Hey everybody, let me start off with an apology. As some of you know, I actually work on Fanart Fridays on Thursday, picking out pictures and writing everything up and then not having to worry about it at all. Well, this last Thursday I was kinda tired and kinda lazy, and thought I'd have time to get the rest done while at the office on Friday. You can guess what happened next--I didn't. So you can rest assured that I'm gonna do my best to ensure this never, ever happens again--even after two and a half years, I never missed a Fanart Friday, and I don't wanna do it twice. So yeah, you're getting two this week! Now, here we go!
Fanart Friday returns, and it has a lovely singing voice. Last week, we got a look at our favorite animal-eared characters, but this week we're returning to the voice actor well with the ever-popular AYA HIRANO!
My shock at this part of the series wasn't "Oh my God, Haruhi can sing," but more "Oh my God, Yuki can SHRED"
A voice-acting veteran, Hirano has gone through some recent troubles with her health as well as some difficulty with "scandals" (which really just amounts to Japanese management not letting adults be adults--hey, somebody had to say it), but fans will always appreciate getting to hear her in a show. It's not a guarantee, but having her as a voice actor also tends to have Hirano lending her voice to openings and/or endings! Let's get started!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.
Let's start from the very beginning this week, with Aya Hirano's first voice role: Saru no Momo in Angel Tales (or, uh... Tenshi no Shippo, which I've never heard of either)! Apparently Saru no Momo is a shy character--that's not really the kind of role I'm used to Aya Hirano having, but hey, it's a start, right?
Of course, here's the role she got her big break on: Haruhi Suzumiya! Everyone's favorite schoolgirl/god needs a comeback--am I the only one who loved the entire second season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya?
'Kay, y'know what? I'm all for giving weeaboos the exact same respect I give everybody else, but this character's name is not "Reira." As Nana is a series that's all about music, it only makes sense that a character is named LAYLA, after the Eric Clapton song. Remind me to tell you guys my "Koko wa Greenwood" story sometime.
Hirano had to take a break from voice acting due to health concerns for a while, but she's back in business--you can hear her playing the scheming Weekend in Witch Craft Works!
Here's a weird thing I really liked about Zettai Karen Children's art--the way Takashi Shiina draws blood. It's a very strange detail to focus on, but in an action-heavy series like this (where Hirano played de facto lead Akashi), I think it's important to be able to convey the wear and damage of battle effectively!
by ultmte READER SUBMISSION
At least by my reckoning, this is ultmte's tenth submission to Fanart Friday--he was already holding the record--so go ahead and check your inbox, dude, I left something for you there! This time, we have Kiddy Grade's Lumiere!
I think at some point, every voice actor wants a piece of a classic series like Saint Seiya, and Aya Hirano lent her unmistakable voice to Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas' Athena, otherwise known as Sasha!
Hirano's not the first voice actress to portray Hunter x Hunter's Menchi (that honor goes to Akari Hibino), but she's still my favorite Gourmet Hunter. Yeah, all those folks from Toriko are awesome (except Rin--she can go jump in a volcano), but it's hard to hate Menchi and her ridiculous, near-impossible requests.
She's also lent her voice to games, like Eternal Sonata's Polka! I remember when this game first came out on Xbox 360 and was absolutely blown away--and it's still impressive at just how well the game has aged.
Quick as I am to say something snarky about Lucky Star and how it's the downfall of all that is great about anime (this is only partially true), I gotta say that I actually really liked the show. Once again, Hirano took the lead in a KyoAni production as dorky, tiny fan-favorite Konata.
She doesn't always play nice moeblobs, though--she's capable of taking on a much darker tone. Well, okay, Death Note's MisaMisa wasn't that dark, but she was pretty messed up--anybody who practically worships a serial killer has to be!
Please insert the usual joke about Queen's Blade here (where Aya Hirano lent her considerable voice-acting talent to play Nanael). I don't have the heart to, because this series is just too much for even me. Maybe if I were like... nineteen (or younger), I'd really enjoy this series. Not right now, though.
Kimi ni Todoke is one of those shows that I shamelessly push on everybody--it's just that damn good. Ume Kurumizawa's kinda bitchy (at first), but she's a character who I can understand and feel kinda bad for, and ends up redeeming herself.
by OroNoDa READER SUBMISSION!
So remember that whole thing I brought up about how Hirano doesn't often play villains? Gintama's Nobume wasn't exactly a villain--more of an antagonist--but damn, she's scary!
Thinking on it, though, my favorite role for Hirano has to be Eyeshield 21's Mamori Anezaki. Yeah, her doting, overprotective nature (her namesake, actually!) can get kind of irritating, but she was one of my favorite characters in the entire series.
That's a whole lotta panda. Y'know, I didn't recognize Hirano's voice at all when I watched Gatchaman Crowds--she plays Paiman!
Once again, Hirano got to take over a supporting character in a legendary JUMP anime--she was Li'l Green Dende in Dragon Ball Kai!
This request kinda came out of left field for me--Garnet in the Jewelpets series is a role I'm not particularly surprised by, but one that I didn't think would actually get asked for!
Finally, we'll end on a fan-favorite, especially since Fairy Tail is back in our library (minus a strange block of about thirty episodes). Former rich girl who wants to pay her rent (but always drags her friends along) Lucy Heartfilia is technically the main character of Fairy Tail, and yet Natsu always gets all the glory. Oh well!
And that's everything for this installment! I covered a lot of bases, but I didn't get everything--what are your favorite Aya Hirano roles? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
Like I always say, your art is welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your work and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! Here are the next three upcoming installments of Fanart Friday:
-This coming Friday, on APRIL 25th, we're looking a studio that has nothin' but hits--STUDIO BONES gets to be front and center! What are your favorite BONES shows? THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR!
-Then, on MAY 2nd, we start a five-week ELEMENTAL theme with EARTH! Which characters best represent the power and stability of Earth to you?
-On MAY 9th, things heat up as we continue the ELEMENTAL theme with FIRE!
Thanks again for dropping by--again, you all have my sincerest apologies for missing this past week's installment. I hope everybody had a great Easter weekend, and I hope you guys drop by again this coming Friday when we get back to our usual schedule!