Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Hirano Aya Idol DVD "Love Story"

This is Aya's second idol DVD. I guess the first one last fall sold well enough that Spacecraft and Pony Canyon went ahead and made a second. At the moment, a week after its release, it is sitting seventh in sales in the idol DVD category on 7 and Y, and tenth on amazon.co.jp. (click photos to enlarge)



There are several separate sequences, each featuring Aya in a different outfit, two of which are bikinis. More flesh is on view than in the first DVD. There is a loose story, with Aya's voiceover, of her meeting someone and going out with him. She sometimes faces the camera as if the viewer were her date.

But the most interesting parts of the DVD show Aya playing UNO with some girlfriends. The girls sit around playing cards and talking "girl talk" of various kinds with Aya: about what kind of boys attract her, etc. The camera is on Aya the whole time. Several-minute-long segments of this are used to divide the various sequences.



If you've always wondered what her normal voice sounds like (if a seiyuu has a "normal voice"), this may be the place to find out. It isn't the high, speedy cute-girl voice she displays in TV appearances, but the voice of a normal Japanese college student and society girl, it seems to me.

These bits are quite informal, and evidently unscripted -- although they probably had the basic direction of the conversation planned out ahead of time. But you see her thinking, and hear spur-of-the moment jokes from her and others. You never see any of the other girls, who may be her manager and stylist, etc.

In any case, as usual, Aya comes across to me as a fairly smart, natural, and attractive person. Not a quick-thinking, sophisticated entertainer, but more like an ordinary college student (even though she did drop out in first year, probably due to work pressure). The topics are somewhat interesting and amusing, but nothing deep at all. My ability to understand rapid colloquial Japanese is highly imperfect, though, so I'd be glad to hear from others what impression they got from the talk.



I enjoyed the whole DVD, including the bikini pics, but I admit to feeling a bit uncomfortable with the progressive uncovering. Some people on 2channel keep saying she will end up in adult videos. That won't happen, but I hope commercial pressures don't move her too close to it. The idol videos selling more than hers look as if they tend to be more uncovered, too.



As in her blog, she is determined to show us that she is now an adult. One sequence has her as a stylish woman drinking at a bar -- and also as the bartender.



The shooting was done in Guam. They flew her there for a weekend last winter.

The region-free 41-minute DVD is available from Amazon Japan (US$28 + shipping) and other sources.



But if you just want to hear her work as a seiyuu, I can't recommend too highly the current anime Nijuu-mensou no Musume (it's also called Chico, Daughter of the Phantom Thief, or The Daughter of Twenty-Faces). For me, this is among her best seiyuu work, especially from episode 3 on. Nothing could be more different from Konata. If anything, it's more like a young version of her voice as Layla in NANA.

7 comments:

bluemist said...

"Some people on 2channel keep saying she will end up in adult videos."
They wish?

I refuse to be familiar with the workings of this idol video industry, but I think swimsuit modelling are incredibly common even with mainstream TV actresses. I sometimes get surprised that some cute and popular Japanese girl actually shows some skin in videos and photoshoots.

Anyway I loved her in NANA, and I think it remains her best work for me.

Asuka said...

Thanks for the review - I've been looking for samples of this DVD without much luck. Anyway, I think I like her first DVD better than this one, and will probably invest in it when I visit Japan this summer.

Emily said...

"She sometimes faces the camera as if the viewer were her date."
lol it sounds like... one of those dating sim games O_O

I don't know too much about the idol business, but I must say, I'm not really impressed with it. The idol business is a few steps away from the gravure business, which is a few steps away from the Adult Video business. The industries are built on good looks and sex appeal, with the odd song and television program. I dunno, while the idol business would gain Aya popularity, money, whatever, the seiyuu business seems more respectable to me.

Hirano Aya's new roles in anime and new music impress me, but every step she takes to becoming a Japanese Idol disappoints me.

Quasar said...

"I dunno, while the idol business would gain Aya popularity, money, whatever, the seiyuu business seems more respectable to me."

Well, it's a sad fact, but seiyuu in Japan get paid worse than peanuts. So many of them resort to pandering to the otaku fanbase via promo tours and concerts to get more sales.

Being an idol DOES pay better, and would probably give her a better career prospect. To diversify her fanbase, now that she can't get a "proper college degree", she's stuck in the entertainment business, so being pretty decent looking girl, it's probably the easiest way to earn a living. Although I really DO wonder what her agent is up to, signing her up to this.

TsukimoriKahoko said...

Oh, what type of 'boys' did she say she's attracted to in those parts with her friends?

Thank you!!!

Fuego999 said...

"Hirano Aya's new roles in anime and new music impress me, but every step she takes to becoming a Japanese Idol disappoints me."

Couldn't have said it better, she's got all my respect as a seiyuu, i don't feel like i need to see "more" of her in that way.

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