If Hatsune Miku is accepted as the first lady of Vocaloid, then her lesser known predecessor - Meiko - is the closest thing to a grand dame that the synthesized vocal genre has.
Created way back in 2004 as Crypton Future Media's first female Vocaloid, Meiko paved the way for the likes of Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin & Len, and Megurine Luka - but, unfortunately, the years haven't been kind to her voice.
Stuck on the early VOCALOID engine, Meiko's voice never quite achieved the fullness or more natural sound of Miku or Luka (who were both built on VOCALOID2)... but Crypton's looking to change that with a reboot of the orange-clad songstress.
Taking to the Hatsune Miku Facebook Page, Crypton announced that Meiko's long-awaited overhaul to the VOCALOID3 engine will be completed in the first quarter of 2014. Dubbed MEIKO V3, the new version will also support an English singing voice which brings her up to speed with the more recent - and more popular - Vocaloids.
Since November 4th was Meiko's 9th birthday, Crypton also decided to give her - and her fans - a small gift in the form of a MEIKO V3 sample.
Which can be compared to the original Meiko below...
The MEIKO V3 upgrade has a tentative release date of "February" in Japan, and will cost ~$170 for a new version or ~$105 for the upgrade from the original Meiko software.
Banner image source: Zerochan