their own ways, paintakingly make themselves do this piloting thing untill they shatter.
And that's a sad situation to be in.
Her inventor discribes her this way:
"Whatever else, she needs to be painted in as a bitterly unhappy young girl with little sense of presence."
"Rei is someone who is aware of the fact that even if she dies, there'll be another to replace her, so she doesn't value her life very highly. Her presence, her existence, "ostensible existence," is ephemeral. She's a very sad girl. She only has the barest minimum of what she needs to have. She's damaged in some way; she hurts herself."
"Well, Rei is probably [the character] closest to my deep psyche. I don’t really understand 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."
He's also got a weird 'shizoid disconnect'/'disinterest' thing going on, because artists are weird (and maybe this is part of how she baceme this barely-involved, solitary sidelines existence whose true thoughts and feelings seem far away) but spinning that into "She's meant as a shallow plot device , especially when contrasted with things like these:
As far as Rei is concerned, [I am] unconscious. I don't control anything. With "poka-poka," as well, I felt like she said it of her own volition before I was even aware of it.
He's liable to 'forget' about the freakin MC, Rei isn't all that special in that respect.
Asuka is projecting her head off, as she is in all of her relationships.
She's afraid of being/becomming what she accuses Rei, Misato and Shinji of; It's a way of distantiating herself from it.
A huge aspect of her dealings with Gendo is that he never quite considered her inner life beyond what he wanted him to be, and it ends up biting him in the ass, because she does have one.
what she meant to Shinji is quite succintly summed up in EoE ("hope that people can understand each other", more or less the exact opposite of what you're postulating - If she were meant to symbolize 'problemless blankless', then what is she doing in the 'anxiety over hidden/unpredictable parts' train montage during pre-Instrumentality? )Read this.