|Aliases||Xena: Warrior Princess, Ms. Fashion, Storm|
|Died||2000 (Killed by a polar bear-morphed Controller in human form)|
Tom Berenson (cousin),
Jake Berenson (cousin),
Steve Berenson (uncle),
Jean Berenson (aunt),
|Behind the scenes|
|First appearance||The Invasion|
|Last appearance||The Beginning|
|Portrayer||Brooke Nevin (TV series)
Marlee Roberts (2011 re-release book model)
Melissa Disney (voice, PC game)
Pamela Baumeister (voice, PlayStation game)
"Don’t mess with me. You may be bigger than me, you may scare me, you may make me run away, but if I have to I am ready to fight. "
- — Rachel, Book #2: The Visitor, pg. 82
Rachel Berenson is the most aggressive and violent of the Animorphs. Her battle morph is a grizzly bear. She is also Jake's cousin.
- Full Name: Rachel Berenson
- Nickname(s): Xena, Warrior Princess
- Gender: Female
- Age: 13 - 16 (Series Time Span)
- Personality: Reckless, Relentless. Quick to Anger, and fast decision making
- Battle Morph: Grizzly Bear/African Elephant
- Boyfriend: Tobias
- Best Friend: Cassie
- Famous Quote: "Let's Do It!"
- Portrayed by: Brooke Nevin, Marlee Roberts
Rachel Berenson was the most violent member of the Animorphs. She is Jake's cousin on her father's side, and was in love with Tobias. Before the war, she trained in gymnastics. Marco's nickname for her is Xena, Warrior Princess.
Rachel has two younger sisters, Jordan and Sara, who make very few cameo appearances in the books with no real significance. Rachel's parents are divorced, and though she had a stronger bond with her father Dan, a reporter, she chooses to live with her mother Naomi, a lawyer, in favor of staying near the Animorphs.
Rachel was the character that changed the most during the war. Before the war, she was characterized by her involvement in gymnastics, her friendship with Melissa Chapman (daughter of Principal Chapman, one of the Animorphs' enemies), and her incurable mall-crawling and shopping addiction. An attractive girl, she was also smart, confident and bold. She was also known to have a temper. After the groups' meeting with Elfangor, her relationship with Melissa faded, and her obsession with the war took the place of her older shopping hobby. Out of all the Animorphs, Rachel was the only one that seemed to enjoy the war, always eager to jump into a crazy mission. Her catchphrase was "Let's do it!" Soon her daring and love of action grew to a dark, almost sadistic love of fighting and aggression.
Rachel's love of violence was noticed, and "exploited" by Jake and the Animorphs, and later, even Crayak. Though her will to battle and sacrifice herself was a powerful asset to the team, it disturbed all of the groups' members, including Rachel herself. In #32 - The Separation, Rachel is accidentally split into two different beings, possessing different qualities of Rachel; most easily described as "Mean Rachel" and "Wimp Rachel." Her violent side was far stronger than her kinder side, a fact that haunted Rachel throughout the series.
Rachel and Tobias have only had a few dates where both are human - they go to a dance and later go to a beach in book 33 - The Illusion. Other times, their "dates" include them both flying in bird morph. Though their relationship seems fairly casual, Rachel and Tobias have serious feelings for each other which grow stronger throughout the series. Rachel repeatedly urges Tobias to become a nothlit in his human form and quit participating in the war. She gets mad at the Ellimist for not returning Tobias to his human body as promised, instead only giving him his morphing powers and the ability to morph into his former human self.
Most notable about Rachel is that although many of the Animorphs' victories were attributed to her (David, Tom Berenson), Rachel was not supposed to be an Animorph. In The Ellimist Chronicles, the The Ellimist tells Rachel in her last minutes of life that she was nothing but "a happy accident," and was not supposed to be with Jake, Cassie, Tobias, and Marco that night, but that "her life meant all the difference". In book 54 - The Beginning she dies. In the last chapters of the book Jake, Marco and Tobias commandeer a prototype Yeerk warship from the Andalites and name it Rachel. Its fate is ambiguous as the story ends with Jake giving the command to use it to ram the Blade ship the group had been chasing.
