Rei Ayanami Expy
The Rei Ayanami Expy is a character archetype common in Japanese Media, started, or at least codified, by Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Common characteristics of the archetype include:
- Female Love Interest
- Mysterious Waif with a Dark and Troubled Past
- Age 10-20
- Pale skin
- Short, usually bobbed hair
- Unnatural hair color, often in cold tones like blue, silver, grey or white (also occasionally pink).
- Unnatural eye color, often red, blue or yellow.
- Appears emotionless, quiet or otherwise odd.
- Is not quite human, such as a clone, alien or robot, explaining their odd behavior.
- Suffers a major injury or illness, or at least is frequently hospitalized.
- Occasionally has a strong connection to a parental figure, boss and/or antagonist.
- Eventually becomes more emotional, such as by Becoming A Real Girl or turning out to have a Sugar and Ice Personality.
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- Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion, the Trope Namer and Trope Maker. Rei is a seemingly emotionless 14 year old girl with pale skin, blue hair and red eyes who serves as one of the protagonist's Love Interests; however, before he gets closer to her, she only relates to his father who also happens to be a weird and somewhat disturbing father figure for her. After being heavily injured during a battle at the start of the series, Rei slowly becomes more intimate with the protagonist as her stunted social skills improve. This eventually leads the main character to learn Rei is one of multiple clones made to house the soul of an Eldritch Abomination that's the key to a planned Assimilation Plot...and is also partially made from the DNA of his dead mother.
- This also makes the Rei Ayanami Expy an Unbuilt Trope, as Eva creator Hideaki Anno designed Rei to be a Deconstruction of how unnatural Otaku culture's "ideal" of a shy, obedient love interest actually would be. It backfired, hard, as instead of considering her too strange to empathize with, the audience admired her gradual journey of getting in touch with her emotions, understanding that others may appreciate her uniqueness rather than shun her for it, and eventually choosing her own path.
Anime & Manga
- Another borderline example, Subaru from .hack//SIGN. She has short, bright blue hair, brown eyes (close enough to red), is quiet and very soft spoken as well as showing signs of being shy in RL. Also In real life, she is in a wheel chair from a terrible accident she keeps secret, and is a Meganekko. The series shared a character designer with Evangelion, so it's plausible it was a deliberate reference between the two characters.
- Tsukasa shows traits of this, as well, mostly being emotionless (though it's more an angry sort of apathy).
- Kanade "Angel" Tachibana from Angel Beats!. She's presumed to be an angel working under God to oversee the afterlife. She's also seemingly emotionless, to the point where the other characters weren't even sure if she was sentient at first. She's actually a human just like the rest of them. Her powers come from a computer program, and she seems blank because she'd given up on forming attachments to anyone. She displays some subtle humanity when Otonashi is getting to know her, and by the finale she's dropped the facade entirely.
- Mei Misaki, from the Another horror/mystery light-novel series most certainly qualifies. An Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette with emphasis on eerie, dark short hair, skin so pale it is in a shade of grey, red eyes, an eye-patch resembling Rei's usual bandages, a deeply stoic demeanor and the overall feeling of creepy cuteness/cute creepiness exhaled. Visually, she is basically Rei with pitch black hair.
- Maia Tsukigane from Aquarion Logos. She's a stoic girl with short white hair and No Social Skills who was trained by the Big Bad ever since childhood in order to be his perfect enforcer. She's sent as an undercover spy to keep an eye on the main character, eventually falling in love with him.
- Attack on Titan:
- Mikasa Ackerman plays with her status as one. She fills some qualities of a Rei Ayanami expy quite well (fairly emotionless, dark and troubled past, short cut hair, teenager, named after IJN Dreadnought), double subverts others (her hair color, appearance and skin tone are all considered unique, but that's merely because she's the only asian woman alive, which also gives her immunity to the Coordinate), and defies others (is never injured thanks to her phenominal combat skills, is the lead protagonist's adopted sister and had no idea that she was related to Kenny Ackerman).
- Annie Leonhardt also plays with this. She has pale skin, Icy Blue Eyes, and is even more emotionless and cold than Mikasa. She also happens to be part of a group of titan shifters that have some kind of evil agenda in mind, and is revealed to be the deadly Female Titan, to everyone's great shock. She does end up showing emotion, but unlike other examples, it's disturbing rather than a good sign.
