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Hmm... Miku/Vocaloid?

Last posted Jun 27, 2009 at 04:07PM EDT. Added Jun 20, 2009 at 12:04PM EDT
10 posts from 5 users

Is Hatsune Miku a meme? I’ve seen her absolutely everywhere, doing all sorts of things. We’ve got Yotsuba on here, and -chans like Creepy Chan, things I didn’t previously consider strictly memetic. Googling “miku” gives endless results.

I get the feeling this one rather walks the line between Japanophile sensation and meme. Knowing the average Otaku, though, it’s a safe bet that her popularity spawned over the internets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatsune_Miku#Hatsune_Miku

Jun 20, 2009 at 12:04PM EDT
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Hmmm… Well, Mr W. Shoopkins, I am leaning towards no. From what I saw, all the results from my google search were Miku Fan Clubs and the like. If there are parodies, mutations, or any other memetic derivatives then she’s a meme. Sadly, my image search only came up with pictures from Vocaloid or fanart. If you find some stuff that you think are meme-like mutations of Miku, post them here. I’d enjoy being wrong about this, but I don’t think she’s a meme.

Jun 20, 2009 at 01:19PM EDT
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I can see that. In any case, there a million Youtube videos of popular geek material mutated through Miku, which I found quite entertaining, not to mention adorable. If the Mario Paint Composer remixes are considered a form of meme (I’m not sure if they are), then I suppose Vocaloid remixes would count, as well.

Here’s a few of the videos I came across while researching on Youtube. Check the related content, there’s tons of stuff.

Hatsune Miku sings:

THIS IS SPARTAAA!!”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTtifcooH58
Still Alive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12b6Om758Q (Uh, there’s a link at the bottom, for some reason this is broken)
Levan Polkka: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbbA9BhCTko
Caramellodansen Remix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmVZTEIabgg
Fly Me to the Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUpIjWAWDuQ
Angry Video Game Nerd theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DTejtOPE1o
Pokemon Red & Blue theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DTejtOPE1o
FF4’s ‘Within the Giant’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vjux8nupR9w
The Mario theme song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfSnrozj4iI
An NES medley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkcjJNgWTr8
Castlevania 2 medley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7LjhRR
vxs (This one broke, too, fine at the bottom.)
Legend of Zelda medley (sounds stranger than most): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JN-o4uNdIT8
Megaman 2 – Wily Stage 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sa7QcxxSnE
A portion of Megaman 3, complete with sound effects: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yIao9fr1BQ
Sonic medley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuF28Dqcwec

As for the actual character, I’ve got a feeling she’s all over the place in Japanese websites and forums, but I don’t know where to start, as I’m unfamiliar with the territory altogether.

These videos hint at a bigger picture in memedom on the Eastern front, though they’re pretty inconclusive on their own:

“Hatsune Miku Parody” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojwrqHTSYw4
Hatsune Miku vs. Nico Nico Douga – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXsrRLT2ijs

And a small documentary on the whole phenomenon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBZOlipfjkQ

If anyone knows the final boss of the internet that is Japanese websites, I’d appreciate some research into the matter.

EDIT: Still Alive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_12b6Om758Q

Castlevania 2 Medley – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7LjhRR_vxs

EDIT EDIT: Further research yielded more conventional memage.

Umbrella feat. Hatsune Miku: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H54pdkB2bkU
We Will Rock You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9496NyP-c4
Don’t Worry, Be Happy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MRFh3eX1nU
Miku dancing in Smooth Criminal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu18cpBGczo
Miku Dancing the Billie Jean dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7934elDPjbI
The Matrix Reloaded Agent Smith Clone Fight Scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjCFH4TTJRA (Fast forward to 4:50 unless you really like Japanese dialogue)
Sumo wrestler Miku: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA2KG2M-h1I (?)
Miku in… Er… Some wrestling game that’s really popular in Japan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWmdzUcyJA8
I’m not even sure what to make of this one, I WTF’d the whole time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKstpZ-JFSc – But this is just a reminder of the possible meme status of Vocaloid in Japan.

