Maybe otaku really are the scum of the Earth. Whatever, some people on 2channel have been directing salacious personal attacks against Hirano Aya 平野綾 for the past week, following her publication of a couple of shots of her with Taniyama Kishou after his concert a week and a half ago. People both for and against Aya leaped to the conclusion that she and he were an item.
The Hirano Aya threads on 2channel have been wrecked by a constant flow of salacious ascii art, insults, and blocks of repeated statements such as "they're crying, lol" (about her fans) and saying she's a loose woman.
<<-- Photo: Aya with a signed copy of her photobook "H," at the autograph session two weeks ago.
Aya has not updated her blog for four days now, the longest time it has fallen silent all year. I imagine she hardly knows what to say or feel, if she has seen any of the disgusting sh*t being posted on 2channel.
The photos, which I posted a few days ago, show her not-quite-hugging Taniyama after his concert. Kiiyan (his nickname) is a rough-looking 31-year-old seiyuu/rocker who is supposedly very successful with women. He and Aya probably first met when they both had roles in Kiddy Grade several years ago, and then again in Busou Renkin last fall. I believe their real relationship is most likely that of senior/junior. In her blog, she has previously thanked him for his help.
But an anonymous blog post added fuel to the fire, claiming that the author had seen them together in Shinjuku, holding hands and flirting. This unsupported testimony goes with the spurious list of quotes from Aya that has been going around for the past year or so, appearing to show her having little respect for otaku and voice-acting, and wanting to be an all-round entertainer. Most of the quotes have been shown to be false or taken out of context, although none of them seems unrealistic to me. If I were her, I would probably not want to date an otaku, either. And I think it's legitimate for an 18-year-old to say she has too much self-respect to voice ero-games. But she probably didn't say any of these things, except as a joke on a radio show, or in character.
<<--The young Aya some fans miss.
On the one hand, I am worried for her state of mind. It must be very difficult to ride out such a storm of personal attack without suffering emotionally. On the other hand, it is interesting to speculate just why a group of otaku hate her so much.
Certainly, fans of established stars resent her success, especially since her voice work is not as professional as theirs. I personally prefer it, but it is not as smooth or sure, and people clearly both resent her popularity and do not think she deserves it.
She does give off an "ojou-sama" sort of aura, as if she comes from a privileged world. Her family appears to be well-to-do, and she went to a prestigious private high school. To some, she is like the child of privilege who gets too many advantages.
And in her blog, she is fairly open about her ambition to be a singer, and her pictures of herself in various outfits and poses can be seen as exhibitionistic and self-absorbed. But people don't seem to criticise Tanaka Rie for her cosplay photos, and many of us love Aya's blog. Perhaps she is a bit American, after all.
<<--The mature Aya some people hate and call a "dekob**ch."
She is certainly not hiding her love of flashy clothes or of ojousama-like afternoon teas, and by showing her real preferences may be attempting to woo female fans, rather than faking maid costumes aimed at otaku. Some otaku clearly feel insulted that she is not their creature and has ambitions beyond just having them as fans.
Largely, I suspect the 2channel capers are the fevered responses of inexperienced young men whom anything sexual turns mad. The hint of her with Kiiyan both excites and disappoints them. Some dream of being with her themselves and go all potty-mouth when their dream is shattered -- either their dream of her purity or their dream of being with her. The same thing happened to Horie Yui, whose 2channel threads became a festival of gross innuendo after the head of her agency was arrested for sexual interference with an aspiring seiyuu.
I can almost sympathize with fans who began as fans of Aya as a purer-than-the-driven-snow mid-teen ingenue, and can't adjust to her as a real adult, who may even have actual physical desires. This is why, as she herself said at Anime Expo, it is forbidden for a seiyuu to have (or admit they have) a boyfriend. But I personally like her better as the maturing wannabe rocker and near-adult she has become.
It is true that she has brought some of this on herself by her declared intention of becoming "sexier" this year. The change has attracted many people and repelled others, who are now taking out their frustrations in 2channel. I don't really blame otaku in general, just the group who have gone crazy on 2channel. I imagine they are largely the same people who have hated Aya since I've been aware she existed. There is a constant undercurrent of hatred for her on 2channel that has just now risen to dominate her threads.
In any case, her photobook continues to sell well, and a second printing has been announced. And any CD associated with Lucky Star seems to sell, sell, sell, perhaps in part by association with her.