The Rei Ayanami Expy is a character archetype common in Japanese Media
, or at least codified
, by Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion
Common characteristics of the archetype include:
Rei Ayanami herself exhibits every characteristic
- Female Love Interest
- Age 10-20
- Pale skin
- Mysterious Waif with a Dark and Troubled Past
- Unnatural hair color, often blue, occasionally white (also pink, in more recent examples).
- Unnatural eye color, often red, blue or yellow.
- Appears emotionless, quiet or 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.
- Eventually becomes more emotional, such as by Becoming A Real Girl or turning out to have a Sugar and Ice Personality.
, and many other characters
have been created as variations on her. However, the popularity of this archetype
has also led to many of the variations to spawn Expies
of their own.
of Fountain of Expies
and Shy Blue-Haired Girl
. Compare to Phlebotinum Girl
, Char Clone
and Shana Clone
. See also Kuudere
, Emotionless Girl
and Stoic Woobie
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Anime & Manga
- Yin from Darker Than Black. Her emotionless state is due to her being one of the setting's Dolls
- Lain from Serial Experiments Lain fits everything here, except she has brown hair. Notably, the creator's of Lain have said they didn't even watch Evangelion until they finished the fourth episode Lain.
- 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).
- Eureka from Eureka Seven. Very light turquoise hair, a Human Alien 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.
- Hazuki from Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, though she doesn't have any dramatic plotline related to it, she is just weird.
- 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. Green is close to blue, right? Right?
- Actually, they were sneaky about that. They attached Rei's background (pilot before the protagonist who was badly injured) and silver hair to Yayoi, a different female character.
- 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.
- Reika Mishima from RahXephon speaks constantly in riddles, always appears in places she's not supposed to be present at and generally provides lots of the show's Mind Screw. Eventually revealed to be Ixtli, the RahXephon's inner personality that physically manifests as the teenage version of Haruka Mishima, Ayato's Patient Childhood Love Interest and Love Interest he doesn't remember. Her purpose is to guide Ayato into Yolteotl in order to tune the world.
- Quon Kisaragi definitely counts as well. 17, Check. Mysterious Waif, Check. Pink Hair, Check. Like Mishima, she occasionally speaks in riddles (usually before an appearence of a Dolem), though most of her conversations with other characters are very Cryptic. Eventually revealed to be the biological mother of Ayato and her supposed brother Itsuki, along with being the sister of Ayato's mother.
- Hecate from Shakugan no Shana.
- 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 hated Coud because heís a human, but later starts developing feelings for him and became a couple at the end.
- NoŽl from Sora No Woto. 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.
- Nozomi from Mayoi Neko Overrun.
- Kisaragi from Happy Lesson.
- Crona from Soul Eater, complete with Ambiguous Gender.
- Yuki Nagato from Suzumiya Haruhi, 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).
- Tabitha from Zero no Tsukaima. Root cause: emotional trauma of being a family member on the losing end of a royal power struggle, complete with near impossible "tasks", murders and poisonings.
- Cheza from Wolf's Rain has been mentioned in a similar context. Being half-plant qualifies her as not fully human, and she always refers to herself as "this one" rather than "I". (Third person self-reference is also a characteristic of extremely polite or courtly Japanese speech, so not all usage of that qualifies under this trope.) She's also quite emotionless, although she does perk up quite a bit in the presence of wolves.
- Shimei Ryomou of Ikki Tousen (Battle Vixens). Complete with bandage over one eye.
- Minami Iwasaki from Lucky Star.
- Eucliwood Hellscythe from Kore wa Zombie desu ka?.
- 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.
- Mai from Nichijou has demeanor but she's The Gadfly personified.
- Echo from Pandora Hearts has the appearance and demeanor, but her Split Personality Noise is most definitely not this.
- Nemu and Ururu from Bleach.
- Ulquiorra could be considered a male example.
- Mizore Shirayuki from Rosario + Vampire, somewhat. Ironically less frosty than the typical example.
- Miyu (or, more correctly, M.I.Y.U.), from both Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome.
- Sen Yarizui, "the Ice Witch", from Ben-To.
- Mamiko Kuri from Narutaru.
- 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. Ako looks the part, but doesn't really act like one.
- Kei Ayamine from Muv-Luv "would" have been one going by her name, but is more of a The Gadfly and Kuudere mix.
- Vanilla from Galaxy Angel.
- 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.
- 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 creepyness exhaled. Visually, she is basically Rei with a pitch black hair.
- 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.
- 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. Action Girl? 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.
- 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.
- Aldra in Queen's Blade, but only in the original series, since in the sequel, her personality was retooled.
- Nozomu Ezomori in Kanokon. Not surprising, since she shares the same VA with QB's Aldra, except being more slutty.
- Mero Furuya from Sankarea.
- Lala Ru from Now and Then, Here and There.
- 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.
- The MISAKA network (except Last Order) from A Certain Magical Index, only they're brunettes.
- 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.
- By the mangaka's own admition; Tomoe Yukishiro from Rurouni Kenshin was designed after Rei.
- Lan from Rinne no Lagrange is a subversion. In the first episode, you think "blue hair, Emotionless Girl, strange behavior, an alien, and co-starring in a Humongous Mecha series, of course she's a Rei clone!" but it quickly becomes clear she's just The Stoic...and then it becomes clear she's Not So Stoic. Really Not So Stoic. Her odd greeting is the result of her being lied to about Earth culture.
- 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.
- Ruri Hoshino of Martian Successor Nadesico. Blue-grey hair, yellow eyes, odd origins, very stoic.
- Machiro from Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo is an odd girl, with virtually No Social Skills, doesn't understand the concept of emotions too well and has red eyes. Although, her behaviour is usually taken to be the effect of an Ambiguous Disorder.
- Anya from Code Geass, 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.
- C.C. also qualifies by the virtue of unusual hair color, troubled past, stoicism, apparent immortality, and gradually warming up to Lelouch up to a Heroic Sacrifice for his sake (Much like Rei, she gets better). The main things that set her apart are her tendency to mess with people and her pizza addiction.
- 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.
- 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.
- Yukino Aguria from Fairy Tail. She more or less meets any requirement on the list except that she's not a Love Interest of anyone (yet), and she is a regular human (not counting the fact that she's a mage).
- 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. Popular fan consensus is that it's supposed to say, "We took -some- inspiration from Evangelion but didn't try to ape it".
- Explicitly invoked in the Japanese dub, where, instead of the actual actress playing her, she's voiced by the same person responsible for Rei - Megumi Hayashibara. You can't get to be a bigger expy than that!
- Gender flipped with Serph from Digital Devil Saga: an initially completely emotionless pale-skinned gray-hairedalmost totally silent male lead who's a digital clone of a sociopath 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.
- Mari Ming Onette from Grand Chase can be called one.
- Vanilla H from Galaxy Angel controls nanomachines by suppressing her emotions.
- 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.
- Tate from Fire Emblem 6 is a subversion. She looks the part and has the Sugar and Ice Personality down pat but her Support Conversations reveal that she's more of a Cool Big Sis with Undying Loyalty to her family.
- 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.
- And of course, Ruri Shiromizu from Season of the Sakura.
- Stern the Destructor of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games. She's an ancient, alien, Magi Tech 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.
- Primula of SHUFFLE! 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.
- Kyouko Kirigiri of Danganronpa. White hair, purple eyes, stoic and mysterious (even her talent is just listed as "???"), she has some unresolved issues with her father and was also secretly amnesic the whole time. She also gradually warms up to the main character.