Friday, February 21, 2014

Put a little Hatsune Miku in your pocket with Crypton's new 'Pocket Miku'

Crypton Media's just announced a new way for Vocaloid fans to put a little Miku in the their pockets with the appropriately named  - wait for it - Pocket Miku.

One-half harmonica and one-half a game of Operation, Pocket Miku is an intriguing little gadget that lets users control Miku's voice with a super-portable interface - saving them the expense of lugging around a laptop loaded with the official Hatsune Miku Software on it.

There's no shortage of ways to put Hatsune Miku in your pocket already, mind, what with Miku Flick, Miku Flick /02, Music Girl Hatsune Miku (E), and the upcoming release of Project Diva f and all... but Pocket Miku is the first tool that actually lets users manipulate her voice in a meaningful way.

It accomplishes this by way of a stylus and carbon keyboard. Using this interface, users can hear Miku sing the syllables of the solfège - do-re-mi-fa-so-la - and make changes to her tones as they go.

Outside of the keyboard, there are 5 buttons (helpfully labelled 1-5) that stand in for the five Japanese vowels, a long "shift" key that plays a mystery Miku song pre-loaded on the gadget, and a triangular vibrato button.

There are also volume buttons and a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, along with a slider that lets you adjust octaves or add richness to Miku's voice.  All in all, it's a pretty slick little toy.

You can't, unfortunately, record songs created with Pocket Miku, but some Vocaloid fans will certainly still find it amusing and useful for understanding how Miku's voice software actually works.

AnimeNewsNetwork points out two hefty downsides to Pocket Miku - first, it's really expensive ($49 / ¥4,980 + tax) and secondly, it's only being released in Japan as a special supplement to the magazine Otona-no Kagaku ("Science for Adults") on April 3rd.

Admittedly, Pocket Miku does look kinda cool - and it'll certainly resonate with Vocaloid fans who are into music theory - but its expense and the burden of importing it will certainly make it a rare sight to see in the US.