BIG AL is an English VOCALOID developed and distributed by PowerFX Systems AB., and was released in December 2009 for the VOCALOID2 engine. His announcement was January 21, 2007 and his provider during that time was Michael King, after another period of development his voice bank was redone by a male voice actor, Frank S.
It is unknown why PowerFX chose the name "Big Al".
"Al" can be both a male and female name. It is usually shorthand for other longer names. When applied to boys it is shorthand for names including (but not restricted to) "Alfred", "Albert", "Allen", and "Alphonse".
BIG AL's original illustrator remains unknown while the revised illustration is by artist Ash(Accelagirl). In both incarnations the monster he is based on is Frankenstein's Monster; according to PowerFX, their VOCALOIDs are more like Cyborgs than Androids.
The original image of Big Al came from an old Frankenstein photo. The hand on the image came from an Old poster of Uncle Sam.
BIG AL's scythe in his Taiwan design resembles a musical note.
Like Sweet ANN, BIG AL's original boxart bore similarities to early 20th-century movie posters, depicting him as a monster morph of Elvis. The new box art was more of a loose representation of such a monster and was aimed more towards the Vocaloid fandom than Ann was, marking a switch in focus for PowerFX from solely that of professionals.
Unlike Sweet ANN, BIG AL was not geared up to be reviewed by normal means (software reviews) and relied more upon the Vocaloid fandom to promote and use him, building on the growing interest in English VOCALOIDs that was now occurring. Despite setting up a MySpace page for Sweet Ann's promotion, Big Al did not have a social networking outlet.
Amongst the releases of Soundation's loops and sounds for Christmas 2010, there was also some samples of Sweet Ann and Big Al. A contest was was also included with a chance to win both Vocaloids.
In 2010, Crypton Future Media produced a ranking of the VOCALOIDs they sold on their website. Big Al was ranked the 8th most popular VOCALOID they sold, and in the process the most popular of the imported VOCALOIDs that Crypton sold.
BIG AL's original voice did not appeal to many, but the sudden change of vocal and boxart redesign pleased many fans. These changes caused much confusion at first, but also a great deal of excitement.
Big Al's change of boxart led to character-base art styles becoming normal for PowerFX VOCALOID releases as PowerFX stated that this is what the fandom wanted. He is also regarded as a factor in the over shadowing of Tonio's release, as despite Tonio producing more "beautiful" results, Big Al's vocal had more "personality" to it.
In the Nico Nico Douga International VOCALOID ranking 2010, BIG AL was noted to have dominated the rankings and appeared in 18 of the top 30 International VOCALOID related songs, the second highest being Lola with just 5 songs. Also, his vocals were used in 8 of the top ten songs of 2010, the only exceptions being two songs where Lola was the sole English Vocaloid singing. Big Al was the only English Vocaloid in the top 10 with solo songs. Considering how little an English VOCALOID makes it into any Nico Nico Douga ranking overall, Big Al managed to appear in the rankings with songs such as Little Toy Robot.
"海外組VOCALOIDランキング2010（仮）" by あっちゃん ft. English VOCALOIDs
An independent search on Nico Nico Douga revealed that most VOCALOIDs had less then 1,000 videos uploaded on Nico Nico Douga in 2011 between July 1st and December 15th. Big Al fell into this categoy.
SONiKA has tweeted about Big AL, questioning whether his release would mean that she is his big sister or little sister. This is a joking reference to their release dates and ages. She also tweeted about wanting to do a duet with him, she later would in Auld Lang Syne. She joked AL's high-pitch was due to the tight trousers he wore. She also made another joke regarded his late arrival. In December, 2010, when snow fell, she said she made a snowman that looked a bit like Big Al. Later, when asked which Vocaloid she spoke to the most she referred to Big Al as her best friend. She also commented that he was pretty scary but friendly once you got to know him.
LOLA, MIRIAM, and BIG AL were stated to be featured in the original soundtrack of freeware RPG "Ad Lucem". The project remains unfinished.
As a joke held within the Japanese fandom, there are often references towards the popular manga Kuso Miso Technique in songs of Al's. This joke exists mostly because Al's left hand pose almost matches Takakazu Abe's right hand pose as he sits on the bench in the manga when Abe is seen for the first time. As well as this, there is a joke that his breath samples sound pornographic (specifically, gay porn).
Notable in the fact that his original voice provider was an Elvis impersonator, The New York Times report on the original Vocaloids was titled "Could I get that song in Elvis please?".
Amongst the Western Vocaloid fans, Al's lateness gave birth to the term "BIG AL's syndrome". However, it's only because of Tonio's lateness the term exists.
On his Taiwanese release, BIG Al's logo is stylized with a dash.