On the subject of Japanese UTAU fame/popularity

Posting this here rather than Tumblr because w/out context, Tumblr tends to run away with things, also it’s very tldr-y so yeah.

There was a question posed on Twitter earlier today that caught my attention, on why overseas UTAU users appear to more strongly support and use Japanese UTAU, rather than overseas users focusing on UTAU from their own countries. I attempted to explain a bit of why I think this is the case, but in being limited to 140 characters and typing on a mobile device, I don’t think my point came across as clear as it could have.

I believe Japanese UTAU are caught in a bit of an odd paradox in the point of view of the overseas community; they are simultaneously treated as almost a standard for the software (with UTAU originating in Japan), but also as a bit of a novelty for being outside of the English-speaking community. I also believe both of these outlooks are internalized within most of the fandom, even in those who have moved past the 2009-2011 belief that everything Japanese is inherently better (to quote Misha in this case).

(I’m also not pretending that doesn’t happen in this year of 2016. Because it does. Lord help us.)

For one, we treat Japanese UTAU a lot more like voice synthesizers were likely meant to be treated. Or, I hate to say it, we treat them a lot more like Vocaloids; as in, voices with faces, rather than people’s OCs or extensions of themselves. And I think a lot of this is due to language barriers.

Overseas users are simply not noticing or understanding Japanese UTAU discussion on the personal level. For instance, when a Japanese UTAU tweet catches an oversea user’s eye, it’s usually because it contains technical terms we already know: voicebank update? Resampler? Renzoku/CVVC/etc.? Tuning? That is the type of Japanese UTAU commentary I see most aggressively translated and distributed among the overseas community.

I believe we are missing a HUGE CHUNK of Japanese UTAU discourse because of it; we see when we all tweet affectionate, personal things about our own or each other’s UTAU because it takes no effort to actively translate the messages! This certainly helps to distance UTAU from their voicers. Who’s to say that many Japanese users don’t refer to their own creations as their “daughter” or their “OC” or whatever else? We just don’t notice it as much. This attitude is also fueled by the fact that many of the best quality Japanese voicebanks are produced by voicers who do not as actively use them beyond demos. Which leads me into my next point…

The popular voicebanks mentioned on Twitter earlier (Nyui, Merry, Renri, Lt, Meiji, so on so forth) became only moderately noticed initially for their wonderful quality or uniqueness, but they really took off after a highly skilled tuner used them. This is a no-brainer; in being Japanese, UTAU naturally has a huge presence on Nico > we all use Nico because we use UTAU > we all DEFINITELY notice Nico videos with a bajillion and a half views. No mystery there.

Then BAM: the fad starts. An amazing, versatile UTAU with hundreds of thousands of fans already? People want to be The First to use them on covers, or The Best to use them at all. The impersonal nature we apply to Japanese UTAU definitely helps this spread; they’re yours to use as a tool to break into the fandom with ZERO connotations of fandom history or user/voicer. There’s no sense of prior possession or attachment that might put off a potential user (again, I don’t think this is a thing that happens consciously).

Then it gets to the point where overseas UTAU voicers start mimicking these popular voicebanks in recording (for better or for worse) and the fandom becomes oversaturated with the same thing, and the popularity and novelty slowly fades off until someone/something new comes along. It’s a repeating cycle.

I’m not saying that the “Japanese Is Superior” attitude isn’t a contributing factor, I just think it’s a less conscious attitude as it used to be and isn’t the sole reason. It’s a lot more complex than active weeabooism.

A formal request to the UTAU community

As an UTAU user and UST maker, may I please ask for just a little respect?

If your first or only comment on something I’ve made is asking for the UST file, or even worse DEMANDING it, that really makes me want to release it even less. I put out USTs as a fun thing to see how people use them, but that’s not the sole reason I use UTAU. To be treated like that’s my only purpose for existing within this fandom is really quite depressing.

Please, think before you comment. Expressing that you want or like the UST is fine but don’t make it the only thing you comment about. It’s incredibly rude and makes UST makers like myself think that the only reason you care about our work is for your own selfish gain. And well, maybe it is… but do you really want to be seen that way?

That is all I have to say.

New URL and v_flower!

This site can now be reached at kikyuune.utau.xyz! That’s right, .xyz is a brand new domain extension, and well, I really couldn’t say no to snagging utau.xyz. There will be a new Project UTAU XYZ website coming soon, so look forward to it!

Also, I’m pleased to say that I now have v_flower! I’ve finished my first cover with her! She’s a fantastic Vocaloid and certainly my favorite of the V3 series, and I plan to use her a LOT more in the future.