I don't know what led up to this -- perhaps it was Ao-chan winning at a game -- but at one point, Sugita says to her: "Oi, Ao-chan, slap my face as hard as you like." And then suddenly, hardly looking at him, she reaches out and slaps his face with some force:
2channelers found the slap hilarious, especially the way she didn't look at him afterward, just drily hit him and moved on. Go to the end of this post to see the full show.
Anyway, that's my excuse to load up a post with the best of the many photos of Ao-chan that have shown up in the last couple of months. Her career is taking some interesting turns, with a mini-album coming out in March, as well as a photo book. I've always thought of her as a seiyuu who depends on her actual skill. To add these idol-seiyuu aspects to what she does can only help her career. I hope.
To be honest, I haven't been all that thrilled with her seiyuu work in recent shows. Maybe university and these other career paths are distracting her. Or else her success is making her a bit too sure of her own ideas. Recently she said people should expect in 2012 to have their fixed expectations of her "disappointed...in the best sense." She says that in recording the mini-album, she was a lot more selfish about her own opinions than she had been in the past.
In an interview, she was asked if her own musical taste became part of the new album. She said that it did, with the participation in the work of one person whose CDs she buys: Deko*27, a net artist who works with Vocaloid (listen to that first link, it's good). She also likes the work of bermei inazawa, whom she just learned about during the recording, but whose light cynicism she enjoys. She admits she herself has some doubt about her singing ability, but says she will just go at it with all she has, as she does everything.
Here is Ao-chan talking about the new album:
And here are some photos:
|A magazine feature on the "becoming-an-adult ceremony" she held with Hayami Saori, |
Kotobuki Minako, and Touyama Nao
|She and Hayami Saori do a radio show together|
|I have never thought of Ao-chan as exactly "pretty," more chunky and cute. |
I wondered how they could make a photo book of her. Now I know.
|Having fun on Sugita Tomokazu's show|
|People are now saying she looks a bit like Mizuki Nana. I think it's the teeth and this pose.|
Finally, here are (1) a video compilation I just found on NicoNico Douga of live videos of Ao-chan, from 2008 to the present. Takes a while to load: **unfortunately, this video has now been taken down, too**
And (2) the full video of the Sugita/Nakamura/Yuuki show from the beginning of the post. The slap is just before the 28:00 mark: (unfortunately, this video has now been made private) -- however, the video has now shown up from a Chinese site, here (thanks, Phil).