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Hatsune Miku (初音ミク), codenamed CV01, was the first Japanese VOCALOID to be both developed and distributed by Crypton Future Media, Inc.. She was initially released in August 2007 for the VOCALOID2 engine and was the first member of the Character Vocal Series. She went onto have numerous releases for Vocaloid until VOCALOID4, with her final release for VOCALOID being Hatsune Miku V4 Chinese.

Miku's voice is provided by Saki Fujita (藤田 咲 Fujita Saki), a renowned Japanese voice actress.

On August 31, 2019, it was announced she along with other Piapro Characters were departing VOCALOID and that Crypton Future Media were developing their own independent Synthesizer based on Piapro Studio. She had previously appeared in older versions of the software.


Concept

Crypton had the idea to release Miku as "an android diva in the near-future world where songs are lost."[1][2]

Her very first concept was of a bilingual Japanese and English vocal, but this later became the concept of Megurine Luka.[3]

Etymology

The name was chosen by combining hatsu (, "first"), ne (, "sound"), and Miku (未来, a personal name that shares its spelling with the word for "future"). It thus means "the first sound from the future." Her name was based on her concept of that when a sound is first spoken.[4]

Her codename of "CV01" means "Character Voice 01".

Her name in Chinese is "Chūyīn Wèilái" (Simplified Chinese: 初音未来; Traditional Chinese: 初音未來).

Appearance

When KEI illustrated Miku, he was given a color scheme to work with (based on the YAMAHA synthesizers' signature blue-green colour) and was asked to draw Miku as an android. Crypton also provided KEI with Miku's detailed concepts, however, Crypton said it was not easy to explain what a "Vocaloid" was to him. KEI said he could not create an image of a "singing computer" at first, as he did not even know what a "synthesizer" was. It took him more than a month to complete the commission.[5]

Miku was originally intended to have a different hairstyle, but after trying out pigtails, KEI thought they were more suitable. Her pigtails have since become an iconic part of her design. On June 22, 2012, Hatsune Miku's twin tails even earned her the title of the Twin Tail which best represented the 2000s, marking her the best set of Twin Tails from the dawn of the 21st century. She now shares her twin tail distinction with other characters like Sailor Moon (who won best Twin Tails back in the 90s period).[6]

The digital design on Miku's skirt and boots are based on synthesizer program colours, and the bars represent actual bars within the program, following Crypton's ideas. Part of her design is based on some of YAMAHA's keyboard models, particularly the DX-100 and the DX-7.[7][8] The thin squares around her pigtails are futuristic ribbons made of a special material that floats in place. As seen in KEI's art for Miku, they are able to hold Miku's pigtails in place without having to physically touch the hair itself. The ribbons are also reported by KEI to be the hardest item on the character's design for cosplayers to recreate.

After an internet meme involving Hachune Miku, Miku was associated with a spring onion (often mistaken for a leek due to the similar appearance). This, along with KAITO's association with ice cream, started a discussion called "the Item War" within the VOCALOID fandom, where it became traditional for new VOCALOIDs to have an item assigned to them and the items were debated upon until one stuck via an Internet Meme. This occurrence has since died out.

Her VOCALOID2 Append design is often subjected to censorship. In the original design, there is a bare strip of flesh under the tie area. In many depictions, this bare strip of flesh is not shown and is covered. For example, while Max Factory models showing the uncensored version in their normal and Figma models, the Project Diva game series shy away from showing any exposure.

For Hatsune Miku V4X, iXima redesigned Miku's hairpieces. The ribbons became part of the headphones, and hold her pigtails in place by touching her hair. The red stripes protrude outward from the hairpieces and extend upward, retaining their original square shape.

History

Marketing

V2Hatsune Miku

The VOCALOID2 Hatsune Miku product that started it all

Miku's initial marketing was similar to past software synthesizers and VOCALOID voicebanks, and was standard marketing for the software at her time of release. For the most part, a large proportion was centered on DTM Magazine, like MEIKO and KAITO before her since the readership of the magazine had greatly influenced those two past VOCALOIDs. The only pre-planned promotion was with DTM MAGAZINES November 2007 issue - due to the inclusion of a CD with the demo of Miku on it, this particular issue sold out.

She was originally aimed only at professional producers; the amateur and Otaku market hadn't fully formed yet, and so it was not initially considered.[9] For a variety of reasons, Miku received unexpected commercial success. Due to Miku's popularity boom, Crypton had the chance to take advantage of early technical support for Miku and several guidebooks and magazine support were released solely focused on her vocals.

