Aya Hirano, who pissed off Japanese nerds with the admission of her social life, is coming to upcoming Final Fantasy game Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy.
Hirano will be lending her vocal talents to the game, voicing the character Prishe. Hirano started out as a voice actress, but is crossing into the mainstream in a way that few voice actress have previously done in Japan. Not only is she appearing on network talkshows and programs, but she's also the "image character" for Denny's in Japan, appearing in promotions and on the menu.
Many voice actresses in Japan do have rabid fans and are able to launch careers as pop singers, but few of them are able to hit the mainstream in a big way.
In 2006 and 2007, Hirano hit it in a big way, voicing Haruhi Suzumiya in the popular anime The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and the character Konata in the anime Lucky Star. She also had game voice roles in Eternal Sonata and Yakuza 4, among others.
What makes Hirano such a controversial figure is how she's thumbing her nose at idol conventions, such as being chaste and not having a love life - or even being a regular person as evident by the minor brouhaha that broke out when she began following a baseball pitcher.
There have been rumours that Hirano is no longer doing voice work, instead focusing only on her pop music and television appearances. With her role in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, those rumours appear to be false for the time being.