(NOTE: I received a copy of this book via NetGalley)
Though “Virtual Pop Star” Hatsune Miku (and the Vocaloid voice synthesizer in general) may not be widely known in the USA, the singing voice synthesizer with a groovy anime look has a huge fanbase, with manga (Maker Hikōshiki Hatsune Mix, Hatsune Miku: Unofficial Hatsune Mix), games, anime, and of course tons of YouTube music videos. With a performance on Late Night With David Letterman scheduled for October, I’m betting more folks will get bit by the bug. So why not take a look at the latest offering from UDON Entertainment, a collection of “tribute art” (aka fan created pieces), comics and more? Gotta say that HMGVC&A2 packs a whole lot of stuff in a little over 100 pages. Perfect for people who’d like to take a look at all the fuss.
Thoughts: To be honest, I hadn’t heard much about Hatsune Miku before I looked at this book. Sure, I’d seen her image at conventions, but hadn’t thought much about the fandom. There’s already a ton of anime and manga on my plate, yada yada. But this is manga eye-candy at it’s best y’all. No matter what style you’re into, there’s bound to be someone who has plopped Hatsune into it. And with each artist comes a very brief — think Twitter-worthy — thank you and “why this matters to me” tidbit. And also, there are webpage links to check out for folks who like a particular artist.
Fine. A few of my absolute favorites here? meola’s (yes, the m is lower case) gorgeous work that looks like Pollock got his hands on some manga. Nagimiso, who draws a more mature Hatsune Miku. Arisaka Ako, whose Vocaloids remind me of Black Butler. Hakone, whose colors are soft and shaded. Milo, and the “just so crazy it works” Busby Berkley style.
And that’s just the first half of the book. There’s extras, tons of character-specific pages, and even a few comics at the end. I’m guessing this is just the start of a full-on manga (and maybe anime?) rollout. Though I’m hoping Western dub-y musicians will start sampling her tunes; that’d be cool.
Nutshell: HMGVC&A2 is like a book of fannishness, with ways to contact/get more stuff IRL from the featured artists. Gorgeous high-quality artwork, and lots of information on on the fandom as well as Hatsune “herself”. This book has me wanting to add a Hatsune Miku playlist to my Spotify. Banzai!