An incredibly popular Japanese voice actress who gives her voice to many anime characters, so popular that roles are specifically created for her and any show in which she has a role is an almost guaranteed success.

She is undoubtedly very good at what she does, but not nearly good enough to explain her vast popularity. There are others on her level of ability or above who are not nearly as popular. The explanation is probably that many characters she played became extreme fanboy magnets.

The prolific seiyuu Megumi Hayashibara is perhaps best appriciated for her range. It is difficult to imagine the the childish, hyperactive Lime of 'Saber Marrionete J' and the bounty hunter Faye Valentine of 'Cowboy Bebop' in the same room, let alone the same woman.

Bebop, some of her most recent work, shows a depth of character that is truly impressive. Valentine is moody and manipulative, and Hayashibara's voice acting adds the perfect amount of color to a complex persona. In the hands of a less talented crew, Valentine would have been simply the femme fatale - another renegade office lady out to conquer the galaxy with sex appeal. Instead, we see a young woman who is often cynical and dissillusioned, fequently selfish, but ultimately very human. A large part of the credit for this unusual accomplishment must rest squarely on the shoulders of Ms. Hayashibara.

Her off-screen life and personality have also entered into the realm of fandom thanks in part to a series of biographical comics, found under the name of Megumi-Toons. These humorous comics cover her early voice acting, nursing experiences, school years, and the Watterson-esque joys of an empty cardboard box. Insightful glimpses of a celebrity's life make for a solid fanbase.

Ms. Hayashibara's popularity can be further noted by observing the series "Martian Successor Nadesico". While she did not work on the series, it is interesting to note the Communications Officer aboard the Nadesico: A former Seiyuu with Hayashibara's thick braid. The character's first name is, of course, Megumi. It is unusual for a seiyuu to become so personally popular that her off-screen life is more worthy of satire then her acting work, but Ms. Hayashibara seems to have hit it.

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