Article: Miku Hatsune - Birth of a virtual idol
Miku goes live
In the story of any idol's career, there's one position on the road-map that simply can't be missed - Their first live concert. But how can a virtual idol perform live on stage?
Quite simply - By projecting a 3D, CGI, two-storey high Miku onto a screen on-stage before letting her strut her stuff. That's exactly what happened at the Animelo Summer Live Re:bridge concert on August 22nd of this year, as Miku greeted 25,000 fans before launching into two songs (one of which was the aforementioned Black Rock Shooter). Not bad for a first live gig before you've even reached two years of age.
Where next for Miku Hatsune?
Moving from a synthesised voice for musicians through to a fully fledged idol in a couple of years charts an incredible rise to fame for any virtual character, and there can be little doubt that Miku Hatsune's rise to fame has been both a fantastic and fascinating one. But where does it go from here?
Given the success of the recent Animelo concert, there's every possibility that we'll be seeing more live performance across Japan from Miku in the future now that it's been proven that it can be done, while the combination of the Miku brand and the capabilities of Vocaloid2 makes it likely that we'll be seeing more and more new artists making every use of the opportunities presented to them, which will in turn further boost the character's profile and popularity as she continues to be associated with great new music in her native country.
The introduction of the Black Rock Shooter anime in full next year may not feature Miku Hatsune directly, but it may well further send her popularity into the stratosphere while once again promoting the use of Vocaloid for artists who want to see similar success in either the music or anime industry.
Above and beyond all of this, Miku Hatsune's popularity could have an exciting effect on the development of future voice synthesisers - Now it's been proved that people will happily listen to songs based around Miku's slightly stilted tones, there's plenty of room for improvement in the race to create ever-more natural human sounds in the future, bringing us closer to a day where we may find ourselves enjoying the latest single of an idol who could be either real or virtual without the listener being sure either way. Let's just hope that idol's name isn't Sharon Apple...
In closing then, the tale of Miku Hatsune is a surprisingly heart-warming one - The story of a simple character with a simple voice who has managed to enable countless musicians, inspire numerous other artists and animators, and above all bring joy to many, many people both in and outside of Japan (not to mention providing the inspiration for this very site's mascot). Even most real-life idols can't claim such a wide-ranging portfolio of success, so let's take this opportunity to say - Congratulations and happy birthday, Miku Hatsune!