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 notably part of the wave of seiyuu, along with Hekiru Shiina and Mariko Kouda, who 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 ½. Just to name a few of the characters she's voiced, she has been:
- Girl-type Ranma in Ranma ½
- Pai in 3x3 Eyes
- Minky Momo in Magical Princess Minky Momo
- Nuku-Nuku in All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku
- Ai in Video Girl Ai
- Gyopi in Goldfish Warning!
- Momoko Sakurayama in Patlabor
- Momiji Fujimiya in Blue Seed
- Lina Inverse in Slayers
- Rei Ayanami, Yui Ikari, Pen-Pen and the berserk EVA Unit 01 in Neon Genesis Evangelion
- Achika in Tenchi Muyo in Love
- Musashi (Jessie) in Pokémon...she also voices several of the Pokemon, including Bulbasaur, Mudkip, Chimchar's evolutionary line, and Snivy.
- Lime in Saber Marionette J and its sequels
- Tira Misu in Bakuretsu Hunters
- Himeko Nayotake in the Sailor Moon S Movie
- Canal in Lost Universe
- Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop
- Haruka Urashima in Love Hina
- Megumi Amatsuka in Tenshi na Konamaiki
- Paprika, a/k/a Dr. Atsuko Chiba, in Paprika
- Ai Haibara from Detective Conan
- Christina MacKenzie in Gundam 0080
- Elle Ragu in Shadow Skill
- Aki Kisaragi in Tekkaman Blade
- Blanc Neige in Shining Tears (Though replaced by Ayako Kawasumi in Shining Tears X Wind)
- Patricia Hackman in Super Robot Wars F/Final
- Shantotto in Dissidia Final Fantasy
- Anna Kyoyama in Shaman King
- Young Genkai in Yu Yu Hakusho
- Arioch in Drakengard
- Lemina Ausa in Lunar Eternal Blue
- Hello Kitty
- Maeda's Mother in Sakigake Cromartie Koukou.
- Falzeb in Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh, Super Robot Wars GC and Super Robot Wars NEO
- Maria Santos in Yarudora series vol.3: Sampaguita
- Anna Kyoyama in Shaman King
- Queen Sophia Ikaruga Mitsurugi in Cross Ange
- Kyouko Yuuki in Sword Art Online
- Lady Frejya in Fire Emblem: Heroes
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 comparisons 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 animes as well, such as "Treat or Goblins" from Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai 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 ½, 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 Fern Gully and Little Sneezer from Tiny Toon Adventures.
Her American equivalent is Wendee Lee.
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 but by Naoko Takano, 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.
- Hot Mom
- Woman Of A Thousand Voices: And how. This is the lady whose voice can range from hyperactive to plain emotionless and sometimes even the cold, harsh one. Oh? And her Hot-Blooded voice is also a hearing to behold. (Hell, she first got into seiyuu acting because she gave out an annoyed-as-hell voice because shopping didn't go her way).