Next month, fans around the world will get to read the memoirs of celebrated voice actress Megumi Hayashibara. The star has appeared in dozens of anime, in iconic roles known around the globe. We can’t wait to read all about her experiences… so today, we’re looking back at a few of our favorite roles she’s played.
Fair warning: we will almost certainly miss one of your favorites. But that’s because she’s done so much, we don’t even have room to cover all the big ones! Fortunately, we can look forward to her detailing all her experiences in book form very soon.
Rei Ayanami (and Pen Pen), Neon Genesis Evangelion
Evangelion is a bit on our minds since the last film has been put off indefinitely. And with those thoughts, come memories of Rei Ayanami. The mysterious character has been through a lot of crazy phases, from silent watcher to terrifying giant space lady. Megumi Hayashibara has played her since the beginning, and we can’t wait to hear what she’ll do in the final movie.
Plus — depending on which copy of the series you watch — you can hear Hayashibara’s chill cover of “Fly Me to the Moon” at the end of every episode. And let’s not forget, she’s also the voice of beer-swilling pet penguin Pen Pen. Oh, and another role, but if you know the series you can probably figure out who that is.
Minky Momo, Magical Princess Minky Momo: Hold on to Your Dreams
There are actually two separate incarnations of classic magical girl Minky Momo. The first, from the 1982 series, sports the voice of Mami Koyama. (That’s the one who got hit by a truck.) The 1991 series, subtitled, Hold on to Your Dreams, featured Megumi Hayashibara as a different Momo (sometimes called “Sea Momo” as opposed to season 1’s “Sky Momo”).
As before, Momo came from a magical kingdom (this time from under the sea), and a childless couple takes her in. As magic began to disappear from the world, Momo would use her own magic to restore the hopes and dreams of the people of the world. And there’s a special guest from the first season late in the series…
Faye Valentine, Cowboy Bebop
Gorgeous grifter Faye Valentine is a mainstay of the Bebop, right alongside Spike Spiegel and the rest of the gang. While she’s not the only member of the crew with a mysterious background, she is one of the few largely unaware of her own history. But before the show is over, she discovers more about herself.
The deceptively chill character is a great role from Megumi Hayashibara, and one that just adds to every other memorable aspect of Cowboy Bebop. Her more personal episodes are a major joy to listen to, as she goes from cool space bounty hunter to full nostalgic emotion.
Most of us are familiar with the Pokémon dub by default, but Megumi Hayashibara plays a major role in the show’s original-language release. As Jessie (Musashi in Japanese), she makes up one-third of the OG Team Rocket alongside James (Kojiro) and their faithful Meowth.
If you ever have a chance to give the original Japanese language track a listen, check out her performance!
Lina Inverse, Slayers
Undeniably one of Megumi Hayashibara’s most iconic roles, Lina Inverse is celebrating a big anniversary in style this year. The explosive sorceress has been blowing up countries and hunting treasure for 30 years, and she’s showing no signs of slowing down. Plus, Hayashibara sings the many seasons’ awesome opening themes, which are enough to get your adrenaline going.
She’s back for a new CD of those songs, as well as voice work in multiple Slayers collaborations currently underway. She’s still just as cool, cute, and terrifying as we remember!
And all of this still leaves out lots of Megumi’s big roles: girl-type Ranma, Nuku-Nuku, Paprika, even Hello Kitty herself! We can’t wait to find out more in her memoirs.
Which of Megumi Hayashibara’s many roles is your favorite?
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