By Anthony Thomas
Eir Aoi is an odd one. She exploded onto the anime scene in 2012 by unleashing a full tribute album to Fate / Zero. Two full studio albums later (both making the top ten), and her career’s burning brighter than ever, and not just in Japan. If her English language Facebook account is anything to go by, she seems to be performing at a different festival or comic convention somewhere in the world every other weekend.
She’s odd, because despite being one of the leading voices of contemporary high energy J-pop, Eir Aoi is vocal about her love for heavy metal music and Slipknot. She also isn’t shy about telling interviewers how she spends her spare time; usually sat in front of an Xbox, murdering online noobs at Call of Duty. Yeah, she might look innocent and sing sweet pop songs, but she’ll happily pistol whip you in the face while head banging along to The Negative One.
In one panel she gave, at an American convention, a member of the audience asked if she ever felt connected with any of the characters from the animes she’s worked on. Without hesitation she said Ryuko Matoi, the kick arse scissor-blade wielding schoolgirl from Kill la Kill. “I like her attitude, she can do anything! She has a real tomboy side to her, but she occasionally shows her feminine side too”.
Coincidentally, Eir Aoi also supplies two songs for Kill la Kill, the series Kotaku calls “a rare breed of anime” that “perfectly mixes comedy and action while revelling in taking everything to the extreme”. She’s the voice behind its upbeat first opening theme, Sirius, as well as an album-only track featured throughout the series called Sanbika.
Surprisingly, the single didn’t perform as well in the charts as some of her other releases, although it still reached 21st position. Aoi’s early single, used in Sword Art Online, however, was massive! Entitled INNOCENCE, the track went straight in at number six, and is still one of her most popular tracks – it’s her second most downloaded song from her UK iTunes page right now.
Aoi’s biggest song of the moment is in fact her following-up Sword Art Online single, IGNITE, the first opening theme from the second series. It’s not only her most popular track on iTunes UK, it also hit number one in Japan’s Billboard Hot Animation chart, number one in iTunes Japan’s anime chart, and was the top track of Sony’s digital distribution service Mora. You could say fans in Japan wanted mora and mora…
Keep an ear out for her music here. At the time of writing there are rumours going around that the singer may indeed finally make her way to the UK for a festival very soon. Until then, there’s always Kill la Kill.
Eir Aoi’s catalogue is currently available, including her single EPs, from iTunes.