Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Cosmo11 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:47 am

In discussions regarding the character's actions in both the series and films, I've rarely seen Rei treated with the level of criticism or contempt put on the other characters.

This is despite the fact that she is deeply involved with the conspiracy to end the world, endangers others during most of the fights she's in and is loyal to Gendo to the end of the series. (Yes, I know she left him halfway through EoE. It does not excuse the fact that she was a willing participant in his plan until that point).

So why does the audience view Rei in a far more favourable light in comparison to the rest of the cast?

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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Reichu » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:09 am

A character's circumstances and why they act the way they do are important considerations. Rei was basically raised by Gendo for the sole purpose of being his own personal Impact puppet. All other concerns were subordinate to that. Naturally, rearing her so that she would have a developed a critical thinking capacity and be able to question Gendo's purpose for her would be counterproductive. At the start of the story, she's in a trap -- one she can't escape purely of her own volition. On top of that, Rei does not have the continuity of experience that most people enjoy. Rei 1 lived for about four years, then died. Rei 2 was born into the world, artificially aged up, and (if Rei 3 is any indication) lacking any emotional attachment to her predecessor's memories. Then she died again, and was forced to come back to life again, and... I dunno if we normies can even begin to imagine what that must be like. And on top of her "Rei" identity being totally fragmented, she knows deep down that her existence is fundamentally wrong and she's really someone, someTHING else. Still human, but in an ineffable kind of way.

I'm not really sure how to go about addressing your question directly. My joke response would be "because she's boring".
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:20 am

Because Rei spends most of her time wondering how to "be." One could merely conclude that she mistakenly came to the wrong conclusion on that one. On the other hand, Shinji and the others already know where they "are," even if they don't like it so much, and its their feelings about their being that motivate them to intentionally do the things that they know go against nature.
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Bagheera » Tue Mar 08, 2016 12:07 pm

Sort of a variant of Reichu's joke response: because her English VA is boring while the VAs for the other kids are nails-on-chalkboard irritating. That hate gets transferred to the character, be it rational or no.
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby zlink64 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:52 pm

Well she is in a very submissive role during most of it and she has sad back story and in general her actions are either nice or some really tragic and fucked up form of altruism. So sympathy for her comes easy.
And she actually calls Asuka on her bullshit when Asuka acts like an idiot. It's hard to hate her, like can't see myself being overly critical of a character like her.
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby AuraTwilight » Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:15 pm

Because Rei basically has no agency for most of the story and is even more developmentally stunted than the other pilots. She doesn't even have 14 years of life experiences despite her apparent age.
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby zlink64 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:28 pm

View Original PostAuraTwilight wrote:Because Rei basically has no agency for most of the story and is even more developmentally stunted than the other pilots. She doesn't even have 14 years of life experiences despite her apparent age.


Ironically I think she acts the most mature out of the pilots, superficailly atleast, and I think she is pretty perceptive sometimes. Like it's weird when you consider her circumstances.
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Moap » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:13 am

Because she's the perfect submissive waifu

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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Chroma » Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:09 pm

View Original PostCosmo11 wrote:
This is despite the fact that she is deeply involved with the conspiracy to end the world, endangers others during most of the fights she's in and is loyal to Gendo to the end of the series.


As everyone else has said, her circumstances and situations in life aren't really her choice at all; not until the end, when she disobeys Gendo. She was raised to do one thing (be a component in Instrumentality) and died twice before hand, which really messes with one's sense of self (so does being a clone with the spirit of a god-like entity). Whereas many of the other characters proactively make decisions or act in ways that affect others (Asuka's constant stand-offish anger, Shinji's cowardice), Rei is passive and submissive; she's generally a victim or tool in the decisions and actions of others.This is why her character's high points are when she purposefully does something of her own volition (her smile at Shinji, her various actions of self-sacrifice, disobeying Gendo).
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Sachi » Tue Mar 22, 2016 3:58 pm

Because general fandom views Asuka as a bitch, Misato as a slut, and Rei as a victim. Which do you think they're going to be more lenient with?
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby pwhodges » Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:40 pm

Is there even such a group as the "general fandom"? Am I a member of it??
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Reichu » Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:49 pm

"General fandom" is, of course, a generalization produced by that master of generalizations called the Human Brain. Accordingly, exactly what the "general fandom" is will vary depending on the input received by that brain over a long period of time, that brain's idiosyncratic biases, and so forth. The only alternative to this are scientific polls, but since human brains have to construct the polls and interpret the data it's arguable whether the results would improve upon individual generalizations in any appreciable way.
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Sachi » Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:55 pm

View Original Postpwhodges wrote:Is there even such a group as the "general fandom"? Am I a member of it??

