So, the purpose of this blog is to basically just talk about the different Vocaloid-related things I enjoy. It's not official in any way and will definitely be affected by my own biases. But partly in order to make it more accessible to other people and partly to catalog how I got into it in the first place (in case I leave it and want to go back later), I've made a few informational posts. They may not be the most comprehensive but I've tried to keep everything fairly simple.
What is Vocaloid?
This youtube video basically explains it:
There is also a wikipedia that you can peruse to research vocaloids and all that. Googling also helps.
Put very basically, Vocaloid is a voice synthesizer program that you can purchase and use to make music. You program whichever Vocaloid you've bought to sing whatever you input. Everything is fan-made.
What the fuck is so great about that?
I've seen this question so many times and I'm not fully sure how to answer it. My own descent into Vocaloidism was slow and kind of crept on me over the span of about a year - so it's not like I was hooked right away. But for me, the cool thing about Vocaloid is that there's a wide range of material, all based in what fans have made. There are songs, there's fan art, and there are even radio shows and short scenes some fans have made. Personally, I like the creepy and sad songs best - but there are also rock songs, pop songs, and electronica.
Yes, they're robots. And yes, some songs make it really obvious that they're robots. One of my friends has asked me several times why I like to listen to the chipmunks, since some of the voices are higher. Really, I don't think singing robots is something everyone would like - especially not those who like to have definitive characteristics or back stories. But for those who like a little more room to play and experiment and interpret, Vocaloid is a great fandom to get into.
So how many Vocaloids are there? Who the fuck are these robots?
Ah, well... I think there are less than 20 Vocaloids out there. The ones I know of are outlined here. The most "famous" one (if a robot singing program can be called famous) is Miku. But (and this is really only my own opinion), it's GUMI who has the quality songs. That doesn't mean I like her songs more, but you usually can't go wrong with GUMI.
What was confusing to me when I was first starting is that there are also fanmade versions of these main Vocaloids (like Hachune Miku, Kaiko, Toeto, etc.) which... add to the number.
In addition to that are Utauloids, which are basically non-Vocaloids who are put out onto the internet by trolls who advertise them as being "the next Vocaloid" available for purchase. You can usually tell when you're listening to Utauloids because the quality is lower and it sounds a little more static-y (this is the only way I can think to describe it). Even so, one of the reasons I got into Vocaloid at all was Yokune Ruko (see here). I loved his/her design - and the fact that s/he's a hermaphrodite sold me even more. (Don't worry, most of them are your basic male or female robots.)
So how does one get into Vocaloid fandom, anyway?
I had videos linked to me from time to time, but you can basically surf around youtube. Below are some of the videos that are what I consider the basic staple of Vocaloid (i.e. videos that most Vocaloid fans know). I've linked the subbed versions wherever possible.
Please note, THIS IS ONLY A HANDFUL. I know there are lots of songs known to fans but I don't want to make this list overwhelming.
GUMI & Hatsune Miku - Matroshka
Hatsune Miku - Hold, Release; Rakshasa and Carcasses
Hatsune Miku - Love Is War
Hatsune Miku - Rolling Girl
Hatsune Miku - World Is Mine
Hatsune Miku & KAITO - Cendrillon
Hatsune Miku & Megurine Luka - Magnet
Kagamine Len & Rin - Trick And Treat
Kamui Gakupo - Duke of Venomania
Megurine Luka - Just Be Friends
Is Vocaloid an anime?
There is an anime that was based off of the song Black★Rock Shooter by Hatsune Miku. It's an OVA that's about two hours long. The OVA itself is kind of slice-of-life in genre with some fighting scenes thrown in every once in a while. It's cute, but not as action-packed as this led me to believe it would be. This trailer was far more accurate in its portrayal of what to expect.
It's not a bad anime by any means. Just slower than I was expecting it to be.
Why do some songs show up with different Vocaloids singing them?
Basically, once a song is out there it can be remixed with any voices people choose - and this is often done. So if you don't like hearing Miku's voice and prefer to hear Rin's or Kaito's or whomever, you have a decent chance of it - especially if the song is more well-known.
What is Uttatemita?
These are people who sing Vocaloid songs. In human voices. There might be more to this but I don't pay as much attention to this side of what gets produced since I like the robotic tenor of what I listen to. However, I will say that what Supercell puts out is pretty good.
What is PROJECT DIVA?
Project Diva is a video game for Sony PSP. I have never played it but it seems like a song plays and there are certain arrows you have to push - basically, this is what it's like.
What are MMDs?
I really wish someone had explained this one to me, even though it's pretty obvious once you think about it. MMD = MikuMikuDance, which is a program that you can use that basically has the characters in 3D form on your computer screen. Some people make little scenes or shorts with them; others use them for videos; and so on. I guess once every... so often (I should really research this more) there is a contest where everyone can submit MMD videos. Some videos are set to different songs (not always Vocaloid ones); some are really random things - one of them was a nearly hour-long cooking show, for example. So it can really vary. But they're usually pretty fun.
MORE INFO TO FOLLOW