Friday, August 10, 2007

Hirano Aya Authors New Photo Book

On the heels of the wild success of Hirano Aya Photobook H, Hirano Aya is now authoring her own photobook 1/19 Bpm, which will be a "memorial" of her life so far. It will come out on 19 September.

The book is called a "photo-essay" of her life, and will include known and unknown photos of her that have been taken over the years, such as those of her wearing glasses in the "Love Megane" series, and shots from photoshoots earlier this year, particularly the shoot on Okinawa in which she was first photographed in a swimsuit. The swimsuit pictures have not been published before.

She will include some of her own drawings, and will include a description of a week in her life, as well as inside stories and reflections on her roles and music over the past year. She will answer 50 of the questions sent to her by fans. And there will be family pictures of her as a baby and young child.

The book will not be published by Kadokawa, publisher of the first photobook and of the Suzumiya Haruhi novels, but by Shufunotomo ("Housewife's Companion") Publishing, which specializes in cooking, health, children, etc. -- but is also the publisher of Seiyuu Grand Prix magazine. Many of the later photos will apparently be from the magazine.

According to the publisher's note on Amazon, Aya herself came up with the idea and was deeply involved in the planning of the publication, as well as contributing various essays. Price will be Y1890 (US$16). Info from an article on Seiyuu Watch and from Amazon Japan.

The October issue of Seiyuu Grand Prix magazine, which comes out 10 September, will include what appears to be another special photobook of Aya, who turns 20 on 8 October.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Aaya, Shizuka-sama at GranRodeo Concert

Seiyuu Taniyama Kishou ("Kishow") and musician Iizuka Masaaki ("e-zuka") are the group GranRodeo. Their concert in Yokohama Sunday boasted a star-studded guest list of seiyuu: Hirano Aya, Itou Shizuka, Shiraishi Ryouko, Fukuyama Jun.

In the photo, Kishow is on the left. For a sample of GranRodeo's energetic rock, check YouTube. Not my style, but Kishow has a strong voice and the music is professional. (click photos to enlarge)

Below left are Fukuyama Jun (Lelouche in Code Geass) and Koyama Tsuyoshi (Kurou in Utawarerumono) showing a nipple with Shiraishi Ryouko (left, Hayate in Hayate) and Itou Shizuka (Rei in Marimite, etc.) Below right is Hirano Aya with Ryouko and Shizuka-sama. In her blog Aya said how beautiful the yukata were.

And here are a couple of shots from Hirano Aya's blog:

Kishow says he is "a child of Eros" and claims never to have failed with any girl he tried for. Now that it is clear that there is no romance between Hirano Aya and Sugita Tomokazu, some 2channel posters are speculating about a relationship with Kishow, who is 31. The viral publicity machine grinds on.

The next day, Aya put on a GranRodeo tank top and fake tattoo she got at the concert, saying she looked forward to the reaction if she wore that to a recording session. Since she and Granrodeo are both Lantis recording artists, I suspect the reaction would be positive, lol. She said she envied Kishow being up there and looked forward to a live of her own. And she said she wished there were Aya goods like the ones sold at the GranRodeo show.

The right-hand pic of Aya with e-zuka (left) and Kishow (right) is from her blog in April and shows them at a Busou Renkin after-after party. Taniyama Kishou was Takayuki in KGnE (Rumbling Hearts), Takeya in DearS, Ken-chan in Lamune, Tsukimori in Corda D'Oro, etc. GranRodeo does the ED for Kotetsujin Jeeg, and has done the OPs for the last two Angelique series.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Haruhi DVD Sells 60,000 in US, Helped by YouTube and Fansubs

YouTube and fansubs helped the first DVD of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu sell 60,000 units in the US. This compares with only 80,000 of each DVD sold in Japan.

This information is from an interview with the president of Kadokawa Holdings, Kadokawa Tsuguhito, published in the prestigious Japanese financial daily Nihon Keizai Shinbun.

Kadokawa, publisher of the Haruhi novels and rights-holder for the anime, has adopted an internet policy that includes a cooperation agreement with YouTube. The 60,000 sales figure is particularly impressive considering that the show has not been shown on TV in the US, but only through fansubs and to some extent on YouTube.

The figures appear to confirm arguments from fans that fansubs may not hurt anime sales as much as thought, since they also publicize the shows.