Hirano Aya 平野綾 has been posting several times a day to her blog through the month of January. With the drastic reduction in her live-event schedule that followed her breakdown last October, this is the way she is communicating with fans. And boy, is she communicating.
Like some other seiyuu blogs, hers is mainly a photo blog, featuring cell-phone snapshots. Also like other seiyuu blogs, there are shots of food when nothing else is available. But unlike some other blogs, there are many shots of herself. This could be a problem. They are far from the sort of publicity shots that a professional photographer would produce. The wide-angle keitai (cell phone) lens produces some weird effects.
And yet, as a form of publicity, this seems to be working. The thread about her on the Japanese board 2channel is roaring along at about a thousand posts a week. The passionate anime fans who post to that board have become passionate Aaya fans, it appears. The word kawaii (cute) appears over and over again. Fortunately for Aaya, even the weirdest photos -- like those of her looking like a drowned rat while she was getting her hair dyed -- still make her look, as they say on 2channel , "godly cute."
On New Year's Day, there were pics of her in a kimono, and on the 2nd a shot of a calligraphy scroll by her great-grandfather ("A fine air of sunny spring fills the room.")
Later in the week, she went to a temple, the Sensou-ji in Asakusa in Tokyo. She said what a wonderful atmosphere it had and lamented that the main hall was closed for repairs. She got a fortune that said she would only reach a great height by dint of hard effort. One poster on 2channel lamented that he was there that day, but not at the right time. Another said he thought he saw her, but wasn't sure until he saw the photos on her blog:
She went to karaoke on Sunday the 7th and was impressed by how much anime music they had. She sang the theme from Evangelion, and said that in junior high her nickname was Ayanami Rei. With the first broadcast of Manabi Straight, she showed a pic of her character, Mei, and said that tsundere were hard to play, and that it was especially hard to find the right degree of tsun for Mei. (I wondered at first, but after four episodes I think she has succeeded.)
She dyed her hair brown in November, and went back on January 10th to dye it a little redder. Incautiously, she posted a set of pictures showing it being dyed, wrapped in a towel "steaming" set, and then finished. She was able to be cute and amusing even in the guise of a drowned rat. Her finished hairstyle is made to hide her high forehead, which was fully on display during the process:
She had to spend a whole Sunday doing recording for a game, all alone in the studio. It was lonely and tiring. The little heart is a cue lamp:
Monday the 15th was recording for Eyeshield 21, in which she plays Mamori. She was back working with Nakagawa Shouko (Suzuna) and Irino Miyu (Sena). Yamaguchi Kappei (Raimon) is behind Irino's shoulder. Afterwards, she had a cat-like moment. She described herself as "Dora-neko" (Doraemon the cat). A poster on 2channel called her "Hirano Ayu," after someone else who likes taiyaki, Ayu in Kanon:
One Saturday, she practiced playing "God Knows" from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu at home on the guitar. She said she had the ability to memorize things she liked quite quickly. There is going to be a big Suzumiya Haruhi live event and concert in March, with all the main seiyuus. Both she and Chihara Minori actually do play guitar, so perhaps they will do God Knows in concert together. Tickets for the concert are sold out. They have a face value of 4500 Yen (US$37) but are now going on Yahoo auctions for 66000 Yen ($540). Off to a recording session. And the proud possessor of a new passport:
She said she likes to play with the editing function on her cell-phone camera, and worked with a picture of her own eye. She did publicity shots for Death Note on the 24th and then recording on the 25th. Middle: "Is my belly getting big?" Right: she said it was great to be back with Saitou Kimiko (Remu), and that they left Light (Miyano Mamoru) out of it:
For some reason, she mused, she was wearing clothes that were like something Misa would wear (below left). Then on the 26th, after a recording session for Sumomo mo Momo mo, in which she plays Sanae, she ate with Miyazaki Ui (Iroha, left) and Kano Yui (Momoko). "After Ui left, we were like a couple of idiots:"
She caught her ring and gave herself a blood blister (below left). Last Saturday she had a photo session for Voice Newtype magazine. It involved getting on a horse for the first time. She wrote that she loved the horses, and envied one its long eyelashes:
And then on Monday there was a recording session for Manabi Straight. The seiyuus posed for each other's blogs in poses from the anime. Standing, l-r: Horie Yui (Manabi), Inoue Marina (Mutsuki), Aaya (Mei), Fujita Saki (Momoha). Hands, clockwise from front: Aaya, Yui, Saki, Marina. And after the recording was over and Aaya got home, she cleaned the bath, toilet and kitchen in succession (right):
So those are selections from the month in Hirano Aya's blog. It gives some idea of how busy a seiyuu's life can be. Aaya did over 60 live appearances last year, more than any other seiyuu. But she burned out and had to take November off. So this year, she has not done one live appearance yet. And there was no mention in her blog of the college courses she is supposed to be taking.
There are other blogs that are mainly photos, like Koshimizu Ami's or Kano Yui's, but none I know of is as prolific as Aaya's is right now. And there are blogs that contain more prose, like those of Gotou Yuuko and Asano Masumi, who actually write well. Those are harder for me to cover, but I'll try to get to one or two of those in the future.