Miku singing Phantom of the Opera: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPmAFyoGO50
Miku singing I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6m2NzdN7o0
Miku singing Heaven is a Place on Earth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HATpOha7DFg
Miku and friends sing Pachelbel’s Canon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COfSoBHE2Xk

An original song based on Yukkuri Shitiette Ne: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k7ERlE96PA&
A collection of national anthems: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muPQ7hwEYvk
Kirby Green Greens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-IXZGQ1i-U
Bananarama’s Love in the First Degree: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZa2qNUptHY

Well this one is ultrawin. Miku Astley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_tBou4juBs

I will edit this post to put in new videos. For the sake of research completeness, this may become a rather long list.

I think I’m done for now (combo breaker and whatnot). These are all the ones that stuck out to me in the last ~three hours. The amount of content on Youtube alone is rather staggering. I’m hesitant to call Miku a “meme”, strictly speaking, at this stage of research, but I think the Vocaloid project itself has caught on like wildfire, and been used for a wide variety of purposes. It’s up to you guys to make the call, though. What do you think?

Jun 20, 2009 at 08:15PM EDT
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Most of the material seems to come from a place called Nico Nico Douga, but I’ll be damned if I can sift through it. Google can translate pretty well, but I’m just lost.

Jun 20, 2009 at 09:56PM EDT
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Okay, okay, okay, that’s a lot o’ videos. At first I just thought of it as a Microsoft Sam type of gadget but all that stuff with her in it made me think differently. I can only speak for myself but I think she’s a meme. Vocaloid I’m still not sure about but hopefully another mod or two or some other users would drop by here and give their opinion on either or both.

Jun 21, 2009 at 09:46AM EDT
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Raw Japanese anime/fan culture is something I don’t think we’ve explored sufficiantly (anyone here speak Japanese?!)

Exploring stuff with Kenyatta the last week or two for a talk we gave about “foreign memes” at the recent Open Video Conference revealed some interesting themes in .jp internet culture:

a) a particular song being ‘the meme’ (e.g. “UN Owen Was Her?”, and “Get Down” to some extent)
b) hugely popular video game-based ‘memes’ (e.g. Touhou) -- people re-use the music, video game footage, or in Touhou’s case it spawned ASCII/Shift-JIS art which begat an anime drawing style which begat a whole joke about “big heads” (crazy)
c) videos like these Miku videos -- serious fandom
d) not to mention Anime Music Videos, themselves their own gigantic grouping of these things

I also can’t really figure out Nico, but I’ve been talking with some people who are. Keep you guys posted :)

Jun 21, 2009 at 11:15PM EDT
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Looking through all these Miku vids I’d say it’s worthy of an entry (w/ all this awesome documentation! great sleuthing)

The crossover with mainstream memespace kind of differentiates it from Microsoft Sam or the Mac “Bob” voice (which got used in Radiohead songs… but isn’t very internets).

It’s notable how much anime has been made around her, a big memetic signature in .jp (as far as I’m noticing -- e.g. Tay Zonday would’ve been turned into anime really quickly too)

Jun 21, 2009 at 11:24PM EDT
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Sweet. I’m looking forward to seeing Miku on this site. Unfortunately I’ll be away from the internets for a few weeks starting… Five minutes from now, so if anyone is jonesing to make the entry, I’m down with that.

Cheers, guys.

Jun 21, 2009 at 11:37PM EDT
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Well being a japanophile myself i could write the article on miku when i get home from work. There is so much material to cover, its going to be a very long article…

About nico nico douga: unlike youtube, you need to have an account to watch videos. There are english sites that walk you through registration, just search google.

Also note there is a commenting on videos feature. this can be turned off.

As for Miku, I would say this is bigger than a meme… It is part of Japanese pop culture.

Jun 24, 2009 at 03:52AM EDT
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Nico Nico Douga itself is a meme central, like 4chan and 2ch.
“As for Miku, I would say this is bigger than a meme… It is part of Japanese pop culture.” They played her music on the streets, and surveyed people about it. A well know news group did a 14 minute documentary[or maybe a little news segment?] on her creation. But if Miku is a meme, will AMVs, Nico Nico Medleys and such become memes?

Jun 27, 2009 at 04:07PM EDT
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Skeletor-sm

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