Well just as posted the other day, you did it. Gacha-Poid is not only back from the dead, he is officially dropping on September 17th, 2014. The hyphen was added by theofficial Vocaloid Facebook for those keeping score. Well whether he is Ryuto, Gachapoid, Gachapin, Gacha-poid or just plain Gacha, the youngest Vocaloid (at age 5) has grown from a gruff sound to a smooth, more youthful sound. Please, have a listen:
I wasn't sure how to type this, as I'm not a fan of Vocahate, the brief trend of "shaming" Vocaloids or otherwise hating on them, so I hope I'm not being rude here.
But have you guys noticed... there is a ton of blonde Vocaloids these days! In fact, there's more blonde Vocaloids now than any other hair color. Take a look:
2. Sweet Ann
3. Rin Kagamine
4. Len Kagamine
9. Galaco (Well... original anyway, Pre-NEO)
11. ZOLA Project Yuu
12. ZOLA Project Kyo
13. Yan He
17. CYBER DIVA
This is an incredible list. Of all the other hair colors, Blonde is the only dominant one. Even the number of green and brown haired Vocaloids can't even touch this list. What's more? Fans have been trying for years to make LEON and LOLA look like Lily and Adult Len!
But more shocking is Sweet Ann, whose box art design is based on Black actress Lena Horne, and yet Ann too, appears fair skinned with Blonde hair and blue eyes. Her international re-release has her with a more "anime" look, but the origins are no less shocking, especially when you add the fact that they made it look on the box like Sweet Ann is a Frankenstein, singing to you from the depths of Hell itself. Just look at the background! This borders on racist and disrespectful, as the art came out exactly one day before the birthday of Lena Horne. Lena was born June 30th, while Ann was originally released June 29th. (Lena was still alive when Ann was released in Japan in 2007, but passed away a year and four months before Ann's "animealike" re-release. Lena Horne died in May of 2010, Ann's second release was in September of 2011 in Taiwan.) Ann was the third ever Female Engloid (English speaking Vocaloid) and has a deeper voice than most Vocaloids, as heard here. Some have compared her singing style to Lena Horne, saying this tune may have been what they were aiming for, when tuning Sweet Ann's womanly voice.
The picture of Lena Horne and Sweet Ann comes from here, you can tell the problem right away.
So what makes Blonde so attractive, as to give us so many yellow haired Vocaloids?
Well for starters, the image of the Blonde beauty (or cutie) with blue or green eyes, has always been a sure-fire way to grab attention overseas.
Take a look at the most popular anime titles over the last 25 years. Dragonball Z didn't really secure a strong United States TV deal, until after main character Goku reached the first Super Sayajin stage, in which he earns Blonde hair and green eyes. Until this part of the anime made air in Japan, Dragonball (the earlier series from the 1980's) barely had a TV deal, with a few episodes half-done by Harmony Gold. Sure, Dragonball featured Lunch, but she only appears Blonde with green eyes in a few scenes. But after a strong merchandise line appeared with Goku as a Super Sayajin, suddenly, Saban, Ocean and Funimation were fighting over who would get the rest of the show. And since the original 1989-1995 Z anime added more Super Sayajins ~ all blondes ~ the show has made it's way into a large number of countries, with new manga, merchandise, movies and more, STILL being made.
Sailor Moon originally had pink hair, but publisher Kodansha and anime company Toei Animation pushed for the character to have her hair re-painted yellow. The result? International deals. By 1994, Toonmakers and DiC were fighting for the right to bring the show over, and by 1995, not only was the show competing on syndication against American animated Blonde bombshells like Sky Dancers and Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, it also had a small, but potent toy line, with the now-Blonde protagonist front and center. The prequel manga series Codename Sailor V debuted in the US in 2011 to rave reviews, while the original Sailor Moon manga was also reprinted that year. The first Volume, 5th, 7th, 12 and final Short Stories volumes, each had on the cover Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus, Sailor Uranus, Princess Serenity and finally, a happily-married Usagi. All Blonde.
