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☆
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: