Greetings and salutations, dear reader! August 31st is nearly upon us, and patriotism is very much in the air for us Malaysians- This marks 65-years of independence! While that date holds a special meaning for our countrymen, August 31st also happens to be a very special day for certain young lady.
The 31st of August also happens to be the birthday for Hatsune Miku, the virtual voicebank diva. Crypton Future Media officially released the software in August of 2007 for the Vocaloid2 engine, and making Miku the first member of the Character Vocal Series. Though, it should be noted that Miku is the 7th Vocaloid overall in the industry, and the 2nd to be released on the Vocaloid2 engine- with the first being Megurine Luka.
Did you know that for Miku’s name, the Japanese characters 初 (hatsu), 音 (ne) and ミク (Miku) mean “first”, “sound”, and “future” respectively. So, when you read all those together, they translate to “the first sound of the future.” This also fit into Miku’s backstory, as she hails from the future where music no longer exists.
When one thinks of the digital diva, the first thing that catches your eyes has got to be her blueish-green oversized twin tails. While her hairstyle has become iconic look, this nearly didn’t happen as early into her design, Miku was meant to have pigtails instead. Again, Miku’s twin tails are iconic and synonymous to her design, that in June of 2012, her hair has earned her the title of Twin Tails which best represented the 2000’s, thus making her twin tails the best of the 21st century.
Another facet to Miku’s design lies in her clothing, from the choice of colors to the touchpads on her sleeves, and the digital markings. All these aspects are meant to represent Yamaha’s brand of synthesizers like the Motif SX7 76-Keys keyboard piano or the more accurately, the Yamaha DX 7 Keyboard.
When looking for individual element of the keyboard that went to Miku’s design, you can refer to the image below:
Miku’s popularity doesn’t just stop there. In 2008, the Good Smile Company’s motorsport division, Good Smile Racing, began licensing Miku and other Crypton Future Media-related Vocaloid content. This meant a lot of Vocaloids, most of all Miku was plastered all over the vehicles, billboards, uniforms, etc… Also, during the 2008 racing season, the Racing Queens were seen in the pitstop area wearing Hatsune Miku inspired attire and were dubbed MikuMiku Gals.
This sponsorship has continued to this day, as such, Miku has been given an annual Race Queen outfit for each racing season. Some of the outfits range from the typical race queen look to something cutesy, and even at times more risqué. One notable example has to the 2013 version which has a tanned skinned Miku in a very revealing bikini. This version of Racing Miku was meant to promote the 2013 GT Sepeang Circuit, here in Malaysai!!! The two designs are from the same yet visually contrasting.
Besides being active in motor sports, Miku is an active spokesperson or mascot for the annual Sapporo Winter Festival. Crypton Future Media has a major sponsor for the event since the 2010s. Images of Miku can been all over the festival promoting major attractions and can been seed in public transportations all around town as well- not just that but sculptures made from the snow! During the winter season, Miku can be seen in winter apparel or Christmas wear as oppose to n her usual attire, and even been dubbed as “Snow Miku” by many. The Snow Miku designs have been so popular that each year, she is given a new design, and of course be remade into plastic for merchandise.
There is no doubting Hatsune Miku’s popularity. No one could’ve foreseen the success of the software let alone the character herself. Having ventured in the realms of music (obviously), video games, toys, to even being a figure of tourism for Japan, the certainly nothing this diva can’t do!