Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sugita: "Hit me!" Yuuki Aoi: SLAP!

Yuuki Aoi was the guest on the most recent episode of Sugita Tomokazu and Nakamura Yuuichi's TV show, Tokyo Encounter.

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. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Quick Reviews of the New Anime

I'm coming to this season a bit late. I was busy and not able to see the new shows in January. But now I'm up to date, and the shows I am most enjoying are Another, Nisemonogatari, and Ano Natsu de Matteru. But I also like Black Rock Shooter, High School DxD, InuxBoku SS, and Daily Lives of High School Boys.

Another -- Interesting, well-laid out little supernatural mystery with good characters and relationships. And blood.

Nisemonogatari -- Bakemonogatari was brilliant, and this is really the same show. So it gets marks for being what it is. But it loses marks for the same reason: something more different would have been welcome. And I am seeing the sexploitation a little more clearly this time around. But that doesn't mean I am not enjoying it (both the show and the exploitation).

Ano Natsu de Matteru -- A pleasant melange of Ano Hana with Toradora and Onegai Teacher/Twins. The voices are good, particularly Ishihara Kaori as the childhood friend.

Black Rock Shooter -- A short series spun off from the OVA. And I like it a bit better than the OVA. Not such sharp animation, but good enough. And a bit more story, unconventionally presented.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Seiyuu/Idol Ishihara Kaori Comes Into Her Own

Ishihara Kaori
For a couple of years now, young seiyuu/idols Ogura Yui (now 16) and Ishihara Kaori 石原夏織 (now 18) have been singing as "YuiKaori ゆいかおり". They did the ED for KissxSis (TV).

Ogura-san has landed some good anime roles, most notably as Alice in Kami-sama no Memo-chou. But Ishihara-san has just broken out this season, with two good roles: one starring as Madoka in Rinne no Lagrange, and one as the childhood friend Kanna in Ano Natsu de Matteru.

And she has been a revelation, at least to me. Her voice has a natural freshness, and an edge that makes it feel present and real.

Like Ogura, Ishihara has been an idol with the Happy! Style agency. She started in 2008, at 15, doing live shows as part of Happy! Style Rookies. She and three others, including Ogura, formed a group called Team Dekaris. She "graduated" from Happy! Style Rookies in 2009, around the time YuiKaori came into existence.

Now the original members of Team Dekaris are back together as StylipS. Their debut single, StudyxStudy, came out this week, and rose from #18 to #16 in its first two days on the charts.

Kaori seems a capable and somewhat serious young woman. Now she is even running her own solo radio show (to go with her other two current radio shows, a TV show, and a video show). But Ogura Yui says she is actually more bubbly in real life than in public performances.

Yui is more famous than Kaori. She is a top teen idol, cute as a button, and a terrific dancer. She did the dancing that was digitized for Hatsune Miku's Project Diva. But Kaori is now coming into her own. Her crocodile smile is very attractive. She has a stronger singing voice than Yui does. And she may end up with a stronger seiyuu career, if her two current roles are anything to go by.

Here are some photos of Kaori: