Did a bit of googling, the picture is from an album released on her 32nd birthday in 2008. Everything I've seen suggests she's still pretty good looking, though that's definitely a studio photo that's probably had at least a bit of post processing applied.
I think any big name voice actress who is agressive about pursuing work is going to end up in a lot of guilty pleasure type crap. Even Yuuki Aoi does some and she gives off some serious "don't corrupt the puppy" vibes.
I followed one of the Kuroneko links and found another set of Inami Yuri… and in the right hands, she just might be the best Kuroneko of them all: http://emily00cp.jugem.jp/?eid=122
Good balance between realness/surrealness + heartstopping cuteness.
It occurs to me that I didn't really do a good "plainclothes" Kuroneko yet. I didn't look that closely at Mashiro Yuki's stuff since I find many of her photos sets overly long and/or softcore-y, but she actually does this plainclothes Kuroneko pretty well: http://behoimi.org/post/show/410066/
Ririchiyo… I'm not going to sift my sources as comprehensively for this one since Ririchiyo is so popular as a cosplay that I'd be swamped. I've photographed at least eight different Ririchiyo cosplays at local cons, which is quite a bit higher than I'd expect from the show's profile.
And since she's such a good Kuroneko, I'll throw in the one Ririchiyo cosplay I know is her (though the last one looks a bit like her, actually - can't tell since the models aren't labelled): http://behoimi.org/post/show/381194/
I should throw in some locals whose cosplays I like:
DarkenedXStar is pretty solid, perhaps even a bit more so than this photo suggests. Short in real life too, she's done a damn good Taiga in the past (seems to be a popular choice among Vancouver area Ririchiyo cosplayers who also do other characters for some reason): http://darkenedxstar.deviantart.com/...vice-330044842
I feel like this girl is cute in a "girl next door" kind of way compared to a lot of others here - granted, that may be partly my lack of postprocessing work. http://tinypic.com/r/2mpl9hu/5 http://tinypic.com/r/nbfdd5/5
Really wish I didn't have people in the background in the first shot but I wasn't the one who set it up (a decent number of my photos come from joining shoots other photographers have started).
BTW, for reference Ririchiyo is 145cm (4'9") tall, the same as Kud in Little Busters and well known voice actress Yuuki Aoi, pictured hear wearing substantially heeled boosts with her 187cm (6'2") Gosick co-star Eguchi Takuya: http://hashihime.blogspot.ca/2011/04...ami-saori.html
(Okay, that's the last of these I do for a while... in concept, these posts are easy for me to write but in practice it takes me a while to dig up all the requisite links.
Kuroneko is hard because I think you kind of have to strike a balance between otherworldly and realistic for her in gothloli mode (which the swimsuit actually takes some cues from), or at the very least wear pronounced makeup and make it look plausible. And for schoolgirl or casual mode you have to be able to pull off the traditional Japanese beauty thing convincingly. I haven't seen a lot of cosplayers who can do it.
The one in question there is listed as Shion Akira on Behoimi (which often uses a different name order than other sites I use, note that it's more than likely an alias as well): http://mrsktokei.exblog.jp/i54/ http://behoimi.org/post?tags=shion_akira&commit=Search
(scroll down in the first link, there's more than the Kuroneko one there link)
I feel the photographer did well giving her an otherwordly look here, which is unusual. It's obviously shopped, but unlike far too many cosplay photos I see, the effect isn't "this looks over airbrushed and fake".
1.) There's a really strong aura of self sufficiency I see in Motoko, which I frequently complain about in anime. Motoko, for example, is a very sexual being, but it's clear that she dictates when and where all the things concerning her will happen. She lets you gawk because she could care less about you, really.
Shinobu is like that too. She just doesn't give a fuck, and the world is her bitch. Nuff said.
Misato and Fate are a different kind of mature, very womanly characters. When in work, they have the absolutely most srs bzness exteriors and are very sure with making results when it matters. A bit of an underperformer, but really shines when put to the limit. Of course, the motivations are different. Misato is driven revenge at the angels that took away her father, and Fate seems to be on a quest to prevent others from going through what she did. In the end they're very passionate people with flaws, especially magnified towards people they really care about.
Misato is lazy and slobbish (mostly at home) because she's constantly bothered with relationship problems, and Fate never really had the normal childhood upbringing until her foster mom came home. In the end, these two are my favorites because they really seem to bring home of a woman that can be really strong in many ways yet show a degree of vulnerability that makes them more real.
Misato's not one to not be aware of her sex appeal, and she often uses it to really tease/troll people at times. In many ways she's similar to Rin Tohsaka who also had a background that would fuel a need for revenge, but with a strong urge to conduct oneself with grace.
Fate on the other hand is pretty direct with her communications with people. I'd imagine she's very aware of her own sex appeal by now but she's clearly the more reserved; I'm guessing she's not the type to troll or tease people. The main appeal of this woman is most likely the fact that as she matures throughout the series in a very subtle fashion. I suppose she's always working to relate to people properly. A lot of people probably expect the same of StrikerS Fate as they do of series Fate, but that kind of bullshit is for the Nanoboards, and I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemies to read that. Still, Fate is the one to really make good use of both the appeals of question 1 and 2 and thus really can't be matched by anyone in my mind for this. In the end, she really reminds me of some super upstanding citizen in the anime world, and for some reason that is moe.
