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Moe Check! ยป Sugar Rei

Uno dos tRei.

I've not been keeping track of the zillions of spinoffs and merchandise coming out of the Evangelion franchise, especially since it appears to be approaching Transformers levels. The original series failed to entertain me, and I include End of Evangelion in this, but my senses for the franchise have been kept sharp by stuff like the Angelic Days manga, which I did enjoy. Of course, I only bought the first four volumes and lost all interest after the announcement that the next volume was going to be about Yui and Gendou, so that may say something about me.

Zyl's post reminded me of the existence of Petite Eva (or Puchi Eva, depending on how you want to romanize it). I've never been a fan or anti-fan of Evangelion, and so someone else will have to take up the rallying cry of the masses ("MILK IT! MILK IT FOR ALL IT'S WORTH, YOU BASTARDS!"), but chibi-sized fun is always welcome. The first nine shorts are more or less single-joke gags, the sort that could fit into a four-koma or two each, but the rest are rather more surreal, and would not have taken place in any world resembling ours even if the characters were de-chibified. Post-Impact reconstruction as imagined by (Azumanga Daioh's) Osaka, perhaps.

Weird stuff happens. Eva-01 is now a delinquent (with a heart of LCL gold) of some sort, Gendou wields the power of his desk, a big fuzzy thing maintains order by turning misdemeanour offenders into turd piles… whatever.

What interests me most is the gathering of the three Ayanami sisters. We have the standard Rei, although we may be stretching the definition of "standard" a bit far here, since she acts more like an accused Rei clone, Yuki Nagato from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Not only that, but the comedy version thereof, from the Haruhi-chan minis. Rei the First here seems more like a normal, quiet girl with superhuman speed and reflexes, rather than the uncanny valley girl she is apparently supposed to be.

At a glance, this seems to support the theory that the original love for Rei from the fanbase (well, some parts of it, to be more precise) was because the fans could insert their own interpretations of Rei's personality, when the original was supposed to have none, or at least nothing remotely human. It's a bit more subtle than the screaming peanut gallery would claim, though; it's not that Rei is assigned with any personality that the stereotypical fanboy would want to foist onto her (like tsundeRei). Instead, we have, through other forms of media, developed a kind of idea about the sort of personality a Quiet Girl would have, and applied that to Rei, regardless of how well it actually fits.

Considering the convenient labelling of every other character in existence into familiar personality types, I think this is not such a specific sin. I suppose the loudness of the complaints are partly because it's easier to assign Yuki Nagato's personality to Rei Ayanami (as an example), compared to the endless debates on whether Haruhi Suzumiya is a tsundere.

Digression aside, we also have Rei the Second, the happy energetic girl from the best moment of the entire original series for me, the Wacky School Life Comedy alternate universe in episode 26. This was further explored in the Angelic Days manga, which brought the Angels back into the equation for no reason I can fathom other than Drama. So it goes.

There's also Rei the Third, little kid version. Not much else to say there, at least nothing that won't seem excessively creepy.

There's a certain peaceful feel to the Ayanami sisters' interactions. They don't appear together all that often, but when they do, as in the Someday In The Rei-n rainy day episode, it's calm, relaxing, heartwarming. Yes, I know they're supposed to be clones of each other, but taken out of context it's just the story of three sisters in a happy family life.

Zyl notes that there are issues with P-Eva's labelling of the sisters as Rei 1, 2, and 3, mostly due to chronology. Any new numbering system will inevitably fall into yet more nitpicking, so I'd personally go with descriptive nicknames. I find no issue with assigning Loli Rei the moniker of Chibinami. The "original", the one we're supposed to associate as the canonical version imported into the Puchi-verse, we may leave as simply Rei.

Rei the Second, the one with the vest, is a little harder to pin down. The temporary name of Bread Rei won't quite do, since it raises questions about the equal validity of calling her Pantyshot Rei. I've taken to calling her Hyper Rei, partly for her enthusiastic personality quite unlike the oReiginal canonical version, and partly because it gives me great pleasure to imagine her using some sort of beamspam. Perhaps I should focus on her brightness of personality and call her Shiny Rei, for she is a drop of golden sun.

One Response to “Sugar Rei”
  1. Zyl says:

    The name Hyper Rei is just dandy. I found Some Reis in the Rain so heartwarming too. I really wouldn't mind an extended series based on this.

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