Its been a choatic year for Vocaloid with suddenly a whole crop of releases being announced about halfway through the year.
This Years Releases
Gee gaz! Tonio, Lily, VY1, Gachapoid, Iroha, Piko... And thats without the Appends!
But even though we've had all these releases, the Appends have consumed most of the attention, which is a shame because they were overall not even the best releases for this year. The Kagamine's Append finally pushed Kaito down the list of sales popularity and right now their 3rd on Crypton's sale list of best sellers. But alas, not everyone is happy with the Appends for various reasons. Honestly, I don't want to list the reasons.
As for the individual voicebanks, as a true test of "image Vs quality" Lily and VY1 were released at almost the same time with Lily being the prompt winner of the two. Which is a shame, but it looks like the inital lack of a image is making VY1 slowly gain credit for being supposedly the best quality voicebank out there. VY1 is the jewel of the year but not everyone is interested in "it". Lily though, she was largely successful due to a "Crypton-like" compaigne with a figurine, T-shirts and all sorts being produced suddenly. And it seemed to have worked really well for her.
Meanwhile, poor Tonio ended up being practically forgotten in the light of the blonde haired girl whose clothes look as though they'll fall off at any moment if she bounces around too much on stage. Wait? Was that the reason why the male Otaku fandom went nuts over her? Hahaa! Well, there were other factors in this, Tonio came out at the wrong time in the end after MONTHS of delay (though still not as bad as Al's delays), which is a shame because his inital release was in a period where completely silence hit and everyone was just warming up to Big Al. Had he come out when he he should have there would have been more attention on him. Consquences is as a sharp contrast to Al, he failed to make the overall impact. I believe Crossfrown predicted he'd have a handful of songs on Nico Nico Douga and that will be it. He lacked *some* clarity from Al and had *some* of Prima's opera-esque qualities to boot and the overall rough look about him didn't exactly prove too popular with younger ladies. Top it off with the fact he had a voice a few complain was "scary"... note; Scary? Why is it every time a deep voice comes along we get people being turned off?
Then we go off to the big franchise releases Gachpin Vs Hello Kitty. Hello Kitty won that war, but Gachapoid has had his own fair share of victories as fans slowly warm up to him. In one case though, I note, in order to display every currently released Vocaloid around, Gachapoid was toned down so far on volume that you couldn't hear him in that particular song. His voice is the thing people struggle with. Odd thing is, Mothra-P produced a song similair sounding voices using Kaito, Gackpoid and Al before Gachapoid was released. And it wasn't a bad song overall...
And Piko. Lets not forget the guy who snip into existance at the last minute. Okay, Sony, I know its your first Vocaloid, and I know you want to carefully select how he is used, but... You didn't win many good fan points. Top it off, Piko's trial was about as bad as they come. I must confess, I haven't had time to decide if I like him or not, because I usually give a Vocaloid some time for the P's to get busy before I explore their limits. Thus out of the entire crop of this year Piko is the only one at this point I've yet to decide on. From the reaction though; his one you either love or hate.
English Capable Vocaloids
More people have admitted buying a english Vocaloid this christmas then last year. Heck, I've just gotten hold of Sonika myself (note; Prima and Sweet Ann are better in my opinion, but Sweet Ann wasn't on offer and Prima's stuck in Opera mode), and already had Al... And one day I'll get Lola out of the crypt. Trouble is for the engloids is still the fact people would rather buy a Japanese Vocaloid and struggle with the language barrier then buy them. The biggest issue is that with Miku english coming soon, people are sparing money for her and not for a moments chance to get the experience needed to operate her when she comes out. And we have no idea as of yet how she'll turn out. We just know she is coming, meanwhile there are other Vocaloids out who have information at hand to use.
What has made me change my mind on Miku's english from "utter negative" to "playful negative" and then to "oh you know this isn't so bad" was hearing her say "christmas" in one of her Project Diva DLC. She can't say christmas...
Then theres an issue for Luka, popular choice for amateur vocaloid users; but a professional has little use for someone who throws out english with an accent that isn't. Okay, Luka's not the worst fluxing Vocaloid, but she still does (Sonika is bad at this and at least Luka doesn't produce plucking sounds at the end of her samples as I have discovered) flux. Wierd thing is, the things bringing Luka down are minor issues, easily fixed with a small update, and are not so numerous as Sonika's list of issues. And eyes are on Luka as out of the main CV series she is the next to have an Append and folks are hoping for english somewhere in there for the Appends.
