Posted June 10, 2013 at 04:49 am
WARNING: Today's Post features extreme levels of ANIME GIRL VOICES. Be advised!

If you've been to the right places on the internet (like, cough, my tumblr), you've probably run across images of this gal. You may have wondered what anime she is from, which is a reasonable question. The answer, however, is far more weird and complicated than that!

But, while she's made appearances in anime and video games, Miku is first and foremost a Vocaloid.
Vocaloids are a line of voice synthesis programs for music composers. Each voice bank is purchased separately, and is represented by a particular character. The one on the right is Hatsune Miku, who really kicked off the popularity of the software. Many more vocaloids have been released since then by various companies, to the point that even I can't keep up with 'em all. But that's more or less irrelevant, because my fascination with the whole enterprise doesn't rely on any particular voice bank.

Much as webcomics allow people of many various interests and skill levels to create comics and put 'em out there for others to enjoy, Vocaloids enable random guys on their computers to compose songs without the need for a singer willing to engage in their craziness. The result is a lot of crappy music, of course, but also a lot of really crazy stuff you wouldn't get from a major record label.

The most popular 'loid

The other really important part of the Vocaloid scene is the collaborative aspect. While composers use their skills to create songs, artists create music videos. Usually they star the vocaloids that were used in the song's creation, though not always. So you end up with a bunch of crazy songs on all kinds of topics, with interesting independent music videos to match.

That said, lemme pimp some of my favorite composers for anyone I haven't already lost!

JIN (Kagerou Project) (link to a playlist of MVs)

The Kagerou Project is a series of rock/pop music videos that tell the story of a group of kids with magical eye powers. It's actually pretty damn hard to follow the overarching plot, but I like the songs so much that I don't care. Several of them have pretty complex music videos, too. Mekakucitydays is on itunes and contains all the earlier songs.

Oh! The same guys also made a music video about browsing tumblr gifs. It is pretty great.

Ryo/Supercell (link to a playlist of select MVs)

Supercell is group of artists and composers that have collaborated on a lot of projects, including vocaloid pop music in this case! Melt was one of their first songs to really hit it big, and since the success of their self-titled album, they've all moved on to lots of interesting projects. Ryo himself has gone on to compose more music with actual singers, which is always an interesting transition to see!

Wowaka (link to a playlist of select MVs)

Wowaka's one of my favorite composers, but his work isn't the most accessible. I guess the main word for it would be "angsty", but in a way that I find very real and relatable. I love the manic energy that makes me want to rock out while crying.

His album with all his major songs is available on itunes!

Anyway, that's enough rambling about my strange love of Japanese robot composers! I also have a general playlist of Vocaloid songs I like by all kinds of random people. They aren't for everyone, certainly, but it's really interesting sometimes to see little anime girls singing dubstep or metal songs!