It…it’s not like I like you or anything! On the endless marketability of Hatsune MIku

As you can guess it, yet another Hatsune Miku figurine has been announced. That said, once again I start to wonder : why is the Diva so marketable?

Sakura Miku.

Her huge fanbase perhaps? And the fanbase alone is a paradox since it’s technically by the fans, for the fans. Sure, the big companies supply merchandise, but aren’t most Vocaloid songs done by fans of the franchise? Vocaloid, after all is a computer program and is generally available to most people, Miku included. So the fanbase in itself is an endless cycle – the fandom generates more material, which in turn generates more fans. So that’s reason number 1 for you : Hatsune Miku is a self-sustaining fandom.

That done, what about her character design? Surely, there must be a reason why there are so many different figurines of Miku. In fact, I dare say that we’ve seen almost one or two new figurines of her per month, for the past year. Let’s go through her character design :

  • Stage-performance clothing. Now, this is of course, predictable given the nature of the Vocaloid programs, so it isn’t exactly much to be amazed about – furthermore, we even have figurines from games like Idolmaster which have about the same kind of clothing.
  • Twintails. Oh come on, it’s not like we don’t have a fair amount of twintailed characters already.
  • Face design – No, sadly.

And since we established that design isn’t as big a factor, this brings us back to the first point – popularity.

The Vocaloid fanbase seems very absorbing. It takes these fans into itself, and using that, generates a franchise. Look at all the merchandise! All the shirts, all the badges, all the costumes, all the albums, all the CDs, all the videos, all the concerts! All of this over a computer program! Hatsune Miku and friends had transcended from being merely the mascots of computer programs into what seems to be a microcosm of reality – it’s almost as though they’re actually the divas and stars the fans seem to portray them as.

They even get creative, too! Look at all the art done, all the comics, all the canon. We even have characters making up new Vocaloids, such as the likes of Akita Neru or even ‘Sakura Miku’, both of which have had respectable popularity amongst the Vocaloid fanbase. What the Vocaloid franchise is best for, is in fact, its ability to sustain itself. Such is the nature of all fandoms – this need for self-sustainment, something the likes of Hatsune Miku seems to be doing just fine , so much so that it’s much better compared to the likes of other fandoms. It seems as though the fandom would never die out.

That said, it’s likely that no matter what happens, we’ll see countless reiterations of Miku , as figurines, with all sorts of varying designs and whatnot, and even used in more application. Remember all the figures based off Vocaloid songs, songs that weren’t created by Crypton, but by the fans themselves. It’s almost as though instead of Crypton being the face of the Vocaloid franchise, these fans shine greater under the spotlight.

P.S. For the lack of a better picture, it would appear that I have an on-off relationship with the franchise. Hence the title.

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37 Responses to It…it’s not like I like you or anything! On the endless marketability of Hatsune MIku

  1. afkeroge says:

    Not to mention that SEGA already have two games for them with a pretty PS3 add-on. I am a fan of Miku, myself and I’m loving the PSP game/s. Haha šŸ˜€

    • Valence says:

      I’m a fan of Vocaloids in general. I just wish they’d do a little more Gumi xD

      • hiroy_raind says:

        Same here.
        For some reason Gumi’s voice fits songs that are more Rock-kind compared to other vocaloid. Kinda funny since Megumi Nakajima herself rarely sings the kind of Gumi’s songs that got huge number of views on Niconico.
        (un)Fortunately, she was made by another company, which results in her lack of merchandises.

  2. Half of me is kind of waiting for a Vocaloid anime–it will have no plot, but it will do well because of all the fans who won’t even care as long as they can stare at Miku. And Kaito. I think he’s the most popular of the male Vocaloids, or at least he’s the name I see most often.

  3. Fabrice says:

    Never ending with this miku hey? ^^
    I think a new figure of her is released every year well since she first started.
    I dont mind Miku…okay i dont have any of her figures orz but i do like the music ^^

    Maybe its the way she is designed, hair, clothes etc ^^ = voice :3

    Sakura miku! ā¤

    • Valence says:

      Designs alone, as I have pointed out, doesn’t help too much in distinguishing her from the crowd, but perhaps it is this exact combinations of traits and colours that make people like her.

  4. hummerbob1 says:

    Twintails, leeks, and shimapan.
    Those 3 things alone are probably why so many people love Miku (me included ^^)

  5. radiant says:

    when I saw that new nendoroid miku, I was like “AWWW FUCK!!! D:”

    I agree that it and in of itself, the character elements are not all that unique. But it’s a certain “combination” of them that make it unique. Because of the repeated exposure, any green-haired, twin-tailed girl is “Miku” non-other. All these new variants coming out with completely different clothing designs, but still retain that same twin-tailed green hair. Her face hasn’t changed, no. But it’s that consistent feature that holds all the other elements together. It’s definitely deliberate that they didn’t change her face.

