Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vocaloid - Hatsune Miku Breaks Out

I have to admit I like Hatsune Miku.  I've listened to a bunch of her songs and I don't like them all, but there have been a few I've really enjoyed, in particular, "The World Is Mine."  What started out a simple persona for a musical singing synthesizer program has ballooned out into a world-wide phenomenon that is known in most Japanese pop culture circles.
Hatsune Miku   Flickr / tataquax
You may have even seen a commercial with her in it for Toyota.  The singing voice is high-pitched and for some songs it works better than others - but Hatsune's peppy personality and performances on stage are winners!  There are sculpted figures of her, cosplayers imitating her, and she has quite a line of merchandise.  You can even buy her songs on iTunes.

Hatsune Cosplay  Flickr / Han Shot First

Hatsune Miku (初音ミク) is a singing synthesizer application with a female persona, developed by Crypton Future Media. It uses Yamaha Corporation's Vocaloid 2 synthesizing technology. The name of the character comes from a fusion of the Japanese for first (初 hatsu), sound (音 ne) and future (Miku (ミク) sounds like a nanori reading of future, 未来, normally read as "mirai"), referring to her position as the first of Crypton's "Character Vocal Series". She was the second Vocaloid to be sold using the Vocaloid 2 engine and the first Japanese Vocaloid to use the Japanese version of the Vocaloid 2 engine. Her voice is sampled from Japanese voice actress, Saki Fujita. Hatsune Miku has performed at her concerts onstage as a projection. An awesome intro from Wikipedia.

Hatsune isn't the first artificial singing personality that I can think of in Japanese pop culture. The first goes to Sharon Apple from Macross Plus another anime with amazing music and great mecha action.  Still, Hatsune's merchandising and publicity is amazing and there are so many fan videos on Youtube and is she the start of the virtual idol of the future?  Is the holographic technology that is used for her live concerts (Yes - she has live concerts) with crowds of adoring fans the future of broadcast concerts around the world in simulcast?  It is just amazing and it's made in Japan.  She also has PSP videogames and has starred in both Google Chrome and Toyota Car Commercials.

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