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Dated 8 February 2010: In praise of Aya Hirano

Lumiere
I wish someone would make a Rebuild of Kiddy Grade movie
based on the awesome original promo for the series.

I first noticed Hirano Aya when she dropped her normal voice an octave and gave Lumiere in Kiddy Grade an unexpectedly mature voice. After that, I don't think I noticed her again until Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu. That's pretty much when everyone else noticed her, too.

Ayu
Ayu from the Hyakko OP.

Hirano Aya became so popular after voicing Haruhi that the considerable backlash and stalkerish scrutiny to which she's consistently subjected now was inevitable. Her popularity also led to a lot of miscast roles as she became the new hot seiyuu. She was seeming crammed into every show possible whether she was appropriate for the role or not. (See, for example, Ayu in Hyakko.)

Misa
Misa from the second Death Note ED.

But when she's right for it, Hirano Aya is dead on. In the first season of Queen's Blade, it appears they gave her a case of Red Bull energy drinks and just told her to ad lib all her lines as fast as she could. It was magic. Kismet, you could say. Likewise, she was perfectly cast as the Kira-fanboy flibbertigibbet Misa in Death Note. It's largely thanks to Hirano Aya that Misa is basically the only character I actually like in the entire show.

Dated 8 January 2011: Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season better have enough Ume

Ume
How about some potato chips to go with that rage, Ume?

I don't remember the Death Note reference from the first season of Kimi ni Todoke. Either it was a new segment added for the episode zero clip show narrated by Kurumi, or I just didn't get the reference because I hadn't watched Death Note yet at the time.

P.S. Hirano Aya's character was the best part of Death Note, too.