Naruto is another series, based around a Blonde character, while not to be outdone, Digimon Frontier brought the ailing Virtual-Fighting-Pet based series a second chance at popularity, shortly after debuting with a very Blonde Izumi/Zoe. Before hand, the first Digimon anime saw a jump in the ratings, after Gatomon/Tailmon Digivolved into the scantly clad and very Blonde Angewomon. Angemon was also featured in higher rated episodes, along with his Digivolution, MagnaAngemon.
Now not all popular series have Blonde characters as the star, or even as a popular character. But many of the ones boasting a large toy line do. Marketers know this, and are eager to capitalize on this, by asking the creators of their best shows to make a few, Blonde characters. The theory they use is that Western/American audiences will typically spend more money, if the product looks less Japanese and more Aryan. If you look at America's top doll lines, (G.I. Joe, Barbie, Bratz, Moxie) it isn't hard to find a Blonde character, as the main stars are usually just that.
Another theory has more to do with science. Peter Frost, an anthropologist at Laval University in Quebec City once wrote that during the caveman era, Blonde was a rare hair color. This made cavewomen with Blonde hair more appealing, because it was different. It was rare, and anything "shiny and new" to a caveman would make the mate he was after more appealing than the usual red and brown stock. This was less the case in Nordic countries, where Blondes were the norm.
Other scientists however believe it's more complicated than that. Blonde is subconsciously a color we associate with youth. It's a color more commonly found in babies and in small children, and for those who will one day outgrow Blonde locks, the color is more likely to stay in young girls, rather than in boys. In a nutshell, it's a symbol of youth, and it makes the subconscious mind associate that youth with procreation. The longer someone stays youthful, the better the offspring will be. AND THERE IS NO NON-CREEPY WAY TO TYPE THIS, FOLKS!!! Many people, specifically older men, associate the blonde hair with being young and having strong babies with... um.. the youth. EW!!!
This creepypasta revelation explains why so many times, we see Blondes being used in *AHEM* adult material. It also explains why there are so many videos of Rin and Len, where they are put into adult situations. (Again, creepy.) But the makers of Vocaloid already know all of this it seems, and have done a fair job of making sure there are enough Blondes to go around.
Does this mean we should hate them? No, absolutely not. Even though it's monotonous to see so many yellow-haired Vocaloids, each one does have a different story, image and background, and when you're looking at that, and listening to the different sounds, you get to see how much they balance out the rest of the cast, and provide stronger vocals in duets, and different story ideas.
But it is easy to see them also as a "cop-out" overall. If can feel at times like when they run out of ideas, they go with the tried-and-true Aryan image, to remind the Western world that there are more characters than just Miku, and to cater to the fanbase that keeps paying for these Blondes.
Let's face facts, if people weren't buying Blonde Vocaloids, the list would have stopped with either Lily or Oliver, as SeeU has been accused of being a "Mikualike". But then, that also works in her favor. For those who are intimidated by the anime-heavy Miku, here's a softer, Korean clone called SeeU. This is the insult hurled at SeeU constantly, even by fans of hers, and yet, those same detractors still go out of their way to buy her songs, so she can't really be dismissed as a Korean Mikualike so suddenly.
People ARE buying Blonde Vocaloids, everything from the DVD-ROMs to posters and keychains. Is it a shameless cop-out? Maybe, but it works.
