Friday, March 27, 2009

Hirano Aya in...Jewelpet?

Hirano Aya has announced that she will play the role of "Aya" in the new little-girls' anime Jewelpet, which is designed to sell a line of jewel-eyed stuffed animals created by Sanrio and Sega.

It's hardly the most artistic kind of anime, but may be among the most profitable. The series is slated for 52 episodes, starting Sunday, April 5. It is directed by new director Sasaki Nanako, and written by experienced writer Maekawa Jun (Prince of Tennis, Fresh Precure).

The show stars singing idol Kamei Eri of Morning Musume, in her first seiyuu role, as the heroine Rinko. The preview TV spot makes her voice sound pretty amateurish, but that was true of her MoMusu colleague Kusumi Koharu when she began the now very long run of Kirarin Revolution.

Aya is likely one of the three human girls who are shown on the show's homepage, among the many jewelpets. But the site only gives names to the jewelpets. The story involves a jewelpet called Ruby who goes missing, and the other jewelpets enlist the help of human girls in the hunt.

I'm not sure if this means Aya's career is in the dumper (not likely) or if she's just fitting in seiyuu roles here and there, while she concentrates on the more profitable singing and idol work. Actually, it seems to me that a secondary role in this kind of long-running show is a very efficient way to make money. Her only other role of the spring season so far is in the ecchi comedy/fighting anime Queen's Blade.

I have to say that although I enjoyed Aya's Riot Tour DVD, I was less than impressed that it took her several songs before she started to hit the notes right on. Not so different from many seiyuu, but I expected better -- and got it from about halfway through the concert on, with the slower and more serious songs. She does have some magic.

We got one of Aya's patented crying scenes, as she thanked people for being there, and expressed the wish that they could be together again and she could perform even better.

Here is a page with links to 14 videos from the show.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring 2009 Anime Schedule

For planning your spring viewing, here's a calendar showing the weekly anime broadcast schedule for April-June 2009. It includes new shows and continuing shows, and gives highlights of staff and cast, as well as links to sites that give more info. Click the image to go to the full calendar.

The big days this season are Thursday and Sunday. The season gets going in earnest next Thursday, 2 April, with six new shows: Queen's Blade, Asura Cryin', Pandora Hearts, Basquatch, K-On, and Requiem for the Phantom. Higashi no Eden will join them the following Thursday, 9 April.

On Sunday 5 April will come a full 13 new shows: Beyblade, Dragon Ball Kai, Jewelpet, Cross Game, Fullmetal Alchemist 2, Before Green Gables (Konnichiwa Anne), Hanasakeru Seishounen, Guin Saga, Shangri-La, Tayutama: Kiss on my Deity, Natsu no Arashi!, Tears to Tiara, and Saki. Good luck keeping up with that lot, lol.

Here are my detailed previews of all the new shows. You can find other previews via Anime Nano. And there is another anime schedule here (Mahou Showtime).

You may notice some minor changes from the dates/times given in my previews. There is always a little shuffling just before the season starts. I'll keep correcting the calendar as I get new info.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Seiyuu Supergoup: Nakajima, Tomatsu, Hayami

The three top young seiyuu-singers will combine to do the OP for the new anime Basquash!

Nakajima Megumi, Tomatsu Haruka, and Hayami Saori will sing under the group name "Eclipse." All three are under 20.

Nakajima Megumi Tomatsu Haruka Hayami Saori

Nakajima Megumi, 19, won the Seiyuu Award as best seiyuu-singer of 2008, for her work on Macross Frontier.

Tomatsu Haruka, 19, had a top-ten hit with the OP for Kannagi.

And Hayami Saori, 17, showed with the EDs for Touka Gettan and Wagaya no Oinarisama that she may have the best voice of the three, with sweetness, control, and great musicality.

As a solo artist, Nakajima records for Japan Victor, on their Flying Dog label. Tomatsu records for Sony on Music Ray'n. Hayami does not appear to have a solo contract yet.

Tomatsu and fellow Music Ray'n seiyuus Takagaki Ayahi, Toyosaki Aki, and Kotobuki Minako, do the OP to the new anime Hatsukoi Limited, under the name of their group sphere (Nicovideo link).

The Basquash OP title will be "nO limiT". Basquash is produced by Kawamori Shoji, the man behind the Macross franchise. The science-fiction story involves a game like basketball that is played using mechas. Broadcast begins Thursday 2 April.

In spring anime, Tomatsu has roles in five shows (Basquash!, ToLoveRu, Asura Cryin', Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica, and Cross Game), Nakajima in one (Basquash!), and Hayami in three (Higashi no Eden, Basquash!, 07-Ghost).