This photo of Aaya on her way home from the awards is what led me to make this post. It amazed me, as it amazed posters to her 2channel thread, that dolled up as she is she is going home, not in a taxi, but on a public train. And her tired and forlorn expression struck them as it strikes me. Perhaps she actually expected to win the top award, rather than an award as a "newcomer."
Having paid close attention to her for the past couple of months, it seems to me that she is quite proud of her abilities. It was possibly a little galling to be considered a newcomer when she has been a seiyuu for five years and starred in the biggest hit anime of 2006. But I hope she wasn't comparing her ability to Paku Romi, Kuwashima Houko or Tanaka Rie. I think she's on her way -- I think she even has a wistful edge none of them does -- but she ain't there yet. It's already an accomplishment for an "idol seiyuu" like her to be compared at all with such "actor seiyuus" as them.
Some posters on 2channel found her outfit a little too provocative. It would certainly attract attention on a public subway. But she said at the beginning of the year that she intended to become more sexy this year, and the awards ceremony was clearly a battle in that campaign.
Here she is (l-r) after the awards with Paku Romi and with Gotou Yuuko, then on stage in the group photo, with her short skirt, high hair, and leggings. She said how good Paku's kimono looked and how cool her acceptance speech was, and said she "suki" her. And she said how much she had wanted to see "Gotou-zama."
Here's what she said on Anisupa radio after the show: "Thank you so much. Receiving this wonderful award commemorates my tenth year in show business. I really want to make more good anime with such outstanding staff and cast. Please give me your support."
Here she is with the other host of the show (besides Asano Masumi), Washizaki Takeshi, whom she said she hadn't seen in a long time. Then with another winner of a "newcomer" award, the popular Morita Masakazu, whom she said she was meeting for the first time. And here, just to round out the line, is a pic of Aaya with Nabatame Hitomi, from the wrap-up party for Busou Renkin.
Finally, here are some promising photos posted Sunday night. It certainly looks as if she is getting ready to play guitar at the big Suzumiya Haruhi live show later this month. She says that, like piano, it comes back to her as she practises.