For a long time Vocaloids were not something I ‘got’. A million years ago on an anime forum that was basically my second home, one of the regular users switched their icon and signature image (remember when those were things, ah, the simpler times of the internet) to the green haired Miku. Sure, it was cute art, but I didn’t understand what anime she was from. A little digging on Wikipedia and I got my answer, Miku wasn’t an anime character, she was a mascot for a software program. She was the name for the voice that was intended to sound like a young Japanese idol girl. After learning that, I couldn’t understand the hubbub. It seemed weird to me to be obsessed with a musician who wasn’t real. I looked at videos on Youtube of songs, but it seemed ridiculous to become a fan of someone who wasn’t a person, just a piece of equipment. And yet Miku and the other Vocaloid characters spread.
Through the magic of cultural osmosis I eventually learned who most of the other characters were. Fan art, cosplays, stories about how Miku was getting special mangas and even concerts. It was perplexing. I didn’t judge people who were fans, but I just could not wrap my brain around it. Eventually Miku jumped to the next stage in media: video games and suddenly I was a lot more interested. I remember Novibear’s review of the first localized Project Diva F game, looked up play footage and that’s when Miku finally had my attention. While I still thought most of the songs were insipid bubblegum pop tunes, the gameplay looked INSANE. I love rhythm games, and the thought of a game that stupidly challenging seemed like something I wanted to play. Eventually I decided to take the leap with Project Diva F 2nd (and you guys thought the names for Kingdom Hearts games were stupid) at Gamestop a couple of years back.