Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Asuka (Rei)tio

I have, undeservedly, been labeled a "Rei Hater", and I am here to defend myself, and to renounce that title once and for all.

I recently pulled out a bunch of my Eva figures from storage and placed them up on the shelf above my computer at home. When I did this I made a startling discovery. For every two Asuka figures I have one Rei figure.

I have come to call this my Asuka (Rei)tio, 2 Asuka's for every Rei. In the figures I pulled from storage (which is by no means ALL my Eva figures), I have displayed 16 Asuka figures, which means I have 8 Rei figures displayed.

So what does this mean? Well you could say it means that I love Asuka twice as much as Rei, and this might very well be true. It also means I have AT LEAST 8 Rei figures.

Let me break down what that means. Asuka and Haruhi are far and away my favorite anime girls. But as far as Haruhi figures go, I only have 3. It seems blasphemous that I only have three figures to show my love for the creator of the world, but sadly it is true.

Rei, however, gets an astonishing +8 figures in my collection. Now does it seem like I would have THAT MANY figures of a character I hate? Certainly not. I love Rei. She is a wonderful designed, and very mysterious character, and at her time, was one of a kind.

So then I started to think back. Where did it all go wrong? When did it become all about Asuka, and not about Rei. I remembered back when watching the show how, before Asuka and Shinji's kiss, I was perfectly happy with Shinji ending up with either girl. I also recalled getting mad at Asuka (yes we can get mad at the ones we love the most) for treating Rei like such a bitch.

But I think it goes back to the aforementioned "kiss". At that point it became clear that Shinji's romantic interests laid with Asuka. Yet, there were always people trying to pair Shinji and Rei together. It just didn't make sense. In End of Evangelion, Shinji goes to a comotose Asuka and he says specifically, "I'm scared of Ayanami". Then proceeds to do the unspeakable over Asuka's naked torso. So no matter how screwed up the relationship is, in the original series it is ShinjixAsuka all the way. Trying to defend that point over years and years on "teh Internets" completely made me polarize and turn on a character I loved dearly. So yes I am blaming the internet.

And I fully accept that in these new films, it seems to be shaping up to a ReixShinji relationship. From a story standpoint it only makes sense. In the first film, there is no Asuka even mentioned, and the film ends with Shinji saving Rei's life. Clearly the audience is led to beleive this is the male/female relationship in these films. In TV it is fine to introduce a romantic lead well into the lifespan of the show. In movies we have different expectations. The hero must make an appearance in the first 10 minutes, and there must be a clear male and female lead.

Of course, they also play up (more then the TV show ever did) that Rei is actually the biological material of Shinji's dead mother, which adds a whole Oedipus Complex thing to the story, but after the disappointing ending to "Akasaka" I know that type of plot is not below Japanese storytelling.

In any case, I am here to reclaim my title as a Rei lover. I will always love Asuka more, that's just the type of guy I am, but Rei will always hold a special place in my heart as well. In fact, for years, even before Eva, Lilith was my favorite character in all of mythology, and Rei IS essentially Lilith, so to deny her would be to deny one of the greatest characters in modern myth.