Short Answer: Rei Ayanami is an Angel. To be more specific, she is both a clone and an angel. One big proof that she’s an angel that she can generate her own A.T. Field which is an action that can only be done by Angels and Evangelions. Another fact that proves that Rei Ayanami is an angel is that fact taht she was created from part of the LCL of Evangelion unit 01.
What are Angels in Neon Genesis Evangelion?
Angels in Neon Genesis Evangelion aren’t what you might they are. They aren’t what we see in pictures depicting Angels. In this universe, they don’t necessarily take the form of a human with wings but instead come in all forms and sizes. To be honest, creativity and imagination is what you would need if you were to guess what the an angel might look like in Neon Genesis Evangelion as some of them really do look bizarre but then again, in this story, it’s not their looks that are important, it’s more on what these angels are trying to accomplish.
If you think of the word “angel”, you might think of something holy or close to God. That thinking might not be so far off though even though religion isn’t quite a big thing in Neon Genesis Evangelion. There are mentions of God here and there but it doesn’t really connect with why the angels are attacking the humans. One thing is for sure though, the angels are far superior to humans when it comes to size and power.
In the universe of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Humanity and Angels came from two primary Angels which are Adam and Lilith. Humanity came from Lilith while Angels came form Adam. However, not all Angels come from Adam. For example, Lilith and Rei Ayanami weren’t created from Adam. Rei was created by NERV, and Lilith was created by the first ancestral race. One thing that makes Angels different from Humans is that Angels can generate an A. T. Field that manifests outwards and can block physical objects. Humans A.T. fields on the other hand, are only strong enough to allow them to keep their physical form.
If you want to see what happens to humans without their A.T. fields, you can check out this short clip of the Third Impact from the movie The End of Evangelion.
Why does Rei Ayanami pilot an Eva?
The first child (Rei Ayanami) is an angel but she does pilots an EVA and kills angels. This is not because she wants to but because she was created by Gendo Ikari and as such, sees him as a father figure even though he treats her as someone who is disposable. Even though Rei Ayanami is an angel, she lived the life of a human and she lived her life with the goal of defending the NERV base and humanity from the Angels. Interesting fact: Since she is an Angel, she can pilot all Evas and not require any human contact experiments.
How could you tell if someone is an Angel?
Throughout the show, we see that angels will be detected when Angels are nearby a NERV base or near a city with a NERV base nearby. The angels are detected because NERV has a supercomputer called the Magi. With the Magi, NERV is able to detect A.T. fields with a signature that is specific for angels. In the show, we see that NERV can only detect this certain type of A.T. field when an Angel actually uses their powers.
A curious thing though is that a number of angels have actually managed to infiltrate NERV HQ without being detected. These angels are Rei Ayanami, Kaworu Nagisa(Tabris), and the 11th angel known as Iruel. To be fair, Rei and Kaworu were never suspected to be angels as they took on the form of humans and they didn’t use any powers they have. Iruel however took on the form of nano-particles and as such was able to invade NERV without bein detected. When Iruel started attacking NERV, he also wasn’t detected as the damage he caused was shrugged off as just corrosion. It was later on when his attack got very serious that they figured out it was an angel attack.
So basically, you can only tell that someone is an Angel if they exhibit specific behavior that only angels do or if their A.T. field has the signature of an angel A.T. field.
If you want to know more about angels, here’s a great video talking about angels in more detail. Have a look!
What is Rei Ayanami?
Rei Ayanami is a 14 year old female angel who takes on a human form and pilots the EVA unit 00. She is also known as the first child and although is human, she is in fact a clone of Yui Ikari. Being a clone of Yui, her existence help Gendo Ikari cope with the death of his wife but that’s not the only reason he created Rei. Rei Ayanami is actually Gendo’s tool for completing the Human Intrumentality Project which will allow him to be reunited with his late wife.
Although Rei clearly resembles Yui Ikari, she doesn’t possess her personality. In fact, Rei has a bit of blank personality. She isn’t cold or rude but just don’t project what she feels well to the point where even smiling is rare for her.
Rei Ayanami is also proven to be a clone in Episode 23 when Misato points a gun at Ritsuko and wants to learn the truth about what is going on with NERV. It was then that Ritsuko showed Misato and Shinji a large tank full of Rei Ayanami clones.
Ritsuko’s pointed out that all the clones in the lab are used as the processing unit for the dummy system used by NERV. Naturally, NERV sees this as an asset and allowed the mass cloning of Rei Ayanami in order to have backups in case the cloned Rei Ayanami used for the dummy system died.
Aside from the fact that Rei Ayanami is a clone of Yui Ikari, she also has some DNA of Lilith. Gendo made her this way so that she could initiate the third impact. Before the Third Impact, Rei fused with Lilith’s body and then became a god-like being who was able to control the human instrumentality project.
One more thing that indicated that Rei is an angel is the fact that Kaworu tells her that she is just like him. Although it’s subtle, what Kaworu meant by what he said to her was that the two of them were Angels embedded into human bodies.
You can check out this YouTube video if you want more details on Rei Ayanami.
Our final thoughts:
Rei is both an angel and a human clone with DNA from Lilith. NERV created her for tasks including fighting angels and initiating the human instrumentality projects. Rei doesn’t seem to be detected as an Angel by Magi until Episode 23 when Hyuga detects another Angel coming to the central dogma spreading A.T. Field, and that Angel is Rei Ayanami.
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You might also like: Is Asuka Langley Soryu a Clone?
Speaking of clones, here’s an article that you might like! We’ve already talked about Rei Ayanami being a clone so now let’s go ahead and see if Asuka Langley Soryu is a clone or not. Click here to read it.
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