Shiina Karuho, the mangaka of Kimi ni Todoke, has given Hirano Aya a drawing with an inscription saying that her interpretation of Kurumi made the anime's Kurumi section "a hundred times better than the manga."
Kurumi is a pretty and popular girl who is the heroine's love rival. She is in some ways a fairly nasty piece of work: manipulative and two-faced.
Shiina-san, whose nickname is "Calpin," writes that Hirano's interpretation of the character brought out her combination of charm and great pride, but was also able to gradually reveal how pitiable she really was, in the end. Hirano's performance was "totally Kurumi." (Click images to enlarge)
In her joy at this recognition by the mangaka, Aya has published in her blog both drawings given to her by Calpin: a portrait of Kurumi, and the note about the performance.
I agree that Aya's performance was sharp and insightful. She showed the kind of deep acting that she is capable of. She may not be the greatest technical seiyuu, but she is a real method actress, able to get inside a character and bring out her emotions.
I personally was disappointed in the anime, which I felt went far too slowly, and did not do the manga justice. And I was not that happy with Noto Mamiko in the starring role. But I thought Aya was terrific.
At the anime's wrap-up party last week, all the cast were given a cloth printed with a group picture of the characters, drawn by the mangaka, with the banner: "I Love Team Ani-Todo."
Calpin ended her note with a wish that Hirano look after her health.