Megumi Hayashibara is a very famous voice actress in anime. She plays the iconic Rei Ayanami from Evangelion. She plays the iconic Ranma girl-type from Ranma 1/2. She plays the iconic Lina Inverse from Slayers. She plays the iconic Lime from Saber Marionette. She's been around since forever all the way up to today.
However, even though I'd heard her uniquely identifiable voice so many times, I never warmed to it. I thought it was too grating and scratchy and dismissed her as a mediocre talent. I'm going to have to rethink that opinion, though, after her mesmerizing performance as Rebecca in One Piece today. Her voice when playing Rebecca is slightly different than the punky spunky roles of yore, like Lina or Lime. It's more genuinely desperate and depressed, in a way more mellow. In any case, suddenly it clicks when before it just didn't. When you combine that with her completely mature and totally different performance as Asuna's mother in Mother's Rosario, you start to realize how talented this seiyuu really was. She played as a brat for so long I just took that to be her only voice, but when given a chance to add different souls to her voice, she did so eloquently and beautifully. She's way more than Ranma girl-type defiant-squeaky. Like Aoi Yuuki, she can adjust her voice to any role and perform it brilliantly. (By the way, Aoi Yuuki playing as Yuuki Kanno in Mother's Rosario is brilliant and a perfect casting decision.)
One Piece, Naruto and SAO are really showing why they're #'s 1, 2, and 3 recently. Hanabi is one of my favorite side characters in Naruto and we're finally getting an episode about her next week. Hinata is just straight out one of my favorite characters, no 'side' about it. Usoland vs. Sugar is a wonderful scene in the manga, right up there with the best scenes anywhere in the manga, and Rebecca's argument with Soldier-san are heart rending because even though they're hurting each other, it's really Don Flamingo who's to blame for everything and really it's Don Flamingo who's hurting them both. It really makes you burn with righteous wrath and the desire to end this despot and save our gallant princess once and for all. (Rebecca joins Vivi and Shirahoshi in the 'awesome One Piece princesses who need(ed) saving club') Mother's Rosario, of course, is pretty much the high point of any anime anywhere ever made. You just have to see it to believe it.
Pretty Cure might be moving back up my rankings again, if the new season titled 'Go! Princess Precure!" is any good. I could always use more princess anime. One Piece just isn't enough. Even Happiness Charge is slowly getting better now that actual plot developments are occurring each episode. Maybe this franchise is heading back in the right direction.