Maika, Bruno and Clara cater to the Spanish speaking market, but Maika maintains her strong, anime image. Luo is just one of many new Chinese Vocaloids, however these voicebanks belong to very sturdy, Anime-looking creatures. But Vocaloids more aimed at Western audiences usually are featured as Blondes, as the theory here is that this is the only thing we want, Blonde and young. More ethnic characters like LEON, LOLA and ZOLA Project WIL typically go forgotten, as do "older" characters like Big Al, MEW, GUMI and Kiyoteru, are often times left in the background, despite large ad campaigns, like the one last year for GUMI/Megpoid. MEiKO (at age 25) is used less as an attractive woman, and more as "Ewwww.. someone MOM" simply because she isn't a teenager, nor Blonde. But anime-alike Miku at age 16, and the Blonde 14 year olds Rin and Len, are more often seen in videos, used as sensual creatures, with completely adult Gakupo and KAITO lurking beside them, ready to pounce. Vocaloid here, have plenty of perverts for fans, and while the people behind it are repulsed by such a negative image, these perverts pay BIG, and like any good business, they cater to who pays.
So if young, Blonde Vocaloids are in, it's not really their fault if they deliver, right? What can we do?
We can vote with our wallets for one. Buy more merchandise of the other Vocaloids, and let our voices be heard on the official Vocaloid Facebook, NOT to chastise them, but to praise them for the Vocaloids we DO like better. Or, we can also simply enjoy these Blonde Vocaloids. They do offer something for everyone, and they are just as charming to many (non-perv-creepy) fans as the others do.
The choice is up to you, and at this point, there isn't a wrong answer.
EDIT: This article will continue to be updated as more blonde Vocaloids see release. As of February, 2015, the number now goes to 17 with the addition of Engloid CYBER DIVA, said to be the first truthfully based on an American accent...... because Big Al didn't happen, right? <_<
WOW!! Since the first time I mentioned cancelled/dead Vocaloids, Wikipedia has been updating their list. It seems that YOU, yes, YOU, the very people reading this, have gotten together and let "The Powers That Be" know that you want to see Gachapoid/Gachapin/Ryuto get a second chance.
Ryuto's V3 is the very first voicebank to have been cancelled (killed) and then restarted. This is fitting, as he is also:
1. The first Vocaloid on purpose aimed at kids.
2. The first boy Vocaloid under the age of 14. (Oliver is the second at age 13.)
3. The first Vocaloid based on a Fuji TV program. (If Anri Rune comes out, she will be #2.)
4. The first Vocaloid based on a past TV show. (His show ran from the 70's until 1993.)
Ryuto is a very historical Vocaloid, and you guys worked lighting fast to ensure he gets a second chance. When he first came out on Vocaloid 2, he had people make fun of him for being "difficult" to work with. But the power of the fans has proven time and again on YouTube that even amateurs don't seem to have ANY problems in using him, as he has been used over and over for a variety of different covers and even original songs.
You guys are truely awesome, keep up the good work and show the world your LOVE for Vocaloids!
On August 9th I posted a piece on actual, "Dead" Vocaloids, and it looks like someone at Wikipedia read it.
Project If, the childlike voice originally accused of being an early Yuki Kaai, is officially Unisex, but may never see the light of day. VY1 and VY2 are the only unisex voices to have made it out so far, but each has a decidedly "male" or "female" voice, negating their unisex status. v Flower was almost unisex, but is now classified as female.
Adding to the list of cancelled projects, Internet Co., Ltd and Crypton have now admitted to cancelling a Falsetto voicebank for Miku and Gumi. The data would have made them opera singers, just like forgotten Vocaloids Tonio and Prima.
BUT WAIT!! Gumi's cancelled voice wasn't killed off the way Miku's opera voice was. Instead, it became... KOKONE!!!
If this is true, then Megumi Nakajima is now the third (known) person to voice TWO different, non-fan-made Vocaloids, behind the artist behind Anon and Kanon, and of course, Asami Shimoda, famous for Rin and Len.
This also makes Kokone the first Vocaloid to be born from a dead project, providing hope, that with just enough fan support, these other projects may also rise from the dead. But it's too early to tell.
Felt like re-doing my old "Back to School" picture, because I have a new Kiyoteru model, and because we have a new "kid" Vocaloid in Rana. I hope she will be singing with Yuki Kaai in the coming months.
More of the original models are now back up, but I've been editing them to make them look better than before. My old Kiyoteru looked more like Tonio (who is also getting a new model) and didn't match the box art at all. Now, I feel much more comfortable. I'm still making physics mistakes here and there, but look wise, I feel I've gotten better, because all of you out there keep giving me excellent advice. Thank you guys so much!!
There are still so many requests! I haven't forgotten any of them, I'm just trying to get them all correct. I needed a challenge like Rana and V Flower to help me overcome a few obstacles. Now that I've done those two elaborate costumes, I feel like the others should be easier, so I'm trying to make more Vocaloids.
I was chit-chatting with a new friend while shopping a few weeks back. I was opening a fresh package of Project DiVA Weiss Schwarz cards, and the first one I got was MEiKO.
Crissy (my friend I was chatting with) looked at MEiKO, and remarked:
"I'm glad they only use my favorites in the Project DiVA games. No offence, but I just can't stand some of these Vocaloid 3 wannabes."
I asked her to elaborate. This is what Crissy said.
"Well, I was listening to v Flower the other day, and she just sounds BAD. Like, I've heard UTAU banks that are more clear. V Flower just SCREAMS and SCREECHES. She doesn't sing, and I'm not even sure if she really IS a she! She sounds like when you try to genderbend Rin and Len. And Tone Rion looks like she belongs in a Hentai game, rather than Vocaloid. Is she like a Miku answer to Acme Iku? What do you think, are there any voices you can't stand? I'm sure if there was a bigger manga book, Len and Rin would probably beat Flower for stealing their sound."
I wasn't sure exactly how to answer that one.
Everyone I meet has a favorite Vocaloid, but they also have a few they could live without.
I see some people complain that Luo and SeeU sound too much like Miku. Kiyoteru and VY2 sound like KAITO on a bad day. And now V Flower is accused of sounding like Rin and Len. The list goes on and on, and I'm sure you've seen it all too on YouTube. Some people think that Ryuto sound weird, Lily and Iroha sound super deep, and then I've even seen costume hate. Some people just can't stand that Gakupo has such an elaborate costume, that he can't have a model finished in a few seconds, and don't get me started on all the early Bruno and Clara hate.
But all the teasing aside, each Vocaloid seems to have a purpose.
I told Crissy that Vocaloid has one thing in common with Pokemon, outside of awesome video games and now a cool card game. It's that just like in Pokemon, there is now a character for everybody.
I asked her to close her eyes, and imagine the following.
V Flower right now, is giving a voice to a smart, young teen, who may be teased at school for being somewhere between a boy and a girl.
Lily and Iroha are right now making some deep voiced young lady smile. Why? Because their voices are letting her know that she isn't a "monster" for having a deep voice. She's glamorous.
Ryuto is making someone with a new voice box grin, because now that person knows he or she is just as normal as everyone else, and has every right to sing with what he or she can.
Yohio and the Zola Project just helped a lad and a lass realize that they don't need a mainstream conglomerate dictate to them what is and isn't "hot" and they are now discovering Vocaloid love for the first time.
Prima and Tonio just helped someone realize that they aren't alone in opera love anymore, while LOLA and LEON just taught a boy what software can really do. And over the border, Bruno, Clara and Maika just gave a voice to someone who badly needed it.
Kiyoteru, Luka and MEiKO right now are making men and women under 35 feel gorgeous again, because those three remind us that super idol status does not end at age 17.
Big Al just made someone laugh. Yuki Kaai just brought someone back their innocence. CUL and MEW just helped someone belt out their angst in an electric new light. Aoki and Merli just helped two sisters talk to each other, instead of fight. Len just mended a broken heart, while Rin helped a troubled youth explain her frustrations with the world.
SFA2-Miki and Piko just inspired a fanfic writer to write the best sci-fi drama of his young life. Miriam just reminded someone of a happy memory. Kokone just helped someone express their love, while Avanna just helped someone else cry out their pain.
And right there in the corner, there is Miku, bringing joy to someone's day.
Yes, there are some songs that are hard to hear with certain voices. Some characters that are hard to like at first.
But hate them? "Can't stand" any?
No. I don't think I can.
Every Vocaloid serves a purpose, and it's far more than just staying ahead of the trend, or piling up more cash for some company. No, Vocaloid is more than that. Vocaloid is bringing technology and innovation to the music world, and each voicebank is giving someone out there more than a hobby, they now have comfort. It's not really possible to be angry at any Vocaloid, when you know someone out there is benefitting from him or her. And with just a little fine-tuning, even the so-called "worst" Vocaloid can bring out the best in a song.
I think Crissy understood this very well. At my request, she looked on YouTube for a few more V Flower songs, and she found one she actually liked. I can't remember which one right now, but she has since given a second chance to Tone as well, and I think she's cured of "Vocalhate" and is now into "Vocalove".
I'm happy to say I'm into Vocalove myself.
I am still so shocked that Big Al has been such a forgotten Vocaloid! At one point, he was everyone's go-to man for impressive, yet often comedic covers.
Big Al was originally an Elvis Impersonating Frankenstein, but has since evolved into a deep voiced man, though his staples keep him rooted on "monster" folklore. In fact, he made monsters acceptable in Vocaloid lore, as he is often joined in duets with other former "monsters" Oliver and Sweet Ann, both of whom have been used in both box and fanart with stitches, staples and bandages.
But Big Al has also been used as a "Texan" sound. His gruff, fumbling way of speaking Japanese makes this Engloid sound like a southerner trying very hard to get it right. This is one reason why I love pairing him with Miku, as her English voicebank also sounds like a Japanese schoolgirl trying to get English right. Some call the two voices "flawed" but I think it makes them sound much more human, endearing and maybe even cute, because they sound the way we all do when we are learning a new language.
I couldn't wait to pair them up for Magnet, my all time favorite Vocaloid song of passion. In fact, I paired them up to show my best friend ~ who is now my fiancee ~ the range Vocaloids can reach. He's still learning about Vocaloid, but Big Al and Miku's pairing made me think of him. Without my shoes, I'm only an inch different in size from Miku, while my fiancee is the same height as Big Al. He also has a tattoo of a zombie, Frankenstein Elvis, which again, harkened me to Big Al, and to top it all off, his family is from Texas!
But not everyone has their own, loveable, Big Al, and it's important not to let this one slip away.
So come on everyone! Show your love for Big Al. Subscribe to the YouTube channel I made for him, and send in some song requests!
We see this happen with UTAU all the time, where fans declare a voicebank "dead" mourn the loss, and move on. I've even seen fans hold mini-funerals for voicebanks they've written off. It's a sad occasion. Even if a voice was "controversial" or considered "bad" by haters, you know that deep down, someone spent a good chunk of their time trying to get that voice to work, and you feel sorry for whomever was behind that now forgotten vocal.
But did you know that a Vocaloid can die too??
I'm always checking Wikipedia's List of Vocaloid Products, so I can keep up with the latest voicebank releases. While it has been fan edited before, it's usually the most accurate, drama-and-rumor-free list online, and they never mention how you "should" use a voice for the songs you want to do. I see that soon, we will be singing "Happy BIRTH Day" to newcomers Yuezheng Ling and Rana, while Luka and the Kagamine Twins will be enjoying new appends.
Today I noticed a list of "cancelled" voices, or as the rest of us know.... DEAD.
Luo, Gachapoid and SeeU don't worry me, as this listing here is only for their appends. All three can be made to sing in English and Japanese, if you know how to tweek it just right.
ALYS isn't so much dead as she is now with CeVIO, a separate (rival??) program altogether. It's a real shame though, because she would have been the first French/Japanese Vocaloid, which would have made her pretty cool.
CV-4Cβ was a female, and is listed as "status unknown" meaning she could be brought back at some point.
