Takagaki Ayahi's trained voice has finally burst the shackles and displayed itself in full flight.
Her CD of three CANAAN insert songs "China Kibun de High Tension!" sung as Nene, came out today.
In the song "Life", she sings clearly and accurately, in a high register that still does not prevent her from giving the song real dynamics and musical expression. And a couple of times she soars.
For me, "Life" -- and the other songs on the CD -- lift her instantly to a high rank among seiyuu singers.
In addition to her seiyuu work, Ayahi majored in operatic singing at a Tokyo music college. There is a sample of her opera voice in my previous post here.
Here is "Life":
Her impressions after the final recording session for Phantom have also recently been posted: "There was pain, and love...and happiness. I am so full of feelings. To have gotten this role was a great joy and a great test. A wonderful experience."
What was difficult about the role? "There were lots of difficulties. I thought, and worried.... Phantom was like a high wall I had to climb over. There were so many changes: from Ein アイン, to Elen エレン, to Ellen 江漣. I tried to stay close to her, to the way her decisions kept changing. I don't know whether I got over that high wall, but it was the kind of role you could lose yourself in, and I gained a lot from it. After the last recording, I just sat there in the studio for a long time, unable to lose those feelings."
What scenes would you pick as the best? "There are so many. I can't choose.... Well, if I was forced to, maybe the scene in episode one when Ein and Zwei first look at each other honestly. I thought that was such a beautiful beginning. And the final episode was wonderful, too."
What interesting or amusing things happened during recording? "Jokes like 'What kind of show is this?' were flying around. Especially during the school scenes, the atmosphere in the studio was quite amazing. To touch on so many things in one anime was a very enjoyable experience. And Chiba Isshin, who played 'Master,' was a real mood-maker. When we were tense, he could lift the mood with a joke. After the final recording, the director opened a bottle of champagne in the studio lobby, and we all had a toast. That's the first time I've ever seen that. I really thought Director Mashimo's stylish direction was wonderful."
Do you have a message for the fans? "The direction, the psychology...every scene is a great one. Even now that we've finished, thoughts of Elen and Reiji keep coming up in my daily life. It's like a great whirlpool...there is beauty and meaning in every way of life.That's what I get from watching this show. I hope you can get something important to you from it, too...."
According to her blog, Ayahi just got back from two days in Toyama, the mountainous western region she fell in love with when she was working on true tears. The company that animated that show, PA Works, has its head office there.
Her manager told her she had Saturday and Sunday free, for once, so she flew there from Tokyo and stayed over one night. It was her first-ever holiday trip alone. She says she got lots of help from people she met, and especially from the people at PA Works. She particularly enjoyed a long soak in the bath, looking up at the evening hills. And she ate and ate and ate.
One new Ayahi show has just started, and another is about to start. In Sora no Otoshimono, she plays a hilariously cold and sharp-tongued student council president. In the yuri comedy-drama Sasameki Koto, which starts Wednesday, she is the star: a tall karate expert who is in love with her friend, while her friend prefers cutesy girls only.