Hello, Bunai here
And this will be my first blog entry about Vocaloid ^_^. I am not much for using this feature for personal reasons (besides commenting), but I might as well give it a try.
The new avatars for PowerFX's Sweet Ann and Big Al, at least site wise. This comes as a bit of surprised for the English fandom, especially for Sweet Ann followers who have known her boxart since 2007, while Al is still fairly recent- released in 2009. My first thoughts on seeing them was "HA! WHAT!?" and "Is this a joke?".
- Sweet Ann (2011)
- While reading the VO forum, it seems Ann is getting the most compliments. The quotes "I like Sweet Ann's look more than Al's" comes up quite frequently. And I agree, Ann's appearance is quite lovely and she actually looks like many fanart I've seen over the years: Blonde, white dress, light skin, blue eyed etc. So I have no real issue with it based on first appearances.
- What does bug me is the lack of staples and stitches, something that is clearly associated with Ann. But giving her a golden choker is a nice substitute. I must say I preferred the artist, Ash's, fanwork of Ann. It kept with her original boxart while giving her a youthful womanly appearance.
- ...is that a ponytail and lacy thighhighs I see ...oooo
- Big Al (2011)
- My view on this one is playfully harsh. Now when the artist 'Ash' was hired to draw her version of Big Al, he was quite well received and PowerFX approved of the coloring and design. Ash incorporated the original 2007 design and gave an update by combining western and eastern (animeish) style. It worked because it stuck with familiarity of the character and PowerFX's theme. This new design however, is based on Ash's version yet clearly lacks the monster theme.
- Again as seen in the VO forum, Big Al'11 doesn't give the impression of a "Big" type, more like a "Tall" type. He is far more Cyber-professor meets Revolutionary Girl Utena, and the hair is definitely not fitting.
Overall / Thoughts
The designs are not bad (art wise) and I give my compliments to the artist (who ever they maybe), but I do wish they had stuck with the theme that the fandom associates with PFX Vocaloids. I am not sure what PowerFX was thinking though... they must be aware that there is an English fandom for English Vocaloids, despite the minority praise compared to the majority who fond over Crypton and the select few Japanese Vocaloids.
Sonika was the first English Vocaloid to experience a full visual makeover and that was met with very mixed reactions. I should know, as it took me a while to warm up to the Nov 2009 Sonika. There was something more innocent and popish about her original look. But the artist did take her original look into consideration and that was nice, but he also added much of his own.
The English fandom is confused as to why Al was updated along with Ann... I would guess it was for consistency in style, but still... just odd. This reminds me of the whole Miku Append ordeal; the Japanese fandom are as stuck on familiarity as other fans into Vocaloid. There was some protest over Miku's new mature look as well as voice. You could barely tread around for Miku Append without the occasional "not Miku anymore" comment popping up. But as time moves on people found something too like about her, and I am sure it will be that way for Ann'11 and Al'11.
Turns out the two new designs are for the Taiwan market no the Western or Japanese market. Still, why so drastic? Also, PowerFX uploading the images on their official site was just a bad move in itself, as there was no explanation for it, again similar to what happened with Sonika, no explanation for the new artwork, but it appear threw everyone into a tizzy. But as I mentioned, I have no strong issues with the designs, I just found them and the situation amusing.
The freak out by VO forum and a few Japanese fans was great. ^_^ Anyway, I guess we will welcome the Ann'11 and Al'11 as cousins.