Relationships with the other Animorphs
- Jake: Jake often ponders on Rachel's bloodthirsty and degenerative nature, while the darker side of Rachel's mind wonders on what would happen should she ever challenged Jake's leadership - however, this is a thought process she throws out towards the end of the series after she confronts David and the Crayak along with the darker side to her nature. When Rachel accepts her final mission, which they both knew would be very dangerous, Rachel tells Jake not to be overwrought by his decision, knowing full well the burden under which Jake is placed. Jake is distraught by having had to send Rachel off to kill his Yeerk-infested brother and never recovers. Jake and Rachel, as cousins, are arguably two of the most similar animorphs. They share not only physical resemblance, both being tall, well-built, and possessing natural leadership and strength, but they share many of the same values. Both are very brave, though Rachel's bravery borders more upon rashness, and very self-sacrificing, always considering what is best for the group and for earth itself. They share a value of strength and honor, and both have a strong sense of morality and right and wrong, though Rachel sometimes pushes the border with her habit of violence, something that haunts both her and Jake, on occasion. Jake, being the leader he is, must do what's best for the group, and sometimes he's forced to use this dark side of Rachel to their advantage, and Rachel understands this. They share mutual respect for one another, and, though they sometimes have wild fights and disagreements, like Rachel rebelling under his leadership or Jake unable to deal with Rachel's senseless risk-taking, they are something of a dynamic duo, both in battle and out of it, and never quite lose the kinship between them, even in the hardest of times.
- Tobias: Before the start of the series Rachel and Tobias weren't friends, although it is implied that they had some prior knowledge of each other. They quickly develop feelings for each other, and eventually begin a relationship and fall in love. It is sometimes unclear what exactly Rachel sees in Tobias that captivates her so much, but it may be because of the way he sees her as more than the others do, as more than a warrior and a lover of violence. Tobias sees the good in her, and worries about her like she's a normal girl, not the fighting machine the others sometimes think of her as. And, while Tobias is no stranger to violence and doesn't shrink from making hard decisions, he has very clear boundaries of right and wrong, and, to some degree, seems to be something of an odd pacifist, refusing to take life when it isn't needed, and showing remarkable pity for his prey and even his enemies. Even as a hawk, Tobias preserves his intrinsic softness, a memento from his human years. This is something so opposed to Rachel's nature that it seems almost to attract her, as though she is drawn to the controlled, nonviolent personality that she can never have. Tobias has always loved Rachel, despite her flaws, though both seem to know deep down that they can never truly be together--the physical and mental gaps between them are just too great.
- Cassie: Rachel and Cassie are best friends. However, tension develops between them over the course of the series; Cassie is increasingly wary of Rachel's darkening nature, and Rachel in turn becomes impatient with Cassie's morality. Cassie's integrity and coherence are questioned by the reader when she leaves Rachel to hunt down David by herself, whom she then captures and is thus alone with, helplessly sobbing while deciding on whether she will have to kill a serene and accepting David or not (his fate is never revealed). Rachel feels she is often used as a tool to protect the innocence of the rest of the Animorphs. Her dark nature is fueled by their veiled hypocrisy (except perhaps for Tobias - as he has his own psychological problems to deal with despite loving her). Nevertheless, this is something she doesn't rebel from, voluntarily sacrificing herself in order to protect their well-being. This is ultimately why Rachel and Cassie, despite being, on the surface, complete opposites, are such good friends. Rachel, though a naturally reckless and perhaps deeply flawed person, is intrinsically and fundamentally self-sacrificing, and puts the lives of her friends far above her own, a character trait shared more obviously by Cassie, always characterized as being kind and sympathetic to others. So, though their friendship, like any true bond, especially one forged under such trying circumstances, suffers its ups and downs, Rachel and Cassie remain to the end what I like to think of as true soulmates, or, more commonly put, BFFs. Over the entire course of the series they never truly abandon each other, and, even in the toughest of times, always have each others' back.
- Marco: Rachel and Marco often argue, though their verbal sparring is good-natured. They are similar in terms of ruthlessness, although Marco is inherently much more calculative and strategic; a side which contrasts with her increasingly reckless nature. He is the least affected by her death, given his philosophy towards life. In Back to Before, a book where an alternate-reality is concocted by the Ellimist and the Crayak, she agrees to date him. Marco, while sharing some of Rachel's coldness and ruthlessness, is in some ways her opposite, his characteristic trait being caution and a somewhat selfish sense of automatic self-preservation, whereas Rachel is completely reckless and very self-sacrificing. However Marco is often the only person who truly understands Rachel's mindset during a group decision, and they tend to often be on the same side of an argument when it comes down to it, as much as they bicker amongst each other.
- Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill: The relationship between Rachel and Ax is one of the weakest in the series, however there is dynamic between them. The alien space cadet and the human girl are similar in many ways, both sharing a militant attitude towards war and combat, both brave, both valuing strength and warrior-like qualities. Ax has been known to observe respect towards Rachel for being such a brave warrior who does not underestimate enemies, but has also been known to be critical of her sometimes overly rash behavior, and is quick to counsel her towards caution. In the beginning, Rachel is initially distrustful of Ax and is in general indifferent towards him. She is quick to criticize him for hiding things from the group or not appearing to be loyal, and for disrespecting humans in general, and can sometimes appear condescending toward the alien. The two rarely, if ever, interact one-on-one. Ax is ruthless and calculative like Marco, but unlike him, Ax is more sensitive and becomes evermore apprehensive of Rachel's bloodthirstiness - something that he considers to be unfit for a warrior and akin to a mental illness. Ax and Rachel maintain throughout the series, however, a general respect for one another, and, though their one-on-one relationship is never explored in depth, they clearly grow more comfortable towards one another as the series continues and they share more and more impossible experiences two people can't share without becoming somewhat intimate with one another, even if one happens to be an alien.
Raptor Morph: Bald Eagle
- According to the Anibase, Rachel has a total 44 morphs in the series.
Televison Show Morphs
|Cat||My Name is Jake, Part 2|
|Fly||On the Run|
|Melissa Chapman's Cat (Fluffer McKitty)||Between Friends|
|Red-tailed Hawk (Tobias)||The Forgotten|
|Mouse||Face Off, Part 1|
|Yeerk||Face Off, Part 2|
|White-headed Capuchin||My Name is Erek|
|Grizzly Bear||Changes, Part 1|
|Gecko||Changes, Part 2|
|Skunk||Changes, Part 3|
Rachel has a total of 14 morphs in the TV show.
Books Narrated By Rachel
- #2 The Visitor
- #7 The Stranger
- Megamorphs #1 The Andalite's Gift
- #12 The Reaction
- #17 The Underground
- Megamorphs #2 In the Time of Dinosaurs
- #22 The Solution
- Alternamorphs #2 The Next Passage
- #27 The Exposed
- Megamorphs #3 Elfangor's Secret
- #32 The Separation
- #37 The Weakness
- Megamorphs #4 Back to Before
- #42 The Journey
- #48 The Return
- #54 The Beginning
- Rachel's nicknames include Xena: Warrior Princess and Ms. Fashion.
- Suffers from near-sightedness and claustrophobia.
- The Rachel is named in memory of Rachel.
- Rachel is allergic to crocodile DNA.
- In the Animorphs TV series, Rachel's battle morph is a Lion, as opposed to her Grizzly Bear morph in the books, however Rachel does morph a Grizzly Bear in one episode of the T.V. series. This is interesting, since the Lion was the battle morph of her enemy David.
- In #21: The Threat, it's stated that Rachel is related to Jake's family through her father. Later in #31 The Conspiracy, Rachel says that Jake's family is related to her family through Jake's dad; making Steve and Dan (Jake and Rachel's fathers, respectively) brothers. This also means Rachel surname would be Berenson if it was never changed or hyphenated.
- Rachel's DNA was acquired three times in the series. One time was when Ax acquired her as mix for his human morph. The second time was when Cassie acquired her to extract the crocodile DNA. The final time was when Elena acquired her to leave the hospital.
- Since the TV series lasted for only 26 episodes, and didn't completely finish the novel storyline, Rachel is still alive at the TV series' end.
- Rachel has the most book covers showing her morphing into an aquatic animal with 3 (Books 12, 27 and 32).
- In The Reaction, it is revealed that she is allergic to crocodile DNA. In the TV show, this was changed to Cassie for unknown reasons.
- From The Anibase: Katherine Applegate always admitted to borrowing ideas from other sources, and the split Rachel (in The Separation) idea is no different. Here's what she had to say about the idea, and also about how she was trying to develop Rachel's character: "I'd admit I stole this from the original Star Trek, except, of course, that they stole it from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was really fun to write. And I was advancing my view of Rachel as the 'warrior who comes to need war'."
Toy and Game Gallery
|Animorphs||Jake | Rachel | Tobias | Cassie | Marco | Ax|
|Auxiliary Animorphs||James | Collette | Timmy | Kelly | Craig | Erica | Julio | Liam | Tricia | Jessie | Judy | Ray | Pedro | Elena|
|New Animorphs||Jeanne Gerard | Menderash-Postill-Fastill | Santorelli|
|Other Animorphs||David | You|