Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hikasa Youko -- Mio and More

Hikasa Youko burst onto the scene in 2009 with the enormous popularity of K-On! and of her character Mio.

I wasn't convinced at the time that she was anything special, but a year of watching her work has taught me that she is in fact an excellent comic actress, as well as a good singer.

Last summer, she was starring in K-On!!, Seitokai Yakuindomo, and Occult Academy and I did a post about her asking: "Who the Heck is Hikasa Youko -- and Why Is She Getting So Many Roles?"

When fall came, however, she more or less disappeared. Her only starring role was in the funny but little-known Web anime Kakkokawaii Sengen.

Now she is again at the head of the class, starring in three anime beginning between January and March: IS -- Infinite Stratos (as Shinonono), Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? (Sera), and Moshidora (Minami), as well as playing a significant sub-character in Rio -- Rainbow Gate! (Linda).

Hyocchi is smart and funny and in demand as a radio host. She is already 25 and seems strong and mature. She is qualified in aromatherapy and is a dressmaker. She can even bake. She was a good softball player and track and field runner in high school -- as well as being head of the library committee. She jokes that she was majime (a serious, good girl).

OVA Calendar -- January-March 2011

Here is a list of OVAs being released between mid-December 2010 and March 2011. I plan to use this simple list to keep track of what's coming up. I'm posting it in case other people find it of use.

Click here or on the image to go to the full list, which is based on current listings on MoonPhase. No doubt changes will occur, but this is at least a basic guide, and I will update the list as I find out about changes.

January 2011 Anime -- Weekly Broadcast Calendar

Here is a weekly calendar of TV anime for the coming three months.

In previous seasons I have included OVAs, but this calendar includes only regular weekly TV series. I will do a separate list of OVAs.

Click here or on the image to go to the actual calendar.

Yuuki Aoi Dresses Gothic Lolita for Gosick

Yuuki Aoi herself seems to like gothic lolita fashion. Now she has worn it professionally, at a publicity event for Gosick.

Gosick is a new anime that will start airing on Friday 7 January. Ao-chan stars as Victorika, a genius loli with a husky voice who sits in the library reading several books at a time and solving mysteries that are brought to her.

For the show, the gothic lolita fashion house Innocent World has made a dress for Ao-chan to wear and to be sold to the public. The fabric is all hand-dyed. The lace part of the dress is dyed with black tea. A 60cm doll of Victorika will also be produced.

Ao-chan says she was surprised to realize when she got the audition script that she herself had bought the original novel, which came out in 2003. Volume 7 is due out in March.

In the novels it says that Victorika has a husky, old woman's voice, contradicting her youthful appearance. Novelist Sakuraba Kazuki says she got the idea for the voice from the voice of a girl vampire in the movie Interview With the Vampire. She was happy with Ao-chan's voice, and delighted when she looked her up on the Internet and discovered that she was tiny and cute.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hirano Aya Becomes Spokesman for Denny's Restaurants in Japan

As she continues her voyage into the mainstream, Hirano Aya has today become spokesman for the "Hamburg Marché" menu at Denny's restaurants in Japan.


On this page, you can download smartphone apps (iPhone, Android, other) that allow you to hear her introduce the menu when you are in a restaurant.

Thanks to Pure for posting a link to Aya's TV ad for Denny's in a comment. Here's the YouTube video:

Yuuki Aoi Gets Lead Role in Gosick

She was always one of the top candidates in people's minds, but now it is official: 18-year-old rising star Yuuki Aoi will play the lead role of Victorica in Gosick, a new anime from Bones that starts Friday 7 January.

Victorica is a girl who looks like a loli, dresses gothic lolita, and sits in the library reading several books at a time and solving mysteries that are brought to her.

This starring role was not announced until today, at a special live event where the first episode of the anime was shown.

This gives Yuuki Aoi two of the top female roles of the new anime season: Madoka in Shaft's Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, and this role.

In Gosick, Ao-chan will be reunited with her idol, Sawashiro Miyuki, whom she played opposite in Kurenai almost three years ago.