Friday, July 02, 2010

Amagami SS Character/Seiyuu Pics and Info

Not that Amagami SS looks like a classic, but the cast is good (Maeno Tomoaki, Nazuka Kaori, Yukana, Itou Shizuka, Asumi Kana, Satou Rina, etc.) and the mood and characters show promise.

And the writer/director, Hiraike Yoshimasa, wrote and directed last season's surprise hit comedy Working!!

The show is adapted from a dating game with romantic routes for several girls. It is compared to KimiKiss, which is by the same game company, Enterbrain. It feels to me as if it may do an interesting job of giving us the girls' stories. It appears that each of six heroines will have her relationship with the hero told in four episodes.

Click here or on the photo to go to a page with pics of each character and their seiyuu, and info about the seiyuu:

As an added bonus -- especially for me -- Hayami Saori has a role in episode one. What a beautiful voice, singing or speaking.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Seiyuu Endou Aya: Late-Blooming Beauty

Endou Aya 遠藤綾 got her big break in 2007, with the role of Miyuki in Lucky Star. But unlike many successful seiyuus, who are in their late teens or early twenties when they first make a name for themselves, she was already 27.

She was a late-bloomer, but she has made up for lost time with lots of strong roles in recent years. And not only is she one of the best seiyuus in Japan, in my opinion she may be the most beautiful (as opposed to "cute").

Here is a brief outline of her life and her work, with photos and video clips. (Click images to enlarge.)

Macross Frontier
Lucky Star was her big break, but the peak of her success was the role of Sheryl Nome in Macross Frontier. For that, she not only won the hearts of most otaku, she also won the Seiyuu Award for 2008 as best supporting actress.

And for good reason. The breathy warmth of her voice enveloped you, and she fully sold Sheryl's combination of strength, guile, affection, and despair.

Hanasakeru Seishounen
Sheryl was a great character, but she is not my favorite Aya-san character. That is Kajika Burnsworth in Hanasakeru Seishounen. Kajika is a boyish 16-year-old, the daughter of a billionaire, and she has been brought up alone on an island with a leopard as her constant companion. She herself is also like a leopard: wild, bold, innocent, and easily strong.

Aya-san has said that the role was very difficult for her to figure out, but that after a first episode in which she just acted "like an adult," she forgot about trying to push anything and simply reacted to the lines people said to her. Her performance is inconsistent -- as the script is, too -- but for me Kajika is one of the most memorable characters in anime. Aya gives her a clean energy that is so winning: complete purity of heart.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Anime Weekly Calendar

With the new season getting rolling on Thursday, here's the coming season's weekly anime calendar, showing what days shows are on -- both new shows (in red) and continuing shows.

For each show, the calendar includes highlights of staff and cast members, and has links to info pages in English and Japanese (mainly Anime News Network and official sites), as well as links to AnimeSuki forums. I find these calendars useful myself, and hope some of you may, too.

Click here or on the image to go to the full calendar:

As is often the case, Thursday looks like an interesting day, with new shows Shiki (horror - starts next week) and Amagami SS (romance), as well as Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (fantasy adventure/comedy starring Fukuyama Jun, Takagaki Ayahi, Ono Daisuke, and Sugita Tomokazu); Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi (a JC Staff school comedy with Itou Shizuka and Itou Kanae); the new season of Kuroshitsuji, with Mizuki Nana and Sakurai Takahiro; and continuing show Kaichou wa Maid-sama (shoujo comedy/romance).

Hirano Aya Twitters a Crowd, Has Chart Success

Hirano Aya's brief mention in her blog last week that "something might happen" in Akihabara the next day drew a flash crowd of around a thousand fans to her tour of the big stores on the day her tenth single, Hysteric Barbie, was released.

She reports with delight today that the single was #9 on the charts for the past week, and that the DVD of her Speed Star tour was #3 for the week among music DVDs (#19 among all DVDs).

This after she was unable, because of her physical and mental condition, to conduct the same intensive media campaign for the single that she normally does.

The Twitter campaign and blog hint were just attempts to salvage something of a campaign -- and they appear to have worked.

Aya's highest weekly ranking was for her ninth single, Super Driver, which came in at #3.

The photo was taken in the lobby of the Fuji TV building, with their mascot Rafu-kun.

She wrote in her blog Monday night that she couldn't sleep, worrying about where the single would come in the weekly rankings."To tell the truth, it was the same last night," she added. She was eager to see how the new promotion methods worked out, but also scared.

She is delighted with the results, and says that the one-day twitter campaign and the "festival" in Akihabara made her feel closer to her fans on this than ever, and she thanked everyone a lot. Yahoo reports that her one-day Twitter account had 25,000 followers.