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Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku] (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

For me, the whole concept of virtual idols and also the Vocaloid Software has been quite intriguing for me and I have followed the development of virtual idols for many years now and to see how popular Hatsune Miku has become and how the character has been marketed, especially via videogames, Figma figures, nendoroids, clothing, food… Hatsune Miku is no doubt a phenomenon.  In my many years of covering Japanese entertainment, I have never seen anything like this before.  And it’s pretty fascinating and also exciting to see this happening.   “Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku] is a wonderful Blu-ray concert release for Hatsune Miku and Vocaloid fans.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © SEGA/Crypton Future Media, Inc., Mikunopolis 2011. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku]

YEAR OF CONCERT: 2011

DURATION: 98 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, Linear PCM Stereo, Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Subtitles are in English or Romaji

COMPANY: Aniplex

RATED: Not Rated

Release Date: April 16, 2013

Featuring the voices of:

Hatsune Miku (Vocals)

Kagamine Rin (Vocals)

Kagamine Len (Vocals)

Megurine Luka (Vocals)

The 39s (The Thanks)

June Abe (keyboard)

Akitoshi Kuroda (Guitar)

Shingo Tanaka (Bass)

Shin Orita (Drums)

39s Strings

On July 2nd, 2011, the internationally known Vocaloid Hatsune Miku performed at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. This marks her very first concert here in the U.S. With 3D imaging created by SEGA and supervised by Crypton Future Media, the LA show was jam packed with songs and dance numbers by Hatsune Miku and the whole vocaloid team! Featuring the Los Angeles concert in its entirety, this Blu-Ray is contains live performances, your favorite songs from your favorite Vocaloids and more!

Hatsune Miku  (who’s name means “First sound of the future”) is possibly the biggest virtual idol to come from Japan.

A national phenomenon in Japan, Miku is a blue-haired digital female avatar and the most popular of the Vocaloid Character Series software originally created by Crypton Future Media and using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2 engine. The innovative software enables users to create synthesized vocal tracks using Hatsune Miku’s vocals by simply typing in lyrics or inputting a melody. Crypton’s Vocaloid program uses vocals that are derived from pre-programmed samples of the voices of many popular actors/singers.

And then those who had the software started making their own songs using Hatsune Miku and then came figurines, books, arcade games, video games, apparel, food and sure enough, many Hatsune Miku music soundtracks (plus the many international Miku (and friends) cosplay at anime conventions worldwide.

In July 2011,  Miku performed live in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles and appeared on stage as a 3D hologram, backed by her live band called the “39s members”.

In promotion for the performance, Toyota did a national commercial plus social media to promote Miku driving a Toyota care but also promoting the concert which was very successful and received major press coverage which fascinated people because thousands turned out for an live concert event for an animated character.

The 98 minute concert featured songs performed by Hatsune Miku and other Vocaloid characters Megurine Luka, Kagamine Rin and Len .  The event also featured popular otaku host, Danny Choo.

And now the concert will be released on Blu-ray+CD courtesy of Aniplex Inc.

“Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku] Track Listing:

  1. Project Diva Desu. [Live]    3:01    t.Komine (うたたP) Feat. 初音ミク
  2. ワールドイズマイン (World is Mine) [Live]    2:58    supercell Feat. 初音ミク
  3. えれくとりっく・えんじぇぅ (Electric Angel) [Live]    3:26    ヤスオP Feat. 初音ミク
  4. 恋スルVOC@LOID [Live]   (Voc@loid in Love)  3:17    OSTER project Feat. 初音ミク
  5. クローバー・クラブ [Live]  (Clover Club)   3:04    ゆうゆ Feat. 初音ミク
  6. ぽっぴっぽー [Live]    (Poppippo) 3:01    ラマーズP Feat. 初音ミク
  7. ロミオとシンデレラ [Live]  (Romeo and Cinderella)  3:20    doriko Feat. 初音ミク
  8. 裏表ラバーズ [Live]  (Uraomote Lovers) 2:34    wowaka (現実逃避P) Feat. 初音ミク
  9. パズル [Live]  (Puzzle)  1:42    クワガタP Feat. 初音ミク
  10. VOiCE [Live]    0:41    ラヴリーP Feat. 初音ミク
  11. 1/6 -out of the gravity- [Live]    2:21    ぼーかりおどP Feat. 初音ミク
  12. moon [Live]    3:13    iroha (sasaki) Feat. 初音ミク
  13. 初音ミクの消失 [Live] (The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku)    2:20    cosMo@暴走P Feat. 初音ミク
  14. 右肩の蝶 [Live]  (The Butterfly on My Right Shoulder)  3:38    のりぴー Feat. 初音ミク
  15. 炉心融解 [Live] (Roshin Yokai)   3:57    iroha (sasaki) Feat. 鏡音リン
  16. Just Be Friends [Live]  (Just Be Friends)  3:14    Dixie Flatline Feat. 巡音ルカ
  17. ワールズエンド・ダンスホール [Live]  (World’s End Dancehall)   3:43    wowaka (現実逃避P) Feat. 初音ミク, 巡音ルカ
  18. from Y to Y [Live]    3:08    ジミーサムP Feat. 初音ミク
  19. サイハテ [Live]  (The Furthest Reaches)  2:41    小林オニキス Feat. 初音ミク
  20. ファインダー (DSLR remix-re:edit) [Live]  (Finder)  3:39    livetune Feat. 初音ミク
  21. SPiCa [Live]    4:13    とくP Feat. 初音ミク
  22. 愛言葉 [Live]  (Aikotoba)   3:13    DECO*27 Feat. 初音ミク
  23. StargazeR [Live]    4:00    骨盤P Feat. 初音ミク
  24. ハジメテノオト [Live] (The First Sound)    3:32    malo Feat. 初音ミク

