Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yuuki Aoi's CD Hits #10 On First Day

Yuuki Aoi with the life-size cut-out
of herself (145cm/4'9") that is on display
at stores. Ao-chan says she mosaic-ed
her face out of embarrassment.
Yuuki Aoi's first CD, "Petit Pas" プティパ, came out this week in Japan and is at #10 in the charts for its first day.

Getting into the top ten is good, but the album itself is better. I was blown away. I had no idea she could be this good a singer. It's a great sign that the more I listen to this music, the more I like it.

Not that Ao-chan is technically a great singer. But she brings her dramatic and voice skills to the task and succeeds brilliantly in creating little works of art. And she hits the notes. What a relief, even if she is technically assisted.

The light, high voice we hear in the PV clip from "Merry-go-Round Horse's Tail" shows up in other cuts. But she also gives us a full-throated rock diva sound, especially in a song by DECO*27, "Sugar Loop."

I especially like the two songs by DECO*27, the other being "Ferris Wheel Clock." But the song that I think will get the most play is "Baby Dolly Alice," by Kawada Ruka, who has done quite a bit of work for anime and seiyuus, recently for Horie Yui.

Make no mistake, most of these are art songs, not straight pop. And Ao-chan puts plenty of art into singing them. They are like little dramas, with her playing a different character in each.

You can hear a couple of sample clips here. The CD itself, both editions, can be purchased from CDJapan (with special photo) or Amazon Japan.

Here is a short video that has just shown up on NicoNico introducing clips of all the songs:

Here is a video of Ao-chan demonstrating the fold-up calendar that comes with the premium edition of the CD:

And here is a drawing Ao-chan made while listening to the album:

Is that an intentional flare censoring part of the drawing? A comment on 2channel suggests that her mention of a manuscript in the blog post I translated shows that she is or has been part of a doujin circle. Finally, here is a photo of the "Petit Pas" corner at the big Akihabara anime/manga/games store, Gamers:

By the way, the album title "Petit Pas," means "Small Step" in French.


passerby said...

Congratulations, Ao-chan. It's really a good start for her. I hope she'll still rank as the week ends.

I didn't like what I heard/see from the teaser tbh, but thank goodness the whole album was really good. Definitely, a surprise for me in every positive way.

I agree that her singing voice isn't the greatest, but I really loved how this mini album showcased how beautiful her voice is in her own way and how very versatile it is., here's a link to her full PV in case you haven't seen it yet.

Andrew said...

I thought "Petit Pas" means "not little"; perhaps a joke about her height, heh. But I certainly can't call myself an expert in French, so I can't really dispute you.

Anyway, many congratulations for her album and happy adulthood!

caitlyn said...

Honestly, I was blown away by the album in a sense. I expected to be cringing all the way through, but it's not half-bad! They definitely exploited her voice to its full potential. Those quirky, gothic lolita style songs not only are perfect for her voice, they also fit Yuuki Aoi herself to a T.

And Sugar Loop was a complete shock -- where did that voice come from? I mean, we knew that acting-wise Ao-chan has incredible versatility, but I didn't expect that. One wonders how much post-production wizardry was done on that song... lol

hashi said...

@passerby -- Thanks for the link. I was cringing at the trailer at first, but came to "get it" after a while. At least I felt there was some promise there. Promise apparently fulfilled.

@Andrew -- I do more or less speak French, and "pas" does indeed also mean "not," but just hearing the phrase, the first thing I think of is "small step." Seems more natural. And I think that's what Ao-chan has said they meant here. But maybe there is also a bit of a franponais pun involved, lol.

@caitlyn -- When I heard Ao-chan was going to do a solo album, I thought: "Whaat?" She had managed not to embarrass herself too much, but I didn't think she was really a singer. I thought: "Yet another fourth-rate seiyuu singer, unconvinced and unconvincing."

But I guess I underestimated both her and the expertise at Flying Dog. If she can regularly produce the voice in Sugar Loop, she's incredible. Throughout the album, she just does a lot, in phrasing and tone and rhythm, etc. And she doesn't seem embarrassed or shy, just puts it all out there.

I felt as if DECO*27 really understood her, and liberated her from the cutesy little girl image in his songs (Ferris Wheel Clock and Sugar Loop). He said he has been her fan since Kurenai, and she said she was his fan, too. He did suggest the future possibility of just putting guitar behind her (and not hiding her voice with the accompaniment so much). That scares me, but maybe she can actually do it.

Tobias said...

I don't know about "showcasing her voice", it totally drowns in the music. Probably the engineer's fault though.

hashi said...

@Tobias -- I thought they lacked confidence in her voice and decided to cover it up, as they often do with seiyuu singers. But I think DECO*27's comments indicate that he, at least, might feature it a bit more if he gets another opportunity -- as I believe he may.

DECO*27 tweeted yesterday that he had gone to her live event for the album (where she sang three songs live, apparently) and enjoyed it a lot. He has even added her name to the short-list of artists he has written songs for, on his Twitter page.

hashi said...

Here's my chance to add that after two days at #10, the album dropped to #19 on Thursday, then #21 on both Friday and Saturday. Most seiyuu albums drop quickly after an initial surge. I think this one deserves to stay on, based on musical quality alone (including the singing). Apparently stores are being restocked....

There was a Symphogear event on Sunday, too, and she apparently sang after Nana-chan and Ayahime. One commenter said that her voice slid around a bit, but that her power of expression was greater than either of the other two, despite her not being the top singer both of them are.