Hatsune Miku is Japan’s most popular virtual idol, appearing in television commercials, music videos, albums, advertisements, and even, ugh, Playboy. Not a video game character, not a mascot, she is Vocaloid software personified in a cute human form by Crypton Future Media back in 2007. Ever since she proved popular with massive audiences in Japan, her influence has expanded far beyond what its creators had envisioned.
Dubbed a “virtual idol,” she is perfect in every way for Japanese pop culture. She’s cute, loves her fans, is exceedingly polite and innocent despite the Playboy spread, and because of the fact that she doesn’t really exist, she’ll never melt down or cross the line and become a PR nightmare for an agent. For better or worse, she’s about as inhuman as they come, but just don’t call her “fake.” Her fans hate it.
She even has “live” concerts thanks to the magic of modern day light projectors. Oh my…
Naturally, with all this success, there has to be a video game somewhere in this, right? SEGA has been all over that market since 2009, and the combined total sales of all of her games is a whopping 2.5 million copies to date.
Any chance on seeing more Hatsune Miku in America? Well, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F was released in America for the PlayStation 3 last August and PS Vita this past March. SEGA was obviously pleased with the performance as the company will continue to localize with Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd this coming fall for the PS Vita and PlayStation 3. It will also be publishing Hatsune Miku: Project MIRAI Remix on the Nintendo 3DS next year.
“Hatsune Miku’s popularity in the West keeps growing, and we are proud to support such an amazing franchise with our games,” said John Cheng, president and COO, Sega of America.
I’m a little disturbed about the implications of a virtual human being the ideal pop star. It’s not the healthiest message people need to hear, so the character herself doesn’t really interest me that much. However, her games do have a lot of style, and more importantly, they hearken back to the days of mascot driven rhythm games like Gitaroo Man, Parappa the Rapper, and UmJammer Lammy. Not quite as insane of course, but a lot more similar in spirit than the grungy look of Rock Band or Guitar Hero.
Maybe I’ll give Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F a try if it ever goes on sale through the PlayStation Network. If I like it, I’ll definitely give the following games a try. Any love out there?