In honor of the first Rebuild of Evangelion movie being released on DVD in the U.S., I thought I’d post my thoughts of the dub. My dub review comes from a theatrical viewing of the dub a few months ago, and is not representative of the DVD. But they should be identical anyway.
First of all, I completely loathed the original Evangelion dub (and I hated the original movie dubs even more). It had one of the worst assembled casts of all time. Worse than the people in “Manos: The Hands of Fate.” Not to mention one of the shittiest directors, Matt Greenfield, ever. Basically, he just cast a bunch of his no-talent friends, and had them ham it up. The original dub is on par with what you’d find in a middle school drama class. It is fucking awful. A testament to why you should never watch a dub. And just in case any of you think I “hate all dubs,” let me explain something else. There are some anime dubs that I loved, and watch those shows exclusively in English (e.g. Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Outlaw Star, and Fullmetal Alchemist — just to name a few). Anyway, my expectations for the Rebuild of Evangelion dub were extremely low. I was expecting a turd on celluloid. So, how did it hold up?
Shinji – Spike Spencer performed much better than he ever did in the TV series. It seems like he has grown quite a lot as an actor. His line delivery was spot on almost all of the time. He embodied the role quite well, and was very convincing. The only complaint I have is that his screams are somewhat comical, and when Eva-01 got blasted by Ramiel, his screams were so ridiculous they actually made me laugh out loud. I don’t think the other theater-goers were very happy with me.
Misato – Allison Keith-Shipp did a good job, too. While I still think her acting can be a little weak, and her voice shrill, for the most part she was fine. She had the proper amount of gravity during dramatic scenes, and the right amount of lightheartedness in the fun scenes. She was probably the person I hated the most in the original dub, and I expected her to ruin the entire movie. Fortunately, she has improved a lot as an actor since her original performance in the TV series. Not bad, not bad at all.
Rei – Her voice actress was excellent. She was able to be quiet and solemn, without sounding fake and hoarse like Amanda Winn-Lee (the original english Rei). She doesn’t have that many lines, but her delivery for all of them was perfect. Without a doubt, she was one of the highlights of the dub.
Gendo – Why is Crispin Freeman* not voicing this character? Gendo was all right, but not too memorable. He came off as more of a bastard than the previous dub actor, which is definitely a good thing. Still, there was something lacking in his performance. Maybe he came across as too emotionally involved, where Gendo should seem detached. Again, a good performance, but not amazing. *Rumor has it that Robin Williams, a self-proclaimed Evangelion fan, also auditioned for the role of Gendo. While it might have been odd hearing a big star on an anime dub, I think he would have been much better than the person they went with. At least he would have sounded different than the actor who played Fuyutsuki.
Fuyutsuki – He sounds too much like Gendo, and sometimes it can be hard to tell which character is speaking. I’m apathetic to his performance as he does not have much of a presence in this movie.
Ritsuko – Sort of flat sounding. She had more of the detached voice that Gendo should have had. I think her actress, while good, could have been better. There’s just something about her voice that doesn’t quite fit the character.
Toji – The best Toji so far. At first I didn’t like his voice, but it grew on me. By the end, I thought he fit the role well.
Kensuke – I think that Greg Ayres did an awesome job. Even though he is omnipresent in anime these days, he did fine. His higher pitched, almost puberty-cracking voice was perfect for the role. He had the right amount of enthusiasm and nerdiness to make Kensuke memorable.
Keel – Although he only shows up in Monolith form, his voice is menacing as hell. Great choice.
Kaworu – He seemed all right, but his part was too brief to make any real judgment.
Bridge Bunnies – They sort of just blend into the scenes, and nobody stood apart from the others.
While I don’t think this cast will ever surpass the original Japanese actors, Funimation did a damn good job. This time they had a real director instead of motherfucking Matt Greenfield, and that payed off in spades. Spike and Allison have had years to improve their skills, and with a competent director, were able to turn in great performances. Overall, the dub was good, and I can entertain the idea of watching it again in the future. While the original Japanese is still the best, this English dub is a vast improvement over the ADV dub.
And also, it rocked watching Evangelion in a movie theater, on the big screen.