It’s been a long time since I’ve made an anime-related post! I recently came across a news article about the popular Vocaloid character, Hatsune Miku. She is getting an anime, which will combine the musical elements of the franchise, as well as animation and live-action elements. According to the article, Miku may also get a new design.
Vocaloid is a type of voice synthesizing software. Essentially, users are able to put in words in the system and turn them into music. Speech samples are recorded from real-life people and put into the system for users, who can then change aspects such as pitch and tempo. The collection of samples are called voice banks. Originally Vocaloid software was in Japanese, but has expanded to other languages, including English.
The company created anime characters to represent some of their voice banks, which arguably popularized the company and software. Hatsune Miku is one of their popular characters. The company only has a brief bio of the character’s information, with basic info such as their height, favorite genre of music, and age. The purpose of this, is to give users the freedom to be creative with their music. Many creators like to make stories about the characters such as Miku in PVs–Picture Videos. The characters do not have set personalities, which makes the music varied, and the PVs interesting. The videos can vary in tone and art style. Below are a few examples of two videos that are quite different: the first has a softer style with vibrant colors, while the other has a dull color scheme and appears to be in CG.
I remember that Vocaloid was quite popular about a decade ago, mainly due to the engaging PVs which were shared on YouTube. I had memories (pre-pandemic) of going to conventions and frequently hearing songs when walking past other attendees, often seeing Vocaloid cosplayers in hallways, and watching the PVs with my friends. As years passed, the popularity did seem to decline. But I was surprised to discover that there were licensed Vocaloid games and clothing at my local mall–new games and merch were released every so often. The arcade games were also available at cons and were in high demand. I remember waking up early before the other attendees, to get my first place in line and enjoy a few rounds.
But considering that the characters are made to be dynamic in terms of personality, I have mixed thoughts about this being an anime series.
Although many fans do tend to like Vocaloid mainly for the music, one of my favorite parts of the Vocaloid franchise is the creativity of the fanbase, as well as the stories the PVs tell. Anime often features characters with strong personalities and sometimes, archetypes, which I worry about the characters falling into in an animated series and making artists as a result, feel like they need to fit into the mold the series makes. I am also rather hesitant about the live-action elements.
I’m willing to give the series a chance once a trailer is released with further information, but as a fan, I do have mixed feelings on this. I am thrilled and hopeful about more content, but do wonder if this will impact the stories the musicians want to tell.