The 10 Best Voice Actors In The Reconstruction Of Evangelion English Dubs
The story of Neon Genesis EvangelionThe English dubs of are almost as convoluted as the anime’s own lore. The original series (i.e. the original 26-episode series, the compilation film Evangelion: death and rebirth, and alternative conclusion The End of Evangelion) was dubbed by Texas-based ADV Films in the late 1990s until 2002. In 2019, when Netflix acquired distribution of evangelization, they redubbed it with a new cast and a new screenplay.
the Rebuild of evangelization movies are just as complicated. The first three films were dubbed by Funimation, with a cast that mixed Funimation regulars with ADV alumni. However, the long gap between 3rd and 4th Rebuild movies meant their license lapsed, and Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0: Three Times Upon A Time was dubbed by Amazon, with redubs of the first three. While Amazon has at least recruited some of the ADV/Funimation cast, their dub of Rebuild suffers from the same issues as the Netflix dub of Neon Genesis; stilted direction and literal translation. This means that although the Funimation dub is incomplete, it is in many ways the superior work.
ten Caitlin Glass as Maya Ibuki
Of the three NERV Bridge Technicians, Maya has always had the most personality. She recoils in fear and horror at any kind of violence, a shame since such things are a professional hazard, and harbors unrequited feelings for Ritsuko. She was voiced by three actresses through the original Evangelion—Kendra Benham in the original, Monica Rial in the director’s cut of some episodes, and Amy Seeley in death and rebirth/The End of Evangelion.
In Rebuild, however, Maya is voiced by Funimation regular Caitlin Glass (whose roles include Winry Rockbell in Fullmetal Alchemist and Nefertari Vivi in A piece). Glass was able to show a new side of Maya in Evangelion 3.0: you can (not) redo, when the once fearful NERV tech turned into a stern WILLE officer during the time skip.
9 Colleen Clinkenbeard as Ritsuko Akagi
Ritsuko Akagi is NERV’s chief computer scientist and therefore crucial in maintaining the EVAs. In the original series, his troubled relationship with Gendo and his late mother sends him on a downward spiral, poisoning his friendship with Misato and ending in his death. In Rebuild, Ritsuko gets a more positive ending – she becomes Misato’s right-hand man at WILLE and lives through it.
Ritsuko was voiced by a different actress in each iteration of the series’ dub. Her Funimation voice actress, Colleen Clinkenbeard, is an experienced anime voice actress and puts her experience to good use. Unfortunately, the different direction that Rebuild Ritsuko’s story means Clinkenbeard fails to flex her dramatic muscle as much as ADV’s Sue Ulu does.
8 Felecia Angelle as Sakura Suzuhara
You can’t redo is when Rebuilding Evangelion comes completely out of the rails fixed by Neon Genesis. The story jumps forward 14 years and introduces a whole new status quo with many new characters. One of them is Toji Suzuhara’s younger sister, Sakura, who was only hinted at in the original series. Now that she has grown up during the time skip, Sakura is a junior member of WILLE and the only one who treats Shinji with anything other than indifference or disdain.
Felecia Angelle perfectly captures Sakura’s endearing precociousness; she ended up being one of five actors from the Funimation dub to reprise her role in the Amazon dub.
seven John Swasey as Gendo Ikari
John Swasey first voiced Gendo Ikari to ADV in the director’s cuts of episodes 21-24, but that was with the Rebuilt that he took over the role full-time. Gendo’s previous voice, Tristan MacAvery, was one of, if not the best, voice actor in ADV, so beating him would have been a challenge. Swasey met him choosing not to imitate MacAvery.
While MacAvery’s Gendo seemed perpetually irritated and always on the verge of rage, Swasey’s is utterly reserved. His authority is beyond doubt, so he hardly needs to bend his voice to convey it. He can also explore new depths for the character of Gendo in the final confrontation of father and son in Once upon a time three times.
