Video Games photo
Video Games

Vita rhythm game IA/VT's latest trailer is colorful in all the right ways

Tap tap tap
May 02
// Elliot Gay
Marvelous is clearly making a bid for some of that sweet Project Diva pie with their upcoming rhythm game, IA/VT -Colorful- For the uninitiated, IA/VT is a music game starring IA, a brand new Vocaloid that started to gain tr...
Video game photo
Video game

Project Diva F 2nd developers talk PS4

It was only a matter of time!
Apr 15
// Dae Lee
It appears that the creators of the Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series are excited for its next (possible) iteration on the PS4. Producer Seiji Hayashi expressed: "Although nothing has been decided yet, personally I think it&...

First Impressions: Mekakucity Actors

Apr 14 // Chris Walden
The world that Mekakucity Actors paints is an interesting one. For the most part, it looks like present day Japan, with a little bit of Shaft's creative license to spruce some of the locales up a bit. A major difference between Mekakuland and the real world is the existence of Ene, a very Hatsune Miku-looking computer program who likes to joke around with her 'master', much to his annoyance. Her master is a NEET shut-in, who is devastated to discover that he has to leave the house in order to buy a new keyboard, after spilling a drink on his current one. Besides that mini-explosion, he seems like a pretty laid back kinda guy.  Unfortunately, as far as the first episode is concerned, that's about all there is to say about these two. You could say that this episode is setting the scene, but I'd counter by saying that I'm still none the wiser as to what this scene actually looks like. This is a Shaft show through and through. The art is as stunning as always, with plenty of their iconic architecture livening up what I presume to be Mekaku City. In fact, this episode seems awfully familiar, as it seems to follow the same basic structure as the first episode of Bakemonogatari. We've had strange, nonsensical scenes, dull dialogue and a very light introduction to a few of the characters. However, as much as I wasn't a fan of the first episode of Bakemonogatari, the show soon became one of my all-time favorites. Perhaps we'll have a better sense of how this is all going to play out by the end of the second episode.  To be clear, I didn't hate this episode. It's a visual treat at the very least, but it also showed that it plans to go somewhere. However, it ultimately fails as a first episode, as it doesn't make any attempt to rope viewers into the story. Ene's existence is a mystery, and while I'm sure that'll be explored later on in the show, we don't even know the name of her 'master' yet [Edit: As was pointed out in the comments, his name is mentioned by Ene at one point in the episode, albeit indirectly. It's Shintaro, in case you were wondering!]. This very same guy, who may or may not be the main character in this show, was kidnapped and perhaps shot at the end of the episode. It's incredibly strange to have to refer to him by description after Golden Time's Tourettes-like screaming of the name Tada Banri.  So why didn't Mekakucity Actors rope people in with its story? Well, perhaps because so far there's no story to speak of. I know the general gist of what's going to happen in this show, thanks in part to seeing the conversations of a few KagePro fans, but what does this episode offer for those that have no prior knowledge? It's all very disappointing, especially as I have to toss my love for Shaft to one side while I say all of this. Shaft is staffed by very competent animators and I'd put money on this show coming together by the end, so it's just puzzling why we were served so much fluff in the introduction. I just hope that Shaft's decision to favor uninspiring dialogue over any meaningful exploration of the plot doesn't drive away a good portion of its audience.  Ene seems like a fun character, and the dynamic between her and 'master' could become really interesting. The setting seems fun, and the two guys that 'master' meets at the end may also be pretty interesting. Unfortunately, this is a good example of why I found it so frustrating, as I have to use words like 'seems', 'could' and 'may' to describe what this show 'might' be like. The first episode of a show is meant to tease the world and give you an idea about what it's all about; Mekakucity Actors 1 is a conversation between a NEET and a computer, which isn't much to work with. But as I mentioned previously, this isn't the first time a Shaft show has had awkward pacing, so I'll be sticking around for a few more episodes. I don't doubt that it'll all kick off next Saturday.  [Act quickly and catch this show on Crunchyroll]
FI: Mekakucity Actors photo
"Oh hey, a Shaft show! I didn't end up watching Nisekoi, so I'll be sure to watch this." This was the only reason I decided to pick up Mekakucity Actors. I had no idea that I was diving into what seems like a reasonably well-...