VIDEO:

“Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku]” is presented in 1080p High Definition.  For the most part, picture quality when it comes to showcasing the band members and the audience looks very good in HD.  Even a distant shot of showcasing Hatsune Miku and others, looked very good in HD.  But when it comes to closeups of the actual projection, that is where things get a bit blurrier.  But that is to be expected.  If anything, the editing for the concert was well-done, so shots don’t focus on a certain character, band member or audience member for too long.

I didn’t notice any banding or compression artifact issues during my viewing of the Blu-ray, but the picture quality of “Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku]” was very good!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku]” is presented in Japanese Linear PCM Stereo 2.0 and Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  My preferences were more for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 for the dynamic range.  Also, good use of the surround channels for the audience and overall ambiance.  But if you are a Miku fan, those with the gear to take advantage of the concert in lossless will enjoy the overall soundtrack.

The Blu-ray comes with both English subtitles (via English translation) and Romaji.  It’s important to note that for tracks 8-11, there are no English subtitles in order to keep the creators intention in mind for the medley portion.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku]” comes with the following special features:

  • The Making of MIKUNOPOLIS – (3:54) A photo and video clip of Miku and staff arriving to Los Angeles for their performance at Nokia Theatre.
  • Opening Act – (13:14) Featuring the opening act with Danny Choo and the Danceroids (and two dance performances by them).

EXTRAS:

“Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku]” comes with the Blu-ray, CD soundtrack (featuring the same live concert tracks featured on the Blu-ray concert disc), deluxe digipak, PET clear case and a 2-sided poster.

I happened to be in Los Angeles during the day of “Mikunopolis in Los Angeles” and I know that the excitement for the concert could be felt, especially the number of Vocaloid cosplayers in the area.

But prior to this concert, I was telling my staff of how important this concert was in the United States.

Go back more nearly 15-years ago, during my review for an anime OVA series titled “Macross Plus”, the series featured a virtual idol named Sharon Apple, which many would watch her perform live.

I wrote about how one of these days, we will probably see virtual idols and purchasing CD’s from them.  And a year later, it didn’t take long as the cyber idol Kyoko Date released her first single and I was so happy to purchase the single when it was first released.  The concept of using CG to have these characters dance, sing and even perhaps have them featured on a Japanese music show, I felt that technology was giving us a chance to go further in exploring those possibilities.

While virtual idols would continue to be featured on photo books and magazines, the exploration of virtual idol in music would not take place again until a decade later with “Space Channel 5″ creator Tetsuya Mizoguchi and record producer Kenji Tamai working on a virtual band known as The Genki Rockets.

While the goal in the past was to strive for realism, it wasn’t until Yamaha Corporation created the Vocaloid 2 and Vocaloid 3 synthesizing technology using the humanoid persona created by Crypton Future Media.  People were creating their own music and music videos and posting on the popular Japanese video sharing website Niconico .  Also a video sharing website that cater to otaku taste in anime, computer games and pop music.

And immediately, people all over the world began experimenting with the voice samples of Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin and Len, Megurine Luka for their music, while others started to enjoy the look of the Vocaloid characters and began cosplaying as them at conventions.

But then merchandising for Vocaloid’s exploded.  From video games to nendoroids and action figures, many fans wanted anything related Vocaloid merchandise.  And in 2012-2013, the Vocaloid especially the Hatsune Miku name doesn’t seem to be heading south as Family Mart (a convenience store in Japan) began selling Hatsune Miku food items, t-shirts, action figures.  Suffice to say, people can’t get enough of Hatsune Miku and her Vocaloid friends!

And here we are in April 2013 with the first Hatsune Miku concert Blu-ray release in America.  Featuring her concert at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles from July 2, 2011

The concert features 3D imaging created by SEGA and supervised by Crypton Future Media, the concert was Hatsune Miku’s first in America and performing with a live band.

