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If you're into Japanese pop culture, you'll have at least heard of Vocaloid once. It is a singing voice synthesizer phenomenon that swept Japan off its feet and it never became the same after it was set down again. This is not pure hyperbole, as I am pretty sure Japanese pop culture would be pretty different without Vocaloid!

I couldn't find any group official art, so this is from zerochan
First, let's delve into its technicality! It is a software that enables users (such as us) to use it to imitate singing. By imputing lyrics and melodies, specially recorded voices of actors and singers can become an entire song! The software can even add effects such as vibrato and change the dynamics and tone of the voice. It's amazing~

Vocaloid software box

Strangely enough, I never did notice the widespread love for Vocaloid (especially Hatsune Miku) even though I've been to Japan twice and have watched anime for more than a decade. My first contact with Vocaloid was through Youtube, when I stumbled upon this song.

Japanese music-wise, I admit I only usually listen to the rock and metal bands, so this was a deviation from my norm. However, the beginning notes and anime art made me pause when I wanted to close the window. When I heard the first singing notes, I thought it was just bad autotune, but I realised it sounded more like a robot trying to sing (quite the heartwarming image)... My curiosity was piqued!

After ALOT of googling and more confusion, I finally realised what Vocaloid is. Of course, I stumbled upon the wealth of Hatsune Miku songs and merchandise. She's definitely the one who's responsible for Vocaloid's popularity.

Every cosplay event, you will see at least two different Mikus. There are so many versions of her that now I'm just thinking I should do an entire post dedicated to her!

If you dig around a little, you'll discover a wealth of Vocaloid franchise, from ranging from accessories to figurines. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find a T-shirt emblazoned with the face of your favourite Vocaloid! Would you like a matching wallet with that? Vocaloid PSP skins? Plushies? Phone dust caps? Been there, done that!

Someone needs to tell me where I can get these ASAP!

10/10 would hug to sleep!
Speaking of merchandise, we definitely can't miss out the Vocaloid figures! While it'll be delightful if Miku wasn't the only one getting half a dozen new figures a year, her figures are super cute indeed! The cutest of all would be the Vocaloid Nendoroids though!

Octo-Luka is so cute!!!
Companies are not the only ones giving Vocaloid a lot of attention, fans are too! The sheer amount of fanart and merchandise is staggering, at cosplay events Vocaloids are hot favourites, loved by photographers and cosplayers alike, and I'm pretty sure there's Vocaloid doujinshi (fan manga) too.

I could go on and on, but the Vocaloid phenomenon should be experienced, not read about, so head to Youtube and start by sampling their songs now!

Written by Nana

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