Meet Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku is a total craze among the otakus in Japan, for all of you not in the know.

Anyway, it’s about time I started this one, since there’s a lotta posts that absolutely require this chain to be up beforehand.

Let’s start off with a bit of background.

VOCALOID is a vocal synthesis technology developed by YAMAHA. You know those text-to-speech engines that let your computer talk? VOCALOID will let your computer sing.

Granted, this isn’t some brand new technology. VOCALOID was developed in 2003, though actual voices were never released until 2004 by third party licensees. Three of these voices, Leon, Lola and Miriam were from the UK, while the other two, MEIKO and KAITO, originated from a third party licensee, Crypton.

Fast forward to August 2007. VOCALOID2 was released in January 2007. Only one voice was released so far in June 2007: Sweet Ann by PowerFX. All was calm.

Till Crypton stepped in and released Hatsune Miku, the first of their Character Vocal Series.

Miku was developed using voice samples of Saki Fujita, a seiyuu. According to the wiki, Miku was tuned for anime-esque J-Pop songs, which pretty much means they’re selling to (mainly) otakus.

Good plan, copies of Saki’s voice data sold like hotcakes.

Miku didn’t become popular just because the character design was moe, but also because the improvement over the first two Japanese VOCALOID voices, MEIKO and KAITO, was simply incredible. People could actually make real songs out of her, especially since VOCALOID2 had a lot more flexibility (which spawned a new meme altogether, but we’ll go over that in another part).

Her fanbase grew over time, and it got to the point where people regularly roll out music and fanart almost every day, and the good ones become something more; some get turned into videos, others are sold in their own albums, etc, etc.

I’ll shove some of the more popular songs in your way, so you’ll be able to get a feel of how much work Miku fans put in to roll out great songs and great videos to go along with them.

みくみくにしてあげる♪ (Miku Miku Ni Shite Ageru):

melody.exe with English (Engrish?) lyrics:

ハト (pigeon), animated in 100% Flash, apparently:

Coming up next: the other Crypton Vocaloids (and one by Internet Co.).

EDIT: Whoops, duplicate videos! Fixed.


9 Responses to “Meet Hatsune Miku”

  1. August 15, 2008 at 9:51 am

    ah the last video is so inspiring ^^! thanks for sharing!

  2. 2 MP
    August 15, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    This character lead me to hentai.

    I’m not joking.

    But, this really is interesting technology. I am tempted to get it, so I would never have to worry about lacking a vocalist. XD


  3. 3 Infestor51
    August 17, 2008 at 1:27 am

    @chun: Welcome, though the vid itself is old. There’s no Flash-only version to ogle at though; he converted it to video. 😦

    @MP: You probably should. You can even sell songs which include the voice, since Crypton/YAMAHA consider it as “making use of an instrument”, and nothing more.

    There was a legal spat over the actual mascot though…but that’s for another part.

  4. September 7, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    I first found Hatsune Miku from a Mix Video called “Ronald Mcdonald Crazy” in Youtube. There’s the background sound with “miku…miku…ni shite ageruuu” then I start searching for video… and Then…. :D:D:D:D:D:D

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