Well, it looks as if her constant work, constant practice, and constant publicity are paying off: Hirano Aya's "Love Gun" debuted at #4 on its first day on the Oricon singles charts.
This is the first of three singles in three months for Aaya, and it's a rocker. I was unconvinced after hearing bits of it earlier, but having seen and heard the whole thing, now I'm sold. The music and the singing are both good entertainment.
And we really can see some results of the fact that one of her favorite singers is Avril Lavigne. I tend to think of Japanese hard rock as rather weak, but this has something. Some Japanese fans continue to regret the loss of their innocent teen Aya, but she is more interested in becoming a sexy young adult.
I enjoy the sexy/humorous/artsy music video, as well. Here's the video on YouTube. It's provocative, but as in her blog, she makes fun of herself, too.
Here are the lyrics. They are largely Japanese, but there is quite a bit of Engrish in them, courtesy of Aya, who wrote them herself.
The anti-Hirano forces on 2channel are howling, but now I think it's in fear rather than delight. Aaya may really have a singing career. Ever since I started taking an interest in Aaya a year ago, people have been posting that she is finished. And all that time, she has actually been getting more popular.
There's no doubt that some of her success, if it comes, will be based on her looks and the sexy clothes she's starting to wear, rather than her music. But that would not make her unique among singers. And she actually is beginning to rock. She's no longer quite the wannabe rocker that she seemed to me before.
And she does play guitar, as we see her doing in the video. Although I would be surprised if her playing has been mixed so it is very audible. She's pretty modest about her playing when she mentions it in her blog.
Aaya turned 20 on Monday, and exults over it on her blog. It's been a long time coming, she says. Now as an adult, she says she feels a sense of responsibility and is determined to be "a woman who will not be defeated."
She has also just started a stint as host of the radio show "Radio Animelo Mix." She started the first show saying she wasn't sure whether she was more nervous or more sleepy...but she was hungry, too. And she slipped through three different versions of her voice in the first minute. She is apparently the first host who has not had a partner, so it was Aaya gabbling on for 25 minutes, sometimes amusing, sometimes peremptory, always personable. The previous generation of hosts was a dynamic duo of Gotou Yuuko and Shintani Ryouko.
The staff of stores in Akihabara won't be defeated, either. There are big displays for the single, with various come-ons embedded. One sign lists her three upcoming singles and says: "Buy them. That's an order from the brigade chief (i.e., Haruhi)."
Another display (below) has Konata point out Aya's zettai ryouiki ("absolute territory" -- the space of flesh between high stockings and skirt) on a "life-size" poster they are giving away with every purchase.
UPDATE: Charts for Thursday 11 October are out, and Love Gun is down at #9. Still not bad. We'll see where it ends up for the week. I am liking the PV more and more, myself.