First, lets discuss the music.  For those who love idol pop will be entertained by Hatsune Miku’s music.  From her supercell hit “World is Mine”, her vegetarian cute pop song “Clover Club” and upbeat vegetarian juice song “Poppippo”.  Or the super quick wowaka track “Uramote Lovers” or even quicker “The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku”, Vocaloid fans get to enjoy the Kagamine Rin/Len track “Roshin Yukai” and Megurine Luka, Dixie Flatline track “Just Be Friends”.  Plus a duet with Hatsune Miku and Megurine Luka for “World’s End Dancehall”.

Featuring a total of 24 songs, fans will surely enjoy the excitement of the concert.

Will it appeal to Japanese music fans?  While the music of Hatsune Miku and music using the vocaloid is popular among  many fans worldwide, it’s a style that may or many not appeal to people.  Because the software uses the Vocaloid software, the software enables users to synthesize singing by typing in the lyrics and melody.  And the software uses technology with specially recorded samples digitally manipulated for each song.  Also, the songs are idol J-Pop, and if you like that, then chances are you will enjoy the music from this concert.

As for Blu-ray enthusiasts wanting to know how the picture quality and lossless audio is.  For picture quality, there were a good amount of cameras recording from direct center, above the audience, towards the audience, towards the Vocaloids and a camera aimed at each of the members of the band.

Picture quality was very good when focusing on the audience and also from the characters from a distance.  You can see the two projector lights from behind a black screen (which does show reflections of the audience at times) but while the 3D imaging looks very good, it only becomes a bit problematic when it focuses too close on the 3D characters because you can tell it’s a projection and it’s not crisp and clear.

But for the most part, editing is well-done, not dizzying and the lighting was also done very well.

The lossless audio is very good with a good amount of crowd ambiance filling the surround channels nicely.  While you do get a LPCM stereo lossless track, I opted for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack for the better dynamic range.

As for special features, you do get two special features.  One featuring Miku arriving to Los Angeles and the other is Danny Choo and the Vocaloid dancers.  The Aniplex Blu-ray release also comes with a live concert CD, digipak case and a 2-sided poster.

I just can’t help but be fascinated with the progress of virtual idol technology.  For me, the whole concept of virtual idols and also the Vocaloid Software has been quite intriguing for me and I have followed the development of virtual idols for many years now and to see how popular Hatsune Miku has become and how the character has been marketed, especially via videogames, Figma figures, nendoroids, clothing, food… Hatsune Miku is no doubt a phenomenon.  In my many years of covering Japanese entertainment, I have never seen anything like this before.  And it’s pretty fascinating and also exciting to see this happening.

Especially seeing Toyota do a national commercial for Hatsune Miku and a virtual idol concert with thousands of people in the audience in America screaming and singing along to the songs… That’s pretty awesome!

Overall, “Mikunopolis in Los Angeles [Happy to Meet You I'm Hatsune Miku] is a wonderful Blu-ray concert release for Hatsune Miku and Vocaloid fans.  Recommended!

Aniplex of America launches the Mikunopolis in Los Angeles Limited Edition Blu-ray &CD Combo Set on April 16, 2013

February 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

SANTA MONICA, CA (February 22, 2013) – Fans of the internationally known Vocaloid Hatsune Miku can look forward to something special this April. On their latest live panel on their Youtube channel, Aniplex of America Inc. announced that Mikunopolis in Los Angeles will be a Limited Edition Blu-ray & CD combo set and is scheduled for release on April 16th, 2013. Mikunopolis in Los Angeles will be available through anime distributor RightStuf.com and official retailers
(http://aniplexusa.com/retailers/). Pre-orders begin on Monday, February 25.
On July 2nd, 2011, the Vocaloid Hatsune Miku performed at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles. This marks her very first concert here in the U.S. With 3D imaging created by SEGA and supervised by Crypton Future Media, the LA show was jam packed with songs and dance numbers by Hatsune Miku and the whole vocaloid team! Featuring the Los Angeles concert in its entirety, this Blu-Ray is contains live performances, your favorite songs from your favorite Vocaloids and more!

The Mikunopolis in Los Angeles Limited Edition Blu-ray & CD combo set box set features the Los Angeles concert in its entirety, a deluxe digipak and PET sleeve case, and a double-sided poster. Special bonus features includes the Making of Minopolis and the Opening Act: Dancealoid performance.

Japan’s virtual idol Hatsune Miku’s concert film to be shown in U.S. theaters (nine cities) for a one-night-only event on November 10th

October 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

J!-ENT has covered a few of these live concert streaming viewing events (in theaters) from Japan this year.  While most of the concerts have been rock bands, this time it will be Japan’s virtual idol Hatsune Miku.

