The Melancholy of Haruihi Suzumiya remains one of my favorite anime so I was certainly beyond ecstatic to have the opportunity for this interview. I didn’t realize it at first but Hirano understands English very well and one can see from the video that she probably didn’t need the interpreter. She displayed tremendous professionalism while remaining affable throughout. I would tell you more about my impressions but the pictures speak for themselves.
The Paper: Thank you for having Anime Diet. It’s a distinct pleasure. So to start out, what are you listening to now?
Aya Hirano: On the flight over, I was listening to songs that I will be performing on stage tomorrow. Also, Komuro Tetsuya.
TP: How do you protect your voice? Maybe something you do or perhaps avoid doing?
AH: I take great care of my voice because when I voice act, people would notice if my voice is off. So I watch what I drink and would wear a mask to protect myself.
TP: Do you prefer singing live in a concert or for a recording?
AH: While recording, there’s stuff I would try out, such as changing the pitch. For concerts, I love how I get immediate feedback from the audience. The energy is something I love.
TP: If you can redo your idol debut, would you have done anything differently?
AH: I feel like I did three different debuts. I have a long history of doing voice acting, idol before that… now that I am older, I don’t think I have the confidence to do cute stuff anymore.
TP: You’re best known for playing Haruhi Suzumiya. What do you like best about the character?
AH: It’s very hard to decide on a favorite trait. Haruhi is a part of me I feel. Lots of other characters have had a similar impact on me. Not sure how I can make do without any traits from any of my characters.
TP: Before I go on, I am impressed that you understood my English perfectly for the last question. Moving on, speaking of Haruhi, you’re still mostly known for that. Are you afraid you may be typecasted?
AH: Haruhi is a strong character and I get lots of energy from her but I want fans to experience the various roles I can play when I am in character so please check out roles I do that’s not like Haruhi.
TP: Have you ever done a role that’s completely different, where afterwards, you’re surprised at yourself?
AH: As you know, my character from Lucky Star, Konata, has a completely different character than Haruhi. Even though it was made by the same people who did Haruhi, they told me to put on a completely different role and feel. I wanted to show them that I could without having any trace of Haruhi. At the end, I was surprised at how well I did.
TP: You keep yourself very busy… working, traveling. How do you protect your health? How do you stay healthy?
AH: I actually love being busy. Since I find my job very refreshing, it’s actually stress relieving. By actually staying busy with work, I can feel the most healthy.
TP: Going back to protecting your voice, where you mentioned about wearing a mask, do you do that all the time? Even in public?
AH: At home, I constantly wear a mask, whereever I can, even in public. I also use a humidifier and things like that.
TP: For the last question, is there a message you want to leave with your fans?
AH: To be invited all the way here overseas to an event like this makes me very happy. In Japan, I do things like voice acting, music… and lots of people here follow that close to real time. I find that really fun and feel like I should work hard so I can be invited overseas to cons again.
TP: Thank you. I look forward to your concert. And thank you for having Anime Diet.
AH: Thank you.
Her management wanted to know more about Anime Diet and Hirano wondered about who made the logo featured on my card.