- Sen Yarizui, "the Ice Witch", from Ben-To.
- Ondine/Undine from Birdy the Mighty, though she doesn't last long.
- Jo of Burst Angel. Dead ringer, aside from a rougher appearance. She's even referred to as an angel of death. And they are both Artificial Humans.
- She may be a combination of Rei plus Dante. Or maybe Nero.
- Felli Loss from Chrome Shelled Regios is a silver-haired psychokinetic whose powers make her unable to express emotions the same way as others, but is slowly warming up to the protagonist. She's also a rare example of this character type mixed with Shana Clone.
- Code Geass: Anya, a pink haired red eyed 15 year old Humongous Mecha pilot who likes taking pictures of people more than talking to them, and is a Soul Jar for the protagonist's mother.
- Tsubame Otorii from Cyber Team in Akihabara. She's even being voiced by Megumi Hayashibara, Rei's seiyuu.
- Yin from Darker Than Black. Her emotionless state is due to her being one of the setting's Dolls.
- Origami Tobiichi in Date A Live. She even has the Child Soldier who drives Mecha vs Person of Mass Destruction thing going. She's also a Stalker with a Crush and one of the few characters listed who is a bit of a jerk.
- Due to their awkward habits, stoic natures, pale skin, and lack of proper people skills, L and his eventual successor Near from Death Note are rare male examples. This probably goes even moreso to Near due to his hair color.
- Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure has the character D, who pretty much is a straight up expy of Rei (this show has been described as Evangelion meets Tenchi Muyo), being a bio andriod who acts like a robotic Emotionless Girl. She does however lack Rei's appearance, (which is probably because of legal issues). However she does have lime green hair and pale skin.
- Ren from Elemental Gelade (her name is even one letter apart from Rei) has waist length blue hair, green eyes and speaks in a monotone voice. Not only is she an Edel Raid (girls who can bind their soul with their Pledger and turn into a weapon) but is a Shichiko-hoji, one of the most powerful Edel Raids. Of course this means that everyone wants their hands on her. In the beginning of the show she's an Emotionless Girl who hates Coud because he's a human, but later starts developing feelings for him and they become a couple at the end.
- Eureka from Eureka Seven. Very light turquoise hair, a Human Alien, very attached to her boss at first and is an Ill Girl and Emotionless Girl as a result of her upbringing, prior to a traumatic event that would trigger her Character Development, which then was accelerated much further by meeting her Love Interest. Specifically, she was used by the government as a Tyke Bomb, and trained to kill almost remorselessly, until one day, when she was checking a pile of corpses looking for wounded people to finish off, she found three orphans, had a huge epiphany, and decided then and there to adopt them and defect from the military. Realistically enough, she could still slip back into emotionless behavior on occasion. The occasions presented themselves.
- Fairy Tail:
- Merudy, a young girl with short-cut pastel-coloured hair and a petite body, is very stoic and her voice in the anime is very soft. She even calmly starts to dispatch Erza and Juvia, claiming with a cold expression that it's her mission to do so. She's also fiercely devoted to her parental figure, Ultear, going as far as to wanting kill Gray, the person she hates for killing Ultear's mother. After the timeskip, her personality has completely changed and now is very cheerful.
- Yukino Aguria, a shy, obedient girl wih short silver/light blue hair.
- Tabitha from The Familiar of Zero. Bobbed light blue hair, very fair skin, quiet and deeply stoic demeanor, and speaks in strangely truncated, sentences with barely enough to get her point across, often single-word ones.
- Inori Yuzuriha from Guilty Crown shares many traits with Rei, in both personality and situation. Stoic, seemingly emotionless? Check. Red eyes? Check. Deeply devoted to her boss, and, later, the main character? Check. Artificial Human based on one of the protagonist's family members who nevertheless has boatloads of UST with him? Um...check. The only way for Inori to be a more thorough example would be if she had blue hair instead of pink and piloted one of the show's mecha.
