20 February 2012


The perfect tool for those who just weren't lucky enough. Vocaloid is a singing synthesizer using a massive database of prerecorded voices (which, in itself, is an amazing feat). Character Vocal Series were created, giving a face to the voices.
I discovered news of Vocaloid in high school while snooping around for Touhou Project material. When it was finally released, the only character available was Hatsune Miku, her name playing on the Japanese words for "sound" and "future." The electronic voice was a major pain in the ass, and most of the creations released on the internet were covers of existing songs. The most annoying but the most popular was Levan Polka, the fan-made video consisting of chibi-Miku's marching around with a leek.
One of the first popular original songs was Black Rock Shooter, written by Ryo of Supercell and later animated by Huke. I personally never liked it. I do, however, absolutely love the visuals.
Black Rock Shooter
Vocal: Hatsune Miku
What really interests me about Vocaloid is not the original voices, which some people find more appealing than human voices. I love the Vocaloid community for the creativity it brings out in people. Soon after several original songs have been released, talented vocalists began to create covers. Many were amateurs and sounded terrible, but if you looked hard enough, you would find decent (if not amazing) voices. Black Rock Shooter is one of the first hits from the Vocaloid community, and it is currently still standing on top. Choucho is a fairly recent Utaite, or Nico Nico Douga Singer. The following is her cover of BRS.
Black Rock Shooter
Vocal: Choucho
Vocaloid, to me, is an affordable tool. People who previously did not have the means to display their talent now have the opportunity to do so. As we all know, typical Asian families don't usually approve of these skills. The chance to practice these interests are extremely limited. Coming from an artistic background, I can also say it's really expensive.

Vocaloid brings together song writers, composers, designers, illustrators, animators, editors, curators, and of course, vocalists. It has created many artistic communities and sub-communities. Many pieces by my favourite artists from years ago are now no longer publicly available because they have been bought/hired by companies such as Sony. Vocaloid gave individuals and doujin groups, such as Supercell, a career that they love. Many of the Utaite have already released several albums, strictly consisting of Vocaloid covers.

My first favourite was the song Meltdown, covered by Tourai. He quickly became my preferred vocalist, and he remains so to this day. His voice was not spectacularly outstanding, but he is one of the very few that is able to perform a huge variety of styles. Tourai's specialty is to easily adapt to practically any genre of music.
Vocal: Tourai
Love Is War paved a new road for Vocaloid-based animators. The first hugely successful 3D animation was produced for this song. The video below is covered by Piko; a relatively new Utaite who I'm not too fond of.
Love Is War (Koi Wa Sensou)
Vocal: Piko
My favourite female vocalist is (and likely always will be) Yamai. Again, I love her because of her versatility and consistency of quality through each genre she tries her hand at.
Love Is War (Koi Wa Sensou)
Vocal: Yamai
Although I found my favourite vocalists relatively early, there wasn't a song that especially inspired me. That was until I found Monochroact, covered by Hanatan. Hanatan is one of the less annoying female Utaite. What really did it for me was the lyrics, which was unusual for me. I'm one of those people who tend to disregard the majority of lyrics, mainly because I listen to songs in a lot of different languages that I don't speak.

Vocal: Hanatan
I was following Mothy's Story Of Evil since 2008. Story Of Evil is a fictional scenario, using the characters of the vocal series. It began with only one song titled Daughter Of Evil, followed closely by Servant Of Evil and Regret Message within the first two months. Even now, Mothy and other doujin artists are releasing songs that are prequels, sequels, and side-stories to the first three original songs. Some of Mothy's work has been remade with different genres of music. The story continued to expand, elaborating on each of the Vocaloid characters on the way. Many are Mothy's works, officially contributing to the original story. Many more are doujin pieces, fans materializing their vision of Mothy's plot.

The story is about a tyrant queen, her twin brother who switched places with her before her beheading, the influences of the people, and their relations that carry into the next life. Theatre plays and a novel has been published.

In response to Mothy's work, it became extremely popular to create songs and videos using the Vocaloid characters in unrelated storylines. The following was one of my favourite stories, set in the world where the word "love" cannot be used freely. Kagamine Rin directed this word at two people, Kaito and Gakupo, and then met an untimely death. Her definition of love was platonic, but in this story, there should be no such thing as platonic love. Both men lost their sanity. Rin's twin brother, Len, then posed as his deceased sister to save them. He is unable to return to his own identity.
Imitation Black
Vocals: Dasoku, Clear, Valshe
From the previous video, I discovered Valshe. The song Boss Death is another view of a typical RPG hero's journey; a song about soldiers become twisted through war. 
Boss Death
Vocal: Valshe
You know what was amazing about that cover? The male and female part was sung by one person. Valshe is a girl! To be honest, I've followed a lot of vocalists from different cultures that has that ability accompanied by much higher quality and skill. But, none of them sing Vocaloid songs, so they're unrelated to this post!

I think Valshe sounds much better with a male voice. This next song is one I've been hooked on recently. I really like the melody and beat. Hopefully, Dasoku or Clear will do a cover soon. I've given up on Tourai~ he's too busy making money with his voice to give us free stuff online!
Even Touching Sleeves Is Karma (Sode Fureau mo Tashou no En)
Vocal: Valshe
This last song is Dasoku's cover of Scissorhands. I only like his voice when he's being jazzy >_>
The video starting at 2:40 is completely "d'awwww." LoL
Vocal: Dasoku

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