Monday, September 19, 2011

Yuuki Aoi News and Images

Some magazine images, a live event report, and evidence that Ao-chan is pretty sharp academically (click images to enlarge).

For a fall reading feature, Ao-chan says she reads everything from picture books, manga and light novels to text books.  She loves picture books and is reading as many translations of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as she can find.

At the other extreme, she was reading a psychology textbook for a report at university, but found herself engrossed in it even after she had finished the report. She used to think psychology was dull, but the analyses of human behaviour were fascinating. She used not to enjoy studying, but now that she is being exposed to so many new ideas, she is enjoying it a lot. Learning new things is so much fun.

Speaking about her character Alice in Ikoku Meiro no Croisee, she says she is someone who doesn't pay much attention to people around her, but is really a good person at heart. She begins by seeing Yune as just "something Japanese," but gradually comes to understand her as a person.

Ao-chan took part in a live event last weekend for the upcoming school comedy anime Ben-Tou. She plays a second-level character who reads and writes boys-love fiction. It came out at the event that when Ao-chan was being auditioned, someone said she was perfect for a fujoshi character. Star Shimono Hiro asked the agency people if it was all right to say something like that, and Ao-chan apparently smiled and put her finger to her lips.

But the part of the show that many 2channelers fixed on was when she whirled around the stage and her skirt lifted so some members of the audience could see what she was wearing underneath.

However, that was not as big a revelation as something else people on 2channel have finally discovered: the name of the university she goes to. It turns out to be one of the most prestigious colleges in Japan, Waseda University. 2channel is divided between people who admire her for being smart enough to get in, and others who say she got in by pull or by having one special skill, or that Waseda is a college you can slack off in if you want.

Waseda is in the heart of Tokyo, right in Shinjuku, and one comment on the school is that it is a place where you can learn a lot without turning into a geek.

Seiyuus who are also college students conceal the name of their college until they graduate, in order to avoid stalkers. The image below is how people discovered where she goes. Her picture was published in February of last year in her high school's online newsletter, with a story about her getting into Waseda. She is only identified as "Y.A. san." Her real name is Yabusaki Aoi.

The school is a top high school in Chiba, the high school affiliated with Chiba University of Economics. In her message written for the newsletter, she says that in looking at the news and coming into contact with many people, she realized how important it was to think seriously about society, and that was her stimulus to aiming at a social sciences degree. She says that she hopes to be able to look into social questions with concerned and enthusiastic companions at Waseda, and actively make use of the things she learned in high school. Here is the full page from the newsletter:

In a previous newsletter from the school, it said that Ao-chan was one of two vice-chairmen of the student council in 2008-09. The school has three main courses of study: General Studies, Commerce, and Data Processing. Ao-chan was in the data-processing stream. No wonder she once mentioned having done some programming.

I hesitated to pass on this info, but since it is all over 2channel now, I didn't think it would be much of a problem to let a few foreigners know. In any case, I buried it here at the end of the story. Largely reacting to this news, traffic in Ao-chan's 2channel thread has suddenly jumped from two posts per hour to thirteen or so.

An even more active 2channel seiyuu thread right now (94 posts an hour) is Taketatsu Ayana's: someone recently posted a sticker-photo of her with what appears to be a past boyfriend, a co-student from her seiyuu-school days.


Andrew said...

With the cat out of the bag now about her college, you don't think Aoi's agency might pressure her to change schools, do you?

I don't think things will come to that, but hopefully the 2channers at Waseda will leave her alone if they see her. Maybe I'm acting too pessimistic about all this (she seems fairly reserved about her fame), but my mind still goes back to some of the unsavory things people are saying about her online--especially on 2chan.

banger said...

It is interesting to me that so many young seiyuu these days even bother to go to college at all, especially if they seem to be working full-time like Yuuki Aoi is. I wonder if it is a result of low tuition prices in Japan or if they are genuinely worried their seiyuu career may end prematurely. Or I guess just to learn...which is a concept not familiar to me.

hashi said...

@Andrew -- I don't think she will have too much trouble, at least on campus. I notice that a member of AKB48 is also a current student. And there have already been hints about which tram line Ao-chan uses. But yes, some people surely do say some very unsavory things on 2channel. I'm hoping those are people who never leave their rooms.

@banger -- I think it's less that the career may end than that it isn't that well paying while it lasts, for most people.

And I am tempted to agree with the 2channel poster who said he expects her to end up as an executive more than a performer, maybe producing games or anime when she is in her thirties.

The first thing that comes to Japanese people's minds when they think of Waseda is "connections." She can make connections there that could help her in this or any future career. To quote the Wikipedia article: "The alumni include seven post-war prime ministers and prominent corporate leaders."

But I think that the reason people like Ao-chan, Hayami Saori and Inoue Marina go to college is that they have grown up upper-middle-class and expecting to go, and have been near the top of their school classes all along.

soul.assassin said...

Given that Ao-chan has some real creative aces in her sleeve, I bet she can branch out to other profitable fields, especially into game programming, software development, information systems, or graphic design, and surely every employer would be courting her to join their company.