The anime adaptation of of Fairy Tail has been announced as ending on the 30th of March – and along with it the seiyuu career of no less an icon than Aya Hirano herself, as her last remaining major role was that of Lucy.
Fairy Tail fans have been complaining of poor timing for the ending, which some suspect to have been precipitated largely by the poor reception its recent movie release experienced.
The manga original is expected to continue unaffected – and mangaka Hiro Mashima has commented on Twitter that “I can’t say anything now, but please bear the wait until the day I can make a good announcement,” which has been interpreted as a possible restart of the anime once the manga has accumulated more of a lead.
However, as the show represented 25-year-old Aya Hirano’s last remaining significant role since her dramatic fall from grace, as much attention seems to have focused on what will become of her “seiyuu” status.
According to a twit made by Hirano herself in 2011, supposed contractual issues were involved in her exit from the anime world – although it is hard to imagine many studios wanting to cast such a controversial figure amongst their top heroines:
“From last year I’m banned from appearing in any new anime, so I’m really grateful for 2nd seasons and long running shows! Really grateful!”
Although she does have some minor roles left in kiddy anime (in Anpanman and Jewelpet), no major active roles are now left her.
Despite not having any real roles at all, her agency still insists being a seiyuu is a core part of her career and dismisses any notion of her now concentrating on being a singer:
“Hirano entered the business as a seiyuu, and nothing about her main activity being that of a seiyuu has changed at all.
This is her agency’s real intent for her. She still has new offers, and she won’t refuse any she is capable of taking on.”
There is as usual a certain amount of scepticism accruing to these statements – the consensus appears to be that she has abandoned being a “multitalent” in favour of a monotalent career focused on generic J-pop, although some faithful lifeliners apparently still believe she is merely biding her time for a return to voice acting glory:
“She can start by stopping being a blonde and going back to black…”
“This is the girl who made a fuss about that taxi?”
“When the Monogatari casting changed I knew it was a scary business.”
“She still has a few small roles aside from Fairy Tail…”
“She still has 5 glorious years of being a Jewelpet regular!”
“I thought so too! Perhaps she’d can take on some dubbing roles on travel drama and Korean soaps. Though please stay off any Hollywood movies.”
“She narrated some NHK documentaries too!”
“I don’t think there is any more demand for her now? Even if she is a great voice actress, part of her role as seiyuu is drawing in customers.”
“She’s mainly a seiyuu, so at least judge her on her voice acting, guys. Although I hate her voice and acting as well.”
“Being the top seiyuu is not a status you can maintain for long. Just look at what happened to Hayashibara, she doesn’t have any roles these days either.”
“That’s because she concentrated on her family and stopped taking new work? She still has a few big ones.”
“She had her reasons, don’t lump her in together with the likes of Hirano, someone who discarded fans and colleagues alike.”
“At least Hirano is good example to new seiyuu of how not to do it.”
“Nobody reporting on her career even touches on the those pictures. They really show what a scary business it is.”
“No demand indeed. I hope they pass her roles on to new blood.”
“Women have a short shelf life. There are always young new girls with talent and popularity available to replace them. No need to keep using damaged second-hand goods under the circumstances.”
“There are loads more in the business where she came from. The fact otaku hated her was the end of her.”
“It seems more like she was forced out of the business by the other seiyuu, but I think she was good to have around. Why does everyone hate her so much?”
“Without the repeated scandals and the constant strange utterances she would never have fallen this far.”
“She’s a perfect example of a star who ruined herself.”
“A carnivorous girl like this is too much for anime otaku. Adieu, Hirano.”