Megumi Hayashibara (林原 めぐみ, Hayashibara Megumi, born March 30, 1967) is a Japanese voice actress, singer, radio personality, and lyricist from Tokyo and is affiliated with Woodpark Office. One of the most prominent Japanese voice actresses of the 90's, Hayashibara is best known for her roles in Love Hina, Saber Marionette J, Ranma ½, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, Slayers, Detective Conan, Pokémon, All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku, Video Girl Ai, and Shaman King.
Megumi Hayashibara was born on March 30, 1967 in Tokyo, Japan. She studied at a Catholic school, and at one point was bullied in fifth grade. She was an active club member and participated in the Badminton, Biology, Broadcasting, Drama, and English clubs. She played the role of Alice in an English language production of Alice in Wonderland. Despite qualifying as a nurse, she has never been employed in a nursing position.
On March 30, 1998, she married. On January 10, 2004, she announced on her radio show that she was pregnant with her first child. On June 28 of the same year, she gave birth to her daughter by emergency caesarian section.
On the same day as submitting the application for nursing school, she went to a book store and found an advert offering free anime voice acting auditions at Arts Vision. Several months after submitting a demo tape, she received a confirmation of passing the first stage of the audition, and eventually decided to continue training as a nurse while doing voice acting. After a year of voice actor training, Hayashibara was chosen to voice small roles on Maison Ikkoku. Initially, she had difficulty with her lines and had to redo many lines after the main recording sessions. Hayashibara later auditioned for Ranma ½ expecting to be cast as Akane Tendo, but was cast as the female half of Ranma Saotome instead. In 1993 and 1995, Hayashibara was a guest at Anime America. At the 1995 event, she decided to give a speech in English after believing the translation at the 1993 event did not reflect what she had said. In 1995, Hayashibara provided the voice of Rei Ayanami in Neon Genesis Evangelion, a role referred to as "innovative casting".
In addition to voicing Musashi/Jessie of Team Rocket in Pokémon, Hayashibara has also voiced Ash's Pidgeotto and Pidgeot, May's Skitty, Whitney's Miltank, Clair's Dratini and Dragonair, Latios, Latias, and Anabel's Espeon in both the Japanese and English-language versions of the anime. She also provides the voice for Ai Haibara in the ongoing anime series, Detective Conan.
While at nursing school, she started a temporary job as a DJ at a local ice skating rink. After becoming better known as a voice actress, she was given her own Radio show, "Heartful Station". After 17 shows, the broadcasting station cancelled the show and other anime related programming to concentrate on traditional music. However, 6 months later, Hayashibara started a new radio show at another broadcaster.
Hayashibara wrote a series of comics for Anime V magazine, with artwork by Sakura Asagi. The comics, known as "Megumi-Toons", talked about her personal life and career. The individual chapters were collected into the book Ashita ga aru sa (明日があるさ, "There is always Tomorrow"), which has been reprinted several times. Hayashibara has also contributed two columns to Newtype magazine; Aitakute Aitakute, and Speaking in Character. Aitakute Aitakute is a series of interviews conducted by Hayashibara with people from all walks of life. Three compilations of the column have been published. Speaking in Character has been translated into English for Newtype USA.
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