Back to the main bulk of engloids, we still have issues to endure on Sweet Ann, whose boxart style continues to backfire on her like mad (its really badly done, even for the style). But Al has become the big no.1 of the engloid scene impressing even a few Nico Nico Douga Vocaloid users and he has been blessed with a small number of birthday songs because of it. PowerFX threw out the "Sweet Ann" boxart mistake at the last moment and his old voice to bring in a more appealing design and appleasing voice - which turned out to be a VERY good move on their part.
Makes you wonder at the end of the day, why is there any sort of fuss at all about it singing in english? Well I complied a list of reasons;
- Part of it was Miku, she was stealing the spotlight on all other Vocaloids anyway so it wasn't just the english vocaloids.
- Part of it was that no one knew that they existed
- Part of it is still there isn't the voice many are waiting for (note; a lot of people say Miku will do it, but I want better then Miku quite frankly)
- Part of it was not many were using them or knew examples of those who had used them.
- A huge chunk of folks were convinced english was overall inferior. Okay there ARE a few weak winds, but overall its been proven that there actually is no difference, just the language itself. And you will always have a few weaknesses here and there.
- Ultimately; it was because everywhere you went there was large amounts of biasedness - even on this wikia and wikipedia. No one wanted to talk about them unless it was in passing name. Heck, I saw them complied onto one page here when I first looked them up.
There was never one single factor behind this and even Crypton's excuse "it was their brittish accent" on the first 3 Vocaloids doesn't hide the fact that the majority of Vocaloid fans are only in this for the Japanese side of Vocaloid. Nor that people are now BUYING them more then they used to DESPITE the Brittish accent. So while that excuse stood for their inital failure, it doesn't stand as an excuse anymore, the English Vocaloids ARE becoming more popular and ARE slowly increasing in usage as time goes by.
Miku will no doubt bring in much sales for the english side of Vocaloid, but the groundwork that she will milk is already there in place, people have founded a place for english vocaloids thus far without her. Its a small foundation right now, but even if we don't get her, its growing already. All you had to do was take away the attention from a biased direction and give out information that had been ignored for so long and suddenly, gasp, there is the things people didn't know, or didn't want to admit, not just about the engloids but ALL non-Crypton Vocaloids.
Lets get this straight, at this point there is NO DOUBT Crypton has the chunk of the Vocaloid fandom and NO DOUBT that Crypton is making the most out of this finically. So if it seems like I'm being negative, don't worry because my words will not change a thing about how successful Crypton is.
Crypton is excelling at selling their Vocaloids, but one can't but notice the market is getting a little crowded. This is most important to note because we're about to get the forementioned Miku English "project; Mikucash" and you get the idea by that name alone why their doing it. Their hoping to cash in on the english vocaloids slow take off and get their Vocaloids in before the other english vocaloids get more popular while at the same time buffering their hold on Vocaloid.
The trouble is this, when they were the only game in town, there was no one to compare to. But now there is Vocaloids like Internet Co.,Ltd's are growing in popularity. In fact, roughly about June-August time, I got a report saying Gackpoid had overtaken Meiko's populurity and to "watch Crypton's reaction because they properly are aware of this". To the stark amazement a few months ago, as someone tipped me off on it, we had a Kaito and Meiko "append" idea put out. That means Crypton properly were reacting to the pressure of living the Vocaloid dream.
Listen kiddies, just because a company starts up a market (radio, television, automobiles, etc for exmaple) doesn't mean they get to keep it. In fact throughout history, part of the natural cycle of progress has ALWAYS been whoever makes the market later gets out done when someone comes up with something better. Crypton is fighting to keep the market they made, their far from being in trouble, but they have to keep on expanding their hold and look for new sources of money to not loose their hold. I've already seen one cases where Yamaha didn't play favorites and pointed to Ah Software when a group of Producers wanted to make their own project. And at the end of the day, Yamaha is only interested in the money Vocaloid brings for their company, it doesn't matter who is making the Vocaloid, they get something out of this too.
But while Crypton is the head of Vocaloid developement, time is ticking and the other companies are knuckling down and making better Vocaloids. And there is one more important thing which I point out, they can't rely on Miku forever. Sooner or later, people will get fed up with Hatsune Miku though thats a LONG way off right now. Take note, Crypton HASN'T seen the same effect with their other Vocaloids as they had with Miku. Thats not to say they were not popular, because Meiko was only JUST beaten by Gackpoid in June-August time. But everything Crypton is doing right now is to establish a more solid finical grounds on, so they stay up top and don't crumble.
