Seiyuu Retrospective

Megumi Ogata (Shinji Ikari)
PROFILE • Birthdate: June 6, Affiliation: Aoni Productions, Blood type: B
Megumi Ogata has captured the hearts of numerous female fans as the voice of Kurama in Yuu Yuu Hakushou" and Tennou Haruka (Uranus) in "Bishoujou Senshi Sailor Moon S". She also wrote the lyrics and sang the theme song "Time Leap" for the movie of the same name.

I first encountered him in the Autumn 3 years ago.
Neatly dressed in his summer school uniform and with clean, close-cropped hair, he looked like the type of boy you might find anywhere... the kind that if you opened a window right now, you might see walking down the street talking and laughing with his friends. (At first I wondered if it was going to be a story like) "Is this kid really going to protect the world?" That's what I thought.

Shinji is a normal boy -- the type of normal boy that you might find anywhere. How might he react when he is suddenly thrown into a non-normal situation? How might his body and soul quiver in fear?
I tried to figure out these things as I do for all my roles, but then I stopped. And I decided that I would just swim within the story.
I would paddle slowly, sometimes against the current, sometimes with the current. Swimming in my natural state -- without anything covering me.

Just me as I am.

I sometimes felt a loathing when I held the script.
And was shocked to realize that this loathing was towards a part of me.
Pain as I peeled away the scabs from my heart one after another.
The fear of breaking down.
Rejection, despair, pleasure, rapture, aversion....
It was all so real -- it was live.
A strip show that was more embarrassing than actually taking off my clothes.
3 years during which I unmistakably faced "Me".

I thought that when the story was over, I would be able to view it somewhat objectively -- but I couldn't. Because it was still continuing -- because I am alive -- because the people I like are alive. So I think that I will surely repeat over and over as I gasp for breath amidst a certain peace of sorts. Foolish pursuits -- and the pursuit of an irresistible love.

I love people.
June 19, 1997 -- Dedicated to my late father on his birthday

Kotono Mitsuishi (Misato Katsuragi)
PROFILE • Birthdate: December 8, Affiliation: Arts Vision, Blood type: A
Widely known as the voice of Tsukino Usagi in "Bishoujou Senshi Sailor Moon", Kotono Mitsuishi has played a central role in creating the 3rd voice acting boom. She has appeared in numerous works including the female Maze in "MAZE * Bakunetsu Jikuu", and has also released several song albums.

I am truly glad to have met her. It was difficult playing Misato Katsuragi even during the TV series -- because she is a person who doesn't easily speak her true feelings. During scenes where her feelings exploded or she poured out her heart, I also became a bit over-emotional and afterwards couldn't remember exactly what kind of performance I had given (- not a good thing). My hands shook and it took all my might to keep the script I was holding from rustling and making noise. (Times like these make me feel that voice acting is a bit restricting.) I have focused exclusively on Misato for so long -- wanting to know her, to get close to her -- concentrating all of my five senses on her. That's the way I am, so I am unable to objectively look at "Eva" right now after finishing the voice-over work. My perspective is still on the same level as Misato, but I feel that's fine. In episode 25' "Air" she was strong, brave and a woman. The sole survivor of Second Impact 15 years earlier, her cross necklace is the keepsake of her father. I wonder if it's just me who feels that she alone survived in order to give that cross to Shinji?

It is a truly heavy cross to bear.

My parting words to Misato:
"Well done, and thank you"
I love you."

Megumi Hayashibara (Rei Ayanami)
PROFILE • Birthdate: March 30, Affiliation: Arts Vision, Blood type: O
Megumi Hayashibara has appeared in numerous works including as Lina in "Slayers". She has enjoyed immense popularity since before the 3rd voice acting boom, and is considered to have laid the foundation for the current boom. She is also a well known radio program personality.

