FUNimation confirmed long awaited casting information for the upcoming release of Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance yesterday during its “FUNiCon 5.0” online event. While Trina Nishimura (Lan Fan from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood) has been confirmed as the voice of new character Mari Makinami Illustrious, much more attention has been given to the fact that Tiffany Grant will be reprising the role of Asuka. This should come as little surprise to long time fans of the series, given Grant’s baffling obsession with the character, thoroughly documented in this video.
After FUNimation announced the license of the movie last summer, there was speculation that Grant would not be reprising her cherished role out of spite for the anime distributor. A few months earlier, she had participated in an interview with Revolution of Evangelion where she expressed confidence that Sentai Filmworks and Section 23, formerly ADV Films, may license the new Eva film. Her faith was questionable, given that the Japanese studio behind the film, Studio Khara, had been hopelessly aiming to have the film picked up for North American distribution by a major Hollywood film studio. FUNimation was the only anime distributor that was financial stable enough to persuade them otherwise. Given that ADV had recently declared bankruptcy and split into several new companies in order to escape unfortunate financial circumstances with their former partner, the Sojitz Corporation, it seems likely that Grant’s assertion had more to do with her personal connections to ADV, which is not limited to her marriage to co-founder Matt Greenfield.
In the end, it appears that her obsession has trumped any personal politics. In this case, it can probably be considered a good thing, as it is difficult to imagine anyone else taking on the role.
The English dub of Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance will be playing in Cineplex theatres across Canada for one night only on 2011 January 20 and will be released on home video 2011 March 29.