The 2007 Seiyuu Awards were presented last night, and Hirano Aya walked away with the top female lead award, as well as sharing the award for top song with her compatriots from Lucky Star.
j1m0ne has an excellent report on the ceremony, so I'll just concentrate on Aya, with photos and info from her blog posts after the show.
Here she is with (l-r) Kamiya Hiroshi, who won best supporting actor for Tieria Erde in Gundam00, and whom she says she "loves"; with Kamiya, Saiga Mitsuki (best supporting actress for Kei in Moyashimon), and Miyano Mamoru (best actor for Setsuna F. Seiei in Gundam00); and with Katou Emiri, Fukuhara Kaori, and Endou Aya, who sang the winning song, Motteke! Seerafuku with her. Katou also won one of the two awards for best new female seiyuu. (click on photos to enlarge)
Last year, Aya wore an extravagantly brief creation from Shibuya 109. This year, she wore a kimono of her mother's, to look "mature." She and Mamo-chan (Miyano) seem quite concerned with appearing mature, lol. In her blog, she posted several shots of the kimono, which she described as "gorgeous" and "sunny." She pointed out that the patterns on each side of the back were different, and said how nice the obi was, too. She thanked her mother with a "sankyu" (Japanese version of "thank you").
Just for comparison, here is Hirano Aya with Kano Yui at last year's ceremony, in her Shibuya 109 dress, and in a similar shot from this year, Then there are a shot of her having returned home last night (Saturday night), exhausted; and then with her two awards:
Aya says in her blog that after an evening wearing unfamiliar clothes, she was so tired her legs were shaking. She said that although the awards came to her, she couldn't do anything alone, and they really belong to the staff and cast that worked with her and the fans who support her, as well. She hopes everyone will get a good rest on Sunday. She also says she will work her hardest to get back to the awards ceremony next year.
These awards have about double the number of organizers and sponsors this year as last. Perhaps more companies want to get in on the publicity. Public voting establishes a long list of nominees, and the final choices are made by a committee of people from the organizers and sponsors. I think most of the choices were at least reasonable, although the sponsoring companies clearly have some influence on the results, as j1m0ne points out.
I myself voted for Aya over Kuwashima Houko (Claymore) and Kawasumi Ayako (Nodame Cantabile), who are fundamentally better seiyuu, because I thought Konata was an inspired comic creation, even more inspired than Nodame. But people who think Aya is praised more than she deserves are all shaking their heads and exchanging knowing smiles. 2channel, as usual, is split.
Motteke! was not the best anime song of the year, but it may have been the most memorable and the most successful. It and all that other music from Lucky Star. As I keep repeating, professional skill does not equal musical interest, at least for me. But Yamamoto Yutaka's OP animation certainly helped the song's popularity.
It looks to me as if this awards show is in for the long haul, with more industry insiders taking part. Perhaps if all the agencies and production companies take part, the awards will be spread further: as j1m0ne points out, shows based on Kadokawa publications did very well, as did performers with ties to Bunka Housou broadcasting. Both of those companies are involved in the production of the Awards.