Life Lessons: Hatsune Miku on The Late Show and OG’s Vocaloid Fascination

So it finally happened on October 8th, 2014. Hatsune Miku’s American network television debut. It took place on The Late Show With David Letterman. I’m here it was to discuss how the show and performance went along with sharing my own thoughts on the Vocaloid software series.

Hatsune Miku

The performance itself: “Share the World”. It’s a song about how the Vocaloidians helped make Mikumania the Japanese juggernaut it is today. Personally I hope they will also help Vocaloid at least become a bigger “trend” than just niche in the West.

Ignore the red text if you want to get to Miku.

The Late Show Banner

Before discussing the performance a little rundown of the show that night. The show’s guests were Anderson Cooper talking mostly about Ebola, Isis and David asking how worried should Americans be over both of these and some other stuff. Then it was Gina Rodrigues talking about herself and how she uses fear to motivate herself every day. David became entranced when she mentioned going skydiving once. Gina’s biggest fear involves being strapped. She also promoted Jane the Virgin.

Personally I think Letterman is at his best while interviewing guests. His standup-warmup is weak, below Jimmy Fallon’s. My fav talk show hosts are Jon Stewart, Steve Colbert, Conan O’ Brien and Craig Ferguson. I look forward to seeing what Colbert will bring to The Late Show when he’s eventually passed the torch sometime in 2015.

Alrighty. Time for the main event.

When I tuned in the news broadcast ended with the woman referencing tonight’s Late Show guests being Anderson Cooper and a musical performance by Hatsune Miku (Hatsoone Mikuw). On the show itself David didn’t mention her at all until it was her turn to take the stage. This is how David introduced her.

Miku on stage

“Thank you very much and here we go! Oh boy…Now listen to me. Our next guest is a computer generated Vocaloid personality from Japan and she is here in support of her expo in New York and Los Angeles. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, making her network television debut, Hatsune Miku (Haht-Suhnei Mikoo, is how David pronounced it.)”

Miku waving to the crowdDavid waving back to MikuMiku using Vanish

Dave’s reaction after the song and greeting Miku:

“Hatsune Miku ladies and gentlemen! Thank you. Okay. There she is. Alright that’s fine. (Miku then uses Sheik’s Vanish technique). It’s like being on Willie Nelson’s bus.”

Basically it went as well as I had hoped.

She was basically treated like a person in their first rodeo and because this was her American network television debut (along with her first exposure to mainstream Western soil was being the opening act for a Lady Gaga concert), it made sense. She’s basically starting all over again in expanding her Western audience beyond only animeniacs.

Love Live Season 2

My personal liking for Miku and everything else Vocaloid is similar to my liking of Love Live. I really like both but my knowledge of each series is limited. If one were to ask me what is my favorite μ’s song or what is my favorite Vocaloid song and by who…I would have no idea. My knowledge of LL goes as far as the 2 season and 1 movie anime series and Vocaloid I only know some of the characters. It wasn’t till recently I learned there was an  young adult male Vocaloid and a sexy young adult female named Meiko. My fascination with Vocaloid, and almost every other Japanese song in existence, is not for the lyrics but in the rhythm and the way the singers perform the songs. I am content with seeing the Vocaloids sing, dance, listening to the music and being totally lost in their magical performances.

I first discovered Miku and everything else Vocaloid after I stumbled upon her rendition of “Ievan Polka”. Again I didn’t understand a word but the rhythm and her singing were what drew me in. I think the second song I’m aware of and greatly enjoy is The Black Rock Shooter theme. I’ve also played some doujin games the Vocaloids appeared in such as Mikuman X.

Miku on stage 2

This goes back to Miku’s Late Show performance of “Share the World”. I barely understood anything but I still greatly enjoyed it. What also made it special was that I intentionally went to my mom’s room as she was reading the bible before going to bed and we both saw the performance. Mom simply watched with confused eyes and asked the following: “Why do you like these dolls?”. I answered her by saying that I could not explain why I liked them. I just do. She watched the rest of the song and understood my response as the life lesson I am about to give.

Lady Gaga

Enjoying Vocaloid is as much of an acquired taste as for example, auto-tune, Lady Gaga, country rock, Flo-Rida, boy bands or indie bands. Each person on this planet has their own tastes in music and everything else. Whether newcomers who you introduce to something they have never heard of before will understand and like it, such as Vocaloid songs, depends on how open-minded the person is and their own personal tastes. My parents for example enjoy old school music from the 50’s to early 90’s. So do I but I expanded my tastes with some rap, a little bit of hip-hop and most of all, anime music. It is, however, not right to misjudge people for the type of music or media they enjoy. While I am guilty of sometimes doing so I do my best to correct that mistake and not repeat it. These days I mostly question pessimists but that’s another topic.