Mekaku City Actors photo
Mekaku City Actors

Mekaku City Actors gets a teaser, go nuts

Because I think going nuts is what I should be doing?
Apr 10
// Chris Walden
Eyes! Super powers! Shaft! What else could you possibly want from an anime series that's based on a few Vocaloid tunes? Mekaku City Actors is that anime, and it'll be airing in just a few days time. Meanwhile you can try and...
Video Games photo
Video Games

First trailer for Vocaloid powered rhythm game IA/VT is trippy

Digging the beats
Mar 28
// Elliot Gay
Not content to let Sega hog the Vocaloid powered rhythm game market, Marvelous AQL has stepped into the Vita ring with IA/VT -Colorful-. This new rhythm game uses Vocaloid technology to power its main character, featuring ov...
Music photo

The Dose: Bump of Chicken & Hatsune Miku

An unexpected combo
Mar 28
// Hiroko Yamamura
Some combinations just work. Peanut butter and chocolate, Red Bull and vodka, Shinji and Kaworu. However, if you told me Bump of Chicken and Hatsune Miku teaming up was a good idea, I probably thought you were preparing me f...
Project DIVA f  photo
Project DIVA f

Project DIVA f is now available in North America

Europe, sit down and wait your turn.
Mar 04
// Chris Walden
Did you hold off buying Project DIVA F to wait for the PS Vita version? If you're in North America then wait no longer, as you can now pick up the portable version with the smaller f for a very reasonable $29.99 via the Play...
Video Games photo
Video Games

New Project Diva F 2nd trailer shows off all 36 tracks

It's like music to my ears
Mar 01
// Elliot Gay
Sega's Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd hits Japanese Vita and PS3 consoles on March 27. If you're a fan of rhythm games, I have no doubt that you probably already have that date marked on your calender. This series is popul...
Vocaloids photo

New twin vocaloids Anon and Kanon to debut March 3rd

The first official twin vocaloids debut soon
Feb 18
// LB Bryant
I love Japanese music but I've never really gotten in the whole vocaloid phenomenon. I know about the various vocaloids and saw Hatsune Miku's Anime Expo concert on DVD (I wasn't able to see it live unfortunately) but even if...
Hatsune Miku photo
Hatsune Miku

Let's make a Hatsune Miku Doll!

Get your yarn ready
Jan 31
// Amber Hunt
Ever wanted to know how to make a Hatsune Miku doll, out of yarn? Well this person is going to show us how! The Miku YouTube channel uploaded an instructional video showing us how to crotchet a Hatsune Miku doll together! It...
Vocaloids photo

Luka V3 is confirmed

Yuu Asakawa is excited!
Jan 31
// Amber Hunt
Today Yuu Asakawa, Japanese voice actor and the person behind the vocaloid Luka, tweeted how happy she was about Luka V3! If you didn't know, last year Luka V3 was announced, along with a new version of Meiko.  They've b...

Import Preview: Utakumi 575

Jan 26 // Elliot Gay
Utakumi 575SegaOnline Price: $67.99 I have to hand it to Sega for having the guts to launch a brand new rhythm game IP only a few months before Project Diva F2nd. No, they're not directly competing with themselves, but it still seems like a risky move. This is especially the case with Utakumi 575, as it uses the same Vocaloid technology and even some musicians for its track list.  Fortunately, 575 is a very different experience as far as rhythm games go. The story follows Matcha and Azuki, two high school freshmen who decide to start singing and dancing on the internet. The twist? They construct songs in a 5-7-5 structure (haikus) in order to convey their message. The game followers their online journey for a whopping year, singing and dancing ensuing every step of the way. The rhythm gameplay seems fairly typical at first; using the front and back touchscreens of the Vita, you tap along to the beats presented in-game. Where things start to differ are the blank spaces that will appear within a song as you tap along. Haiku options pop up onscreen and players will have to select each verse/phrase in the right order. Fail to insert any words or insert the wrong amount and you become unable to "play" those beats within the song, screwing up the combo you had going. If you insert the lyrics in the incorrect order but they still fit, you're allowed to continue the combo, though it's impossible to get a five star rank. It's a fascinating experience that tests both your sense of rhythm and your Japanese skills, something I find quite appealing. 575 is a great looking game, with a very clean UI and easy to understand menus. Macha and Azuki both look fantastic, and I'm fairly certain the whole thing runs at 60fps at native resolution. The downside is that the music videos aren't anywhere as elaborate as Project Diva's (it's like they're dancing in front of a camera for Nico Nico), but the choreography is solid. Add in customization options for clothes and even dance locations, and you'd have a pretty good package. That's not where things end however. Sega has included tools within the game that allow you to purchase haiku phrases and craft lyrics to pre-made songs. Since 575 uses the Vocaloid software, it's able to render music on the fly, meaning there's hours upon hours of content here to play with. Couple that with the iOS app that allows you to make songs from scratch, and you have a neat concept that could be something really fantastic with the right community. I suppose time will tell. The track list thus far has been very good, with familiar names from the Vocaloid community making repeat appearances. Interestingly enough, each track is split into short, medium, and long versions. I imagine this is a replacement for difficulty, as the length, amount of beats, and even the haikus themselves change based on which version you're playing. Clear each song with a good enough ranking and you unlock dozens of extra edits of each track, made by fans who used the iOS app last year when it first launched. It remains to be seen if Sega can turn Utakumi 575 into a viable franchise, but regardless of what its fate is, the game is unique and worth trying out. Normally I'd be quick to recommend this one to folks, but due to the heavy focus on haiku building, non-Japanese speakers will be missing out on a significant portion of the game's appeal. If that doesn't bother you though, feel free to jump on in. That Utakumi. It is pretty good you know. So give it a try.
Import Preview: Utakumi 5 photo
It's haiku time
I quite enjoy the rhythm action genre.  By no means am I great at them, but there's something undeniably appealing about putting a comfy pair of headphones on and getting in the zone. I've always been big on the genre wh...

