When the popularity of an Evangelion pilot falls, apparently it falls fast.

Tokyo’s official Evangelion Store is celebrating its 13th anniversary this year, and in commemoration, the anime merchandise shop asked registered members to pick their favorite Evangelion pilots, specifically as they appear in a single film in the continuing Rebuild of Evangelion series. The results of the poll were released recently, and what we saw surprised us.

In first place, we have Asuka Langley Soryu from Evangelion 2.0. Kaworu Nagisa from Evangelion 3.0 takes second place, and in third place is Rei Ayanami from Evangelion 2.0. “That’s not surprising at all,” you may think, but take look at the gap in votes between the top three pilots.

There’s not much of a difference between Asuka (2,187 votes) and Kaworu (1,871 votes), but Rei came into the top three with just 252 total votes.

▼ Who would have thought Asuka and Kaworu would take such a strong lead over our cool Rei Ayanami?

Considering Japan has previously shown so much fondness for Rei that you could ride down a giant Rei slide and paint your room in official Ayanami Blue paint,  we thought the love for her  would never die. Judging from online reactions to the poll, we weren’t the only ones surprised, either.

“There are only shallow characters in the top ranking. If you watch Evangelion properly, there’s no other choice but Rei.”
“It’s all because of Evangelion 3.0. If it weren’t for 3.0, she’d be the top.”

“By the way, this poll was only open to registered members of the Evangelion Store, so there isn’t an issue of multiple voting. These poll results are legitimate.”

To make things worse, Rei from Evangelion 1.0 and Evangelion 3.0 took sixth place and twelfth place, respectively. Meanwhile, Asuka from Evangelion 3.0 grabbed fourth place, giving her two slots in the top four.

Perhaps the members of the Evangelion Store don’t have as much love for Rei as we thought, but we’ll still look forward to all the Rei merchandise we can get.

Sources: Evangelion Store via Otakomu
Images: Evangelion Store