In Japan, Hatsune Miku is a major national phenomenon and has appeared in numerous popular video games and music videos. Recently, Miku performed at “MIKUNOPOLIS in LOS ANGELES”, at the Nokia Theatre for the 2011 Anime Expo, held this past July in Los Angeles, CA.   She was also featured on Toyota commercials this past summer.

Live Viewing Japan, a distribution company which is focused on bringing Japanese entertainment to an international audience will stage a one-night Hatsune Miku event in nine major U.S. Cities on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 7:00 PM.

Live Viewing Japan Executive Director Hiroki Kotani said, “We’re very excited to present this unique Hatsune Miku experience for her U.S. fans. Miku has captivated a global audience with a mix of catchy pop music and captivating technology-inspired visuals. Her popularity has opened an entirely new range of possibilities to blend a cute pop idol persona with technology and computer-created graphics. We invite fans to visit the Live Viewing Japan web link for more information and for specific movie theater event locations. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Hatsune Miku perform!”

“Hatsune Miku Live Party 2011 39′s Live in Sapporo” will screen live at select movie theaters throughout the United States.

The cities that will host the Hatsune Miku event include:

Baltimore, MD
Boston (Manchester), MA
Chicago, IL
Houston, TX
Los Angeles, CA
Orange, CA
New York, NY – Two locations
San Francisco/Bay Area, CA
Seattle, WA

 

SF JAPANTOWN ANNOUNCES THE WINNING DESIGN FOR “HOPE FOR JAPAN’S RECOVERY” BANNER CONTEST IN SPECIAL COLLABORATION WITH HATSUNE MIKU

August 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

San Francisco, CA, August 10, 2011 – NEW PEOPLE, San Francisco’s dynamic entertainment destination showcasing the latest examples of Japanese popular culture, and the San Francisco Japantown Merchants Association have announced the winning banner design inspired by Hatsune Miku and carrying the theme of “Hope for Japan’s Recovery,” to be displayed in the city’s Japantown and throughout the upcoming J-Pop Summit Festival. The design contest was a special collaboration with Crypton Future Media, Inc., the creators of Hatsune Miku.

The banner will go up in the week of Friday, August 12thth on Post Street, the main Japantown thoroughfare where the upcoming J-Pop Summit Festival is set take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 27th and 28th. With the recent earthquake and tsunami tragedies in Japan still fresh in everyone’s minds, the J-Pop Summit Festival has incorporated multiple benefit events into this year’s programming.

The annual J-Pop Summit Festival is a unique Japanese Pop Culture celebration that features live bands and artists from Japan, pop culture panel discussions, film premieres, fashion and DJ dance events, and celebrity appearances. A dedicated web site is now available at J-pop.com and features many new updates.

The “Hope for Japan’s Recovery” banner design was created by shiratama, an artist from Japan, and depicts a whimsical character inspired by the striking, blue-haired Vocaloid pop music phenomenon Hatsune Miku. This design will be featured on t-shirts, USB flash cards, tote bags and coffee mugs that will be for sale as part of charity programs during the J-Pop Summit Festival. A variety of shiratama’s other creations are available to view at: http://piapro.jp/ssmsub.

“We would like to send our sincerest appreciation and applause to shiratama, who designed this banner filled with love featuring Hatsune Miku holding a warm heart tightly, which delivers a message of hope from us to the people in Japan,” says Richard Hashimoto, President of the Japantown Merchants Association. “We would also like to thank the many artists who entered this contest from all over the world. Please come visit San Francisco’s Japantown to see Miku praying for Japan.”

“It’s a pleasant coincidence for us to have this banner up during the week of our second anniversary of NEW PEOPLE.” Seiji Horibuchi, the founder/CEO of NEW PEOPLE Inc, which produces the J-Pop Summit Festival. “We’re grateful to Hatsune Miku and Crypton Future Media to give the 2011 J-Pop Summit and Japantown an exciting opportunity to strengthen the bridge between the U.S. and Japan.”

NEW PEOPLE opened in 2009 and has become a unique must-see attraction of San Francisco’s cultural landscape. The 20,000 square foot contemporary venue features the latest examples Japanese popular culture expressed though film, art, fashion, and a variety of specialty boutiques and ongoing monthly events. NEW PEOPLE is located at 1746 Post Street in the city’s Japantown.

About NEW PEOPLE, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, California, NEW PEOPLE, Inc. (www.newpeopleworld.com) offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan through its unique entertainment destination as well as through licensing and distribution of selective Japanese films. NEW PEOPLE Entertainment (www.newpeopleent.com), a film division of NEW PEOPLE, Inc. strives to offer the most entertaining motion pictures straight from the “Kingdom of Pop” for audiences of all ages, especially the manga and anime generation, in North America. Some titles include DEATH NOTE, GANTZ, KAMIKAZE GIRLS, and THE TASTE OF TEA.

