New Cast of Fullmetal Alchemist
A while back, news broke that for the new FMA series, based closer to the original Hiromu Arakawa manga than the first television series, the Japanese voice actresses Romi Paku and Rie Kugimiya would be reprising their roles as Edward and Alphonse Elric, respectively. This was met with much celebration from fans of the first series, such as myself, as they were great in those roles. However, now there's confirmation that while some other voice talent are returning to their roles in the new series, others are not.
Here's some of the new cast (replacements noted with credits):
Romi Paku as Edward Elric
Rie Kugimiya as Alphonse Elric
Megumi Takamoto (Chao Rinshen in Negima) as Winry Rockbell (previously Megumi Toyoguchi, Mimiru in .hack//SIGN)
Shinichiro Miki (Lockon Stratos/Neil Dylandy in Gundam 00) as Roy Mustang (previously Toru Okawa, Saito in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex)
Fumiko Orikasa (Shirley Fenette in Code Geass) as Riza Hawkeye (previously Michiko Neya, Talho in Eureka Seven)
Kenji Utsumi as Alex Louis Armstrong
Keiji Fujiwara as Maes Hughes
Yuji Ueda (Zolf J. Kimbley in the first Fullmetal Alchemist series) as Jean Havoc (previously Yasunori Matsumoto, Alejandro Corner in Gundam 00)
Kenji Hamada (Harry MacDowel [teen] in Gungrave) as Valto Falman (previously Tekhiro Murozo, Katou in Baki the Grappler)
Kaori Nazuka (Nunnally Lamperouge in Code Geass) as Maria Ross (previously Mitsuki Saiga, Rossiu in Gurren Lagann)
Hidekatsu Shibata as Fuhrer King Bradley
Kenta Miyake (Tsume in Wolf's Rain) as Scar (previously Ryotaro Okiayu, Trieze Kushrenada in Gundam Wing)
Kikuko Inoue (Aina Sahlin in Gundam: 08th MS Team) as Lust (previously Yuuko Satou, Yoh Asakura in Shaman King)
Tetsu Shiratori (Kain Fuery in the first Fullmetal Alchemist series) as Gluttony (previously Yasuhiro Takato, Artemis in Sailor Moon)
Minami Takayama (Dilandau Albatau in Vision of Escaflowne) as Envy (previously Mayumi Yamaguchi, Gachagiri in Denno Coil)
Hiroyuki Yoshino (Allelujah Haptism in Gundam 00) as Kimbley (previously Yui Ueda)
Kouchi Yamadera (Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop) as Isaac (a new character?)
For the most part, I'm okay with the recasts, with the exception of Roy Mustang's and Scar's voices. Shinichiro Miki is a talented voice actor, but from what I've heard of him, he lacks the booming quality that Okawa brought to Roy, allowing him to be both smug at times and commanding at other times. I don't think Kenta Miyake has the chops nor the tone of Scar. Ryotaro Okiayu sounded really deep and threatening as Scar.
I'm glad that Romi Paku, Rie Kugimiya, Kenji Utsumi, Keii Fujiwara, and Hidekatsu Shibata are all returning to their roles. Especially in the cases of Paku, who brought a pitch-perfect intensity to Edward, and Shibata's authorative Fuhrer Bradley.
One wonders if, should (more like when) Funimation licenses the new series for R1 release, they will be replacing any of the voice actors in their dub. While the Japanese Edward remains the same, I would suggest changing the voice of Edward in the English dub from Vic Mignogna to Eric Vale. I have a strong dislike for Mignogna in the role of Edward, as his scratchy droning only serves to lessen the feelings of pathos in the voice of the character. I doubt, however, that they will do anything so drastic, since the dub is popular, despite my own opinions of it.
Another interesting thing is the question over whether Aaron Dismuke would reprise his role as the English dub voice of Alphonse, one of the few good performances in the dub, in my opinion. It's been said that due to puberty he wouldn't be fit for the role any longer. But, as I'm not a fan of the dub overall, it wouldn't make too big a difference to me if he was replaced in the long run.
My biggest disappointment in cast and crew changes is that of the soundtrack. No longer will we be given music composed by Michiru Oshima, who brought us beautiful pieces like "Brothers", "Amestris", and "Way Home". The new composer is Akira Senju, who did the music for Victory Gundam. Only having seen six episodes of that particular Gundam series, I wasn't really exposed that long to his talents, and nothing stood out to me, so I decided to find the OSTs and listen. They're... ehhh, all right. But they aren't nearly as good as Oshima's work in the first FMA series. I guess we'll have to see if he can shine, because he has a lot to live up to.
Anyway, just a little FMA 2 news. Look for it April 5, replacing Gundam 00 in its timeslot on TBS/MBS in Japan!