Rei Ayanami Fansite Reviews

Those of you who have never seen Neon Genesis Evengelion will not understand this category at all. Tough cookies. Rei is a blue-haired girl from that series, and my favorite character. Of course, that probably doesn't explain why I would review fansites dedicated to her (actually, it might, but that sort of explanation would probably be slightly unflattering). Personally, even though I would never make a fansite myself, I like looking at them. The people who spend their time that way strike me as composing a fascinating subculture, one for whom I feel an odd affinity. So, it's not so much the sites that are important, but the people behind them. That being the case, it really doesn't matter which type of fansite I review, but since I happen to like Rei, that's who got chosen.

If, after reading that intro, you want to go back to my homepage click here.

Review Criteria

As I said in my mission statement, content is important to me. That being the case, it makes sense that content would be a major rating category. Good content is useful, insightful, original, and plentiful. Those subcriteria depend wholly on the subject of the site, and it's not really relevant, in the context of this category, whether I like it or not.

In the case of Rei Ayanami, I'm going to waive the originality criteria somewhat. Since there's only a limited amount of source material available, being orignal is slightly more difficult. What I'll judge in this category is the presence of fanfiction, art, discussion, and other media.

This is a big issue with me. I have to be able to find my way around a website. It might be best to think of this as negative category. Confusing menus, dead links, and too many "layers" of navigation will earn a website a low score. The absence of those things will earn the website a high score.
This is a catchall category for the various types of eyecandy that adorn a website. Anything that's neat, but not strictly functional will be rated here. As per my website philosophy, this will not be highly weighted in the overall score (let him without sin and all that).
Culture can be defined as "shared experience," and since the purpose of these reviews is not strictly about the websites themselves, but about the culture that gave birth to them, one of the factors in the reviews will be how much insight an Ayanami page gives into the person who created it. If the person's personality shines through, the site gets a high score, if the site is a cold recitation of facts, it gets a low score.
This is a measure of how good I feel after visiting the Rei Ayanami fansite. Since it is more of a measure of something holistic and ephemeral, it is not based strictly on the numerical scores of the other categories.

The Reviews

Angel Eyes

Angel Eyes
Doing introductions in a category as narrow as this is akward, so I'll save my comments on this site for the summary at the end. Angel Eyes is maintained by Jupe, it has over 259,000 hits, and was last updated (as far as I can tell) October 21, 2002.

Content: 10/10
This site has everything you could reasonably expect from any Rei Ayanami shrine - a summary of her role in the series, speculations about her roles with other characters, screenshots from the DVD's, and a modest collection of fanfictions (9). Where it really shines is all the other stuff it has: poetry, fan created art, essays, multimedia, a drinking game, and even skins for Quake and The Sims. If you are a fan of Rei, or of Evangelion in general, you will find something on this site that will interest you.

Navigation: 8/10
The layout of the page makes it very easy to find your way around, and the links on the side lead to exactly where you would expect them to. There are some broken links, but since they are all external to the page, I'm not counting off too much. Entering the message boards is kind of tricky, but that was done intentionally to make sure people read the terms of service.

Presentation: 8/10
There's nothing on this site that I can complain about, though it failed to blow me away. The text is easy to read against the background, and the graphics add atmosphere without clogging up the screen. Load time for most areas of the site was suitably low, but it didn't look ugly or plain. Very well done.

Sincerity: 10/10
Any Rei site that includes poetry cannot fail to score highly in this area, but even excepting that, I got a real sense of community visiting this site. The FAQ answers some basic questions about Jupe, and the choice of content also reflects a definite individuality. Though, of all the factors in this score, it had to be the message boards that contributed the most, particularly the five page discussion "Is it possible to fall in love with a fictional character?" That, more than anything, cemented my opinion that this is a site for people who really like Rei Ayanami.

Overall: 9/10
I was really on the fence about whether to give this site a perfect score. Since I feel that it's worth more than a nine, but that tens should be reserved for flawless sites, I decided to compromise by using a special font color for the rating (I am not about to start muddling with fractions). Angel Eyes is the standard by which all Rei Ayanami fansites will hithero be judged.
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