Oct 6th, 2017
Our fandom journey this season takes us all the way to Japan to talk about fans of the world’s most famous virtual pop idol: Hatsune Miku! How did such a relatively niche thing become a global phenomenon? And who is pulling the strings??
Next week, we’re off to Mexico to talk about fans of that exciting sport: Lucha Libre!
Hatsune Miku is a VOCALOID. What is a VOCALOID? A VOCALOID is a singing synthesizer application developed by YAMAHA. It was an international effort to create a synthesizer to act as a replacement singer. The original VOCALOID engine was release in 2004. Hatsune Miku was the second VOCALOID released as part of the VOCALOID2 engine and the first member of the Character Vocal Series created by Crypton Future Media Inc. Her name literally means “the first sound from the future.”
She is also a humanoid persona: a 16-year-old girl with long turquoise twintails and her voice is modelled after Saki Fujita. In September of 2007, Amazon.co.jp reported over 57 million yen (Over a half-million USD) in sales for the Hatsune Miku software, and she has recorded over 100 000 songs. She has since been portrayed in many different media, and is also a Japanese pop idol, among other things.
Size of Fandom:
The vocaloid subreddit has over 15000 subscribers, and the Hatsune Miku subreddit has over 2600. The actual number of fans is probably somewhere in the low hundreds of thousands though:
She’s beautiful, she’s talented, she’s immensely popular…and she’s not real. Hatsune Miku the virtual popstar creation of Crypton Future Media in Japan, has sold out another concert. Her much anticipated second annual March 9th (39) performance was seen live by over 2000 attendees, watched by thousands more in theaters screening the concert around the country, and streamed in real time to over 160,000 fans via Nico Nico Douga. That is a level of attendance reserved for world class entertainment, and Hatsune Miku didn’t fail to deliver. Her nearly three hour show featured multiple encores, special guest appearances, and was met by fervent enthusiasm by her fans attending live in Tokyo.
— SingularityHub - 160,000+ Watch Virtual Popstar Hatsune Miku Return to the Stage (video)
Changes in Fandom:
Interest in Hatsune Miku has been steady, with a slight decline in the last few years (according to Google Trends data). There was a huge spike in interest around the time of her release (Oct 2007), and interest in her (and other VOCALOIDs) has been pretty stable ever since.
Around the world:
While Hatsune Miku enjoy fans from around the world, the most interest in her stems from Japan, and, to a lesser degree, from countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Chile, Hong Kong, and South Korea.
Last Episode’s Famous Last Words
Hatsune Miku is popular in part due to dating sims.
A portion of her fanbase does not know that she is not a real person
Are there male counterparts? Is Hatsune Miku peak moe?
Z is out.
G is out (Hatsune Miku). 1000% in on vocaloid technology.
T is mostly out.
This week’s spotlight
Nothing this week. Sorry.
Famous Last Words
This week’s famous last words around next week’s fandom, Lucha Libre!
Why are masks important to Lucha Libre?
In mask, out of mask… Is there a Bruce Wayne-like character, who is never in the same place at the same time?
In American Wrestling, working on a limb … is always the left side. In Lucha Libre: it’s always the right side. Why?
Where can you find us online?
We are everywhere! Most notably though, we like to hang out in a few places on social media:
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What is “Fanthropological”?
How did you read this far without asking this question?!
Fanthropological is an anthropological (ish) podcast where we bring the fan’s-eye view to you! Each week, we take a look at a different fandom, dig up interesting background, trivia, and history, and try to get to why it is that people are a fan. We also try to highlight good causes related to that fandom, and find interesting things that fans have created to share those to the world. Each episode is about an hour. Ish.
Who is “The Nickscast”?
We are the Nickscast! Three products of late-80s / early-90s pop culture who love exploring fandom and everything geek … who also happen to have been best buddies since high school, and all happen to be named Nick. Yes, we are super creative. Dare we say, the most creative.
We are Nick Green, Nick Terwoord, and Nick Zacharewicz: We started the Nickscast as a labour of love, and as a place to entertain and to discuss our love of fans and fandom, and all that is shiny and interesting in that realm. It’s what lead us to start our first podcast, our satellite podcasts, Fanthropological, and so much more.
We want to help others learn more about different fandoms, and to create empathy with other fans: We dream of a world where other fans aren’t “those Weird-o’s”, but just folks with different tastes. A world where fandom is full of discourse and analysis, and there are plenty of tools and resources to help. Fans building communities to do good in the world. Because everyone’s a fan.
- Vocaloid Wikia - Vocaloid (mascot)
- Vocaloid Wikia - Hatsune Miku
- Vocaloid Wikia - Character Vocal Series
- Vocaloid Wikia - VOCALOID2
- Vocaloid Wikia - VOCALOID
- Fanlore - Hatsune Miku
- Wikipedia - Hatsune Miku
- Polygon - What to expect at a Hatsune Miku concert
- NewStatesman - Crowd-sourced pop singer Hatsune Miku reveals the true nature of stardom
- Kotaku - The Crowd Went Wild For Hatsune Miku, The Virtual Anime Pop Star
- Vulture - Hatsune Miku Is a Piece of Software. She May Also Be the Future of Music.
- Polygon - Is Hatsune Miku a better pop star than Justin Bieber? A video explainer on the future of pop stardom
- Fanlore - Vocaloid
- Youtube - Hatsune Miku - Rolling Girl - Live in Sapporo
- Youtube - Hatsune Miku - World is Mine/ryo (supercell) (初音ミク)
- PRI - Japan’s Biggest Pop Star Right Now is a Fetishized Hologram
- r/Vocaloid - Why Do You Like Vocaloid?
- Yahoo Japan - Why Are You Treated Like Geeks If You Like Hatsune Miku
- Yahoo Japan - Does Liking Hatsune Miku Make You an Otaku?
- RocketNews24 - Japanese Magazine’s Checklist for the Ideal Girl has a Whopping 23 Points
- Buzzfeed - How Did A CGI Anime Character Named Hatsune Miku End Up Performing On The “Late Show”?
- RojakDaily - Who Is This Virtual Singer Hatsune Miku And How Did She Make Over 2.5 Million Fans Fall For Her?
- MikuFan.com - Today is Miku’s 5th “Disappearance Day” Anniversary
- Vocaloid Wiki - Legal Implications
- Kotaku - Fans Crowdfund A Hatsune Miku Shrine For Over $40,000
- YouTube - Design at Large - Tara Knight, Miku: The Open Source Girl Who Conquered the World
Music / Sound
- All music and sound for this week’s episode were provided by Nick Green!