Reishin

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Pairing
Pairing: Rei Ayanami X Shinji Ikari
Alternative name(s): Rei X Shinji, LRS, Shinrei
Gender category: M/F (het)
Fandom: Neon Genesis Evangelion
Canonical?: no
Prevalence: common
Archives:
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Reishin is the pairing featuring Rei Ayanami and Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion.


Canon

Rei and Shinji have a significant relationship thorough the series. They meet in the first episode when Rei is used by his father Gendo to motivate Shinji into piloting Eva 01 since Rei is unable to. After he enrolls in Tokyo 3's middle school, Shinji is intrigued by her mysterious personality as Rei isolates herself from class and seems uninterested in everyday activities. Moreover, Shinji is unsure why his father seems to be close to her. After stumbling on her naked in her apartment, Shinji inquires on this, demonstrating his frustration at Gendo, which upsets Rei. Later, in the battle against Ramiel, Shinji asks Rei why she pilots the Eva, which she explains as her "bond", with Shinji expressing his uneasiness as a pilot. After promising she'll protect him, Rei acts as a human shield to Shinji and he later forces open her entry plug, fearing she might be hurt. Unsure of how to react, Shinji suggests she smiles.

Asuka joins the cast in Episode 8, and Rei takes an immediate, and eventually mutual dislike to her. Rei shares a lot less scenes with Shinji in the following episodes as Asuka takes a bigger part in the story. She is able to easily synchronize with Shinji in Episode 9 much to Asuka's irritation, but this instead is used to motivate Asuka and Shinji to train harder. While Asuka is strong-minded and even critical of Shinji, Rei listens to his musings without offering much response, remaining passive. In Episode 22, Asuka notices Rei quietly waiting in the train station with Shinji, which provokes great jealously in Asuka. Over this time, regardless, Shinji gravitates closer to Asuka, who is also living with and goes to school with him. In Episode 23 Rei sacrifices herself to save Shinji in Episode 23, realizing she has feelings for him. Distraught over her loss, Shinji is overjoyed to find out she is still alive, but she has no memories of her recent past. Eventually, Ritsuko reveals that Rei is in fact part of a series of clones of Shinji's mother Yui, and in fact has three iterations throughout the series. Later in End of Evangelion, Rei joins with Lilith and starts Third Impact, relinquishing control of Instrumentality to Shinji. She is last seen observing Shinji in a beach just before he notices a just-returned Asuka laying by his side.

Fans often debate on whether this relationship counts as incest and if Shinji is better off with Rei, whose views on the fandom range from an uncaring, cold "doll" to an caring, warm and philosophical character, or other characters such as Asuka and Kaworu. Some fans also prefer to see this relationship as sister-like.

Other

Reishin is a possible pairing in most Evangelion video games such as Shinji Ikari Raising Project and Girflfriend of Steel 2. It is also featured more heavily in spin-off manga such as Angelic Days and Campus Apocalypse, as well as in the manga adaptation of Evangelion. Most of these greatly alter Rei's personality into a far more active one, and changing her into a distant cousin of Shinji (not considered incestuous in Japan) is also common.

Fandom

Owing to Rei's own gargantuan popularity in Japan as one of the most iconic anime characters of all time, Reishin was very popular with a large amount of fan and official material catered to it. Rei and Reishin mostly lost popularity on the fandom over time to Asuka.[1][2][3] It saw a huge revival after Evangelion 2.0 however, which seemed to be heading to make Reishin the canon pairing with the movie ending's going so far as Shinji taking huge risks to save Rei from death. In Evangelion 3.0, however, this was not the case as a new Rei clone appeared and Shinji was left estranged from her. In the final film, Evangelion 3.0+1.0, Rei Q gets closer to Shinji but is unable to survive. Her interactions and death are one of the major motivators for Shinji's recovery. Shinji reunites with the original Rei near the ending, and she apologizes to him. Shinji sends her back to the village as he does with Asuka and Kaworu, but they do not share any unambiguously romantic dynamics. Rei is seen by Shinji in the rebuilt world talking to Kaworu, all now as adults, which some fans have interpreted as evidence for Kaworei, but the ending itself is variously debated as open-ended itself, as is the nature of the references to the original series and EoE, the Rebuilds' cycle dynamics, and the relationship itself. Mari in particular is argued by some as having ended up with Shinji in the final Rebuild film but Marishin was never even slightly popular either after her introduction in 2.0 or after 3.0+1.0. Instead, it might be used to aggravate supporters for the main three Shinji ships as a troll ship, alongside Asuken for Asushin shippers, virtually unheard of previously and also unpopular even now. Reishin shippers have pointed out at some staff statements to rebuff Mar, such as the repeated denial of Mari being based on Anno's wife, though there is no later comment from staff on Reishin itself, much like Kawoshin but unlike Asushin. Kaworei, however, has long enjoyed significant popularity as one of the "secondary" fandom ships and is not usually used as a troll ship.

Fanfiction and fanart for Reishin is not as numerous as for other pairings, however there is plenty of it on FFN, most of it from the earlier periods of the fandom, when it used to gather more attention. In the later 2010s, however, it began to experience a revival, particularly with the Netflix release.

Fanfiction

References

  1. ^ ""Evangelion" Creator Hideaki Anno Discusses Rei Versus Asuka". Crunchyroll. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  2. ^ Eva Store's Character Popularity Poll Yields Surprising Results
  3. ^ This 2020 NHK poll has Asuka, Kaworu, Rei, Shinji, Misato and Mari as the most popular characters.