Who’s your favorite synthesizer?
Oh surely you’ve heard of her before. Maybe you’ve chanced upon one of her viral videos on youtube, or maybe you’ve been wondering why leek, of all things, have gained popularity in supermarkets. Yup, she’s Hatsune Miku, the most famous VOCALOID of all. VOCALOID has undeniably played a huge part in crafting the world of J-pop as we know it today. Hello lovely readers! This is Miyu here, sharing with you my love for the VOCALOID culture and fandom in her very first post! Let’s get started, shall we? ^^
VOCALOID is a singing synthesizer developed by YAMAHA, with each VOCALOID we know today being sold pretty much literally, as “a singer in a box”. By purchasing the software, anyone, anywhere can utilize the software to produce songs – create tracks with different instruments, input the melody, add lyrics to the combination and DUNDUN! There you have it, your very own VOCALOID song! But really, it isn’t as simple as it seems. Different VOCALOIDs will bring a different feel and tone to each song, and that can be further modified and edited by mixing and adding effects such as vibrato and resonate. Also, a good song will usually incorporate a beautiful harmony of piano, guitar, drums and electronic effects. Song producers really have a lot on their hands, but it’s all worth it when they get to see the barrage of comments and praises flooding their videos on Niconico. Niconico commenters are really friendly and passionate about their fandom – it’s a tightly-knit community, and you can be part of it too!
I will be introducing to you guys some really awesome songs that are guaranteed to be stuck in your head for the next week or so. I will also be providing brief story plot summaries for the songs, especially those that have really deep themes. Most songs are up to interpretation, though, as complicated as VOCALOID songs can get. I will be presenting my own take on them, enjoy!~
Let’s start off with the icon of all VOCALOIDs, Hatsune Miku. Let’s face it – every single one of you reading this has at the very least heard of her, haven’t you? Developed by Crypton Future Media, Miku is essentially the crowd favorite who kick-started the entire VOCALOID fandom, allowing it to grow to such a massive size. Miku’s songs are usually cutesy and have light, gentle themes such as love and friendship.
World is Mine
Story plot: A song about the relationship between Miku and her boyfriend – she constantly acts like a spoilt princess and demands many ridiculous things from him, but in her heart all she wants is his unconditional love. It depends on how you view it actually – it can be kind of shallow and all but personally I think the song is adorable and the tune is really catchy. xD This is actually most popular song in all of VOCALOID history, its live performance reaching 12,000,000 views on youtube!
Story plot: Miku is your typical teenage girl – adorable, shy and nervous around her crush. A song about little things that happen in her daily life around the one she loves.
Ai Kotoba (Words of Love)
Story plot: Miku dedicates a heartfelt song to her beloved, thanking him for everything that he has done. The lyrics are really sweet and touching. ;_;
Kagamine twins: Rin & Len
Their names are pretty literal in explaining what Crypton Future Media envisioned them to be when they created this pair of VOCALOIDs – “Kagamine” translates into “Mirror-sound” and Rin and Len mean right and left respectively. Yeah, I know, how did you even guess they were twins?! xD These two are personal favorites of mine, I love their harmonizing during duets. *___* Unfortunately, their songs are known by many fans to be depressing, usually one or BOTH of them end up dying in a song. Tragic, I know.
Story plot: Rin has a dream in which she murders all her loved ones, causing everyone to disappear in front of her eyes. She wakes up after being frightened that it might really actually happen, and is unable to return to sleep. She begins to countdown the seconds until she has a complete “Meltdown” – she wants to commit suicide (i.e. go into the “nuclear reactor”). She believes that she will be able to enter a world of “pure white” where such horrible things will never happen.
Story plot: As Rin is slowly dying, she spends her final moments with her beloved Len. A heartbreaking song – prepare tissues, it will make you cry ;_;
Synchronicity – Looking for You in the Sky
Synchronicity – Paradise of Light and Shadow
Story plot: Miku is a dragon whose memory has been wiped clean – she does not remember her true identity, and thinks of herself as a human. In order to keep Miku pacified and contained, a Diva was chosen to sing for eternity – Rin. However, as Len and Rin are twins, Len learns that “darkness” and “light” were split between them at birth – Rin only has “darkness”, and if she continues to sing, she will die. Thus Len starts on a journey to save Rin, on the way rescuing friends and gaining comrades – Kaito (Punchinello), Gakupo (Academician) and Meiko (Swordswoman). Luka is the empress of the country and is standing in their way.
Trivia: Synchronicity is actually a series of songs, and these are part 1 and 2. Part 3, the finale to the series has not been released yet.
She has been portrayed by many song producers as the pretty, mature VOCALOID. Crypton Future Media has created her voice such that it has a kind of sophisticated depth to it, and her songs usually have meaningful themes such as love and hurt/comfort.
Just Be Friends
Story plot: How do you know when it is time to say goodbye? A touching song about the relationship between Luka and her childhood sweetheart, of how it came to be, how it progressed and eventually, how it has to end.
Story plot: Luka’s friends are all better in her in many different areas – and seeing this, she says she does not want to give up on life, and focuses on self-improvement (i.e. “spinning” further and higher). But while doing this, she is at the same time pushing her friends and family away from her. At the end she realizes that it’s okay to not excel at everything in life, because people around her will love her regardless.
Story plot: Luka sings about Toeto, the shy, timid part that exists in every person. She eventually accepts that Toeto is a part of her that she loves, and begins to slowly take steps of courage towards life.
She is known for having the best voice bank out of all the other VOCALOIDs – she has the most life-like voice and pronunciation, carefully crafted by Internet Co. Ltd. That being said, Gumi often plays the role of a child or a teenager in her songs, and has an adorable twist to her voice. Her trademark accessory is the pair of goggles that somehow look absolutely cute on her.
Aitai (I want to see you)
Story plot: Gumi sings about her long distance relationship with her boyfriend. She wants to tell him so badly that she misses him and wants to see him, but is afraid that it won’t reach him since they don’t see each other face to face any longer.
Shiryoku Kensa (Eyesight Test)
Story plot: Gumi is facing an identity crisis and goes for an “eyesight test”. Her boyfriend takes on the role of an “eye-doctor” (who also happens to bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain doctor in DRRR!!). She feels as if she is losing herself, unable to find her true self, she does not want him to love her the way she is. In the end, he tells her that he loves her, who exists in his heart no matter what.
Goodbye to Alice
Story plot: As Gumi grows from a child to a teenager, she experiences many changes in her life. The song is centered over a fairytale book her mother once bought her, and how she views it at different stages of her life.
Note: And phewww that marks the end of my first post ever at Metanorn! *dances around* I hope you’ve gotten some new songs to download into your iPod today! 8D I would love to hear your opinions on the songs and your take on their meanings~ Stay tuned for next round, in which I will be covering Niconico Utaites! ^^