- Yuki Nagato from Haruhi Suzumiya, to the point where her name is a pun on Rei's—Rei can be read as "ice", Yuki as "snow", and both Nagato and Ayanami were Imperial Japanese naval warships. Curiously, Yuki is described in the novels as having black hair (since in the Haruhi universe people have normal hair colors) but in the anime and even in the novels' art, it appears of a purplish blue similar to Rei's (but much more pale). Her characterization, however, has some variance: She is a Love Interest only briefly, if that (though she is one in the spin-off where she's a normal human Shrinking Violet); she neither is a Mysterious Waif nor does she have a Dark and Troubled Past (if anything, she becomes more interesting the more we know her); and the becoming more emotional part is downplayed, in that her affect remains as flat as ever, but she seems to undergo significant Character Development and emotional development under the surface (despite the fact she states her affect will always be flat, she nevertheless seems to become more expressive and animate in her own way as the series progresses).
- Ikaros from Heaven's Lost Property. An emotionless, obedient and submissive Angeloid who comes to slowly warm up thanks to the main character.
- Koneko from High School Dx D. Pale skin, short silver hair, golden eyes, petite, is not human, appears cold and soft-spoken and eventually warms up to the main character.
- In Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, there's an amnesiac, emotionless automaton with silver hair and blue eyes known as P-01s. It's later revealed that she's Horizon Ariadust, a human girl who died in an accident years ago. After her death, her father put her soul in an android body and used her emotions to create Weapons Of Mass Destruction that will give her the power to save the world from an apocalypse. Horizon also serves as the love interest of the main character Toori Aoi.
- Kanna from Inuyasha by virtue of her white hair, pale skin, lack of emotions and the fact that she's an Artificial Human. She's also a little girl.
- Shimei Ryomou of Ikki Tousen (Battle Vixens). Complete with bandage over one eye.
- Eucliwood Hellscythe from Is This a Zombie?. Light hair, pale skin, mysterious abilities and origins and a deeply quiet and stoic demeanor that makes her come across as emotionless, but still has a hidden caring side.
- Sara from Jewelpet Twinkle. Blue hair, red eyes, pale skin, The Stoic with a Sugar and Ice Personality.
- Nozomu Ezomori in Kanokon. Not surprising, since she shares the same VA with QB's Aldra, except being more slutty.
- Ayuki from Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl matches to a degree. She's a slender Meganekko with a bob. While not exactly stoic, she's quiet Deadpan Snarker who prefers science and learning over romance.
- Minami Iwasaki from Lucky Star is a parody of this.
- Sextum in Mahou Sensei Negima! fits most of the attributes, although she doesn't show any interest on becoming more human in her few appearances. Her twin 'brother' Fate might fit in as a male example of the trope.
- Miyu (or, more correctly, M.I.Y.U.), from both Mai Hime and Mai-Otome.
- Ruri Hoshino of Martian Successor Nadesico. Blue-grey hair, yellow eyes, odd origins, very stoic.
- The titular Miss Monochrome. She is a white-haired, blue-eyed android aspiring to become an idol. She's pretty emotionless and so socially inept that her servant easily tricks her into giving her all her fortune and she can't tell the difference between a store manager and an idol manager.
- Not the most obvious but Sai from Naruto has shades of being an expy of Rei. He's pale teenager with No Social Skills, a Mysterious Past, and is The Stoic.
- Mai from Nichijou has demeanor but she's The Gadfly personified.
- Hazuki from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, though she doesn't have any dramatic plotline related to it, she is just weird.
- Kirika Yuumura, from Noir is another brunette with similarities - Initially emotionless, although she does cry in episode one (although she's crying because she can't feel regret, not because of the dozen men she just killed), soft-spoken and created as a weapon. Her eyes are at the red end of brown, getting redder whenever there's an open fire around - used to great effect when her 'true self' comes out towards the end of the series. The series ends with her choosing between being human, or being a weapon.
- Echo from Pandora Hearts. She's a white-haired girl with a stoic personality who serves as the minion of the Yandere brother of one of the main characters. She also has a dangerous Split Personality named Noise. Eventually, the protagonist Oz befriends her and it's usually implied Echo might have feelings for him.
- Mytho from Princess Tutu is a male, magically induced example: the shards of his heart, his emotions, were shattered throughout the land. Duck spends much of the first season working to restore his emotions.
