Friday, June 8, 2012

Hatsune Miku is gonna walk 500 miles



I pity this current generation of children. Those of us in our 20s, 30s and beyond enjoy the luxury of having our baby pictures exist only as grainy 4x6 photographs that yellow and fray with age as we ourselves do.

Children growing up in the age of 10+ megapixel digital cameras will not have this luxury, and will instead have every moment of their childhood chronicled in resolutions exceeding current DVD specifications.

The same holds true for Hatsune Miku - who turns 5 this year - and given her status as a virtual pop idol, it is a problem writ large. Take this English language video of her singing 1980s pop karaoke standard I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) for example:


It's far from perfect and it's more than a little out of tune, but it was also one of the earliest Hatsune Miku videos to be uploaded to YouTube way back in December of 2007. Also, it's worth noting that Hatsune Miku doesn't really have an English voicebank so the video above was made using Japanese phonemes which helps to explain its choppiness.

Since the release of Miku (and this video), new Vocaloids like Megurine Luka have been engineered with both English and Japanese voicebanks that handle English pronunciation much more fluently... but there's still something undeniably cute about the way Miku fumbles through this song, never once stopping to wonder what "if I haver" actually means.

Suspend your harsher judgment, give the song an objective listen, and try to remind yourself that you're listening to Miku in her digital infancy. Taken in that light, you can't help but appreciate this video for the cute bit of postmodern nostalgia that it is.

(banner image: Hatsune Miku nendoroid)