It may be very risky delving deep into the psyche of another person. The more you try to know another person, the more you find an endless depth. You may find out a little, and gain some pleasure, but you can never become that other person. You can never completely understand another person's heart. (After all, you don't even really know yourself.)
But it is not futile or thankless work. Trying to understand and become closer to others is a wonderful thing. I think that the "desire" to understand is different from just "feeling" that you want to understand. For this reason there is no need to do it "well". The more unstable you are, the more you worry about other people, and how they view you. But that's okay, because you are you. Whatever you see, hear, are recommended, or eat, you are free to decide what you take into and expel from your body. Whether a person lives in a grandiose manner or simply seeks pleasure depends on that person. Intense happiness and quiet happiness also depends on that person. Deep in my heart I have a still, unwavering, indescribable and invisible "place" where I face myself and reaffirm that "I want to live." But that doesn't mean that I want to promote this way of life or say it's wonderful at all. I am only facing myself. I am different from other people, but that is why I sometimes want to be or do like others. (like the Instrumentality Project?) Sometimes I even try to force my will onto others, saying that something should be a certain way. I feel that wanting to do so is fine, but actually doing it is not. After all, that is coercion -- compulsion. Further, it feels good to want to be like each other. It is very comfortable when you are with another person whom you have come to know well and have this feeling with. I want to meet many people like this. Finally I want to say that I gained many things from Eva.

Thank you, good night, and remember - the things you can see aren't everything.

Yuuko Miyamura (Sohryu Asuka Langley)
PROFILE • Birthdate: December 4, Affiliation: M.T. Projects, Blood type: O
A younger voice actress who made her break as the voice of Sohryu Asuka Langley in Evangelion, she has also appeared as Marie Karigari in "Boku no Marie/My Dear Marie" and as the Princess Natsu in "Hyper Police". She is also active as a singer, having released the album "Kenka Banchou" and other songs.

Evangelion has finally reached its conclusion.... Congratulations, everyone, on a job well done. No, really -- Thank you very much. 24 years ago as I gave my birthing cries in Kobe, surely not even Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the combined fleet or Nostradamus could have predicted that I would participate in the project called Evangelion. Evangelion's popularity is unstoppable -- like the raid on Pearl Harbor. I'm sure that every Eva fan with a Japanese Spirit will feel like singing none other than "Off to Sea" from "Sally Forth" as they watch this conclusion. If so, then I'd like to send everyone to the theater with a big cheer of "Banzai!" In case you couldn't tell, I think I had a "Kamikaze" feeling during the voice-over. (heart) Haha... (heart) Well done everyone.

Yuriko Yamaguchi (Ritsuko Akagi)
PROFILE • Birthdate: November 21, Affiliation: 81 Produce, Blood type: B
A younger voice actress whose first regular appearance was in Evangelion. Before that her main activities were puppet plays and other stage productions. Her other roles include Mikemi in "Food by the Bucket" and Kachusha in "Wedding Peach", etc.

Ritsuko fades away with her final word, "Liar." But what was this "Liar" in reference to? The script for this last scene only has Gendo saying: "Ritsuko Akagi, I truly...." followed by Ritsuko saying: "Liar (gets shot)". I can imagine many words that might follow "I truly....", but I can't decide on any in particular. That is the complexity of Gendou and Ritsuko's relationship.

From Ritsuko Akagi's inner feelings as a scientist, she could be considered a woman who blindly gave her love to Gendou Ikari, and also a foolish woman that walked the same path as her mother Naoko who committed suicide after being betrayed by Ikari. I personally wanted her to end as a convenient, submissive woman who simply wanted to die righteously. But in the previous movie (D&R) she ended as a deeply jealous woman filled with nothing but hatred toward Ikari.

Feeling unsatisfied with this, I looked for a way to accept her death at the hands of Ikari. This made the interpretation of "Liar" very important. But the voice-over grew nearer and nearer....