About Crypton Future Media
Crypton Future Media, Inc. (Head Office: Sapporo, Director: Hiroyuki Itoh) is a company that specializes in various sound generation software. In 2007 they released the Character Vocal Series 01: Hatsune Miku”, (“http://www.crypton.co.jp/mp/pages/prod/vocaloid/cv01.jsp”) and since its release there have been hundreds of thousands of songs created using Miku’s voice – she has created an international sensation on the internet, which is only growing bigger. In 2010 Crypton also introduced a web-based music distribution service – over 1000 music labels are using it to distribute media.

JAPANESE POP GROUP SUPERCELL RELEASES U.S. DEBUT RECORD TOMORROW!!

June 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Japanese Group Pop Group Supercell Features The World’s First Virtual Pop Singer – Hatsune Miku – And Releases Full-Length U.S. Debut On June 21st

Supercell Blends Tech-Inspired Vocals With Catchy Pop Sensibilities And Debuts New Album On
Sony Music Direct


New York, NY, June 20, 2011 – Japanese pop group Supercell sees the digital release of its self-titled full-length major label debut in North America tomorrow – Tuesday, June 21st – from Sony Music Direct (Japan), Inc., a division of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Inc. Supercell Featuring Hatsune Miku will be available exclusively on iTunes <http://www.itunes.com/>  and Amazon <http://www.amazon.com/> .

Supercell blends catchy pop melodies and technology-inspired vocals with captivating anime-influenced imagery and notably features the world’s first virtual pop star, Hatsune Miku. The group’s new record features 12 upbeat tracks, driven by the singer’s bright vocals and backed by lush electronic, pop and rock-inspired melodies.

Supercell is a group of multimedia creators and artists led by composer/lyricist Ryo. Hatsune Miku, whose name means, “first sound of the future,” is a digital female avatar and the most popular of the Vocaloid Character Series software originally created by Crypton Future Media using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2 engine to create synthesized vocal tracks.

The record’s first single, “THE WORLD IS MINE,” was released in North America on May 10th on iTunes and Amazon and placed as high as Number 4 on the iTunes World Music charts.

In Japan, Hatsune Miku is a major national phenomenon appearing in many popular video games and music videos. She’s also played several sellout “concerts,” where she performed on stage as a 3D hologram backed by a live band. Her international notoriety is spreading to North America, where she’s currently featured in a new commercial for the 2011 Toyota Corolla. Hatsune Miku is also scheduled to perform her first U.S. concert, “MIKUNOPOLIS in LOS ANGELES,” at the 2011 Anime Expo in Los Angeles, CA July 1-4. Information on the concert is available at: http://mikunopolis.com.

More information on Supercell is available at: http://www.facebook.com/supercell.JPN.

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE U.S. LICENSE FOR HATSUNE MIKU

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE U.S. LICENSE FOR HATSUNE MIKU

World’s First Virtual “Vocaloid” Pop Singer Is A Phenomenon In Japan And Prepares To Take North America By Storm

San Francisco, CA, June 8, 2011 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, has announced it that holds the U.S. product licensing rights for HATSUNE MIKU, the popular Vocaloid virtual pop singer that has become a massive pop culture phenomenon in Japan. VIZ Media will showcase HATSUNE MIKU among its other properties available for product license at the 2011 Licensing International Expo, held in Las Vegas, June 14th-16th, 2011. VIZ Media will be located in Booth #2481.

The Licensing International Expo is held at Mandalay Bay Convention Center and is the preeminent marketplace for the hottest international brands and properties. It features a show floor of more than 7,000 properties from all of Hollywood’s major film studios, global entertainment companies, Fortune 500 consumer brands, sporting teams, interactive properties, fashion labels, and cutting-edge artists and designers. The annual event celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2010.

HATSUNE MIKU is a striking, blue-haired digital female avatar and the most popular of the Vocaloid Character Series software originally created by Crypton Future Media and using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2 engine. The innovative software enables users to create synthesized vocal tracks using HATSUNE MIKU’s vocals by simply typing in lyrics or inputting a melody. Crypton’s Vocaloid program uses vocals that are derived from pre-programmed samples of the voices of many popular actors/singers.

In Japan, the popularity of HATSUNE MIKU has become a national phenomenon. She has appeared in several video games and music videos and has also performed several sellout “concerts,” where she appeared on stage as a 3D hologram, backed by a live band. Most recently she appears in a new commercial for the U.S. market for the 2011 Toyota Corolla. The spot is also available on YouTube, and since its debut on May 4th, the segment has received more than 950,000 hits. The Japanese pop group Supercell also features HATSUNE MIKU as its vocalist and released their first single in the U.S on May 10th. The track, “The World Is Mine,” from their forthcoming full-length album, placed as high as #4 on the iTunes World Music charts.