- Aldra in Queen's Blade, but only in the original series, since in the sequel, her personality was retooled.
- Mashiro from The Pet Girl of Sakurasou is an odd girl, with virtually No Social Skills, doesn't understand the concept of emotions too well and has very light blond hair, a really fair skin and reddish eyes. Although, her behaviour is usually taken to be the effect of an Ambiguous Disorder.
- Ein from Phantom, including the haircut (but not the hair color.) She even winds up laying impassively under The Hero by the end of the first episode.
- Isla from Plastic Memories is a Giftia with silver hair and red eyes. She is highly serious and emotionally distant, due to being a Shell-Shocked Veteran of a job that involves retrieving and terminating her own kind. Yet she's very Adorkable and eccentric. As the series progresses, she becomes more open thanks to her love interest. She is also in a decaying physical condition, since her 9-year lifespan is nearing its end.
- Anthy from Revolutionary Girl Utena, right down to being a goddess stabbed by the villains to contain her power (remember, Rei has Lilith's soul.) Given Utena's original air date, she's probably the Ur-Example, as wee as one of the few to stay true to Rei's Unbuilt Trope nature.
- Lan from Rinne no Lagrange is a different take on the archetype. She has all of the characteristics that place her firmly in the category; blue hair, pale skin, Purple Eyes, The Stoic, strange behavior, an alien, and co-starring in a Humongous Mecha series. She's different in that her stoicism doesn't work as well as she tries to and it soon becomes clear she's Not So Stoic. Really Not So Stoic. She defrosts into more of an average emotional girl sooner than expected. Also, her odd greeting is the result of her being lied to about Earth culture.
- Mizore Shirayuki from Rosario To Vampire, somewhat. Ironically less frosty than the typical example.
- By the mangaka's own admition; Tomoe Yukishiro from Rurouni Kenshin was designed after Rei.
- A rare male expy in the anime adaptation of the yaoi manga Sensitive Pornograph as the Extreme Doormat character Aki. He has her hair, dark reddish brown eyes and even has his arm and right eye bandaged similarly by the end of it.
- Lain from Serial Experiments Lain fits everything here, except she has brown hair. Notably, the creators of Lain have said they didn't even watch Evangelion until they finished the fourth episode of Lain.
- NoŽl from Sound of the Sky. White-haired, pale skinned pilot and mechanic of the crew's Spider Tank that hardly speaks, when she does she uses a monotone and has a Dark and Troubled Past coming back from when she was a Child Prodigy. More lively when drunk.
- Cheza from Wolfs Rain. She looks like Rei Ayanami with pink hair. Being half-plant qualifies her as not fully human. She's also quite emotionless, although she does perk up quite a bit in the presence of wolves.
- The World God Only Knows: Dokuro, the girl who Keima meets in his time travel and the past self of his teacher Yuri Nikaido, has many characteristics of this trope. She's a powerful Artificial Human and some kind of clone of the original Dokuro Skull, has bobbed hair and Purple Eyes. When she's introduced, she's an Emotionless Girl, but thanks to the main character she warms up and becomes very upbeat.
- The Marvel Mangaverse version of Fantastic Four is, depending how you look at it, either a Fusion Fic or extended Shout-Out to Evangelion. Each member of the team was heavily Revisioned to resemble a member of the Evangelion cast, with Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman (renamed "Sioux Storm") acting as the Four's cold, distant Rei equivalent.
- Pacific Rim gives us Mako Mori. While being older, having a rather more well-adjusted and sociable personality and there's nothing artificial about her origin, she's the only Japanese character in the film, is stoic and reserved, fiercely loyal to her adoptive father figure, and sports Rei's haircut as said above. It's even colored blue, though only at the tips. She also happens to be a Humongous Mecha pilot. Popular fan consensus is that it's supposed to say, "We took -some- inspiration from Evangelion but didn't try to ape it".
- Atlus LOVES Evangelion, so within many Evangelion references in their games, of course there's several Rei Ayanami Expies. So far, there's five of them. That's already more than half of the number of Rei expies used to create the page image. Maybe the day where we can make the page image using Rei expies from Atlus only will come. Maybe.
