2012? – Hayashibara 3.0
Hayashibara Megumi as Ayanami Rei (Tentative Name)
It’s pointless to speculate about Rei-chan… actually, trying to do so only makes things worse. I don’t see the point. So, I just react to whatever situation I am faced with at that moment and voice her naturally.
— How do you feel about Q being a completely new story?
Hayashibara: My first impression of it was “It really destroyed 2.0!” (laughs)* There aren’t any familiar or nostalgic scenes in it at all, and there are no homages or scenes linking this movie to the past. [*she used a play on words here: 破 is the Japanese title of 2.0 and 破ぶる, which uses the same kanji, means “to destroy.”]
— How did you handle the new story and setting?
Hayashibara: Frankly, I don’t know anything other than my parts. When I was recording, there were parts that weren’t fully drawn yet, so I had to ask the director “What’s going on here?” which is an unusual way to record. For normal movies, you know the entire story and exactly how your character is involved in it when you voice them, but this was just so different. I suppose it’s okay because it’s Eva. But in the end, it doesn’t matter because I’ve been voicing Rei-chan for so long, and in the end Rei-chan is just Rei-chan. I did my lines while thinking of nothing but her and it wasn’t really difficult.
— But some things surprised even a veteran like you, right?
Hayashibara: The first scene definitely surprised me. I thought, “Is this all just a dream of Shinji’s?” (laughs) Anno-san said “They’re going to ride a battleship this time.” during a meeting, and I thought “Oh, they really do ride one!” It gave me the impression that a lot of time really had passed since 2.0. I was shocked and wondered, “I wonder where Evangelion’s story is going now?” I think viewers probably had the same impression that I did.
— How did you manage recording without knowing all the details?
Hayashibara: Like usual, I had to do countless takes for short lines. Anno-san knows how he wants it in his head. He doesn’t want lines that are merely spoken; he wants lines to be delivered with emotion. Even for a simple line like “Yes,” he would say “You’re putting too much into it” or “You’re not putting enough into it.”
This Rei is a different Rei, so I voiced her as being indifferent. When I asked Anno-san “What’s going on in the scene with the multiplying Reis?” he gave me a clear answer which I can’t disclose here, but Director Tsurumaki and other staff were super shocked. Later on, they said, “Thank you. We were able to understand a lot thanks to listening to that recording session.” Their comment made me think, “Anno-san’s craftsmanship is really something.” That’s what I found most impressive about the whole thing. (laughs)
— Having to progress without knowing completely what’s going on is typical Evangelion, isn’t it?
Hayashibara: In the end, it all depends on what goes on in Anno’s head. I wonder if he thinks hard about ideas or if they just suddenly occur to him. If he chases after them or waits for them to gush out. It’s all based on trust, and that’s why the studio behind Evangelion is completely unique and nobody can equal or imitate it. That’s the air they give off. I’m sure it was hard for the new characters, too. Even I had to repeat lines countless times. I’d be told “You’re doing great, so let’s do it one more time!” and I’d think “Ah, they told me to redo it!” I never had trouble understanding what they wanted me to do or had to think hard about it. It was just “Oh, I didn’t do it correctly.” It was a matter of getting the nuance they wanted. The difference between right or left or diagonal.
— So you’re saying that Anno-san has a narrow strike zone?
Hayashibara: No, I don’t think he’s fanatical about it or anything. He’s just slightly off-center. If a director is completely straight down the center he won’t be able to reach out his hand and catch a legendary ball. He won’t be able to get anything good. At least that’s how it was in my case with Rei. It was important to get the nuance right with her because she’s such an ethereal character. I had to take care to convey her feelings of happiness without overdoing it. I think having her feelings expressed through her facial expression rather than her words is best sometimes. Her emotions are like waves, so if I was off by even one millimeter it would affect her character, and I’d have to redo it.