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Here now is the next incarnation of Toyota's Miku design

4:00 PM on 06.26.2011

Josh Tolentino

Managing Editor

Anyone reasonably in the know would likely agree with me when I say that otaku can at times be a fickle, even petty bunch of folks, missing the forest for the trees and all that.

I'd say that was something of the case when a teacup-sized tempest blew up over Toyota's appropriation of Miku as the mascot for the 2011 Corolla. Y'see, Toyota's initial concepts for Miku artwork appearing on the car giant's Corolla website were, shall we say, less than appealing to otaku who preferred the "traditional" moe stylings of the Vocaloid they knew and loved.

While the designs (shown below) were clearly Miku, they were also obviously coming from a creator that was likely told to draw her to minimize backlash from people who hate all things "anime", and to also not look like total loli jailbait, lest the PROTECT act suddenly be applied to prospective Corolla owners. The results were derided by fans as "too westernized", and given such nicknames as "Man-Miku" or "Muscle Car Miku".

Well, now you petty otaku can breath a sigh of relief, as Miku's third Toyota incarnation is done in a more familiar style, while still skewing "mature", and applying some rather interesting twists on the design. Miku's traded in her bright aqua color palette for a somewhat more green scheme, and her hair and clothes appear more "holographic". It works quite well, if you ask me.

To be fair, I didn't love the early Miku designs either, but in a way they reflect just how community-driven the Vocaloid phenomenon is. Just as her music career is driven mostly by her fans, so is Miku's appearance, built on that fairly simple template laid down by Kei so very long ago.

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