by Rei Ayanami Neon Genesis Mission extremely popular, in part because of her incredibly tragic backstory. The girl was never treated like a normal human, and that led to her replacement with clones. This raises an interesting question regarding how many Rei clones exist throughout Evangelion.
Rei Ayanami was not born human; instead, she was created using a cloning technique based on Shinji’s mother, Yui, and the soul of Lilith, the Second Angel. If something happens to Rei, there will be countless clones to take her place. During that event, the soul is transferred to a new Rei body that is essentially the same age, and Rei goes on with her life – despite lacking some memories of the actual event that killed her. The disposable nature with which she is treated is a big part of why fans love her; She is a sad girl and really needs someone to treat her kindly.
The first two Rei clones in Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion’s first Rei is shown in flashbacks as a child. She is being taken around the Geofront by Gendo and meets Ritsuko’s mother, Naoko. Naoko immediately recognizes Rei’s resemblance to Yui, Gendo’s late wife, and begins to investigate. When she stumbles across Rei alone, Rei echoes Gendo’s words about her: “That old woman is no longer useful.” In a fit of rage, Naoko grabbed Rei by the neck and strangled her to death. Realizing what she had done, Naoko threw herself off the platform along with the MAGI calculator.
The Rei killed by Naoko is commonly known as Rei I, making her the first clone to live and die. Rei II will probably be brought online some time later and is the controller of EVA Unit 00 from before the series even started, and is the most prominent character throughout the series. Rei II died when the Angel Armisael infected her and her EVA; Rei ended up destroying Unit 00 himself to take the Angel with him. However, this fact was concealed by Shinji and Rei III was taken to the hospital and treated as if she had somehow survived. She said she couldn’t remember because she was a “third person”. This is further confirmed when Ritsuko shows Shinji and Misato the clone Rei’s tank, then destroys them; The remote she is using lists the status of “Rei 04” onwards. While other Rei bodies may have been used for the Dummy Plug system, only three have ever lived as Rei.
Rei is one of the most tragic characters in Neon Genesis Missionand facts like these are a big part of why she stands out even among such a sad and hurt cast.