Takagaki Ayahi’s solo debut single was released last week (7/21) and bundled with the limited edition is the PV to the title track, “Kimi ga Iru Basho”. As a member of the seiyuu group sphere, Ayahi’s solo precedes Kotobuki Minako’s by a couple of months, but seems to be part of some master plan by their record label, Music Ray’n (a subdivision of Sony Music Entertainment Japan), to milk their four singers for everything they can. Tomatsu Haruka already had her solo debut prior to the formation of sphere, whereas Toyosaki Aki had hers not too long after. The fact that they all have official websites under their own .com domains sort of reiterates how much they’re being promoted separately and together, which is actually nice to see since seiyuu groups don’t tend to last very long. I find sphere to be one of the better groups to come along since all the girls can sing well enough on their own to justify solo debuts, so it’ll be interesting to see how much more of their music is featured in upcoming anime.
As for Ayahi’s debut single that’s featured as the ending theme of Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin this season, I thought it was a really catchy song when I first heard it, which was only overshadowed a bit by the ending sequence featuring real kids. In comparison, I find the full version even better, which is something I tend to say a lot but isn’t always the case. (Lia’s CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ OP and MUCC’s Senkou no Night Raid OP come to mind.) What’s interesting to note about the petite girl with the big voice is that her single also features a third English track titled “You Raise Me Up” (see below), an inspirational New Age song written by Secret Garden and covered by over a hundred artists to date. Ayahi’s English pronunciation isn’t perfect, but her opera singing skills do come through a bit in that song. She did attend and graduate from a music university after all, so it’s nice to see her finally get into the music industry on top of being a seiyuu.
Her singing profession doesn’t take precedence over her acting one however, as she currently plays Kuroki Ami in Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin and stars as the lovely Ferris Eris in Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (a.k.a. The Legend of the Legendary Heroes). She also narrates in Asobi ni Iku yo, alongside all the other sphere members’ roles.