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First Lieutenant Maya Ibuki (伊吹 マヤ) is a fictional character from the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. She is one of the three main computer technicians at NERV HQ, along with Makoto Hyuga and Shigeru Aoba, and serves directly under Dr. Ritsuko Akagi. Maya frequently acts as Ritsuko's assistant, particularly with work on the MAGI that control the base, and computer readouts from the Evangelion units. During combat against the Angels she, along with Aoba and Hyuga, operate the primary control stations on the Command Center's bridge level, monitoring the status of the Eva and their pilots in battles and directing support for them.
Maya is an optimistic and cheerful though sensitive young woman, who often hides her eyes or retches during the more violent Eva battles due to the fact that she is afraid of visible blood or internal organs. When the JSSDF soldiers stormed NERV headquarters in The End of Evangelion, she also refuses to fire on any of them, saying that she does not have the nerve to kill another human being.
Maya has also been shown to have a faithful, trusting nature. She is in awe of the technological advancements current society has achieved. In particular, that this advancement followed Second Impact 15 years ago: unlike the 14 year old Eva pilots, Maya is old enough that she was a child at the time of Second Impact and thus unlike them probably remembers having to grow up through the ensuing global chaos in which human civilization painfully rebuilt itself, in a society struggling to feed its people. It is possible that Maya idealizes human science and technology because it is what ultimately saved the world she grew up in from the brink of collapse.
Maya believes in the technological utopia that Tokyo-3 represents, remarking with starry-eyed enthusiasm "That's a city of science for you. It's really an era where science reigns supreme!", though Aoba dismisses her beliefs by saying "Talk about an old-fashioned line". Notably she admires Commanders Gendo and Fuyutsuki for their coolness in the stifling headquarters during a power outage, not realizing that Fuyutsuki had his feet in a bucket of water (Episode 11).
Maya has some girlish affectations, including having a rabbit-face sticker on the side of her laptop screen, and a pink cat pillow which she sits on at her station. Maya is notably shorter than most of the other NERV personnel (only halfway between the 5'4" Misato and the 14 year old Eva pilots), so it appears she has to sit on a pillow so she'll be the proper height at her control terminal. Maya’s cat pillow might be related to Ritsuko Akagi’s affinity for cats, since Maya has a strong bond with Dr. Akagi. She is seen reading what appears to be a romance novel during a slow day at NERV.
Maya is friendly to the Eva pilots and supportive, likely since from her place in Central Dogma and as the monitor of their vital signs she is aware of what they go through. She thus expresses her misgivings to Ritsuko about particularly dangerous new technologies, such as the Dummy Plug system (Episode 14). Maya knows her way around the Magi system rather well, and she proves an invaluable aide to both Ritsuko and Misato during combat situations. Ritsuko admires Maya's skill and efficacy, remarking on her fast typing speed: "Ah, Maya, fast as ever."
It's not clear just how much Maya knows about NERV's hidden agenda, but it is implied that, while Maya doesn't have the malicious pragmatic edge of Ritsuko and Gendo, as Ritsuko's aide she ultimately knows more about NERV's agenda than Misato or Hyuga. She does seem to think that the destruction of the final Angel would end NERV's mission and she had no idea why SEELE would want to kill so many people to get the Evas, so it appears she honestly doesn't know that NERV's true goal is the human instrumentality program.
At first Maya's attraction to Ritsuko only appears to be a professional admiration, enhanced by Maya frequently being seen working aside Ritsuko, and Maya always referring to the other woman as "Ritsuko-senpai" or merely "Senpai", an honorific directed towards a person of higher rank. However, Maya’s transition guide in Episode 26' takes the form of Ritsuko Akagi, who types "I need you" (literally: "INEEDYOU") on Maya’s laptop with her hands over Maya’s, and then embraces her. Before turning to LCL Maya cried "Senpai! Senpai! Senpai!" with a look of ecstasy, tears flowing from her eyes. This implies that Maya may have been secretly in love with Ritsuko, though whether Ritsuko knew about this attraction or reacted to it is uncertain, however Ritsuko often acts caring and almost reciprocates Maya's feelings at times.
In other media
Neon Genesis EVANGELION -ANIMA-
In Evangelion ANIMA, Maya is now 27 years old. She controls the technology section of NERV JAPAN as a replacement for Ritsuko and is at rank Major. The glasses which are worn by Maya are said to have once belonged to Ritsuko.
- Despite being a minor character, Maya is a disproportionately popular subject for merchandising, either on her own or alongside the more significant female characters. Hyuga and Aoba do not receive this kind of attention.
- Maya is named after two warships—the heavy cruiser that convert to the cancelled light aircraft carrier Ibuki and the Takao-class heavy cruiser Maya of the Japanese Imperial Navy.
- According to ANIMA, her blood type is A.
- * "Evangelion character names". Translation of essay by Hideaki Anno about character name origins; includes a link to the original essay in Japanese. Retrieved on August 19, 2007.