“HATSUNE MIKU is the world’s first true digital pop star and her notoriety is spreading fast across North America,” says Tracy Hanchett, Director, Consumer Products. “Her development explores a whole new hybrid of digital technology and organic creativity. The HATSUNE MIKU brand is richly developed in Japan, where she stars in several video games by Sega, as well as CDs, books, arcade games, collectible figures, apparel and other accessories. We’re very excited to showcase this new property at the 2011 Licensing International Expo and welcome the opportunity to work with innovative product partners to further cultivate the HATSUNE MIKU brand for a new U.S. market.”

For more information on HATSUNE MIKU and other titles from VIZ Media please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), is one of the most comprehensive and innovative companies in the field of manga (graphic novel) publishing, animation and entertainment licensing of Japanese content. Owned by three of Japan’s largest creators and licensors of manga and animation, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media is a leader in the publishing and distribution of Japanese manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and South Africa and is a global ex-Asia licensor of Japanese manga and animation. The company offers an integrated product line including the popular monthly manga anthology SHONEN JUMP magazine, graphic novels, and DVDs, and develops, markets, licenses, and distributes animated entertainment for audiences and consumers of all ages. Contact VIZ Media at 295 Bay Street, San Francisco, CA 94133; Phone (415) 546-7073; Fax (415) 546-7086; and website at www.VIZ.com.

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Hatsune Miku © Crypton Media

Japan’s Virtual Pop Star Hatsune Miku To Perform Live at Anime Expo 2011

May 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

LOS ANGELES (May 13, 2011) — Hatsune Miku, a Japanese virtual pop idol whose computer-generated singing and holographic performances have sparked a new form of musical entertainment, will thrill U.S. audiences for the first time when she performs live in concert at Anime Expo, North America’s largest anime and manga celebration in Los Angeles from July 1 – 4, 2011.  In addition to her live concert, Hatsune Miku will be Anime Expo’s first Virtual Guest of Honor.

A digital diva famous worldwide for her ankle-length aqua-colored pigtails and distinctive voice, Hatsune Miku will light up the stage at Nokia Theatre on July 2nd in her U.S. live concert debut presented by The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, Crypton Future Media, Inc., SEGA Corporation, Tokyo Kawaii Magazine (ASCII Media Works) and Toyota Motor Sales, USA.

Created by Crypton Future Media, Inc. in 2007, Hatsune Miku’s voice is synthesized using Yamaha’s Vocaloid software application, to produce a fully synthetic voice with unprecedented quality and remarkable realism by typing in lyrics and setting a melody. To date, her voice has been featured in more than 100,000 songs and videos created and shared by fans worldwide. She has been sampled in CDs, DVDs, games, novels, and figures and her sell-out, computer-graphic-driven live performances have become legendary.  Attesting to her unique star power, Toyota selected Hatsune Miku to star in a U.S. ad campaign for the 2011 Corolla – which has been named the Official Car of her July 2 concert at Anime Expo.

“Fans in North America have been clamoring for Miku to perform here and we have listened,” said Marc Perez, Chairman and CEO of the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the non-profit that produces Anime Expo.  “We’re extremely excited to be able to present this 21st Century star at Anime Expo in what promises to be an unforgettable experience for all.”

The Anime Expo concert will be based on “39‘s Giving Day,” the first-ever solo concert by Hatsune Miku held in Japan on March 9, 2010, which was heralded by media worldwide.  Visuals for the July 2 concert are created by SEGA with Crypton Future Media supervising overall production.

Hatsune Miku will be Anime Expo’s first Virtual Guest of Honor and will join the line-up of Anime Expo 2011 Guests of Honor that includes the chart-topping Japanese pop trio Kalafina, Japanese TV Host and blogger Danny Choo and voice actor Vic Mignogna. Themed the “Year of the Fan,” Anime Expo 2011 will fully immerse guests into the world of Japanese animation, manga (comic books), music, fashion and games. Anime Expo is a non-stop marathon of Japanese pop culture that’s been likened to Halloween in July.

To stay updated on all of the latest Anime Expo 2011 news, follow us on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook and check us out on YouTube.

About Crypton Future Media, Inc.
Crypton Future Media, Inc. (HQ: Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido; CEO: Hiroyuki Itoh) has been handling software sound source since 1995, and is a developer of Character Vocal Series 01: Hatsune Miku, which was released in 2007. There are more than tens of thousands songs released, and fan’s support is expanding day by day.

About SEGA Corporation
SEGA Corporation (HQ: Ohta-ku, Tokyo-to, COO: Okitane Usui) has been recognized as one of the leading game software company in the world with its capability to produce high quality contents. New sensational rhythm action game “Hatsune Miku -Project DIVA- 2nd” for PSP has been sold for more than 400,000 copies, and has great support by Miku fans.

