Creator / Megumi Hayashibara
Megumi Hayashibara, possibly the hardest-working woman in anime.

Although a pop/rock performer of substantial fame and talent with an international following, this former nurse is probably best known in the United States for the hundred or more roles she's played in various anime and video games; reading her resume is like reading a history of the best in Japanese animation.

Megumi Hayashibara was part of the wave of seiyuu, along with Hekiru Shiina and Mariko Kouda, that became popular in the 1990s due to the large amounts of money provided by recording companies and the more multi-media approach to stardom developed at that time. Her debut was playing several bit roles in the anime Maison Ikkoku which probably led to her role as girl-type Ranma. As of current, she stands as one of the most legendary female seiyuu in the business due to her extreme talent and resume.

Just to name a few of the characters she's voiced, she has been:

Any one of these roles would be a career-making milestone for a voice actress, but as a Woman of a Thousand Voices, Hayashibara has had the talent and skill to win that kind of part again and again. She is such a major figure in anime that the character of Megumi Reinard in Martian Successor Nadesico was actually based on her, partly as parody and partly as tribute. She is arguably one of the few seiyuu who isn't set in a role. Her huge number of voice credits have invited comparison to Mel Blanc, June Foray, and Frank Welker in American Animation.

When she has a part in an anime, she frequently performs its theme song; she is also in demand to record themes for other anime as well, such as "Treat or Goblins" from Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi and the Achika version of "Alchemy of Love", the theme song for the Tenchi Universe film, Tenchi Muyo! in Love.

As the seiyuu for girl-type Ranma in Ranma ˝, she has been a part of the singing group DoCo, and has participated in other anime-related "supergroups" as well.

She's even done Japanese dubbing for American animation, most notably as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon in Batman: The Animated Series, Diddy Kong in the Donkey Kong Country TV series, Sam Manson in Danny Phantom, Crysta in FernGully and Little Sneezer from Tiny Toon Adventures.

She also authored (but didn't draw) the manga about her life biography, titled Megumi-Toon.

Her American equivalent is Wendee Lee. Though her Distaff Counterpart is Norio Wakamoto in terms of memetically great voices, in terms of vocal range and the type of characters she has voiced, it would go to Hikaru Midorikawa.

Though not as frequent in getting roles these days (she still gets some at times, but she's got a family to focus on), she seemed to get something of a Spiritual Successor in terms of the 'anime seiyuu exploding in popularity and expanding to music business' in Nana Mizuki.

Tropes associated with Megumi Hayashibara

  • Enforced Method Acting: One of the examples of those suffering this before it was prohibited in anime. For a voice-practice of a sad voice, she's told to imagine the saddest moment in her life. Imagining how her grandma died, Megumi was left in tears even after the practice ended, surprising the instructor (at that time, Shigeru Chiba). This scene is drawn in Megumi-Toon.
  • Expy: While not voiced by her, Megumi Reinard is based on her.
  • Hospital Hottie: A certified nurse, and she made a full use of her skills when one of her fans passed out in her concert.
  • Woman of a Thousand Voices:
    • This is the lady whose voice can range from hyperactive to emotionless and sometimes even the cold, harsh one. Oh? Her Hot-Blooded voice is also a hearing to behold. She first got into seiyuu acting because she gave out an annoyed-as-hell voice because shopping didn't go her way.
    • The comedic radio-play, Evangelion: After the End, really shows this off: During the play, the normally stoic and quiet Rei finally gets fed up with Asuka's constant pronouncing on other people's intelligence, and goes on an absolutely livid Motor Mouth rant about it.