The fact that products with Miku can sell out quick makes her attractive to even slow growing industries. Products with Miku on them can even sell out in public events within 30 minutes of events opening to the public. This helps fuel marketing in even handcrafted trades, as fans are attracted to these "one of kind" products.[10]

Voicebanks

Hatsune Miku had a number of VOCALOID releases, some of which were released also for Piapro Studio versions that used the VOCALOID API.

Designed to be a cute, high pitched and young female Japanese singer, the vocal is of a non-professional vocalist and represents a voice acted result. It has strong attack and is known for its fairly high adaptability and morphing ability. Due to its high usages among Japanese producers, the vocal was regarded as both "The VOCALOID" voicebank, as well as the "standard" vocal among VOCALOID usage, the vocal itself was meant to replace KAITO and MEIKO from VOCALOID. Miku was created to have stand out vocal traits compared to MEIKO. This was also the first vocal for VOCALOID2 that was designed for VOCALOID2 itself.

Designed to be a sweeter sounding version of the "Original" vocal, this vocal is a voice acted result and designed to act very different to the "Original" vocal. The tone is cuter then the original and designed to make Miku sound smaller and is meant for more expressive songs.
  • Hatsune Miku Append (VOCALOID2), April 30, 2010
  • Hatsune Miku V3 (Piapro Studio), September 26, 2013
  • Hatsune Miku V4X (Piapro Studio2), August 31, 2016

Designed to be a darker tone version of the "Original" vocal, this vocal is a voice acted result and designed to act very different to the "Original" vocal. This vocal is designed to make Miku sound moodier and is meant for more expressive songs.
  • Hatsune Miku Append (VOCALOID2), April 30, 2010
  • Hatsune Miku V3 (Piapro Studio), September 26, 2013
  • Hatsune Miku V4X (Piapro Studio2), August 31, 2016

Designed to be a softer tone version of the "Original" vocal, this vocal is a voice acted result and designed to act very different to
  • Hatsune Miku Append (VOCALOID2), April 30, 2010
  • Hatsune Miku V3 (Piapro Studio), September 26, 2013
  • Hatsune Miku V4X (Piapro Studio2), August 31, 2016

Light is a higher pitched vocal with a different tone to "original". Designed to be more operatic and angelic then the "Original" vocal with a light but bold style of voice acted vocal.
  • Hatsune Miku Append (VOCALOID2), April 30, 2010
  • Hatsune Miku V3 (Piapro Studio), October 2nd, 2013 (free download)

October 9th, 2014 (full)

VIVID is a high but strong pitched vocal with a different tone to "original", being lower in pitch then "Light". Designed to be more strong and powerful voice acted vocal.
  • Hatsune Miku Append (VOCALOID2), April 30, 2010
  • Hatsune Miku V3 (Piapro Studio), October 2nd, 2013 (free download), October 9th, 2014 (full)

Solid is a voicebank similar to "Original", but with firmer sounds and louder results and is designed for clarity.
  • Hatsune Miku Append (VOCALOID2), April 30, 2010
  • Hatsune Miku V3 (Piapro Studio), September 26, 2013
  • Hatsune Miku V4X (Piapro Studio2), August 31, 2016

The English version of the Hatsune Miku vocal, was also planned for Miku's original V2 vocal, though that project became Megurine Luka instead. Despite the fact this is the English version, it does not always match the tone of the "Original" voicebank. Results have varied per release due to improvements between versions with consequential versions being very different in tone and pronunciation.

The Chinese version of the Hatsune Miku vocal. Despite the fact this is the Chinese version, it does not always match the tone of the "Original" voicebank.

Trivia

  • She is the first, and so far only, Vocaloid to become a diva.
  • Miku has the most voicebanks out of all the Piapro Characters, with 9 total.
  • She is currently the only trilingual Piapro Character (MEIKO, KAITO, Rin, Len, and Luka are bilingual), and the only one with a Chinese vocal.

References

  1. Pratina Nov 9, 2007: KEI Interview
  2. VocaloidOtaku - Our Favorite VOCALOIDS: Interview with KEI[dead link]
  3. http://www.itmedia.co.jp/news/articles/0902/10/news036.html
  4. http://blog.crypton.co.jp/mp/2009/01/post-95.html [dead link]
  5. P-Tina - Interview(s) with Crypton and KEI
  6. http://vocaloid.blog120.fc2.com/blog-entry-12152.html
  7. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=327922480661644&set=a.232686870185206.50979.138697466250814&type=1
  8. VocaloidOtaku - Source of Miku's design[dead link]
  9. http://blog.crypton.co.jp/mp/2007/05/vocaloid2-3.html [dead link]
  10. https://mainichi.jp/articles/20190822/k00/00m/040/020000c
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