About Tokyo Kawaii Magazine
Tokyo Kawaii Magazine, an electronic magazine for iPhone, was first released on March 2010. It releases the latest Japanese pop culture info such as anime, fashion, etc. in English and Spanish, and has been downloaded from all over the world, mainly by young generations. They have featured Haruhi Suzumiya, Evangelion, etc, and the latest issue (Vol.007) featured Miku Hatsune.

About Toyota Motor Sales, USA
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus and Scion.  Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of nearly 1,500 Toyota, Lexus and Scion dealers which sold more than 1.76 million vehicles in 2010.  Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com, www.lexus.com, www.scion.com or www.toyotanewsroom.com.

About Anime Expo
Held annually in Los Angeles, Anime Expo is North America’s largest anime and manga event. Anime Expo gives fans the rare opportunity to meet and hear from some of the most famous anime, manga and musical artists from Japan and get into the action through everything from costume play, karaoke and video competitions to exclusive screenings, non-stop video gaming competitions and the wildly popular Masquerade, in which fans transform themselves into their favorite characters through creative costuming, accessories and make-up and put on their own show before an audience of thousands.   AX 2011 will be held July 1 – July 4, 2011 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. To register or for more information, please visit www.anime-expo.org.

About the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation
The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to popularize and educate the American public about anime and manga, as well as provide a forum to facilitate communication between professionals and fans. This organization is more popularly known by its entertainment property, Anime Expo®.   For more information, please visit www.spja.org.

supercell – The World is Mine feat. Hatsune Miku (a J!-ENT World Groove Digital Single Review)

May 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Japanese pop group and Hatsune Miku makes their US debut! Music utilizing the Vocaloid singing synth software may be an acquired taste for some, but the marketing and merchandise that has followed the popularity of this software and the character has been quite intriguing and the music from supercell to be different yet enjoyable.


GROUP: supercell feat. Hatsune Miku

DIGITAL SINGLE: The World is Mine (ワールドイズマイン)

LABEL: Sony Direct

CATALOG #: N/A

RELEASE DATE: May 11, 2011

  1. The World is Mine (ワールドイズマイン)


Miku Hatsune is possibly the biggest virtual idol to come from Japan.

And with recent commercials for Toyota showcasing the long blue haired character and a recent announcement of a concert in July in Los Angeles, needless to say that people in America have been wondering who Miku is?

Miku Hatsune actually one of the characters (or mascots) of the singing synthesizer application known as “Vocaloid” developed by Crypton Future Media using Yamaha Corporaton’s “Vocaloid” technology.

And then those who had the software started making their own songs using Hatsune Miku and then came figurines, video games and sure enough Hatsune Miku and music soundtracks.

And when it comes to the music utilizing the Vocaloid software and Hatsune Miku character, the Japanese group Supercell is best to known to utilize it.

The group supercell consists of 11 members, 10 that are illustrators and support  (these members work on the vivid illustrations, animation, design, and photography for album booklets, CD cases and music videos) and Ryo who creates the music and lyrics for the group was born in 2007 and were the first to utilize the Japanese video sharing site, Nico Nico Douga to promote their music and weres signed by Sony in March 2009.

The group have released two albums and three CD singles.  The first album selling more than 150,000 copies.   And the group has performed at concerts with Hatsune Miku on stage via a 3D hologram.

And now the group has released their first single in the U.S. courtesy of Sony Music Direct (Japan) titled “The World is Mine feat. Hatsune Miku” which is available on Amazon.com and iTunes and it is the song that can be heard on the Toyota USA commercial featuring Hatsune Miku.

As for the music, while the music of Hatsune Miku and music using the vocaloid is popular among  many fans worldwide, it’s a style that may or many not appeal to people.  Because the software uses the Vocaloid software, the software enables users to synthesize singing by typing in teh lyrics and melody.  And the software uses technology with specially recorded vocaloids of voice actors or singers.

So, it may be an acquired taste for some people.  For me, the whole concept of virtual idols and also the Vocaloid Software has been quite intriguing for me and I have followed it for years now and I have to admit that I am also interested in Hatsune Miku and how the character has been marketed, especially via videogames, Figma figures and Nendoroids. So, it makes me quite biased.

So, rather than tell people it’s worth it listening to or not, I’ll have you decide.


New Japanese Pop Group Supercell Releases First Single “THE WORLD IS MINE feat. Hatsune Miku” In U.S.

May 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Innovative Multimedia Group Blends Technology And Pop Sensibilities Featuring Vocals By The World’s First Virtual Pop Phenomenon Hatsune Miku

New York, NY, May 11, 2011 – Sony Music Direct (Japan) Inc., a division of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. has announced the U.S. release of the first single – “THE WORLD IS MINE feat. Hatsune Miku” – by the Japanese pop group Supercell. The track is available now on Amazon® (www.Amazon.com <http://www.Amazon.com> ) and iTunes® (www.iTunes.com <http://www.iTunes.com> ).

