The Melancholy of Aya Hirano

Editorial Comment

Hysterical Barbie

Fame is a strange bedfellow: some handle it as if it were part of life, and for others it becomes a daunting pillar which they spend their entire life trying to stand upon. Aya Hirano burst on to the world stage a mere four years ago at the age of 18 when she voiced Haruhi. Since that time she’s moved on to a singing career, reprized her Haruhi role several times, was Konata’s voice in Lucky Star and has been searching for her real self in real life.

What is real life you ask? It is that life not on the stage, nor in the studio, those nights sitting in front of a mirror trying desperately to figure out what to do next. There are usually thoughts of “Who am I?” or “How did I manage to get into this dilemma?”

It is the opinion of this writer that Ms. Hirano is suffering a massive identity crisis. Her sudden unexplained illness, canceling of appearances, and hair loss all point to this. Furthermore, the rather garish appearance of her latest album (pictured above) in which she’s adopted yet another unnatural hair color after she promised she would return her hair to its natural color (black), seems to support this conclusion.

More after the jump.

A cursory Google search reveals that Ms. Hirano has been in the entertainment business for at least ten years. She spent a few of her preteen years in America, but eventually returned to Japan. In 1998 at age 11, she joined the Tokyo Child’s Theatrical Group a division of the Space Craft Group , a talent agency. Eventually, she began to appear in commercials and got her first role as a seiyu in Tenshi no Shippo (2001). From 2002-2003 she was in the girl band SpringS before her breakout role in 2006 as Haruhi.

I pose a question, how early is a career suppose to begin? Its hard to say I believe it’s an individual, case by case review. Some of Ms. Hirano’s contemporaries have managed success without controversy, so why has Aya been a magnet since Haruhi? I would like to mention the fact that most aspiring actress and actors no matter the country are entrusted to talent agencies to further their careers. Most agencies do a fair job, but some don’t. I’m not sure where Ms. Hirano’s firm falls in that grand scheme of things but I question some of the things they have let her do.

“Hey, hold on one second, don’t you think you’re being a bit critical?”

Maybe, but I’m writing this because—even though I’m half the planet’s distance removed from the situation–I care. Aya Hirano has talent; you can not deny that. But her fame coupled with inexperience has led her to do and say things that might come back to haunt her. Like a friend of mine once said about the Internet: “Don’t publish it unless you’re comfortable seeing it on a billboard along the public highways.” One day, years from now, some of those images and statements might return and require an explanation.

“Umm mom, what’s with these photos and comments?”

This photo sums up Aya’s last four years between 18 and 22. I wonder how she feels about her career so far?

Today we have the Internet: a rapid information-exchange apparatus that was only dreamed about a mere twenty years ago. However, with this exchange of information there seems to be less thought put into what information is posted. Is this a proper way to promote ones self, just posting one outlandish episode after another? My opinion is no it’s not.

I’ve digressed for a moment but there is a reason. Aya’s not the only one doing outlandish things for self promotion. She is not a one hit wonder as some have been in the past. So why is she doing all of this? Personally, from the moment I first saw video of her I knew she had talent; now if she manages to find a persona that she is comfortable with to complement her talent then, I think she’ll do just fine.

Minori Chihara, Yuko Goto, Aya Hirano (2006)

Here is Aya in a quieter time. With her are Minori Chihara and Yuko Goto right before the fame hit. We know what Aya’s done lately, but what about the other two?

Minori Chihara has done some voice work, but her singing career has exploded. I don’t know how many songs she’s done since Haruhi, but several are on this site. Fame has so far dealt her a good hand. Though she has been proposed to on many occasions, she has said that her musical career is more important than marriage and starting a family.

Yuko Goto has been busy as well; not as much as Minori, but she’s been happy reprising her role as Mikuru and riding her motorcycle.

I go back to the age issue in comparing Aya to Minori and Yuko, as far as they have handled their new-found fame. Aya will turn 23 in October. Both Minori and Yuko will be 30 this year; those 7 years of life experience I believe has given them a one up on Aya. I could be wrong, but let me share my logic with you.

Aya was 18 when Haruhi hit the world. Her opening song brought rave reviews, and her voice acting took everyone by surprise. I would say even Aya was surprised. That is a lot for an 18-year-old to handle, whereas Minori and Yuko were 25 at Haruhi’s launch. The fame was easier to accept because they matured emotionally in those extra seven years.

“So you’re saying Aya is emotionally immature?”

Not immature, but lacking experience outside of the “school environment” and not being out on her own. Anyone who has moved on to college or struck out on their own has experienced this: those uncertainties of a new world, usually without old friends or a familiar environment. Add in striving to become an individual, and the pitfalls that befall one who was popular before fame hit and now has become incredibly popular. I think you get the picture. The other part, which only Aya can confirm, is that she’s experimenting with who she wants to be because she didn’t have the chance to be a kid.

I recently attended an outdoor music concert and there were children ranging in age of 3 to about 14 years old. The younger ones were picking flowers and exploring the park we were in. The older ones were in a conversation I didn’t have with my friends till I was in my twenties.

Children nowadays are expected to grow up too early. The demands being placed on some of them do them more harm than good. Granted, there are those who mature at an early age and handle everything thrown at them without complaint, but not everyone is the same. Experience is a great teacher as long as the experience is a good one. For those who constantly experience bad outcomes they tend to either become harden or rebellious. Aya might be rebelling too.

Fame, fleeting and fickle, is something everyone strives for one way or the other. I wish Aya Hirano the best of luck in managing her fame, because she has the talent to support it.

There is a follow up to this article too.