Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hirano Aya's New Album #4 For Its First Week

Hirano Aya is beside herself with joy at the success of her new album Speed Star. (click photos to enlarge)

This is only Aya's second personal album, as distinct from her many anime-related albums. It was released on 18 November. The Oricon sales rankings for its first week came out today, and it ended the week at #4, selling over 20,000 copies, and setting off celebrations at Aya's agency, Spacecraft Entertainment.

The album is available through CDJapan or Amazon Japan, among other places. You can hear samples here.

From Aya's blog:
"Number 4 on Oricon☆
Did it!☆彡
Thanks, eh★
Really, thank you★☆
For something that I put so much into to actually reach people
Makes me so happy☆☆☆"

They had a little surprise party for her in a meeting room at her agency. She says she has been with the same agency from her beginnings in the industry, when she was very young, and they have supported her all the way. (There were rumors a couple of years ago that she was considering leaving them.)

They set out copies of her personal singles and albums, along with some magazines featuring her. The whiteboard says "Hirano Aya Speed Star Congratulations Oricon #4":

On the day the album was released, she made a whirlwind tour of Tokyo record shops, including appearing in a window, to the delight of the crowd outside.

The day clearly left her exhausted:

A couple of days ago, she was interviewed on Tokyo FM, in their glass-walled public studio. She says it was embarrassing to be seen from all directions like that. More guys lining up to see her:

Aya is a strange celebrity. A big group of Japanese otaku thinks she is a terrible seiyuu. And lots of people think she can't sing. She deliberately decided to go with a rock style in her music, rather than ballads, in part I think because her voice just isn't accurate enough to be exposed in ballad singing. And she herself hinted in her blog earlier this year that she wasn't confident her music career would continue. But she turns out to be able to actually rock a bit, unlike other seiyuu singers.

And this is ending up as another great year for her. She has had one successful mini-tour, with a slightly longer one coming up in December. She has starred in three different TV shows, now including up with one in which she is the whole show: "Hirano Aya Only TV." It simply follows her through a day of some job or other -- in the case shown below, as a kindergarten teacher -- and it is successful enough that it will be coming out on DVD:

And she has starred in four major animes this year: White Album, Queen's Blade, Jewelpet, and Fairy Tail.

Part of her success on TV and in music is no doubt due to her good looks. She keeps appearing on the covers of magazines and in photo spreads, and issued yet another DVD of herself this year. Her enjoyable and quite personal photo-blog continues to be fairly popular.

Aya's most recent magazine cover was for the Japanese Mac Fan. She wrote in her blog: "Since I use a Mac myself, that makes me happy."

Finally, here is a selection of recent photos from her blog:


bmk said...

Really ecstatic to hear Aya-chan's album is doing well. I'm hoping the album helps her gain more confidence in her singing career. Need to pick up the album after Black Friday determines how much of my money I will spend. Also, I really want to buy the DVD for "Hirano Aya Only TV".

For you, Aya-chan:

Serakah said...

What's with all the hate for Aya from the otaku? Is she really that bad? I'm no expert on seiyuus but she was Konata on Lucky Star right? She was pretty good in that and I like her as the chick whose name escapes me at the moment in Fairy Tail.

Random haterade me thinks.

dingmajiao said...

Yeah! Pretty good year for Aya and an enjoyable trip for her fans too.. =D

I still like her doing ballads more than her doing rock though, personally..

Aya Only TV have so far been brilliant and hopefully i can find somewhere to purchase the 2 DVDs to support her..

Haruhi was the anime that shot her to fame and because of Gekisou and some live performance, they find her a bad singer and thus hate her because they feel she is doing well because of her looks and not because of her ability..

hashi said...

@Serakah -- What dingmajiao said. But also, her style is not the usual smooth pro seiyuu style, doing the standard voices in the normal way. She always does things a little differently, something special -- sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

And I think she can sound artificial rather than realistic sometimes. For me, she usually accomplishes something more interesting than mere normalcy, but it's a matter of preference.

I find that some Japanese otaku in particular like things in a certain way and woe betide anyone who has much originality. But there's no doubt that they can really hear pretty well, and just have their own ideas about what they hear.

Raymond said...

Aya Hirano has a unique voice.
I like her singing more than anything else.

MY fandom started in 2007 Spring as she reminded me of Erika Sawajiri.

Rei said...

Aya's most recent magazine cover was for the Japanese Mac Fan. She wrote in her blog: "Since I use a Mac myself, that makes me happy."
S-She's a Mac user ... ;____; noooo!!

I'll still love her regardless!! As from her performance from Gekisou, she's definitely come a long way from that and improved a lot :]b
So happy for her to reach #4! I'm listening to the album now ^_^

animekritik said...

I'm a big fan of aya, I really am...but I listened to the first 4 or 5 songs in this album and gave up. there's something about her voice when she has to push it that..she just can't get there. i rather listen to her as a seiyuu.

anyway, i'm happy for her.

Anonymous said...

What? is just a weekly sale....

How many albums came out in that week?

Let's wait a month and see how this album plummets underground.

Peanutbutter003 said...

I heard a few songs in that album and frankly, none of them caught my attention.

I prefer her recent character song "Elec Trick" from Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan. Can't stop looping that.

Although if her 2nd album is selling well, I'm glad cause she'll surely be in a more healthy financial situation and don't need to be like the many other seiyuus like I read about from randomc a few days ago.

bmk said...

Speaking of the "Hirano Aya Only TV" DVD, the DVD box looks pretty nice.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's so much that people hate aya as much as they hate the publicity she gets and her more hardcore fanbase which seems to hail her as god. I don't aya, but I do hate some of the people who worships her.