Saturday, March 31, 2012

Yuuki Aoi Photobook "Diamant Fille" sample images

The photobook featuring pics of Yuuki Aoi came out last week, and is hovering around 20th place in sales of idol photobooks on Amazon Japan, having reached into the top ten. The book can be ordered from Amazon Japan or Kinokuniya, among other places.

I must admit that when I first heard about it, the idea of a photobook for Ao-chan made little sense to me. Not that I think she isn't good looking, just that she isn't good-looking in a sexy photobook kind of way.

Taketatsu Ayana? Sure. Tanaka Rie? Of course. But chunky little Ao-chan, who always seems to dress in a carefully unrevealing way?

Yeah, well, I guess I was wrong. The photos may not be top quality, but it's fun to see her in various outfits and poses. And she really is cute. Here are a few samples. Click images to enlarge.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Arai Satomi: "I'm married and a mother."

Arai Satomi, seiyuu, wife,
and mother
In her blog today, seiyuu Arai Satomi announces that she got married four years ago and has a son a year and nine months old.

Mikko's most famous role is as the yuri schoolgirl security officer Kuroko in Index and Railgun. Her bizarre Kuroko voice has become her trademark. But I was most impressed by her work in Mahoraba, where she played the heroine Kozue and her four alternate personalities.

Mikko, who is 31, apologized for keeping her marriage quiet for so long, but said there were "various reasons" that kept delaying her announcement. Finally she just decided she wanted to go ahead and bring things out into the open. It lifts a burden from her shoulders, she says.

Seiyuu can be abandoned by their fans for simply having a boyfriend, so being a wife and mother could be a problem, -- though it doesn't seem that her marriage last year has harmed Nazuka Kaori's career.

Spring Anime Weekly Schedule and First Week Highlights

The new anime season gets going in earnest this Sunday, April Fool's Day. Here is a weekly calendar showing which shows will be on which days, through the season. Click here or on the image to go to the full schedule:

Sunday's highlight is the first episode of Uchuu Kyoudai, the year-long space fiction story about two brothers who made a promise when they were young to be astronauts together. The reverse harem Hiiro no Kakera starts Sunday, too, but we have already seen a preview of the first episode (I enjoyed it).

On Monday, the highly anticipated gore-fest Zetman starts. But so does the slice of life comedy Yurumates, whose OVA I enjoyed a lot.

Symphogear Live Event -- Mizuki Nana, Takagaki Ayahi, Yuuki Aoi

It isn't until October, but a Symphogear concert featuring Mizuki Nana, Takagaki Ayahi, and Yuuki Aoi is scheduled for October 6.

In Ao-chan's 2channel thread, a couple of posters have described it as a "public execution" for her. Mizuki Nana is the top seiyuu singer, and Takagaki Ayahi has a degree in vocal music and is another top seiyuu singer. How can Ao-chan match those two?

I would have agreed last week, but after hearing her album -- and seeing that she has six more months to improve -- I think they will find ways to make her voice work.

I've listened to Petit Pas a dozen times or so, and it just doesn't get old. I hear more every time. Good music, and an amazingly good job by Ao-chan.

I've found a Japanese review of the album, and it is highly positive. The writer emphasizes that Ao-chan brings her seiyuu skills to the project, making each song a little drama, and creating a character in each one.

In "Baby Dolly Alice," for example, you really hear the snap in Ao-chan's voice, as she curls her voice around the super-cutesy character.

In the announcement of the concert, Yuuki Aoi's name is placed first, before even Nana-chan or Ayahi. Iguchi Yuka will also be part of the show.

Maybe it won't be quite the public execution it would have been a few months ago.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Yuuki Aoi has her first drink -- with her parents

Yuuki Aoi, having just turned 20, which is the drinking age in Japan, has posted about having her first drink -- with her parents! (Or so she says...) Here's the post:

2012.03.29 03:42 

I drank sake with my parents!
The picture is my congratulatory lobster!
It was my first time drinking alcohol -- lol
So this is cold sake, daddy?’s bitter, bitter!!!
Why is it so bitter?!
It gives me the shivers!
Father: (laughs)
Mother: Have something sweet...
Okay, coconut milk!

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:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yuuki Aoi's Birthday Blog Post

It was Yuuki Aoi's birthday on Tuesday, and she had events over the weekend in Tokyo where she signed copies of her photobook Diamant Fille for people, having a few words with each one as she did.

The picture to the right is of a life-size (144cm/4'9") cardboard cut-out of Ao-chan that has been set up at about twenty major anime and book stores around Japan, to advertise her new album, Petit Pas, which has just hit the stores.

Here is her blog post, which was posted at 2:30am Tuesday night, Tokyo time -- a little over four hours ago. She says she would like white to be the colour of light-stick her fans use. She says Kotobuki Minako is her waifu and no-one else can have her. And she skirts the question of whether she can be called a fujoshi or not.

2012.03.28 Birthday, Book Signings