MEIKO (メイコ) is a Japanese VOCALOID originally developed by Yamaha Corporation and distributed by Crypton Future Media, Inc.. Her VOCALOID3 update was developed and distributed by Crypton Future Media. She was initially released in November 2004 for the first VOCALOID engine. There has since been a second installment developed for the VOCALOID3 engine, dubbed MEIKO V3. Her voice is provided by the Japanese female singer-songwriter, Meiko Haigō (拝郷 メイコ Haigō Meiko).
"MEIKO" comes directly from her voice provider's name, "Haigō Meiko."
MEIKO's codename was "HANAKO"; it likely came from "Yamada Hanako (山田花子)", a placeholder name for female characters, and the Japanese equivalent to "Jane Smith". "Megumi" was also a name considered during her development.
She is often misnamed Sakine Meiko by fans. The name originates from the eponymous derivative character, depicted as herself in her younger days.
The illustration was done by Shogo Washizu, often called わっしー(Wasshi), a former member of Crypton. Crypton placed this product on the market with box art that depicted a female character. This character had nothing to do with the singer's image, but her anime-based appearance appealed to a mainstream audience and the software sold well.
Wat described how different the intention of the CV series was to the concept of KAITO and MEIKO during the development of KAITO V3. Consequently Crypton took a different direction with their updates in comparison to the Appends of Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin/Len, and Megurine Luka.
MEIKO's VOCALOID1 boxart hid the front of her red sleeveless jacket, making it difficult to tell what the design consists of. Due to this, there are many different designs, even for official artwork. MEIKO has no official given age. In Maker Hikōshiki Hatsune Mix she is usually portrayed as a middle-aged woman, however KEI mentioned in a magazine interview that what he depicts in the comic is not official.
Spurned on by the items held by Hatsune Miku and KAITO, it became popular to feature MEIKO with One Cup Ozeki (sake).
Music featuring MEIKOEdit
- MEIKO is featured in 173 songs and 123 albums on this wiki.
- There are listings for notable, original, and cover songs.
Examples of usage
Putting a character on the boxart proved to be a successful marketing strategy. It influenced the development and art style of other VOCALOIDs such as KAITO and Hatsune Miku. While she does have a significant amount of merchandise, MEIKO is often less likely to be promoted than some of the other Crypton Future Media VOCALOIDs.
- A Japanese electro-pop artist, Susumu Hirasawa, announced that he used a female VOCALOID in the original soundtrack of "Paprika" by Satoshi Kon on his blog. Since Susumu Hirasawa did not reveal which VOCALOID he used for quite some time, except the fact it was a female, many producers speculated it was MEIKO. However, he later mentioned in a magazine interview that it was LOLA.
- An old myth within the overseas fandom is that her samples were not from Meiko Haigō, but from a computer that generated samples to sound like her. It is estimated this originates from the fact that the original VOCALOID engine based its results on voice analytic instead of vocal samples.
|MEIKO's character status|
MEIKO was positively received and sold well compared to her counterpart KAITO, originally being the most popular of the two. For a long time she was the best selling Crypton Future Media VOCALOID, selling 3,000+ units. This lasted until the release of Hatsune Miku. 3,000+ units was three times the number of sales she needed to sell to be classified as successful.
By 2010, whereas KAITO appeared in the Crypton ranking of their best-selling products, MEIKO had fallen from popularity, receiving the least amount of attention of the Crypton VOCALOIDs. In the same year, MEIKO was ranked as the 7th most popular VOCALOID product they sold and the least popular of Crypton Future Media's own VOCALOIDs. On December 10th, 2011, MEIKO, along with the Kagamines' append, were the only VOCALOID software packages not on the top ten list.
A month after Meiko V3's release, Meiko took the number one spot on the charts. This was the first time Meiko had ever held a spot in the top 10 since the charts began. However, her no.1 spot was short lived, and by April she had dropped to the no.3 spot. This was a much faster fall from no.1 than KAITO V3, who managed to stay in the position for several months after release. Meiko soon fell behind KAITO V3 in popularity, constantly being one or two places behind his package. By August 2014, MEIKO V3 was in 6th spot, while KAITO V3 held the 3rd place position, loosing out only to Hatsune Miku V3 who claimed the no.1 and no.2 spot in the ranking. She also lost out this particular month to the Kagamine Rin/Len VOCALOID2 package, which had temporarily returned to the rankings.
Despite the lack of media coverage, MEIKO was better received and more successful than Leon, Lola and Miriam. She was overall the most successful of the VOCALOID products when initially released. It was generally believed that the success of Meiko was attributed to the reader demographic of the DTM magazine, of which 80% were male. It was also thought to be the reason why Kaito failed.
After revived interest began to occur in her counterpart, KAITO, following Miku's release, MEIKO users also attempted to rekindle her popularity. Consequently, the Japanese fandom has taken great measures to push her voice to its limits. This is demonstrated by the fanmade derivative "Sakine Meiko," which was the result of producers testing MEIKO's capabilities to create a much younger sounding voice. Although this involves heavy investment of time to make such a big adjustment to her vocals, it does highlight the overall potential of VOCALOID era voicebanks, as the same techniques have also from time to time been applied to others of the same software with the same level of results.
Meiko's success lead to a number of trends that impacted Vocaloid for years to come. This includes style of boxart and favouring of female vocals.
An independent search on Nico Nico Douga revealed that most VOCALOIDs had less than 1,000 videos uploaded to the site in 2011 between July 1st and December 15th. MEIKO, however, did manage to be the 2nd most popular VOCALOID when a mean count was done, with 423 views and 21 mylists.
In 2015 a survey was made based on the popularity of Vocaloids on the website Nico Video. For the year 2014, Meiko was the 9th most popular Vocaloid.