Written by: Nicole Castro
Published on: August 6, 2021 at 20:30 PHT (GMT+8)
Voice actor and musician Megumi Ogata, who is famous for playing the 14-year-old protagonist Shinji Ikari in the popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, has released her first autobiography, Saisei (Kari), published in Japan by Kadokawa Corp.
The book launched as the franchise’s latest movie, Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, hit theatres and proved to be a blockbuster hit.
In the book, she narrates in detail how it felt to be a young trailblazer in the voice acting industry, noting that young voice actors today do not know the same barriers she once faced.
"I had always been at the turning points of eras, so I have gone through many trials and errors," she said. "But without them, I would not be who I am now."
Ogata has voiced a diverse range of characters in animation and worked for other forms of media such as radio. She also writes her own music and sings.
In her autobiography, Ogata reflects on her character, Shinji. "A '14-year-old' version of myself still lives inside me," she said.
She added that she has always been immature and young at heart. In her book, she writes that having a vulnerable "14-year-old mind" is a core part of her acting.
"Things in my life often became difficult, and I always made mistakes," she said. "But my perspective broadened only because I persevered."
By detailing her eventful life, Ogata hopes to be an inspiration. She said, "Even I am still getting my life under control. My wish is that my book can give courage and hope to readers, like through letting them feel that they can manage their lives, too."
About Megumi Ogata
Ogata was born into a musical family and her initial plan was to follow suit by performing in musicals one day. However, she developed a herniated disc and ultimately abandoned that dream.
But then she was told that her deep voice would be "brilliant if she played a male character." In her mid-20s, she became a voice actor. In 1992, she made her debut playing Kurama in the anime Yu Yu Hakusho, another anime which gained great popularity.
Her talent agency initially refused the role of Shinji for Evangelion due to her tight schedule. Ogata had not even known she was being offered the role.
But then she went on a trip with the staff and cast of the anime Sailor Moon S, for which she was a voice actor. At the travel destination, Ogata met Evangelion director Hideaki Anno for the first time, who began to negotiate with her. This led to Ogata clashing with her agency for the role, which she eventually auditioned for and won.
"If even one (of those) things had not occurred, my life could have been very different," she said. "I think it can be said to be destiny, but I still feel a (sense of) mystery (about it)."