Director Anno must have noticed how I felt. When it came time to do the voice-over, he showed me a single, hidden hint at the last moment. With that one incredible hint, I, and Ritsuko Akagi, were utterly defeated. It hardly needs saying, but Director Anno is incredible. Truly awesome -- a genius. I am truly grateful for the two and a half years that I have been involved with this project, and I would like to take this chance to thank from the bottom of my heart everyone in the staff and cast who helped and supported me when I needed it.

Fumihiko Tatsuki (Gendou Ikari)
PROFILE • Birthdate: April 29, Affiliation: Ozawa Jimusho, Blood type: A
Active as a narrator for TV commercials, Fumihiko Tatsuki specializes in 'funky' roles. Representative appearances include the reporter Yanagishita in "Miracle Giants - Doumu-kun" and Uncle Bob in "HARELUYA II BØY". He is also active as a singer.

From the TV series to the spring theater release (D&R), and now to this conclusion -- normally this would be like plodding along toward the peak of a steep mountain. Inside of me, however, the "days of maturation" over this period declined against my will, leading me to confirm anew the fickleness of my soul.

I feel that the more I say about Evangelion, the more I am "living the wrong way." However, as long as I can liberate the feelings in my heart, I feel that my performances as a "voice actor involved with Eva" might not be merely a bunch of fine plays and bloopers, but rather a series of mysterious and concealed performances. Although I took the approach
of not exaggerating emotional expression in playing the role of Gendou Ikari, I did my best to squeeze out every ounce of power I could given my present abilities so as not to be overshadowed by the incredible detail and overall high level of this anime.

I cannot find words enough to thank Director Anno for stolidly watching over this forlorn role, as well as the Acoustical Director and numerous staff for their immense support.

Motomu Kiyokawa (Kouzou Fuyutsuki)
PROFILE • Birthdate: April 9, Affiliation: Haikyou, Blood type: AB
Motomu Kiyokawa has worked on numerous anime and foreign TV dramas, and is also active as a stage actor. He has also played numerous monster roles in SFX productions. Other appearances in GAINAX works include Gargoyle in "Nadia - The Secret of Blue Water", and he is also the voice of Professor Mikamura in "Mobile Suit G Gundam".

It must have been just after the final voice-over session that Director Anno told us to redo the recording with fairly detailed instructions. Thus, after having recorded the entire voice-over, we went back one cut at a time and recorded almost all of the lines again.

I'm sure that Director Anno put his heart and soul into this work. And it was quite difficult for we actors to give a performance befitting Director Anno's heart and soul, because compared to overseas drama, Japanese drama is still at the kindergarten level. Thus, I approached the final recording filled with the thought that if only we were more skillful, we could give a performance worthy of Director Anno.

I was riding the subway about the time of the spring theater release (D&R), and overheard three junior high school aged kids discussing Evangelion. The discussion basically took the course of: "That part means such and such," "No, I disagree," and so on. There haven't been very many anime works that people have really discussed, and I think this is one of the great things about Eva.

I feel that even when acting on stage, the type of drama that makes the audience feel and think various things is interesting drama, and also good drama. Of course, the audience won't imagine anything if the drama is devoid of content. Director Anno created many such places in Evangelion where the audience can imagine things. That's why I think it is great.
Being able to interpret something in various ways means that much effort has been put into the pictures and story. The things which I have felt to be "true drama" in my over 40 years of acting experience, Director Anno has been able to master in just a few short years.

In this movie as well-- especially in the second half -- there are numerous places which make you think "Huh!?" Director Anno must have made a lot of different anime in order to create that "Huh!?" feeling. It made me feel once again that Director Anno is an incredible person.

Hiro Yuuki (Makoto Hyuga)
PROFILE • Birthdate: February 13, Affiliation: Ken Productions, Blood type: B
A younger voice actor specializing in sincere young man roles, Hiro Yuuki is known for his role as the hero Adieux in "Haou Taikei Ryuunaito". He has worked on numerous foreign films and foreign TV dramas including as the voice of Joey Russo in the foreign TV drama "Blossom".

