Is Hirano Aya a harsh taskmistress whose demands often have her manager in tears? Has she run through three managers in a year? That is what anonymous sources quoted in a Japanese blog claim.
They also say that she has taken control of her own career, that she almost left her present agency last summer, but they finally were able to win her back, by making who knows what concessions.
There is some support for this idea in the fact that there was nothing at all about her on her agency's website for a while last summer. And she certainly changed managers at least once this year. She said happily in her blog that she got a female manager for the first time.
"Inside sources" are so handy when someone wants to make up a story from nothing, however. Perhaps these are the same inside sources that claimed she is going with older rocker Taniyama Kishou. Months have passed since that claim with no more evidence turning up.
But one thing definitely makes sense to me: they say she has been personally controlling the idol activities she has been involved with over the past few months. Everything has to come to her for her approval. This is how I read her character and her blog.
And I think they're right when they say she is taking her singing very seriously and working hard at it. From my point of view, she is trying to break out of the underpaid and exploited world of voice-acting and into the potentially much more lucrative realm of idols, singers, and TV personalities. Seems reasonable.
But she is still doing interesting voice work. She has her radio program. She has had voiceover work on TV. She is doing voices (or maybe just narration) for a live-action movie about a girl and her cats, Honjitsu no Neko Jijou. She is playing an older villain in Dragonaut.
One of the "insiders" said that she had her manager in tears as she shouted at them that they were not getting her the kinds of roles she wanted. She wanted more idol events and fewer anime. This seems possible. She is clearly an emotional person, and I expect she could could be demanding, too. She is fairly demanding of herself, it appears. In fact, she sometimes seems more American than Yamato Nadeshiko, not ashamed of showing her ambition at all.
I was just listening to Neophilia again and thinking what a great job she does of it -- with seiyuu-style turns of voice, sometimes almost speaking rather than singing. But perhaps the kind of music she can do well isn't the kind of music that Japanese fans want. Or even what she wants. We'll see.
The photos are from her blog today and yesterday. They show her with Suna, one of the cats who appear in Honjitsu no Neko Jijou, and then with a copy of her new single, MonStAR, which comes out on Tuesday.