Hirano Aya and music writer/producer Tsunku つんく♂ will work together on the ED to the fall anime Hyakko. (mouseover photos for captions, click to enlarge)
Tsunku (39) is the writer/producer behind Morning Musume and all the Hello! Morning groups, including Berryz Koubou, °C-ute, Buono!, and Canary Club. His happy girl-pop is very unlike the punky music Aya has been tending toward, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with.
The OP will also be by Tsunku, but with Ogawa Mana (15) 小川真奈 of Canary Club doing the singing.
Tsunku is one of the biggest names in the Japanese music industry, having risen from being a performer himself to be about the most successful producer in the industry, with his stable of young girls and string of hits. People criticize his bouncy bubble-gum music and gangs of little-girl idols, but he is laughing all the way to the bank.
Hyakko ヒャッコ is a school comedy centering around a group of four misfit girls. The girls will be played by Hirano Aya, Orikasa Fumiko, Neya Michiko, and Ochiai Yurika. This is a very varied cast, with 20-year-old idol seiyuu Hirano-san playing the innocent transfer student Ayumi; top seiyuu Orikasa-san (34) playing irrepressibly happy and aggressive Torako; old pro Neya-san (42, she was Riza Hawkeye in FMA and Melissa Mao in FMP) playing bossy Tatsuki; and tiny-voiced Ochiai-san (26) playing strong, silent Suzume.
I am happy to see Ochiai Yurika getting more roles. She is a capable voice but has been a pariah in the industry for a few years, probably because of her emotional nature and her popular blog detailing all her misfortunes and complaints, sometimes in several posts a day -- and probably also because of the nude photo shoots she did as a teen.
Orikasa Fumiko's role seems like it could be a variation on her work as Miu in Ichigo Mashimaro. And that can't be bad, since Miu was one of the best comic performances I've heard.