The voice-over for the cinema edition is finished, and so is my work as an Evangelion voice actor. All that is left now is to view the finished product. I look back on the first episode of the TV series with fond recollection. We actors seem fated to approach each work with an attitude of extreme indifference. As soon as one job finishes, we must turn our thoughts to a different job. However, I was been able to be involved with Evangelion for a long period from the TV series to the first and now the second movie, although there was some interval between each. This has led me to develop a deeper attachment to my character. Makoto's confession of affection toward his superior... that scene left a deep impression. Inside myself I ruminated over the different things that he must have thought, must have felt.... I think that because I could be involved for so long, I was able to let my heart roam freely. Personally, I gained many things from the experience, although I'm not sure whether these appeared in my acting.

Takehito Koyasu (Shigeru Aoba)
PROFILE • Birthdate: May 5, Affiliation: Production Baobab, Blood type: A
Takehito Koyasu specializes in the roles of handsome villains with a dark past, such as Gai in (Tenku Senki) Shurato" and Zechs in "Mobile Suit Gundam Wing". He has recently planned and produced the male voice acting unit "Weiß".

What is "normal"?
What is "abnormal"?
Where is the boundary between "normal" and "abnormal"?
These are some of the things I thought.
I feel that the world determines good and bad, "normal" and "abnormal" by the concurrence of many people.
Is this right?
If we do things in even a slightly different manner than other people, we are viewed as heretics and kept at a distance.
If we think differently we are shunned.
However, isn't all progress and invention ultimately made by people who deviate from society and are thus not "normal"?
"Standards" change.
Evangelion is "abnormal" for the anime industry.
Many people must have thought so.
However, the boundary between "normal" and "abnormal" in the anime industry is currently changing.
Fertile imaginations and somewhat "abnormal" thinking.
These are the types of people that will change the world.
Anime industry "standards" are changing.
I am happy to have been able to play even a minor part in this history.
But I would liked to have played a bigger role.
That may be my true feelings.
I may be "normal".

Miki Nagasawa (Maya Ibuki)
PROFILE • Birthdate: July 11, Affiliation: Haikyou, Blood type: A
Representative works include Maria in "(Yuusha Shirei) Dakuon" and Palla Sith in "Mobile Suit Gundam X". Many of her roles are as active young girls. Recently she has been active as a personality on the radio program "Ayakashi radio kunoichiban", etc.

It was a work that made my heart ache,
A work that made me want to see the continuation so bad it hurt,
A work that I am happy to have been associated with,
And a work that I will never forget.

Akira Ishida (Kaworu Nagisa)
PROFILE • Birthdate: November 2, Affiliation: Ezaki Productions, Blood type: O
Well known as the voice of younger characters in foreign TV dramas such as Wesley in "Star Trek The Next Generation" and Lucas in "Sea Quest", he has also appeared as Fish Eye in "Bishoujou Senshi Sailor Moon SS", etc.

Profuse in speech and with very adult-like words and actions for just a junior high school student -- the type that's a little hard to draw close to. But the frankness and good nature to speak to someone he's just met with a smile makes a good impression.

Starting from nothing more than this perception, the character of Kaworu Nagisa began to express itself with each passing day. The circumstances surrounding Kaworu Nagisa established him as a navigator for delving into the labyrinth of Evangelion, and give new insight into its unspoken meaning.

Having come this far, I have considered straining what little wits I have and searching for the meaning of Evangelion through Kaworu Nagisa, but despite Kaworu's self-assured words there are just too many things I don't understand. But what is the meaning of Kaworu Nagisa, who
appeared in order to fulfill his appointed mission to "keep on living" but then just as swiftly died, rather like a dragonfly. Had I never been involved with Kaworu Nagisa I would not have to suffer this anguish.

Luckily, however, this time I was able to associate myself with Evangelion as Kaworu to the very end. Was Kaworu's choice correct? Did Kaworu really "keep on living"? While this answer appears to have been entrusted to Shinji, I am honestly happy to have been lucky enough to see it through to the end with my own eyes.