You can’t fully appreciate the “Rebuild of Evangelion” films unless you’re familiar with the original TV series, “Neon Genesis Evangelion.” Likewise, you need to know the history of the “Neon Genesis” dubs to understand the decision-making behind the “Rebuild” dubs.
“Neon Genesis Evangelion” was produced by Japanese animation studio Gainax and was primarily the creation of director Hideaki Anno. Its 26 episodes aired on TV Tokyo from 1995 to 1996 and were then released in the west by the Houston, Texas-based ADV Films. ADV initially released the series on home media, specifically VHS and LaserDisc. The company would subsequently re-release the series in multiple DVD collections from 2002 to 2006. It took until 2005 for “Evangelion” to premiere on an American TV channel, specifically Adult Swim. More information on ADV’s different DVD editions can be found in “The Art of Studio Gainax,” by Dani Cavallaro.
ADV’s releases included an English dub produced in-house. The company’s small stable of voice actors, recruited from local theater talent and production staff, include Amanda Winn-Lee (Rei Ayanami), Spike Spencer (Shinji Ikari), Tiffany Grant (Asuka Langley Soryu), and Allison Keith-Shipp (Misato Katsuragi). Matt Greenfield, co-founder of ADV films, served as ADR director. According to Winn-Lee (who also served as an ADR writer/director), Greenfield is the one who rejected the Gainax-supplied script and wrote a less literal but better-sounding dub script.
These English localizations gave way to humor, some hilarious, some cheesy. The actors also weren’t above poking fun at the series’ more abstract parts. However, the quality of the dub improves as it goes along; the series gets darker and the performances improve in the process. The stand-outs were Keith-Shipp and Grant (who, for one, loves her character).