Hatsune Miku: Her Best Fan-Generated Videos
Shannon Cottrell Hatsune Miku on stage in Los Angeles
*Live review of Hatsune Miku in Los Angeles
*More photos of Hatsune Miku live in L.A.
*Hatsune Miku/Hello Kitty collaboration, Miku-Kitty, appears at Anime Expo.
*Local musicians Stephanie Yanez and Polo collaborate with Hatsune Miku.
Hatsune Miku isn't a conventional pop star. She's a computer-generated character that comes to life when someone uses the Vocaloid synthesizer application that bears her name and voice. Established acts like Japanese indie pop group The Aprils have recorded tracks with her. Scores of people dress up as her at anime conventions. She performed on stage at Nokia Theatre in July. Tomorrow night her live concert performance in Sapporo screens at the Rave 18 movie theater in Westchester.
Miku software has spawned a DIY music and art phenomenon. (Sadly, it's not yet available in the U.S.) Bedroom producers give Miku her songs, and artists from across the globe have fine-tuned her look and given her stories. The results are spread far and wide through video sharing services. And so, below, we've counted down five of the coolest Miku projects to arise from the fan community.
5. "Ultimate Miku World"
"Ultimate Miku World" is a duet between Miku and Stephanie Yanez, who performs frequently at L.A. clubs and at anime conventions across the country. The video is from a concert event place inside the virtual world TinierMe. Both the human and synthesized singers appear as Selfy characters -- the avatars that TinierMe users adopt when they enter -- for this promotional event.
"Ultimate Miku World" shows how you can work with both live and programmed vocals to create music. Earlier this year, I talked to both Yanez and guitarist/producer Polo about the evolution of the track and the difficulties involved with working with Vocaloid software.
4. "Alice in Musicland"
"Alice in Musicland" is a 12-minute Vocaloid opera based on Alice in Wonderland. It was created by OSTER-project, whose work with the software has become quite popular. Though Miku is the star of this video, it features several other Vocaloid characters, making it a good way to familiarize yourself with the range of voices that are available to use. There's another version of the same video on Niconico.com, the U.S. version of Nico Nico Douga. Watch that if you want to see the reaction from fans.