Cute merch photo
Cute merch

Vocaloids get some Chemical X, join Powerpuff Girls

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice
Jan 22
// Kristina Pino
Piapro have announced some new goodies for a Powerpuff Girls and Vocaloid collaboration in the form of adorable phone charms. What makes them extra cute is the collab goes both ways: while we're seeing Luka, Miku, and the twi...

Happy birthday, Kagamine twins!

Dec 27 // Kristina Pino
Len and Rin Kagamine by brittneyvet97VOCALOID02 by yui-22Vocaloid - Kagamine Rin and Len Brotherly Love by To-TheStarsLen Kagamine :3 Dibujo by UriclubTkMagnet Len by Nanamychildren's war by taniikoKagamine Len by Squ-chanKagamination by projectTiGERLen Kagamine by Zixair1愛は戦争 by zenyuRin Rin! by iwasp0nthiswei鏡音レン also by zenyuRin Beautiful by KagamineRinAppends Have a suggestion for a future fan art gallery? Let me know directly: kristina (at) japanator (dot) com. Also feel free to link to any sourced Kagamine twins artwork you like in the comments below.  
Birthday Gallery photo
If they aged, they'd be legal in Japan
Today, December 27th, the Kagamine twins Rin and Len turn six years old. Though they're perpetually 14, there's always a steady flow of art, new costumes, and updated music for all members of the Vocaloid world, so let's enjo...

Meiko V3 photo
Meiko V3

Meiko is ready to crush you

Or something
Dec 13
// Kristina Pino
So I came across the latest demo for Meiko V3, and this time it's all hardcore and dark and stuff. The song, Crush Down, is by L.A.M.B. and I haven't quite decided how I feel about it yet. The song itself and its style aren'...
Miku nav photo
Miku nav

Go on a road trip with Miku as your guide

Android app for Google Nav
Dec 11
// Jeff Chuang
This is a neat trick for Android phone users--get Miku (and other vocaloid voices) to speak when you use Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation. By using an undocumented feature, the voiceover audio for Google Maps navigation ca...
Meiko V3 photo
Meiko V3

Meiko's latest demo does her way more justice

Now that's more like it
Dec 06
// Kristina Pino
In a continued effort to demonstrate how dynamic and versatile Meiko V3 (set to be released in February 2014) is, another demo has been released. And this time it's a more powerful, upbeat tune that I can definitely get behi...
Snow Miku photo
Snow Miku

Get a real good look at the Snow Miku 2014 street train

No, really, look at the train
Nov 30
// Kristina Pino
Pedro gave you all a preview of the Magical Snow Miku train at Sapporo, but now there's a whole video showcasing it and its opening day. You can see all the lovely details of the outside of the car as well as the posters, to...
Luka artbook photo
Hail to the pink-haired lady!
UDON Entertainment have revealed a nifty 12-page preview of an artbook featuring the lovely Luka Megurine all by her glamorous self. This artbook comprises over 150 illustrations on 96 pages created by over 35 artists, and it...

Project DIVA F 2nd photo
Project DIVA F 2nd

Project DIVA F 2nd will take the stage in March

To Vita, or not to Vita? That is the question.
Nov 26
// Chris Walden
It's surprising no one that there will be yet another Project DIVA game heading to home consoles, and it might just be the last release before we see it head to next gen consoles. But why waste a perfectly good dancing engine...
Meiko photo

Meiko's English demo doesn't sound half bad

Am I being generous?
Nov 22
// Kristina Pino
It's only just over a minute long, but the above video is a demo of what Meiko v.3 sounds like using English. I haven't liked most of the English Miku songs we've been hearing lately, but this Meiko one doesn't sound at all ...
vocaloid  photo

Happy birthday, MEIKO!

