Remember the 2ch hit flash animation with the spinning leek? An indie Finnish song that achieved Internet fame thanks to a fateful fusion of Japanese otaku culture, Macromedia and Bleach, Ievan Polkka lives again!
Well, I’m in love with the song all over again thanks to this YouTube video and a crazy piece of software called VOCALOID2. Embedded after the break.
The singer is Hatsune Miku (初音ミク) from Crypton’s VOCALOID2 software. It’s basically a music creation tool similar to MIDI composers except that instead of synthesizing instruments, it synthesizes vocals. That said, it doesn’t actually generate the voice using any magical algorithm; the vocals are actually pre-recorded (the voice belongs to Saki Fujita, an obscure seiyuu with few titles under her name).
What Crypton did was to record all the necessary pitches and consonant-vowel combinations needed for a typical J-Pop song and let the user combine them into coherent pieces. It works surprisingly well due to the fact that the Japanese language has only fifty or so possible sounds and words are always read the way they are written. It’s hard to explain, so here are some YouTube videos.
When I first heard of this some time ago from Kotaku, I thought it was something related to IDOLM@STER, especially since Kotaku seems obsessed with anything to do with the anime pop idol management simulation for Xbox 360. And after watching a few YouTube videos, I realized that I was right, just not in the way I had imagined. Just imagine if Namco Bandai decides to license this for use in IDOLM@STER…
I think this is the beginning of the end of the anime song industry as we know it.
I kid, I kid. Your favourite seiyuu isn’t going jobless just yet. At least not until VOCALOID-9000 achieves sentience and figures out how to synthesize new voices without the aid of puny humans… >_>
If you are interested in trying out VOCALOID2, you need to either fork out ￥15,750 (about US$140) or wear an eye patch and get a pet parrot.