By the very nature of the question we're already talking in generalizations, are we not?
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Bagheera » Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:04 pm

I have to disagree with the premise, personally. Judging by the huge amount of merchandise for Asuka, and the popularity of both her and Misato, I think the fandom is pretty lenient with both. In the U.S. the only character the fandom isn't lenient with is Shinji; in Japan I don't think the question even applies.

Well, except for Mana. Everyone hates Mana. :tongue:
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:10 pm

Dat ass is why.

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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Kendrix » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:29 pm

View Original Postzlink64 wrote:Ironically I think she acts the most mature out of the pilots, superficailly atleast, and I think she is pretty perceptive sometimes. Like it's weird when you consider her circumstances.


That's the impression that is reflected in Kensuke's commentary in ep 14 and so the one I would trust.

Rei is not some kind of empty puppet who's going through life without processing or thinking - She has numerous moments of hitting the nail on the head observation - See various conversations with Shinji in eps 5 and 6 or the way she sees right through Asuka in eps 16 and 22; She doesn' piss her off by insesitive bluntness kind of "brutal honesty" there, but by stating something she didn't want stated, or the times we hear her own thoughts & internal monologues of her situation. She's taking in a lot of information and drawing her on conclusions, she just doesn't think those matter, or that they're significant of sufficiently "real".

First of all, we must look at that idea of "leniency" and "strictness" with the character and how it's true that Rei gets that in the first place in a way that the other characters don't/ that they somehow get more critism. - there are plenty of people who are very lenient with Asuka, for example. Which I'm not saying to pull an us vs. them and say, "But it's YOU", but to point how relative & subjective the whole thing is and how much the fanbase isn't a monolith - How much someone is or isn't "strict" with a character probably depends on factors like how much they relate to the character, how much they have experienced similar actions from others or want to distane themselves from the qualities the character has, and, without even any need for projection or wrongdoing, simple difference in ethical standards and beliefs; These are complex situations that our characters encounter and are forced to ( and sometimes fail to) deal with. Also, if you relate to a character a lot you might be a lot more sensitive toward those who are "strict" with them, ie, you might feel there's more or less unjust judgement of somene depending of how much of it you agree with, and no, I'm not even gonna begin to claim that I'm an exception somehow and Rei is, for me, a character of rare depht and beauty that I felt a very strong emotional connection with in a way that I've only been able to understand and appreciate more as I've grown older.

But that aside - as much as it can be put aside - Can ppl really said to be lenient toward her if we get all of these "She's boring" responses, for example? Or is that not another form of criticism?

She simply didn't do that many potentially immoral things, and she's a young person with no good answers available to her ( something that is, of course, just as true as the other pilots, I'm not trying to pit her against them, just to talk of her case) -
The one thing of that list that is true is that she was part of that conspiracy, and her loyalty to Gendo, which cannot be seen as separate points:
She turned against Gende as soon as she was mentally and physically in a position to do so, and at the point of the plan where it started diverging from what was basically necessary anyway (kill angels)
She's a child and he's the closest she has to a parent, despite the certain distance in their relationship that she's not completely unaware of (see the "Thank You" scene, or basically the way she treasured every little act from him (keeping the glasses, reacting with a smile when he sggested they have dinner together in ep 17) but didn't know how to move closer, not that he'd be likely to be receptive), also, she'd been indoctrinated since birth to believe that that plan would bring about happyness for everyone, and had her sense of purpose & usefulness tied up in that task; Though the actual usefulness of instrumentality as salvation is ultimately rejected, it's something that's given serious weigh & discussed at lenght at various points, Shinji himself basically makes the decision after he tried it out & decided that it wasn't really any better; It wasn't supposed to be an easy question, and it is pretty evident that she's spent time thinking about the role of herself and her task in the world; ("I have nothing else", "If there's one thing I know, it's that.", ep 14 etc.)
It's just that in the brief time between the start of the story and it's end (ie. when she first had significant contact with non-Gendo persons) it took her a while to reach a conclusion.

