"Rei, Beyond the Heart" is the fifth episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Evangelion Unit-00 is finally repaired after it went berserk during the experiment it was in prior to the events of the first episode. Shinji tries to get to know the pilot of Unit-00, Rei Ayanami, better but finds that she is incredibly insular, has no friends, and all records of her past have been erased. A new and powerful Angel arrives: Ramiel, a floating monolithic metal diamond with a powerful particle beam blast which nearly kills Shinji in Unit-01.
22 days before the first episode, this episode starts with the failed activation test of Evangelion Unit-00, as it has gone berserk, breaking into the test facility, and the Entry Plug has ejected automatically, resulting in Rei's injuries which were shown before. Commander Ikari goes to the Entry Plug and opens the super-heated hatch to save Rei.
Back in the present, Ritsuko tells Misato that mental instability in the pilot might be the cause of the incident. Misato, Ritsuko, and Shinji, along with some of NERV's technicians, are present where the battle with Shamshel has occurred, examining the Angel's remains with only its Core damaged, although they couldn't analyze what the Angel's nature is,but also understood that the Angel is made of a type of matter, characterized by the properties of particulate and waves, and have a 99.89% of resemblance to humans. As Shinji watches his father who is examining the dead Angel's core, he notices the burns on his hands, and asks Ritsuko and Misato about them. Ritsuko tells Shinji about the berserk incident; Shinji reacts with disbelief.
Sometime later at school, Toji and Kensuke notice Shinji watching Rei and tease him about it, but Shinji replies that he was just wondering why she's always alone. Later, back at NERV HQ, Shinji notices Rei happily chatting with Gendo. It's the first time he's seen her happy and smiling, and his father as well.
That evening, Ritsuko is eating dinner at Misato's place. Misato prepared the food, so it consists entirely of beer and under-diluted instant ramen, and only Misato finds it edible. Ritsuko then asks Shinji to deliver Rei's new NERV ID card, since she forgets to do so. When he looks embarrassed about going to a girl's home, Misato teases him.
The next morning, Shinji goes to Rei's room and rings the bell, but—finding the door unlocked—he receives no answer and walks in. The place is an unspeakable mess, littered with trash and bloody bandages. He notices Gendo's glasses being put on a dresser top and tries them on. Just then Rei noticed him after finishing her bath, naked but for a towel. She seems more concerned for the glasses than herself, goes through the room and snatches them from his grasp. He trips and they fall in a heap with him on top of her, also somehow upsetting a drawer full of Rei's undergarments. After a pause of several seconds, she asks him to move; only then does he notice that his hand is on her breast. Still seemingly unconcerned, she dresses, takes the glasses and leaves while Shinji is still puzzled about what he saw in front of him, and then follows her to NERV HQ.
When they arrive at HQ and her card won't work, he finally manages to hand her the new one. While riding the escalator, Shinji asks Rei if she isn't afraid of getting into Unit-00 again. In reply, she asks him if he has any faith in the work of his father. Shinji denies that he does, on the basis of what a terrible father Gendo has been to him, and Rei turns around and wordlessly smacks him in the face. Once again, Rei shows some emotion when Gendo is concerned, and she takes Gendo's glasses aboard the Eva as a good luck charm, and undergoes a successful re-activation.
Just then, Ramiel, the 5th Angel, approaches Tokyo-3, and Gendo orders Unit-01 to be dispatched and Unit-00 to stay at the Headquarters since the re-activation test has just finished. Unit-01 is sortied, but the Angel has sensed the Evangelion's presence and attacks it as it reached the surface, boiling the LCL inside the plug where Shinji is contained. Thus ends the episode.
- Ritsuko: "Rei Ayanami, age fourteen. The first test subject chosen in accordance with the Marduk Report. The First Child. She is the designated pilot for Evangelion prototype Unit-00. Her past has been eradicated. All her personal records were erased."
- (Shinji is staring at Rei in the distance, who is wearing a bathing suit)
Toji: "Hey, chief! What are you lookin' at so intently?"
Kensuke: "Was it Ayanami? Am I right?"
Kensuke: "Oh, come on! That's suspicious."
Toji: "Ayanami's boobs, Ayanami's thighs, Ayanami's...
Kensuke and Toji (in unison): "calves!"
- (Shinji and Rei have arrived at NERV HQ and are on the escalator)
Shinji: "You have a re-activation experiment today, don't you? Wouldn't it be great if it were successful this time? Say, aren't you afraid of getting in Unit-00 again?"
Shinji: "I heard that you were hurt pretty badly in an earlier experiment, so I was wondering if you were okay about it."
Rei: "Aren't you commander Ikari's son?"
Rei: "Don't you have faith in your own father's work?"
Shinji: "Of course not! How could I trust him?"
(Rei angrily turns to face Shinji.)
(Rei slaps Shinji.)
- Evangelion Unit-00 was first shown in Episode 01.
- "601" is the NERV computer systems' code number for "cannot be analyzed", referring to the movie The Andromeda Strain, where a medical computer displays "601" when overloaded with data.
- Toji and Kensuke say that they first met Rei when she joined their school about a year ago (they are in 8th grade, she joined in 7th grade)