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.

Engloids!

Due to the fact that they will be retired very soon, I went ahead and bought all 3 Zero-G Vocaloid1 voices: LOLA, LEON and MIRIAM! (Many thanks to Aërendyll for helping get LOLA)

I’ve already posted my first work with MIRIAM so far, a cover of “Barrier” by MJQ + Eri, and I hope to use all 3 of them for many projects in the future!

Also, yes, this means I have a proper PC! I’ll be reinstalling Big Al and the V3 Full Editor at the first chance I get, though I’m going to attempt to get Yukari working on Mac with Cubase.

Updates~

Wow, haven’t posted in a while. I’ve actually been more active over at my UTAU/Vocaloid tumblr so if you’d like to catch up, check that. I’ll be updating (or possibly moving) this blog very soon.

Some stuff to look forward to:

• Kikyuune Akihiko oto.ini update
• Kikyuune Aiko V.5 CV “RockLoud” release
• Kikyuune Akiko V.1 release
• shiny new website/blog thing

Birthdayyy~

I turned 21 today, meaning I’m now legal to drink alcohol in the US! HUZZAH!

Didn’t do much for my birthday other than hanging out with friends, though. We watched Harry Potter 7 (Part 2) since they were showing it on campus as a special event, then we went to a local Japanese restaurant (Tomo) for dinner.

I had una-don and shittake mushroom soup, and with that, my first drink being legal: hana-awaka sake (a sparkling sweet-flavored sake). And finally, red-bean mochi ice cream for dessert. It was delicious~

Thanks so much to everyone who did art presents, I’ll be sure to use the Aiko pics in videos at some point! ;u; It really means a lot to me. m(_ _)m

GladiatorBros

RyouKurosawa

MewKwota

Reicheru-Hochikone

Skeyi

CPninjagrrl

Teto in Project Diva

That’s right, Kasane Teto, practically the figurehead of the UTAU fandom, will be in Project Diva as a playable character!

I figured I’d go ahead and share my thoughts and feelings on this, though I’ve yet to play any of the PD games (not for lack of wanting) since they’re pretty mixed. On one hand, I’m super excited for Project Twindrill and Teto for being included in this, on the other… well, continue reading.

This event pretty much solidifies Crypton’s support of UTAU, and of Teto, which is both good and bad. If you’re wondering the negative repercussions, just look at people’s reaction after Crypton/KarenT posted news of the Graduation from Lie CD: “OMG! TETO-CHAN IS VOCALOID NOW?!?!!!”

When that’s completely not the case. And it won’t be until certain things come to pass, if they ever do.

Teto, unlike other fanmades recognized by Crypton, has her own voice used in a software SEPARATE from Vocaloid itself. Her counterparts Haku and Neru, as well as Sakine Meiko, Hachune, and Tako Luka, lack “officially set” voices or Vocaloid voicebanks, and are merely character derivatives of existing Crypton series Vocaloids. Haku and Neru are typically Miku (or Rin, in Neru’s case) voice-edits (if they have a voice at all), and the other three are easy enough to guess.

Teto is different in that she is an UTAU, but her IMAGE (design, art, etc.) is not by default connected to the UTAU software in any way. Ameya, the programmer of the UTAU software, does not “own” her image. Twindrill, the team that develops her voicebanks, owns her image and apparently has either collaborated or has licensed it to Sega/Crypton for Project Diva. Does this make her a Vocaloid?

NO.

Teto’s voicebank is still UTAU-only. Until she gets a commercially developed voicebank for the Vocaloid synthesizing engine, she will REMAIN as such. It is only her image that is connected to Crypton through both Project Diva and KarenT, her voice remains useable in freeware. Vocaloid is its own software, therefore calling Teto a Vocaloid because her image is being used in a Vocaloid game is like calling Mario a Pokemon because he was in Super Smash Bros. with Pikachu and Lucario.

Now, facts aside, this honestly has me a little worried. I don’t think Twindrill plans at all to have Teto become a Vocaloid (as in commercial voicebank using Yamaha’s engine and all), nor do I think that she could easily become one at all, considering a legal mess it would create for copyright of Oyamano Mayo’s voice (she’s Teto’s voice source). But it sure opens the door for a lot of fandumb and makes  me a bit apprehensive. It’s quite an accomplishment for a character related to the UTAU freeware, but I’m just not so sure I’m ready to accept a Teto contracted in any way to Crypton just yet. Call me a stick in the mud or a purist or a hipster, but it feels really, really weird to see this happening.

tl;dr – Teto’s still not a Vocaloid yet, get the fuck over it.

Matryoshka Duet + Aiko’s Age…?

Trying to get back into the habit of posting covers I find including Aiko and/or Akio! ;n;

Thanks so much to Myokuju for using her in a duet with Blueloid!

Also, I have for a while been considering removing Aiko’s age from her “official” profile. Her voice is certainly not the typical voice of a 15-year-old, no matter how “tomboyish” Aiko might be. I’m now considering leaving her age completely to fan interpretation. If you consider her 15, you can continue to consider her to be 15 (I think I might xD) but it won’t in any way be “official.”

HOWEVER THIS IS NOT YET IN EFFECT!

The terms on Aiko’s bank, limiting her use in pornographic art and/or songs with explicit lyrics are still applicable. However, once I “complete” her RockLoud, PopMellow and BalladSoft voicebanks (I use that term lightly, as I’ll still develop her afterwards) she will cease to have these limitations and will be released to the public moreso as a freeware instrument (as UTAU was originally intented) than a character.

However I won’t stop making art or other character-related things! She’s still a character to me, I’d just not wish to hinder her use in music as much as she has been, and I think the age thing has held her back in that a little. I continually find people requesting my permission to use her for songs that I don’t think are inappropriate in any way and I have a feeling that’s simply because of her lengthy Terms of Use.

Mikunopolis

Being in Tennessee, I wasn’t able to attend the Mikunopolis concert in LA, but thanks to my friend Hentai/Ario I was able to obtain a digital ticket to view it on Nico Live.

THAT. WAS. SO. AMAZING.

ASKDFKGLKALS

Hnghgnhn I can’t get over how pretty the model was this time around… and the outfits were ten thousand times better than the ones from the 39 Giving Day concert… Saihate and Anti the Infinite Holic were my absolute favorites ;A;

The arrangements were stunning too. The strings section playing with the slap bass in “Popipo” made the song just so much more enjoyable for me… actually I think I was a little fixated on the bassist ;n; I looove slap bass.

I only wish there had been more Luka and the twins, but meh, considering the concert was cut down to a mere hour and thirty minutes from the 2-3 hour epic that 39’s was…

Also, Crypton, I see what u did thar. Demoing Miku’s English bank all over the place. I hope you guys still plan to touch it up a bit though, she was really hard to understand with that accent xD Even moreso than Luka, and that’s saying a lot.

Looking forward to the Blu-ray 8’D