As for how long they pull it off, they might never crumble for all we know, but notice how they've been trying to produce better quality Vocaloids since the inital Kagamine problem? And their still not producing the best even now, though their being forced to be better then they were. If they produced Miku now? Her quality is only about "average" for current voicebank standards as it is, but we don't know because she was the one who set it off, without her none of this we have now would be in place.
BTW notice that we hear about these Vocaloid snips long before we see them? This is the studio keeping us interested. Note how though Miku Append had demos released long before the release, the Kagamine's had their known for a lot longer. This is a little techinque to keep the fans eyes on the voices and off the eyes of others voicebanks. Crypton isn't just guilty of this, both PowerFX and Zero-G have done this same technique sort of too.
The future of Vocaloid?
Well halfway through this year Vocaloid3 became a subject of talk. Its a long way off and there is still time to get your points across about what you want about the english Vocaloids via the wikias link on the main page or that one.
BTW, yeah its for the english Vocaloids. But you know what... Its something you can impact. You won't get your thoughts across on the Japanese Vocaloids I doubt but at least you can suggest areas of improvement for Vocaloid. Isn't that at least something? That YOUR thoughts will help Vocaloid 3's english side of things?
Come on guys, get it out and be said, what do you want improved about the Vocaloid engine itself? :-D
And aside from Vocaloid 3, we've STILL not heard a dicky bird on what PowerFX is up to, we know that Zero-G is producing a high pitched Vocaloid, they told us long before they released any press information about it. We also know we have a forementioned Producer based project coming from Ah software, we also know we have a Megpoid extend. VY2 has also been mentioned, thats the "male" voice of the genderless, voiceless, imageless Vocaloid series. Kaito and Meiko have their update coming along with Kaito news cropping out of the works. Vocaloid is currently at a grand stride and theres what... If you discount the Appends and count the Kagamines as 1 product (which they are) there are currently 23 different voices sampled and ready to buy. If you include ALL voicebanks, oh boy, 38 voicebanks (I think, my maths died as I started counting) are able to be bought currently.
And with the fact we've had so many releases this year, who knows what will pop up next year in Vocaloid?
I expect even more!
And I will not be looking forward to update the main news when the led up to christmas again... I was beginning to wonder if it would break my fingers. Every week we had a little bit more information given out. On some days, I was late reporting the info and when I reported it was the day another piece of info came out, so I was editing twice.
And lets hope theres not so much drama over art and music this year, that wasn't enjoyable for anyone to see at all.
Thanks for reading this report, thats it, all that left is to give out my thanks to everyone. But no one else wrote one as far as I'm aware of so I got to be one of the first to do such a report. I'm dyslexic, my gramma is poor and my spelling is bad and I'm disorginased. Maybe next year someone else with better skills at writing will produce a better report elsewhere? :-3
Oh and a big thanks to everyone who helped this hopeless one with her editing on the wikia and wikipedia. I owe you guys a lot! I must confess, the biggest thing is finding the nerve to edit when your on own. When I rewrote Wikipedia for instance, I had to put up with wikipedia's bot undoing my first line of edits (I hate bots sometimes...) because it mistook it for vandalism because the very first edit kicked out half the information (I replaced it with better information anyway). I wasn't happy I had to do the same for the UTAU page as well, because my skills as an editor are clumsey overall. But somehow we've gone from this to what we have now, and all it took was one person putting their foot down and saying they'll change the page!
But me and wikipedia have a history of hate together and I've still not forgiven it for its efforts over 5 or so years ago when it kicked the sand in the eyes of anime fans and told them they can't edit their pages anymore. Its what caused the migrantion to wikias int he first place, and quite honestly. Sooner or later, the same thing will happen again. When this comes, I'll be leaving it alone and the references will stop appearing on the page and it will be up to someone else to supply them. In the meantime, I'm thankful for editors there like Juhachi and ACSE who know the direction to take the page and keep it within the wikipedia guidelines.
I'm thankful to everyone at this wikia for the same reasons... I'm hoping this year things will be less focus on me, all I did was put the groundwork in place, so another can take over at a later date. I know how wiki systems work, someone will bigger ideas comes along and they take over the placement of the information. Hehee, been here more then once, with the One Piece wikia. And now they can live without me, I'm happy because all I have to do is log onto that wikia once a while to kick off the pages the trivia everyone insists on putting on a page that really isn't meant to be there.
Happy new year everyone, take care!
Keep Vocaloid-ing it! :-)