- Gender flipped with Serph from Digital Devil Saga: an initially completely emotionless pale-skinned gray-haired almost totally silent male lead who's a digital clone of a sociopath scientist who nearly destroyed the entire world, and is completely devoted to female love-interest Sera.
- Devil Survivor's Amane Kuzuryu, a blue haired, blue eyed Emotionless Girl that serves as the host to both an angel and a demon. In her route, she reveals the reason for her behavior and wishes that she had been able to lead a more normal life.
- In Persona3, we have two! First is the Protagonist himself, who possesses blue hair and eyes that are either blue or silverish, and also appears emotionless but gradually becomes more human as he forms bonds. (His characterization in the first animated movie adaption mirrors Rei's in the first Rebuild movie, complete with a When She Smiles moment!) Second is Aigis, with her robotic nature and exotic looks, but isn't quite as emotionless so much as initially single-minded. Her role only settles in when Ryoji, the Kaworu Expy, enters the story and she immediately becomes suspicious of him.
- Devil Survivor 2 has Miyako. She just appeared in Record Breaker, but it's no doubt that Miyako is a Rei expy too. She has short hair and eyes in color shade similar to Rei's hair. Okay, initially she is not that emotionless, but she does eventually become more emotional, later becomes one of the protagonists' main love interest, isn't exactly human. Rei is the soul vessel for Lilith and Yui clone, when Miyako is the mix of Fourth Triangulum and Yamato clone, later fight against her own kin other than human.. Also, she is noticeably less polite and wary of Alcor, the Kaworu expy in said game.
- Mari Ming Onette from Grand Chase can be called one.
- Lydia from Chronicles of Inotia: Children of Carnia.
- Sybill from Alundra.
- The Character Kos Mos in the Xenosaga Series is a female blue haired, red eyed Emotionless Robot which becomes more humane/defrosting. Like Rei, she and her successor Model "T-Elos" have got something to do with the plan of the antagonist/government organisation.
- Fire Emblem Elibe:
- Tate from Fire Emblem 6. She looks the part and has the Sugar and Ice Personality down pat.
- The dancer Ninian from Fire Emblem 7. Though she lacks the short hair, it IS blue, and she has red eyes, an unusual color even for FE standards, as well as pale skin, and is pretty frail both in cutscenes and in combat. She's also notably shy and reserved but can open up to all 3 of her support options (one of which is a possible love interest), and hides a dark secret; she's a dragon born from a human father. Her tragic family history is revealed in Hector's story, in which the player learns that her father is the main antagonist, Nergal, who sent her and her brother through the Dragon's Gate for their own protection during the Scouring, a massive human/dragon war. Their mother, Aenir, was killed, and Nergal, seeking to reunite with his children after the war was over, began experimenting with unscrupulous dark magic that warped his mind and made him forget his original purpose. Centuries later, in an ironic twist of fate, he manages to call his children back through the Gate, but they don't remember him, and he doesn't remember he had children in the first place, only wanting to use the siblings to further his own goals of obtaining power. Worst of all, he actually laughs when Eliwood accidentally kills her.
- Vanilla H from Galaxy Angel, a red-eyed, pale-skinned young girl who controls nanomachines by suppressing her emotions.
- Leen from Grandia has almost every trait of it, and is maybe the first one.
- Angel of One Must Fall 2097 fits the trope to a T.
- She also happens to predate Rei by a year. One Must Fall came out in 1994. Evangelion first aired in 1995.
- Blaze the Cat of Sonic the Hedgehog fame is a sort of anthropomorphic interpretation of this type of character, down to the same general color scheme and hairdo. Because her role as the dedicated guardian of the Sol Emeralds is of tantamount importance in her dimension, she initially distrusts strong emotions and social attachments, which she sees as distractions. She later embraces both to a degree.
- Stern the Destructor of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable games. She's an ancient, alien, Magitek program that copied Nanoha's appearance, with a few changes such as her hair being cropped short and her eyes being an unnaturally light color of blue. As the Material of Wisdom, she has little to no emotions and is completely logical. However, she starts gaining some emotions after she met and lost to Nanoha, even gaining her own personal desire to improve herself in the hopes of one day beating Nanoha in a Lighthearted Rematch.
