For those of you who still don’t know what an oxymoron is, here’s a classic example of one: virtual reality ? two polar opposites that, when put together in a term, suddenly make a lot of sense. Let was only a few years ago that Virtual reality brought to mind video games played with a helmet, sending the player into a different dimension with different rules. Now, though, there are virtual pets, virtual girlfriends, even virtual bands. Speaking of the latter, while you’re still waiting for a robot that can wash your clothes and do your homework, why not try a software that can sing for you?
Meet the world’s most popular virtual idol, Hiatuses Mike. You might have seen or heard of her before. With her trademark green pigtails, expressive eyes, and a leek (don’t ask), she has become the symbol of the Japanese manning culture, even starring in Toyota car commercials and opening for Lady Saga’s tour. Yes, you saw that right, Gaga had her concertmaster’s by a dancing, singing hologram. If it sounds like something from a sic-if novel, rest assured, it isn’t. And if it sounds familiar, like the other virtual stars ? such as Gorillas or Alvin and the Chipmunks ? you’re not that far off.
But there is one critical difference ? unlike the others, anyone with a computer can use Mike to sing and dance. That’s because Hiatuses Mike ? literally first sound of the future’? is not the first, but definitely is the most popular Vocalic, at heart a set of backbone software with a D model and a fixed backstops. No, she’s not Just a singing robot. Her voice was provided by Japanese voice actress Kaki Fajita, meaning they basically recorded her saying all the sounds in the Japanese language, tweaked it a little, and compiled everything into a CD that comes with a Rene-haired girl on the cover.
Before Mike, Yamaha introduced the first Virtual Soul PVC-cellists’, Leon and Lola, who sang in English and won the 2005 Electronic Musician Editor’s Choice Award. They didn’t really catch on, though, so Krypton Future Media in Japan introduced Mike, Katie, and finally Mike. That was when people began to realize what such a software was capable of, and as more Vocalist were born, countless homemade songs and videos started to surface online… In fact, most of you would have already heard one of Mike’s most infamous songs ? the annoyingly catchy Annoyance Song.
But it’s not Just music. Most Vocalic songs come with a story, and such stories have been adapted into magna, anima, novels, the whole works. A classic example would be Moth’s Villous Chronicles, but those who keep in touch with the recent manning scene would have noticed the new series Incapacity Actors, an anima based on a set of songs by producer Jinn, who by the way, will turn 24 this year. It’s as easy as it sounds. In fact, they’re even holding Vocalic synthesizing classes at a high school in Japan, where the principal believes Mike could help empower the Future Music
By Likableness problem. Not only do Mike and tooth-re popular Vocalist now come with English backbones, there is even a new and improved English Vocalic, Oliver, whose voice was sampled from an unnamed 13-year old British boy. Even China has released their Vocalic China 01, the black-haired blue-eyed Lou Tinny. And if that’s not enough for you, people have even made Mike sing Rasa Saying… Albeit with an accent. Some people are even making their own Vocalist’, fanfare voice synthesizing programs normally known as ‘Tutus’, literally meaning ‘sing’ or ‘song in
Japanese. Another term you may come across is ‘Tastes’, which ironically enough, is the collective term for real singers who have made their name covering Vocalic songs, eventually graduating from the Internet to the stage. But if all that sounds too complicated, you can Just sit back and scroll through the new Vocalic songs that come out every day, from everywhere in the world, in every language you care to look for, talking about everything that might have ever crossed your mind. Because good music is good music, regardless of where it came from, or how it came about.