I don't see what you mean by "endangering others in battles", the angels needed to be gone, and she always volunteered to do the most dangerous jobs (as much out of simply not believing herself to be something particularly valuable as out of true heroism, but some degree of valor and determination are visible on her part) and though she mostly remained relatively isolated from most people around her, we do see various moments where she displays worry about and interest in others - She frequently displays worry about Shinji, at one point about Touji, she tried to give Asuka some piloting advice, as spectacularly as it might've backfired, at one point she lands herself in the hospital because she hesitated to just shoot Bardiel.
In a very bleak world that she herself occupies a particularly bleak spot in, she's someone who shows a few small, precious moments of genuine caring and connection; It's not much, but it's there and very meaningful in the dark context.
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby DarkBluePhoenix » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:34 pm

Well I mean, Rei was the ultimate lemming. She was a doll (Well Rei II was the doll at the beginning of the series, not towards the end because Shinji neutralized her A.T. Field, and Rei III grew from her predecessor's experiences). She had been kept in isolation by Gendo, raised by Gendo and presumably by Ritsuko as well. She was never allowed to have an opinion, and was simply told what to do, never really thinking for herself until she tried in vain to destroy Zeruel, and sacrificed herself to save Shinji against Armisael. So, everything she was told to do, no matter what the consequences of those actions were, it was all she had even known. "Do as you're told and you'll be treated well, and if not, we have ways of making you comply." I can imagine Gendo using Pavlov's Theory on Rei to make her that subservient.

As observant as Rei is (mentioned by several on here), she does blindly follow orders. An AI can be programmed to be observant, or a person can be brainwashed to follow orders blindly, like Treadstone or Blackbriar from the Jason Bourne movies/novels. But she evolves from this and sees the error in her ways, unlike the rest of the characters in the show, she sees what's happening is wrong, and doesn't get caught up in her own bullshit and takes a stand against Gendo in EoE.

As for the other characters, Misato and Kaji are out for revenge (manga Kaji), and are fully aware what they are doing is wrong.

Gendo is an asshat.

Ritsuko is a selfish bitch.

Mari, well we don't know enough about her from official sources to make an argument there, but she clearly has an understanding of what she is doing, and can accept responsibility for her actions. (I like Mari, but she is responsible for her own shit.) Code 666 mean anything? Girl clearly knows what she wants.

Asuka wants and needs the attention from her piloting to make herself feel better, because she is nothing without Eva. She doesn't care about what she does, as long as she can get recognition for it. As much as I adore Asuka, she is culpable.

As for Shinji, he just wants daddy to love him, so he pilots Eva, and of course, doesn't see the harm in what he's doing unless he knows there are human lives involved or i messes with his skewed sense of morals, which makes him narrow minded and an idiot. Shinji also has points against him for that thing he did in EoE, the sick fuck.
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby silvermoonlight » Sat Aug 06, 2016 12:51 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Well, except for Mana. Everyone hates Mana. :tongue:


Oh Mana when ever I look at her I just think she's Rei and Asuka merged together in some way and there just to be Shinji's girlfriend and it annoys me no end, her issue is that she's not fleshed out enough as Rei or Asuka...its like there's nothing beyond her liking Shinji no offence intended if your a fan of this character...

I don't personally see Rei as submissive or a doll and I think the early Rei has deep depression because she can't connect with other people and is kept away from people in general and lives in that awful little apartment and has to do as she told because she knows full well that if she acts out they can just replace her with another. I think her character is probably screaming in side because no one cares about her opinions and I think this is why at the start she latches on to Gendo because she thinks that he cares about her even though he doesn't and I think when she hits Shinji at the start she just doesn't realize this because to her he's the only person who seems to treat her kindly and pays attention to her.

I think as the series progress's and she spends time around Asuka and Shinji different as they might be she starts to gain connections from both and realizes that Gendo does not care about her and that she just seen to him as a puppet. I agree that she is the victim I also think the true power of her character is revealed in EOE where she realizes she does have power and say and she tells Gendo where to shove it and that to me is the power of her character in that rather than stay the victim or become a villain which could have happened she instead becomes the hero and makes her own choices. Also though I'm not a huge fan of the AU short in the alternative world in episode 26 I did really like that it showed what Rei could be in the right setting and that she could grow up to be someone who is just as confident as Asuka and just as sassy and not take crap from anyone.
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Re: Why is the fandom more lenient with Rei?

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Postby Seven Fifty » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:23 am

Shinji seems to get criticised largely because he's not what some people expect the central protagonist to be, especially not a male one. Rei is neither the central protagonist or male, so she has an advantage over him in this regard. And unlike Asuka, Misato, Gendo, she doesn't have many overtly selfish or cruel moments.


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