Project If was rumored to be either Yuki Kaai or the early Voiceroids Shota and Ai. No evidence exists proving this, but the voice was quite childlike.
But most distressing is seeing that Hibiki Lui is dead, and Ring Suzune might be joining him. These two exist because of the Vocaloid fans, as per a contest held way back in 2011. This is much like the disaster Capcom caused, when they dropped MegaMan Legends 3, another creation that existed on fan support. It may be lauded as a "move for business" but in reality, this is a corporation trolling their fans, and trying to evade the scene of the crime.
If Wikipedia is right, and they have a good track record of being just that, then this really is a sad occasion. Sure, we are slopping over with female and little boy voices in Vocaloid, but each one is still special to somebody out there, and they deserve respect.
But just as I've seen UTAU funerals, I've also seen resurrections.
Voicebanks once declared "dead" have risen up, with better pronunciations and smoother sounds.
Maybe one day, Hibiki and the rest will be on that list for Vocaloid. Nothing is impossible, if you love Vocaloid after all.
Well, it's been a month now since the re-launch, and the models keep being added. I can't thank you all enough for your support, I keep your comments pinned to the wall, so I can remember which models you all want.
I just NOW figured out how to add tags to articles, and it was literally starring me in the face. >< Well now that I figured that out, hopefully you can find the models you want a little bit faster. Miku's page alone has categories for Kimono and swimsuit models, which are always a hit in summer.
There is still a huge list of models I haven't posted yet, and twice as many I'd like to make. It felt good to post MEW's model, because I never really paid attention to her until now. I feel silly for waiting this long to listen to her sing. She has a great, mature sound. I'd love to hear her sing with LOLA, MEiKO and Lily. We need more rock songs, in my opinion. Dojan5 on YouTube did a fantastic cover of Anger with MEW that is worth listening to, you can really hear her smoothness here.
Is it just me, or does Vocaloid 3 have a ton of Vocaloids in the line? Originally, Vocaloid 1 only had five signers, now? I can't keep track. And the costumes are so elaborate. This is why it takes me way too long to make a new model for them, I keep skipping details. This is why some of the models I've put back up look a little different, I want to fix my mistakes.
I... LOVE... MAKING... FACIAL DATA!!
I keep adding glasses and tears to everyone lately. If I can help them be more expressive, I'll try it! I've jumped back in time, to the first time I fell in love with Animasa models, the expressions. It's like I can make Miku (for example) make all the expressions I want to make in real life. I hope you feel the same joy I do when you edit and play with the models.
Okay, so LearnMMD has a great article on the Manga Shader, which finally prompted me to get the latest MMD release (MikuMikuDanceE_v912x64) and get on board with MME.
Now to be honest, a majority of my videos will likely still be from release 7.25, because I like that version. But eventually, I should be able to master MME enough to catch up to you guys. I have seen 12 year olds produce videos that should be in Project DiVA with MME, so I have no excuses now. But one thing I already love love LOVE about the new release of MMD is the volume switch. I accidentally woke up my soon-to-be husband with "Dancing Samurai" the other week, when I sent out Gakupo's could-be daughter. Oops...
In looking at the Manga Shader, I see I will have to tweak at a few models, to make them really look hand-drawn, which is the effect I was going for. I sometimes dabble in hand-drawn animation using GiMP and the AVI plug in, but I haven't decided how to merge this with an MMD video just yet.
I'd love to do a video that looks hand drawn using MMD. One way, would be to animate something basic (Like the Nyan Nyan dance for example) and then in GiMP, trace over every frame, like a free version of Rotoscoping, but I can never quite find the time.
If I am to use the Manga Shader, what I should do is make a model with heavy lines and more pale colors. This would ease up the screen-tone effect and make it look more natural. LAT models are perfect for this, but I want to stick to Animasa. The eyes are easy, I usually hand draw or digitally paint them anyway, so this won't be hard at all. With a little effort, I can make Miku appear like she's less CGI and more manga.
What's going on?