Miku’s tenth birthday

Well, I wonder if it’s really okay to talk about it like this when I’m not actually a Miku user myself, but…as much as I’m a Vocaloid producer I also happen to be a fan, and that means I adore Miku dearly as well. Plus, Miku herself means a lot more to me than just the character and voice, so I think it’s worth discussing, especially since everyone else seemed to be sharing their stories as well.

Ten years, huh?

It’s hard for me to remember the exact details of how I was led into the world of Vocaloid culture, because it all happened so quickly that it blurs together, but I can at least remember a few things. I had two friends who were very into Nico Nico Douga culture, and the first time I saw what Miku looked like was through Kagami’s cosplay of her in the Lucky Star OVA. I heard various song names and casually looked into it online every so often. But one way or another, something clicked in the summer of 2009 and I fell in completely.

I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to know everything as soon as I take an interest in something, but “doing research” into Vocaloid is a bottomless pit when there’s so much to discover. Soon I was spending time on wikis and binge-watching videos and reading song translations and had my own account on Nico Nico Douga, although my Japanese ability at the time was pitiful.

That was how I discovered so many things.

It’s not that I wasn’t aware of any genres besides mainstream American pop at the time, but I hadn’t spent much time going out of my way to find it, so anything seemed to be new and exciting. Falling in love with folk music wasn’t an immediate reaction, because my mind didn’t fully register it as a “genre” at first, or was even able to process what it was I liked about it — just that there was this beautiful fantasy-like feeling to the beautiful songs I kept encountering by chance in the Weekly Vocaloid Ranking. But after hearing people refer to the genre by name, and seeing it solidified as something that actually existed in a concrete form made it something that I wanted to aspire towards.

I have to give my respects to all the composers who also helped create the world that made me realize that I wanted to make something like that, too. Among many other things, I am also thoroughly grateful to the Vocaloid Folk Song Compilation (VOCALOID民族調曲集) album for gathering so much of that in one place and solidifying it as something real to me. To this day, it is one of the most treasured things in my possession.

Back in 2009, the idea of being able to make music was something I’d jokingly considered and then passed off as “hah, as if”. I didn’t understand what DTM was, and my view of a “Vocaloid producer” was that of “an amazing person who can do amazing things”, which I considered myself as definitely not. But so many things happened within those eight years that it’s hard to believe even now. The UTAU environment that I worked in swept away the intimidation of “making originals”, and the overseas community was starting to develop a producer culture of its own of the kind that was considered impossible back then (which I’d like to talk about more in detail sometime later).

I’m blessed. I really am.

I want to make things that people will like. I’m happy to do whatever I can do, the way I want to do it. And I’m really grateful for all the people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had that can’t possibly be summarized in a short blog post.

Let’s do our best in the future.

The Moment Before the End

I’m not sure if I’d intended for it to go this way from the beginning, but it seems that I’ve written a lot of songs about the concept of “regret” lately. The feeling of having things you want to do, but not being able to do it; the feeling of wishing you’d done something different.

This is a story of understanding that line of thinking, and then putting an end to it.

Also, for the first time in a long while, I decided to release the unaltered VSQx/MIDI data. Lately I’ve been rather embarrassed about exposing everything like this, especially when it comes to English, but I thought about it and decided it’s okay as long as it’s helpful. Someone out there is probably going to look at it and think “what the hell is she doing?!”, but…_(:3」∠)_

Incidentally, this is also the first proper duet I’ve made with Vocaloid. MEIKO goes all the way up to G♯5, so I’m very proud of her.

The art is by Yen-Mi, whom I’d wanted to work with for a long time now. Thank you so much!

In regards to Hana

At this point it’s not a situation that I really want to address bluntly, but I do think it’d be better to be clear about my position on the matter, since I’d rather have that than give off the impression that I’ve completely abandoned her and am only keeping the links up out of obligation. Hana‘s last update was in February 2013; there’s still quite a few visible holes in her listed voicebanks on her page, and moreover the demands of the UTAU community have evolved quite considerably since then.

Unfortunately, although I would like to keep her up to standard, the amount of free time I have and my ability to continue working on her has gotten very limited. My current living and working conditions make a very poor environment for clean recordings and my day-to-day schedule tends to be very unpredictable, meaning that recording the samples in a clean and consistent manner in such a way that’s suitable for UTAU is rather difficult at the moment. For Hana’s update in 2013 I worked to keep her at a certain standard of quality, which I can’t guarantee I can consistently meet in this state.

Beyond recording ability, there’s also the simple issue of free time; I actually do have a small amount of unreleased recorded material, but the amount of time it takes for sample post-processing and oto.ini configuration is a lot more than I currently have while juggling original music-related projects and the demands of my daily life. Again, this was something I was very fixated on refining as much as I could for her 2013 update, and although it’s theoretically possible to quickly patch this up and release it, it would be of unacceptable quality compared to the prior releases.

Thus, I can only say that it’s unlikely I’ll be able to give her any updates in the near future. However, my situation is always changing and it’s possible something might happen – it’s just that I’m simply unable to make any guarantees. Until then, even if it’s a bit outdated I believe Hana’s 2013 update has still left her in a respectable state, and I intend to continue providing technical support and distributing her for as long as I’m able to.

Thank you to those who have given their support to Hana up until now, and to those who are supporting me in all current and future endeavors!