Her ninth anniversary
Nov 07
// Amber Hunt
MEIKO was the first female vocaloid in Japan, and today is her ninth year anniversary! She was originally released in November of 2004 as the first vocaloid engine. To celebrate her birthday, two preview songs were posted b...
Project Diva f photo
Project Diva f

Project Diva f to PS Vita in North America, 2014.

Negaposi*Continues will put a Vita in your Vita
Nov 06
// Jeff Chuang
Sega has heard what you had to say! Project Diva f, note the lower case f, is coming west in early 2014. The PS Vita version of the latest Sega Miku rhythm game, which is more or less the same as Project Diva F for the PS3, ...
vocaloid  photo

MAIKA the spanish vocaloid's new demo song

The newest edition to the vocaloid family
Nov 02
// Amber Hunt
When will they stop making Vocaloids?! I'm kidding, I love them. In all seriousness though, I can't keep up. There's just so many!  Well apparently Voctro Labs is working on yet another Vocaloid, but this time she's.. Sp...
Project Mirai 2 photo
Project Mirai 2

More songs announced for Hatsune Miku Project Mirai 2

For that Japanese 3DS you don't have.
Oct 25
// Chris Walden
Do you remember the first Hatsune Miku Project Mirai game? You know, the one that came out on the 3DS? Probably not, because it's just one of the many Miku games that is still stuck with a Japan-only release. It was a rhythm...
Vocaloid photo

Hatsune Miku gives a concert in the sky

Projected against the clouds over Hokkaido
Oct 18
// Tim Sheehy
In what I'm sure amounts to little more than neat science experiment, a group of tech-loving otaku and air conditioning enthusiasts have created the Kumo Project -- an attempt to fuse technology and nature through the projec...
Vocaloid photo

Oculus Rift app lets you "shake hands" with Miku

Sort of cool, I guess...
Oct 09
// Tim Sheehy
This is one of those things that's either really creepy, awesome, or both. I've seen Oculus Rift used to develop some interesting programs, but this is a first. An enthusiast by the name of @GOROman developed the Miku Miku A...
Terrifying Vocaloid  photo
Terrifying Vocaloid

Pre-order Calne today, get free nightmare tonight

Mikudayo is child's play in comparison
Oct 06
// Jeff Chuang
Sometimes there's just a figure so out there, that it's probably worth your attention--if you can stomach Shi-e Calne Ca. This Miku-derivative figure comes from the hit vocaloid music video "Bacterial Contamination" back in 2...
Miss Monochrome photo
Miss Monochrome

Yui Horie bot Miss Monochrome to stream her new anime

Miss Monochrome on Crunchyroll
Oct 01
// Jeff Chuang
Yui Horie, the prolific voice actress from Japan, is probably best known for her roles in a line of romantic comedies such as Love Hina or Toradora! Out here, fewer know about her singing career, and fewe...
Hatsune Miku photo
Hatsune Miku

Hello, World: Hatsune Miku English version out now

The sound of the future is English
Sep 02
// Josh Tolentino
The time is now, Miku fans! After what felt like forever, it seems that an English-speaking version of everyone's favorite digital diva is finally on the market. Yes, the imaginatively titled Hatsune Miku V3 English is ready ...
Miku Miku Hockey for Vita photo
Miku Miku Hockey for Vita

Use the power of AR to play hockey with Miku this fall

Only if you have a Japanese PS Plus subscription and a Vita
Aug 21
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been a long time since I've gotten the chance to play a good game of air hockey. One of the issues in playing the game is finding a location that has a an air hockey table. Even if I was able to own a own table, certain ...
Miku's 6th Birthday photo
Miku's 6th Birthday

Heads up: Tickets for Miku's Birthday are now being sold

I'm just dropping a friendly reminder.
Aug 19
// Salvador GRodiles
Don't mind me, I'm just dropping by to let the people of New York City and Los Angeles know that the tickets for the Hatsune Miku MAGICAL MIRAI 2013 live viewing concert are now available for people to purchase.  Even th...
Hatsune Miku photo
Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku Project Diva F is out soon, here's a trailer

All the vocaloid gang on PS3
Aug 16
// Josh Tolentino
Wow, to think that August could pass by so quickly! You'd think the rapid passing of days would be a bad thing, but for a vocaloid or rhythm game fan, it's a blessing. Why? As the headline says, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F,...
Miku's Birthday event photo
Miku's Birthday event