Supercell is composed of a group of innovative multimedia creators for the 21st Century that blends catchy pop sensibilities, technology-inspired vocals, and captivating anime-influenced imagery. For the new single, “THE WORLD IS MINE,” the group employs the electronic vocals of Hatsune Miku, the world’s first virtual pop idol. Hatsune Miku, whose name means, “first sound of the future,” is a digital female avatar and the most popular of the Vocaloid Character Series software originally created by Crypton Future Media using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2 engine to create synthesized vocal tracks.

In Japan, the popularity of Hatsune Miku has become a national phenomenon. She has appeared in several video games and music videos and has also performed several sellout “concerts,” where she appeared on stage as a 3D hologram, backed by a live band. Most recently she also appears in a new commercial for the U.S. market for the 2011 Toyota Corolla. The spot is also available on YouTube <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E15PE7iGT0U&amp;feature=player_embedded> , and since its debut on May 4th, the segment has received more than 700,000 hits.

Supercell is a league of creators led by composer/lyricist Ryo, who produces the music and writes the lyrics. Ryo tapped other creators to provide an array of vivid illustrations, animation, design, and photography for album booklets, CD cases and music videos. On “THE WORLD IS MINE,” artwork features illustrations by Redjuice, a member of the league. Led by composer Ryo, Supercell’s songs were initially posted on the Nico Nico Douga video sharing service in Japan and quickly garnered more than 20 million views, feeding a frenzied interest in the group that is now spreading to new overseas markets.

The self entitled album, supercell, debuted in Japan from Sony Music Direct in 2009, selling more than 150,000 copies. Same year, the group performed the ending theme song for the 2009 anime series Bakemonogatari. In March 2010, Supercell received the award for “The Best 5 New Artists” at the 2010 Japan Gold Disc Awards, a major record industry awards event. The Supercell track, “Kocchi Muite Baby,” created by Ryo and featuring vocals by Hatsune Miku, peaked at No. 11 on Billboard Japan’s Hot Singles Chart last July.

About Sony Music Direct
Sony Music Direct (Japan) Inc., a division of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc., and manufactures and distributes the music of both Japanese recording artists and the legacy catalogs of other top international artists across a variety of genres.

ONE NIGHT ONLY – HATSUNE MIKU CONCERT ENCORE SCREENING AT VIZ CINEMA NEXT MONDAY

October 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

JAPAN’S TOP VIRTUAL IDOL – HATSUNE MIKU – RETRUNS TO VIZ CINEMA FOR A SPECIAL ENCORE PERFORMANCE

Internet Sensation’s Live Concert Film Screens For One Night Only; Hatsune Miku Creator To Also Attend And Give Insights


San Francisco, CA, October 5, 2010 – VIZ Cinema and NEW PEOPLE are proud to present a special encore performance of Hatsune Miku U.S. Live – for One Night Only – on Monday, October 11th at 7:15pm.

The Hatsune Miku’s 39′s Giving Day Film Concert captures the excitement and upbeat fun that was Project DIVA Presents Hatsune Miku’s Solo Concert, which took place earlier this year at the futuristic Zepp Tokyo venue. The concert featured the singer, backed by a “live” band called the 39S Members. She performed 39 songs while being projected on a transparent screen set up on the stage, making her look like a living-sized hologram playing with a live band.

Also set to make a very special appearance at the screening will be the man behind the creation of Hatsune Miku, Hiroyuki Ito, president of Crypton Future Media. Prior to the screening, Ito give audiences the back story on the birth and development of Hatsune Miku and the growing international interest in her. Don’t miss this rare chance to see this internet virtual phenomenon on the big screen and purchase one of a very limited supply of Japanese First Edition Blu-ray disc sets!

Miku Hatsune is a virtual pop idol that has taken Japan by storm. She was born as the premiere product in the Vocaloid2 Character Vocal Series developed by Crypton Future Media. The technology, originally designed for professional musicians, enables users to synthesize singing by inputting lyrics and a melody. In Japan, Vocaloid singers have become the hottest new trend in the pop culture landscape. Miku Hatsune features a singing voice based on samples of voice actress Saki Fujita.

VIZ Cinema is the nation’s first movie theatre devoted exclusively to Japanese film and anime. The 143-seat subterranean theatre is located in the basement of the NEW PEOPLE building and features plush seating, digital as well as 35mm projection, and a THX®-certified sound system.

About NEW PEOPLE
NEW PEOPLE offers the latest films, art, fashion and retail brands from Japan and is the creative vision of the J-Pop Center Project and VIZ Pictures, a distributor and producer of Japanese live action film. Located at 1746 Post Street, the 20,000 square foot structure features a striking 3-floor transparent glass façade that frames a fun and exotic new environment to engage the imagination into the 21st Century. A dedicated web site is also now available at: www.NewPeopleWorld.com.

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