6 Jerry Jewell as Kaworu Nagisa
The Angel/Human hybrid Kaworu Nagisa plays a greater role in the Rebuilt than the original series. Instead of a unique character (plus a post-mortem appearance in End of evangelism), he appeared in the first two films before taking center stage in You can’t redo. However, the trajectory of his arc and his ultimate fate are largely the same in both versions.
For Funimation, Jerry Jewell voiced Kaworu. His performance in You can’t redo is Kaworu’s best doubled performance. He’s the most alien, befitting a not-quite-human character, but his voice is soothing, as soothing as the music he makes with his piano. Listening to Jewell’s Kaworu speak, it’s all the more understandable why Shinji feels so comfortable in his presence.
5 Spike Spencer as Shinji Ikari
There are only three voice actors who have doubled evangelization from the beginning and remained in their roles until Once upon a time (except the Netflix redub). One of them is Spike Spencer as the series’ pseudo-hero, Shinji Ikari. Of the three consistent voices, Spencer’s age is the most notable.
It’s often hard to buy his voice as a teenager’s, and one has to wonder how much that fueled complaints about Shinji’s “groaning”. That said, Spencer is a talented actor; his performance at the height of Evangelion 2.0: You can (not) advance (“I want Rei – Give his back!“) is downright scary.
4 Brina Palencia as Rei Ayanami
In the ADV dub, Amanda Winn-Lee voiced Rei Ayanami; she then became ADR director for death and rebirth + To finish and returned as Rei in the Amazon dub. Winn-Lee’s performance as Rei is iconic, but it would be remiss not to give credit to Brina Palencia’s performance for Funimation; which is a very close and respectable second to Winn-Lee.
Rei de Palencia is more serious and does not sound as ethereal as Amanda Winn-Lee, closer to the voice of a human than an angel. However, this difference works well since the Rebuilt put more emphasis on Rei’s budding humanity.
3 Allison Keith-Shipp as Misato Katsuragi
Alongside Spike Spencer and Tiffany Grant, Allison Keith-Shipp has been the most consistent dub actor on evangelization like Misato Katsuragi. Keith-Shipp is semi-retired from dubbing, too bad considering his immense talent. Misato is a woman of contrasts; serving as the Colonel of NERV, she is tough as nails and a stern but compassionate leader.
Outside of work, it’s a hot brothel with a taste for alcohol and an apartment whose condition reflects his personal life. Keith-Shipp has always performed this contrast well, nailing comedy and drama. This balance is evident in both the Funimation and Amazon dubs of Rebuild.
2 Tiffany Grant as Asuka Langley Shikinami
Along with her late introduction in the original series, Asuka Langley Shikinami makes her debut in You can’t move forward. As (almost) always, she was voiced by Tiffany Grant. Grant is enthusiastic about the role, to say the least, and is even fluent in German, Asuka’s native language. Rebuild Asuka is written quite differently than in Neon Genesis—compare his different surname, Shikinami vs the original Soryu.
Yet Grant still excels as everyone’s favorite histrionic redhead EVA pilot. Tragically, Grant’s favorite Asuka line (“[Shinji is] not just an idiot, he’s a**hole!”) is only present in the original Funimation dub unavailable for You can’t redo.
1 Trina Nishimura as Mari Illustrious Makinami
Mari Makinami is an original creation by the Rebuilt without consideration in Neon Genesis. She doesn’t have the depth of Shinji, Asuka or Misato. Thanks to her gross vertigo and lack of overt psychological issues, she feels like a character from a more conventional mecha anime who somehow fell into the evangelization universe.
However, in terms of performance informing the character, Trina Nishimura stands tall and proud. All the best online deliveries in you can’t move on are his own (e.g. “Just…fuck…DIIIIIEEEE!”, “Point blank, shithead!”, “Nothing dared, nothing won!”, “HE’S HERE! “). Listening to her speak, it’s impossible not to become as elated as Mari herself piloting an EVA. No disrespect to Deneen Melody, but it’s a shame Nishimura didn’t return for the Amazon dub.
NEXT: Evangelion Rebuild: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mari
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