Tag Archives: miku hatsune

Miku Hatsune from Vocaloid (Racing 2011 Version)

Miku Hatsune Racing 2011 figure by Good Smile Company

Another day, another Vocaloid figure. The Vocaloid phenomenon offers a little something for everyone. To amateur musicmakers, it is an empowering tool, giving them the ability to add vocals to their instrumental tracks. For artists, it is a source of inspiration for their illustrations. For companies, it’s a reliably fat cash cow – slap a Vocaloid image on a product or insert one of the characters into a video game and watch the units fly off the shelves. A few companies have taken this commercial exploitation to another level; Sega, for example, loves throwing her into games that she has no business being in. And Good Smile Company too, who have made so many products featuring her likeness that she might as well be their mascot. At least in the case of their auto racing team, it seems that this is literally true, as this figure represents.
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Miku Hatsune from Vocaloid (Cheerful Version)

Miku Hatsune Cheerful Figure Review

Back to figure reviews, and what more appropriate character to feature than Miku Hatsune, that ubiquitous, protean pitchwoman of software products, racing teams, and Toyota automobiles?
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Shot Breakdown – Miku Append

Photography can be a funny thing. You sometimes hear people – and camera companies – minimize the difficulty of photography. After all, all you do is press a button and bam, you’ve got the shot. Much easier than, say, drawing or painting, right?

Well, no, or at least, the case is not as clear cut as it may appear. The illustrator starts with a blank sheet of paper and has full control over what goes on it. The photographer, in contrast, has much less control. When you put a camera to your eye to make a picture, you’ve got dozens of decisions to make. How should you arrange the elements of the picture? Where do you focus? What goes into the frame? What gets left out of the frame? Then there’s lighting. Color. Perspective. And then there are the technical factors: what shutter speed? What aperture? And if things are moving, you’ve got to worry about shooting at the right fraction of a second. With all the factors that go into a good photo, it’s a wonder that we aren’t paralyzed before snapping a shot.

A skilled illustrator can usually draw a picture pretty close to what she originally envisioned, and if whim and imagination carry her vision someplace else during the process, she can account for that. However, even a world-class photographer will encounter difficulty capturing her initial vision in a RAW file. Sometimes things just don’t work out and you have no clue why. It happened to me just last evening. Last night, I shot off a couple dozen test shots, tweaked exposure, shifted angles, moved my lights around. I switched from a wide angle to a telephoto to a zoom lens racked to somewhere in between the two primes. It wasn’t working. I powered lights on and off, went from a big softbox to a small one to no softbox, put CTO gels on, took them off, and finally, sat down, a quizzical expression on my face, studying the image playback on the camera’s LCD, while all this time Lacia scowled back at me as if to say, “Bitch, you ain’t taking my picture.” It happens. There’s a lot that goes into a photograph.

Sometimes, though, things work out pretty well. Maybe not exactly as you had first planned, but that’s the thing about photography. When things don’t work, you’ve got to be able to reverse course and come up with another idea, sometimes in an instant. But when things do go well, you think, “Man, this is pretty cool stuff.”
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Miku Append from Vocaloid

Max Factory Miku Append Figure Review

Miku Hatsune’s popularity among figure collectors is ascendant, and though it seemed like she would have to share the 2011 hobby spotlight with Tamaki Kousaka and Super Sonico, most of Sonico’s figures won’t be coming out until next year and many of this year’s Tamaki figures are manifestly forgettable, leaving no competition to contest Miku’s prominence. From her humble origin as an image character of a niche software package, she has become a titan of commercialization, appearing not only in her own games but also games such as Pangya Fantasy Golf and the PlayStation 3 port of Idolmaster 2, becoming the mascot of Good Smile Racing, and selling Toyota automobiles. And of course, she’s gotten figures – not just numerous figures, but a numerous variety of figures. A few years ago, one could justifiably complain that Miku figures all looked alike – Good Smile Company’s Miku looked very much like Volks’s Miku which looked very much like Max Factory’s Miku. However, in recent times, figure makers have offered new takes on the Vocaloid mascot, casting her as a sort of warrior clad in robotic armor and as a pit crew worker. Even more conventional takes on the character, such as Good Smile Company’s Lat-type figure and Max Factory’s Tony Taka-designed figure present distinctive poses and facial expressions. The latest Miku figure to be released is perhaps the most distinctive yet, but whether that’s a good thing is debatable. Let’s take a closer look at it.
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Miku Hatsune from Vocaloid

Max Factory Miku Hatsune from Vocaloid Figure Review

Way back when I was in college, I was interested in making electronic music, and being that I did not and still don’t have any musical talent to speak of, I figured the easiest way to do it would be via computer. I had a copy of ReBirth for drums and a MIDI controller that I could use for basslines, my roommate played the guitar so I could ask him for samples, but one thing I didn’t have was vocals. While I might have been able to fake some sort of musical ability with instrumentals, there was no way I was going to embarrass myself by trying to sing. One day, while reading the news from that year’s NAMM on Harmony Central, I learned that Yamaha had developed voice synthesis software intended to provide musical vocals. They had a couple of voices, and I listened to the samples; one of them was of a voice called “Miriam” singing old traditional songs like Auld Lang Syne and Scarborough Fair. They were interesting and innovative in an academic sense, but they were still rather rough and being a broke student, I couldn’t buy the software anyway, so I quickly forgot about them and the whole enterprise and went back to doing my homework.

Fast forward years later; I’m out of college, I’m buying figures, I see a ton of people talking about some young green-eyed girl in dire need of a haircut. Wondering what anime she was from, I Google her name and find out that she’s from “Vocaloid.” How curious, I think, that an anime was named after voice synthesis software. Then I find out that she’s not from an anime at all; Yamaha made a mascot character to ostensibly represent one of their voice packs and it succeeded beyond their wildest expectation. I’m not certain if this whole phenomenon is an ingenius example of marketing or a demonstration of how simple it is to get money from anime fans.
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