Of course, you mentioned Saber, and I like her well enough to some degree as she acts with the act of royalty she took on herself. hopefully Ufotable will continue to do her well.
2.) Yea, as you would probably guess, Kuroneko clearly falls into the cute, but obviously very mature junior appeal. Ririchiyo is much like the kind of characters Kuroneko likes to dream about and imitate; being aloof and classy. They both also have excellent character designs too. But yea, the appeal of someone that is wiser beyond their years relative to their class makes them a standout cast member. It would be a good way to describe these two girls as the ascended loliish types.
Mai and Ohana often fall into the type of somewhat distressed, oppressed girl who really should be very very angry at the world around them, but instead of making everyone miserable like Kirino, they try to really make the most out of it. It's that sort of frustration that I can feel with them on.
Of course, they took very different paths. Mai tried to shun away other people when hurt, much like someone like Fate. And it turns out, just like the former, she's extremely passionate about the people she cares about a lot. Although what really distinguishes Mai is actually how pissed in reality, and how hard she tries to not hurt other people with it. Indeed, if Mai didn't have god mode hax on her mother, I'd imagine her to be very much like Batman. And Batman always makes things better.
Though, the truly Batmanish type, is actually Homura due to the fact she can't use Jun Maeda'ish contrived hax to win. Still, not absolutely my primary choice, but let's just say I wouldn't mind it.
And finally Ohana. Of course, I love Ohana. I'm really surprised she put up with all the bullshit that came her way so well, and despite the fact she came close to cracking a few times, she never seemed like the type to ever give up. It's those things where you're just experiencing the struggle with the character, and naturally she'll grow up to be a very interesting person. She survived the Okada'ostrophe! Only exceptional people can!
I can sorta see how Hanekawa, yet another character that has an entire boatloat of luggage would have that kind of appeal too.
I wouldn't go so far as to say I don't think of Matsuri as an adult but it does feel strange at times. Another character I think of in a similar way is Sakura Suzuhara - the cute nurse in Evangelion 3.0. Maybe it's not coincidence they both where berets? The only thing keeping Sakura off my list is pretty much the lack of screen time, to be honest.
Interested in your takes on Akiko (Kanon) and Tomoe (Hanasaku Iroha). Also, admit it, you totally forgot that Nanoha and Fate qualify.
@Totoum: You and your psycho women. No Benika? I actually like her a fair bit.
Characters I like a lot that have been listed so far:
Triple_R:Junko, Irisviel, maybe Akane
Totoum: Benten, Koko, Sui
Archon: Motoko Kusanagi, Shinobu, Fate
My top choices personally would be Matsuri (Sola), Horo (Spice & Wolf), Akiko Minase (Kanon),Tomoe Wajima (Hanasaku Iroha) and Zakuro (Otome Youkai Zakuro - I typically assume she's an adult). If visual novels are included, then Tsugumi Komachi from Ever 17 too. I also like Miura Azusa a lot - in fact, she might be my favourite Idolm@ster character. There's also Yumiko Kamiazuma from Touka Gettan (which I haven't finished, but she's that delicious...). And, from Fate/Stay Night, both Saber and Ilya (who if IIRC actually is an adult in F/SN!). And I'd probably go for the previously listed characters from Totoum and Archon's list to round things out (sorry Triple_R, I didn't like your picks quite as much)
For a guy who usually goes for petite types, there's a surprising number of women on that list for whom visual appeal plays a role.
Triple_R: Most of your picks are on my "want to see" list but in particular Ohana, Sawa, Azusa, Oreki and Chitanda stand out.
Totoum: Sawa and Sora interest me a lot.
Archon: Kuroneko, Ririchiyo, Ohana, and Mai make the cut.
About half the characters I really, really want to see adult versions of age up are characters I conside to have a "cute junior" appeal: Kuroneko, Nadeko, and Azusa. I have the feeling they'd all still maintain their charms as adults, just with a bit more maturity. To round out the list, Oreki and Chitanda (Hyouka left their relationship tantilizingly open) and, strangely enough, Hanekawa Tsubasa from Monogatari, whom is mature enough I doubt she'd change much. I guess I just really love her bookish looks and intelligence.
Ririchiyo, Ohana, and Sawa come very, very close to that group of top choices, so much so that I feel obliged to give honourable mention status.
Rounding out: college age versions of the Madoka Magica's big five.
@Triple_R: Renji is far and away my favourite male character in EF, both because of his own traits (he's one of the cuter male charactes I can think of, actually…) and because of his relationship with Chihiro. And I do agree that Hiro is fairly likeable as well. I'm amused Kyousuke doesn't get a mention - he's the one I wasn't too fond of. I like Yuu a lot as a teenager, and I like him as an adult too… but adult Kuze somewhat steals the cake for me, just because of the scene where Renji asks him how his mom knows about the uniform collection.
For top three I'd probably go for Renji, adult Kuze, and teenage Yuu in that order. And an honourable mention to Yuuko's brother for being pretty much as much of a magnificent bastard as you can get in the genre.