Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Takagaki Ayahi Does KOKIA -- really, really well

Oh, man. I'm still recovering. What a great, great job Takagaki Ayahi 高垣彩陽 does with two character songs as Feldt Grace from Gundam00. (click photos to enlarge)

The two songs, 祈り† ("Prayer") and Justice, are written and produced by KOKIA, she of the soaring voice and sweet melodies. And Ayahi does her justice, for sure.

30-second samples here.

In these days of magical audio processing, I guess I can't be sure, but as far as I can tell, the only other seiyuus who could sing this music are Sakamoto Maaya and Mizuki Nana. That's amazing company to keep for the 23-year-old comparative newcomer, Ayahi.

I think Hayami Saori approaches similar quality as a singer, but she doesn't have the vocal power that Ayahi brings, with her opera-trained voice.

The CD is called come across. Here are product details from Amazon Japan. Officially released today.

The fact that this CD is ranked 52nd on Oricon today shows once again that name, and possibly musical style, count more toward popularity than quality does.

I'm not sure how they got together, but KOKIA did an OP and ED for Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~, in which Ayahi starred. And this CD comes out on the JVC (Japan Victor) label, while KOKIA's most recent CD is on Victor, which is an associated label.

In her blog today, Ayahi is effusive: "Today I'm SOOOO happy!" She loves the picture on the cover. She loves Gundam00. She loves Feldt Grace. She loves KOKIA. She loves having had the opportunity to be together with all these people. "It's really a miracle of fate!"

On 2channel, only one person has heard the songs so far, but s/he says: "I am just listening to now, and I'm at a loss for words.... She approaches every job she gets with a sincere attitude and an unplumbed depth of expressive power...."

On KOKIA's blog, she has a couple of posts about this CD, saying it is the first time she has produced someone other than herself. I laughed at a comment indicating that Ayahi brought very clear ideas about the character and how she should sing. Sounds as if she caused KOKIA a bit of trouble, lol.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

For Hayami Saori Fans Only -- interview screencaps

Some screencaps of Hayami Saori 早見沙織 from the anime TV show Anime Seijin, broadcast Saturday night in Japan.

Hayamin is sometimes called plain. That's only when she is not in motion. She is charming and full of wit and spirit, as these screencaps somehow manage to convey.

Hayamin, now 18, is represented by prominent agency I"m Enterprise. She has been called their "secret weapon," because of her voice-acting and singing skills. She debuted at 15-16 as moe goddess Momoka in Touka Gettan in 2006. She went on to play moe priestess Kou in Wagaya no Oinarisama, big-busted fighter Musubi in Sekirei, soft-spoken college student Saki in Eden of the East, and now big-busted "entertainment-purpose angeloid" Ikaros in Sora no Otoshimono. This last show was the subject of the interview.

Two sets of numerous screencaps were linked to from the current Hayamin thread on 2channel. I've separated out some caps, then added the full original group jpgs:

Group jpgs. Click to enlarge:

She's definitely cute, but I never said she didn't have crooked teeth.

Here is a test of an embedded audio player, playing Hayamin's song Namidairo, from Basquash:

Isn't she great? She's gaining some force, while retaining her control and musicality.