Some Thoughts On: Evangelion 2.22 English Dub Cast

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Funimation has announced the English dub cast for Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22:

Spike Spencer (still) as Shinji Ikari
Brina Palencia (still) as Rei Ayanami
Allison Keith (still) as Misato Katsuragi
Tiffany Grant (reprises her role) as Asuka Lagely Shikinami
Trina Nishimura as Mari Makinami Illustrious
Colleen Clinkenbeard (still) as Ritsuko Agaki
J. Michael Tatum as Ryoji Kaiji

Great. Tiffany Grant is back as Asuka. Hoy boy, this is going to be rough.

While it's true that Spike Spencer improved somewhat from his previous performance as an obscenely exaggerated, stereotypical cartoon coward Shinji Ikari for 1.0, it wasn't such a huge change as to rival Megumi Ogata's brilliance as Shinji. And Allison Keith seems to have improved as an actress, too, but she's no Kotono Mitsuishi. Tiffany Grant's Asuka may have been fine for its time, but when you look back today, it was so over-the-top and lacking in humanity, that Grant's going to have to really do her best just to be tolerable in the role. The problem is, Tiffany Grant, from what I remember from her various roles, is incapable of subtlety, and while Asuka isn't the most subtle character, she certainly does have moments where real acting chops help, and Tiffany Grant has very little of that.

I don't particularly find myself caring about the casting of Mari. First of all, Mari barely has any lines in the movie. She's practically a nonentity until just before the end, and even then, she still fails spectacularly and all the build up to her fight seems wasted. Second, I'm not very familiar with Trina Nishimura. Her Lanfan in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is decent, but she doesn't really blow me away. Then again, neither does Mari, so perhaps it's an appropriate casting. Hey, at least it's not Caitlin Glass or Cynthia Cranz.

J. Michael Tatum. Hm. Well, I liked his Zarbon. I think his Scar is fine when he speaks up. But he's no amazing talent, like Kaji's Japanese voice, Koichi Yamadera. I would have to wait and see (or rather, hear) how he does. I can't be certain whether he'd be good or not. Kaji's voice in the TV series was one of the few I liked, but even he was no match for Yamadera's sly, but sad sounding Kaji.

It's hard to have a preference for Rei Ayanami. I think any woman who can whisper well can be Rei. I acknowledge that pretty much all the VAs I've heard do a fair job with the character. My only problem with Palencia from 1.0 was that she spoke a little too fast at times, but I'm guessing that's due to Funimation trying to cram in too many words in a line reading due to faulty scripting or directing. Her Rei is as good as any other.

This all isn't to say I wouldn't give the English dub a chance, but I have my doubts. Grave doubts. But hey, Monica Rial is returning as Pen Pen!