Celebrate Miku's 6th Birthday with a theatrical concert

Only open to people in Los Angeles and New York City.
Aug 12
// Salvador GRodiles
To those who won't be able to make it to Miku's celebration in Japan, the kind people at Live Viewing Japan are going to have a delayed concert broadcast of Hatsune Miku's 6th Birthday (I guess this means that vocaloid years ...
Hatsune Miku V3 English photo
Hatsune Miku V3 English

Take a peek at Hatsune Miku V3 English's new demo song

Incoming Engrish voices.
Jul 24
// Salvador GRodiles
If you have been waiting for the English version of Hatsune Miku, the green haired diva has received a new Website and sample song to keep vocaloid fans busy until Hatsune Miku V3 English is ready for service!  For an E...
Daily Dose photo
Daily Dose

A Daily Dose of Music: Hatsune Miku

Who wants pizza? P-I-Z-Z-A!
Jul 16
// Hiroko Yamamura
The Dominos Pizza promotion alongside Vocaloid superstar Hatsune Miku is in full swing! Not only has the international fast food pizza giant begun rolling out Miku branded delivery bikes, they;re even planning an upcoming co...
Project Diva f 2nd photo
Project Diva f 2nd

Hatsune Miku Project Diva f 2nd coming to PS3/Vita

More Hatsune Miku goodness.
Jul 09
// Elliot Gay
An early magazine leak has announced Hatsune Miku Project Diva f 2nd to the PS3 and the Vita. It's about 39% (GET IT?) complete, and will include the song "Romeo and Cinderella." That's literally all we have in the way of det...
Project Diva photo
Project Diva

Project Diva F is coming to North America, Europe

One more step to virtual idol domination
Jun 06
// Jeff Chuang
To the cheers of Miku fans and vocaloid fans everywhere, Sega has just announced that the PS3 version of Project Diva F, the latest in the line of vocaloid-based rhythm games, will be coming to North America and Europe this A...

Review: Mikunopolis in Los Angeles

May 22 // Pedro Cortes
Mikunopolis in Los Angeles (Blu-ray & Audio CD)Licensed by AniplexReleased: April 16, 2013MSRP: $74.99   Alright, so before I get started, ask yourself an important question: Do I like Hatsune Miku and/or her music? If you say no to either, you're probably not going to like this flick. Simply put, it's for fans and will not do much to change anybody's mind. However, if you answered yes to both, I'm pretty sure that this'll be your jam. Recorded on July 2nd, 2011 at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, this is the first time that Miku performed for US audiences. How is this possible, you may ask? Well, thanks to some 3D trickery from SEGA, a projection of the teal-haired songstress is projected onto a glass on the stage. Accompanied by a live musicians, Miku scampers around the confines of her screen and dances her little virtual heart out. She even "descends" for "costume changes" and hops back up with a new look for particular songs. There are even a couple of songs with some of the other Vocaloids. There are certain angles and shots that can trick you into thinking that she's actually on the stage. Unfortunately, the illusion is often broken by the shifting camera angels and closeups. I can imagine that it must have looked amazing while sitting in the crowd, but from our seats it's clear that Miku is a mere projection. That's a shame, as the actual cutting is well done, it's just that it doesn't quite work in this unique case.  Since this is a concert flick, most of the entertainment value comes from the set list. Looking here, there isn't a lot that's familiar. I'm sure bigger Vocaloid fanatics would recognize everything, but I only heard a couple of these tracks before I watched Mikunopolis. That said, I quite enjoyed the tracks they chose to play. The live renditions had a ton of energy behind them and the crowd really seemed to dig just about every track. Everything sounds great too, as the mix is pretty solid. It was nice to sit in my room and have the surround system blast the 5.1 mix into my ears and face.  As for extras, you've got a couple to sweeten the pot. On disk, there's a making of feature and the opening act for the concert. In the package is a mini-poster with the track credits on the back and a CD with the entire concert. However, that asking price is stiff for a Blu-ray and an audio CD. If you got the scratch and you want some live action Vocaloids, then Mikunopolis is right up your alley! Score: 7 - Good. (Films or shows that get this score are good, but not great. These could have been destined for greatness, but were held back by their flaws. While some may not enjoy them, fans of the genre will definitely love them.)
Mikunopolis LA Review photo
The best concert films go out of their way to replicate the experience of actually attending the filmed event. While nothing will ever nail what it was like to hear the pounding speakers and experience an event with hundreds ...

livetune interview photo
what a genius
Made famous from his tracks featuring Hatsune Miku, DJ kz aka livetune is one of my favorite producers. The soft spoken genius sat down with the folk over at the Miku Channel, and he gave some interesting insite to...

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