- Nagisa clutching onto Rei because he can’t let him leave
I love how Nagisa literally grabs Rei’s leg because he cannot let him leave. It is such a purely despate, emotional reaction. He is acting on pure instinct - the unadultered need for Rei in his life, and his inability to let him go. That motion is full of such innocent and natural love that it’s truly beautiful.
- Rei worrying about Nagisa, but still being patient
It’s so sweet to me not only how Rei helplessly worried about Nagisa in ES 5, but how he didn’t let his worry push Nagisa or pressure him. Even after his frantic entrance, he didn’t force himself onto Nagisa. Even as he listened to Nagisa’s reasoning and grew more concerned and upset, he didn’t interupt him or force his feelings. And even when Nagisa burst out at him, he just let Nagisa hold onto his shirt, and then held Nagisa back.
Honestly, this is so important to me. Rei cares so much about Nagisa that he has contact, visible, physical reactions for his well-being. But he also cares enough to back off when Nagisa needs space and time, and knows how to listen and learn from Nagisa’s cues. Which is so important in a relationship like theirs, where they both can be governed by emotion and contrasting principles.
- Rei’s admiration and Nagisa’s blush - IMPORTANT
It’s not just important because it’s cute, which it is. But also because it subverts a lot of what people think about the relationship. Sometimes it seems as though viewers constrict their dynamic to, say, memes and jokes based off of episode 3 of the series. Nagisa is pushy and loud, Rei is stern but, ultimately, submissive to the overbearing Nagisa.
But this scene entirely subverted those constricting stereotypes, even further than the rest of the series did. Nagisa was quiet and gentle - he was the one blushing by a compliment, rather than just giving them. He wasn’t the flatterer, but the receiver. And Rei wasn’t cool and collected, he was sincere and sweet.
Basically 2014 was a great year for Reigisa, but I really hope it wasn’t the last!