Many anime fans remember when Aya Hirano — Kona of Lucky Star, Misa of Death Note, and Haruhi Suzumiya herself — stepped down from the anime world for a variety of reasons. Since then she’s returned with a new agency to voice a few other characters, but her focus has definitely been elsewhere. So where has she been as a result? Making a name for herself as a stage actress!
The former SOS Brigade president made her theatrical debut in Wuthering Heights as Catherine back in 2010. This was just prior to her move away from her agency and any roles that were not the returns of existing characters. But since then, she’s appeared in several stage musicals. She even appeared in the Japanese run of Monty Python’s Spamalot as the Lady of the Lake!
After appearing in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Hirano took off for New York to study abroad for four months. She returned after her studies, and she’s back in action with her career.
So, why the sudden notice? Well, recently she appeared on a karaoke competition program, where she was called upon to sing “Cruel Angel’s Thesis.” And if the first thing you think of is Kona belting it out in a karaoke room, you couldn’t be further from the truth!
Aya’s musical theater training and experience are definitely showing in this new clip. You can still tell that it’s Aya, of course, but she’s sounding a lot less like Haruhi and a lot more like a trained musical actress. She was always an amazing singer of course… but it’s so cool to hear her evolution as a performer! Check it out for yourself here!
Despite what we were told many years ago, she hasn’t actually left voice acting behind entirely. She can be heard in the Girls und Panzer movie, Anpanman, and (most recently) the film Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry where she returns to her role as Lucy Heartfilia. Even so, her stage work and her New York training have truly made a difference in her singing and acting.
We can’t wait to hear — or see — what she does next!