- Shiki from the Samurai Shodown 64 series is older than the average, but otherwise fits the bill nicely (the whole Technicolor Eyes thing being derived from Demonic Possession, but she has heterochromia meaning she's not completely being controlled).
- The Kritya from Tales of Vesperia are an entire race of strange, blue-haired nonhumans who... don't quite have it all together. The party's Big Girl, Judith, is considered weird by their standards for being a flirtatious Blood Knight who will offer to show off even more skin than she usually does and devise battle strategies that involve being eaten alive by monsters and then ripping them open from the inside in the same emotionless tone of voice that everyone on this page has.
- Touhou has Hata no Kokoro, a pink-haired tsukumogami based on a set of 66 noh theater masks with a close connection to an antagonist from the previous game in the series. Kokoro is simultaneously a Large Ham, Mood-Swinger and Emotionless Girl, "The Expressive Poker Face" who expresses herself through her Floating Masks, but after some character development she learns to handle and display her feelings more naturally.
- The New Angelic Gaia Interface from the eroge game Makai Tenshi Djibril is a wholesale expy of Rei Ayanami, from the fact she's got blue hair and pale features, she's also a artificial angel, of the holy kind, whose whole purpose is to go into battle and get maimed, and she does in fact shrug off a lost arm at least once.
- Also, the mark of a transformed Devil Angel when working for Heaven was, for the first three games, that their hair took on a pale color, as close to light blue as possible.
- Melphonshina from Phantasy Star Online 2 more or less falls straight into this trope, minus being a Love Interest. Her Dark and Troubled Past being that she was envious of the relationship between Gettemhult and his partner, and wished to be in her place. After she's used by Gettemhult to release Dark Falz Elder, she gets seriously injured. After Dark Falz Elder sacrifices himself two Episodes later, she breaks out of this to a degree.
- Courtney from Pokťmon Ruby is re-imagined along those lines in the remake, Omega Ruby, with robotic mostly short speech patterns, (though she does speak full sentences at certain points, though with William Shatner levels of pauses) violet hair and eyes. Ironically, different traits, such as short hair and an attraction to a protagonist are only apparent in the Ruby and Sapphire chapters of Pokemon Special which is based on the original games and thus is not an Emotionless Girl there (or in the original games for that matter). In both cases she does have a connection to the antagonist, being a member of Team Magma and one of its Co-Dragons.
- Blazblue has the Murakumo Units, a series of Magitek cyborgs. There are three playable Murakumos and each of them have some of Rei's traits. As a whole, Murakumos are young women with light hair and skin, draw power from an Eldritch Location, were created by an abusive Mad Scientist father, are varying flavors of The Woobie and are clones of Ragna's (the protagonist) long lost sister. Lambda 11 is curious, innocent, developing emotions, has red eyes and is forced into battle by her boss and sort of mother figure Kokonoe because there's just no other choice. Noel, aka Mu 12, didn't know she was a Murakumo for years and developed a proper (but meek) personality, initially serving the local State Sec to support her family but eventually breaking away from that to help save the world. Nu 13 has red eyes, silvery blue hair and pale skin and seems to be an Ill Girl, and switches from being utterly emotionless to the definition of Yandere whenever Ragna shows up.
- Primula of SHUFFLE!. A young Emotionless Girl with very light purple hair and pale skin. In the anime, emotions cause her magical powers to go haywire. In the visual novel they're hoping she can gain emotions to show the program she's part of is a success, putting her into a human environment is part of the program, her magic has little to do with it. In both she is an artificial lifeform.
- Kyoko Kirigiri of Dangan Ronpa. Purplish white hair, purple eyes, stoic and mysterious (even her talent is just listed as "???"), she is the estranged daughter of the school headmaster and was also secretly amnesic the whole time. She also gradually warms up to the main character.
- Kei Ayamine from Muv-Luv, a short-haired purple eyed Kuudere. Bonus points for her name. The only thing that sets her apart from other examples is that she's also quite The Gadfly.
- And of course, Ruri Shiromizu from Season of the Sakura.
- The version of Raven in the Animesque Teen Titans cartoon is modeled after the archetype. They even change her black hair from the comics to blue-purple. However, Raven is notably snarkier than most examples.