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Greg Ayres Reflects On The Regular Recasting Of Evangelion's Kaworu - Interview

The classic mecha anime series "Neon Genesis Evangelion" has gone through six different English language dub casts: ADV Films' original dub for the TV series, Manga Entertainment's dub for the "Death and Rebirth" and "The End of Evangelion" movies, ADV's slightly-adjusted re-dub for the Director's Cut releases, Funimation's dub for the first three "Rebuild of Evangelion" movies, Netflix's dub of the original series and movies, and finally the Prime Video dub of the full "Rebuild" movie series. Some actors carried over between casts, with the exception of the completely different Netflix lineup, but some roles have been recast more frequently. Every character in "Evangelion" has had at least two official English voice actors, but one character has ended up with six different ones: Kaworu Nagisa.

At Anime Boston 2022, Looper got the chance to speak with Greg Ayres, who played Kaworu in the ADV Director's Cuts and was later recast as Kensuke in the Funimation "Rebuild" dubs. He shared his connections to every other Kaworu actor, and offered his thoughts on the regular recasting of "Evangelion."

Greg Ayres is friends with all the Kaworu actors

Ayres described having some sort of personal connection to all five other English language Kaworu actors: "The original was done by Kyle Sturdivant, and I knew him from the Houston theater community. The second one was Aaron Krohn, whose mother was my first dance teacher. Then I did it, and then Jerry Jewel was next. I worked with him at Funimation, and then Cliff Chapin Jr., who's one of my directors ... and now Daman Mills, who shares a role with my brother. I'm still the one common thread of all the 'Evangelion' Kaworus."

Ayres said he initially felt "butthurt" over being recast, but calmed down when realizing it's a role that's continually being reworked. "That's one of those roles everybody wants a shot at," he said, "and that should be okay." Being friends which each of the other actors also made this easier to accept, and going from Kaworu to Kensuke in the Funimation dub felt like less of a "downgrade" when realizing that fellow voice actor Monica Rial went from the speaking role of Maya Ibuki to doing penguin noises for Pen Pen.

Ayres condemned the harassment which actors in the Netflix "Evangelion" dub, specifically the new Shinji voice Casey Mongillo, received. He compares "Evangelion" being redubbed to Shakespeare plays being performed by multiple casts, and anticipates the possibility for more such redubs given that the franchise's former studio Gainax and its current studio Khara have both been very happy to rerelease old "Evangelion" content and produce new stuff. If the franchise is gonna keep getting brought back in different forms, he pondered, "Why not [let] everybody have a crack at Rei or everybody have a crack at Kaworu?"