    What adds to it is that her design is clean, simple, and very easy to reproduce, yet still distinguishing enough. That ease opens an infinite number of creative possibilities for fan work and interpretation – just like her music.

    You could say that she’s a fairly blank canvas for experimentation and a creative launching pad.

    • Valence says:

      Her face is constant throughout, definitely, since that’s her character design. But with the idea of being an idol it is common for her figures to have her dressed up in alternative costumes aside from her usual Vocaloid outfit. Perhaps it is this face that made her so endearing.

      Vocaloid is kind of like photography. No-one knows what exactly you can achieve with it, but it allows us to experiment, and be creative.

  6. Sebz says:

    what’s disappointing is that it’s all miku Dx the other vocaloids aren’t given much justice. then again, the whole vocaloid fandom is shunned.

  7. Azure Hoshizora says:

    good marketing? And the Fanbase itself is somewhat self sustainable. Most of them contribute back by doing fan art or creating songs with vocaloid, it becomes a cycle.

    Honestly I shun vocaloid, though some of their songs are pretty decent, I can’t stand the odd robotic drone, so I only listen to the covers.
    I really like the designs of vocaloid characters though, but thats just me being biased cuz I like Kei Garou. And my favourite artists just keep drawing Miku…

    And I’m surprised you didn’t mention KagaMiku

    • Valence says:

      I was tempted to use a KagaMiku image instead, but something inside me told me not to.

      I don’t know, I kind of like the Vocaloids, despite how many people draw them. Problem with the fanbase , of course, is the quality of songs generated. Now, keep in mind that Vocaloids are a set of voice synthesizer programs , meant to imitate the human voice as closely as possible, hence the help from real people. Many, many songs though have this robotic, inhuman sound that starts to get jarring after a while. A minor problem, but still.

      • Azure Hoshizora says:

        The robotic drone is the thing that i can’t get over; particularly miku’s. And the song writers tend to make miku’s songs ear piercingly high pitched.

        And leeks. I never knew of that vegetable until vocaloid, lol.

        • Valence says:

          Actually, one more thing good about the fanbase are the covers. If you don’t like the song, chances are someone sang it and recorded it , posting it onto Nico Nico Douga. And most of the time the covers that we see transported over to YouTube are awesome =D

          • Azure Hoshizora says:

            Vocaloids seem to be getting pretty mainstream… or maybe they are, I don’t know; I keep seeing people drawing them in the drawing submission section of 逗号, and I kind of had the impression that only those Narutards and jump title fans submitted stuff there.

  8. feal87 says:

    It’s..It’s…not like my mahou shoujo are only a marketing procedure to increase view of my anime…>_<

    Seriously, everything is about merchandising unfortunately. šŸ˜›

    • Valence says:

      Makes aniblogging seem kind of futile and hollow, huh, Kyuubee?

      • feal87 says:

        Well, I do it for fun…not for conquering the world and saving the universe from entropy. So it’s all good I think. :]

        • feal87 says:

          Ah forgot to tell you, you were already in the new Rss aggregator Valence. šŸ˜€

          • Valence says:

            Oh. Oh, thanks , but the design needs work, if you know what I mean ^^

            • feal87 says:


              I prepared code + ajax live search + rss parser/searcher/importer in 2-3 hours between today and yesterday.

              I’m a little cute and good familiar, not an immortal Witch you know? šŸ˜€

              P.S. Yes, I know it need more style and functionalities, I’ll try to add them one by one over time. šŸ˜€

              • Valence says:

                I have no idea what you just told me, since my coding skills only range from html to basic C++. . . . . Ah well, good luck with the site.

  9. Nopy says:

    A self-sustaining fanbase is the best kind šŸ™‚

    I really think all you need is luck to create a phenomenon like Miku. If no one had created any cool or interesting videos of her, she would not have risen to stardom and instead have been left in obscurity.

    • Valence says:

      Indeed. Much like all the other vocaloids no-one heard of, such as the elementary schoolgirl vocaloid (?).

    • MkMiku says:

      As far as inital appeal goes, I think it has a lot to do with her design and the whole “singing idol” bit, but as Nopy mentioned, it’s really the fans who amplified her popularity.

  10. Pingback: Hatsune Miku, Humanoid Synthesizer Vocaloid « Simply Hobbyist

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