For an interesting look and analysis of Vocaloid lyrics check out yet another awesome editorial by Deluscar’s King Kai:

Also here’s a video explaining more about the phenomenon that is Miku Hatsune and the entire Vocaloid series.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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13 Responses to Life Lessons: Hatsune Miku on The Late Show and OG’s Vocaloid Fascination

  1. The thing I find the most interesting about the whole Vocaloids thing is the fact that it is pretty much all user created content. Everything is create by the fans and anyone can go create whatever they want. Black Rock Shooter was what got me interested and more so when I discovered that the whole things started out as a Miku fanart by HUKE that Supercell later created a song for. This ended up turning not only into the series, but also Supercell’s career pretty much exploded and now had their own label with Sony. Reading over the events showed how simple fandom can become so much more. This is all because Crypton decided to allow people to decide who Miku was instead of stopping people from using their imagination. Many don’t realize this aspect of the whole Vocaloids fandom so don’t consider just what is going on and how wonderful it really is. Most won’t think much of her and don’t understand, but when you break it all down it is an interesting look into how fandom has evolved to the point it is at to this day.

    Well that is enough out of me.


    • Overlord-G says:

      Mikumania is running wild and I’m loving it. Funny how a series led by a girl wearing a silver sleeveless shirt, long green hair and having a reality defying leek paved the way for a (hopefully) quickly evolving global phenomenon.
      The history behing the Vocaloid series and its fanbase is certainly an interesting. So interesting in fact that I don’t mind that there is yet to be a Vocaloid, because it doesn’t need one. Besides, making them a free product with no established storyline to work off of fans are free to write their own storylines for them…the same goes for the BRS illustration art. It is thanks to that that Miku X Luca continues blessing my monitor from time to time.


  2. Silvachief says:

    While i’m not a huge fan of Vocaloid music (there are a few songs i’ve found that i’ve liked but in general they’re not my sort of thing), I think the idea behind it is awesome. I find the concept of projecting an entirely digital 3D singer onto a screen and holding a concert with digitally generated music is fantastic.

    Having said that, I don’t think Miku’s first two mainstream introductions to the Western world have been particularly well handled. I can imagine the people watching not being aware of exactly what goes into a Miku performance, and with Lady Gaga I bet there were people thinking something along the lines of “why the hell is there some random Japanese person singing at my Lady Gaga concert?”. That’s not to say I have the answer or how to introduce Vocaloid to the West, though, just that I think a bit more thought should be put into it. It would be nice to see some of the other characters in the spotlight as well.


  3. Kai says:

    “It wasn’t till recently I learned there was an young adult male Vocaloid and a sexy young adult female named Meiko.”
    You will be surprised by just how many are there. One of the reason it is hard for me to get into Vocaloids at all first is because of the sheer amount of it’s content – whether or not it is the large amount of songs or the characters, with a separate history and basis for each design. There are even Utau models too, lol.

    I just watched her performance on The Late Show and actually quite like it myself. Though Miku sounds weird in Engrish.. as she always had been…


    • Overlord-G says:

      I don’t know the content of the entire cast myself. I didn’t even know an American Vocaloid existed until recently also. I’ll stick with the more popular Vocaloids, specifically the ones who get yuri exposure.

      I’ve always had difficulty understanding Miku’s words. I don’t even know if she’s ever said “watashi” once. That’s how hard of a time I have understanding her but again the lyrics are not why I like Vocaloid songs. Even if they’re well written songs I wouldn’t notice them.


  4. r0nkun says:

    Damn, I wanted an awkward Janglish interview. Partly to educate people about vocaloids, but mostly for my amusement. Went about as expected though. I can rant on about western society, but I won’t.


    • Overlord-G says:

      It’s wise not to. It’s better to rant about the mainstream’s lack of good taste.


    • Cyan says:

      Ahaha, I was expecting an interview too, but it’s nice to know that at least it went well. It’s a long trip for the whole western culture to accept something like this.
      I hope one day I get to join the crowd and rock out with Miku and the rest of the vocaloids, I think it would be fun.


  5. SilverFox says:

    I was able to watch her performance on youtube. Not the best quality but it was enjoyable. Dave looked a little baffled about her but that’s what happens when he deals with physical, not hologram, people all the time. Maybe he should have done more prepwork on having a Japanese hologram idol on his stage beforehand so he wouldn’t look like he was dazed, at least that’s what he looked like to me after he said her name.


    • Overlord-G says:

      Most of us expected him to get “weirded” out by the experience bu he at least tried to be professional. In any case Miku rocked the house down and gave his YT page a nice view boost.


  6. yurimylove says:

    hey you know what, i like Vocaloid just the same way too! I don’t collect Miku songs or anything, but sometimes I’d watch YouTube clips of her songs and enjoy the vastly different styles of animations that go with them. I watched her Letterman performance on YouTube as well. Beside the BRS song, amongst other things, i also quite like her “summer festival”/natsu matsuri song which was used as one of WataMote’s episode ED.


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