Nekomura Iroha (猫村いろは) is a Japanese VOCALOID developed and distributed by AH-Software Co. Ltd., and was created in collaboration with SANRIO and the Hello Kitty to Issho! Project. She was initially released in October 2010 for the VOCALOID2 engine. She was updated to the VOCALOID4 engine in June 2015. Her voice provider was initially unrevealed, but was eventually confirmed to be utaite and Showa-style singer Kyounosuke Yoshitate on June 18, 2015.
She is illustrated by okama, a Japanese manga artist and illustrator.
The speakers encasing her hands are called Dynamic-Phonon Busters. The other set of speakers are called Chorus-speakers. Each of these move around, supporting her. The floating microphone collects her voice, and Announce Booth, which is on her head, works as an amplifier that divides sounds into three classes for the speakers according to ranges: the sound frequencies for tweeters, mid-range speakers, and woofers.
Iroha is canonically a "Kittyler": someone who loves the Sanrio character Hello Kitty. She joined the Hello Kitty to Issho! Project in early August 2010. According to her official profile on the Hello Kitty to Issho! page, she is interested in Hello Kitty and wants to become a "Platinum Kitty". A story about how she became a Kittyler was included.
She was originally designed by Sanrio for Comiket (Comic Market) in 2009. Iroha was released as a part of a promotional tie-in with a VOCALOID x Hello Kitty promotion.
A CD was released with two songs ("Tsubasa" and "ABBEY FLY") featuring her along with VSQ files. She owes much of her early use to being supplied as a trial version. The offer for the free trial ended on September 30, 2010.
Until late May 2011, no AH-Software VOCALOIDs could be used for works sold via KARENT. However, Iroha remained under ban until late January 2012 due to AH-Software's joint ownership of her with Sanrio.
Due to miscommunication regarding advertisement of the new collaboration happening at the same Comiket booth as another event, fans initially believed that the new VOCALOID announced to be a collaboration between AH-software and Sanrio would be the kittyler, Rio, who was illustrated by KEI, the illustrator for the Crypton Future Media CV series, Lily, & galaco (It is to be noted that at the time, a "Kittyler" was misunderstood to be a moe personification of Hello Kitty herself rather than someone who is simply interested in the character). This sparked a controversy and an interview with one of the members of AH-software had to clear up the misunderstanding. Rio was used for an upcoming project by Sanrio, Hello Kitty to Issho!, and she is one of several Kittylers illustrated by multiple artists. KEI was just one of them.
Two MMD Models of Iroha were released from Windows 100% magazine, one in August and another in November. The first model was based upon her Kittyler attire and the other on her VOCALOID attire. The creator of the models is ISAO. Her second model (VOCALOID style) was used for an official 3D movie that was shown on her official page and broadcast on Youtube. In May 2011, two more models of Iroha were released, both done by the same artist, but this model was released to the public for a limited time. The models are Iroha in a more casual (dubbed idol) appearance. The first model that was released had a large bun wrap, but after much feedback, ISAO edited the same model to have a side ponytail. In July 2011, a Magician model was released from Windows 100%.
Overall, Iroha was well received by both Japanese and Western fans. The Western fans especially praised her vocal capabilities and she was amongst the fan favorites of the 2010 releases. This was an improved reaction from the previous VOCALOIDs released by AH-Software and Iroha did not endure the same struggle to gain popularity as her predecessors.
An independent search on Niconico Video revealed that most VOCALOIDs had less than 1,000 videos uploaded in 2011 between July 1 and December 15. Iroha fell into this category.
Most popular AH-Software VOCALOID2
First AH-Software VOCALOID to gain satisfactory levels of popularity
First VOCALOID with connections to SANRIO
First female VOCALOID to have a male voice provider