Hatsune Miku is the first installment in the Vocaloid2 Character Vocal Series released on August 31, 2007.  

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hatsune Miku (初音ミク) is the first installment in the Vocaloid2 Character Vocal Series released on August 31, 2007. The name of the title and the character of the software was chosen by combining Hatsu (初, First), Ne (音, Sound), and Miku (未来, Future). The data for the voice was created by actually sampling the voice of Saki Fujita, a Japanese voice actress. Unlike general purpose speech synthesizers, the software is tuned to create J-pop songs commonly heard in anime, but it is possible to create songs from other genres.
Nico Nico Douga played a fundamental role in the recognition and popularity of the software. Soon after the release of the software, users of Nico Nico Douga started posting videos with songs created by the software. According to Crypton, a popular video with a comically-altered Miku holding a leek, singing Ievan Polkka, presented multifarious possibilities of applying the software in multimedia content creation. As the recognition and popularity of the software grew, Nico Nico Douga became a place for collaborative content creation. Popular original songs written by a user would generate illustrations, animation in 2D and 3D, and remixes by other users. Other creators would show their unfinished work and ask for ideas.
On October 18, 2007, an Internet BBS website reported Hatsune Miku was suspected to be victim of censorship by Google and Yahoo!, since images of Miku did not show up on the image searches. Google and Yahoo denied any censorship on their part, blaming the missing images on a bug that does not only affect "Hatsune Miku" but other search keywords as well. Both companies expressed a willingness to fix the problem as soon as possible. Images of Miku were relisted on Yahoo on October 19, 2007.
A Hatsune Miku manga called Maker Hikōshiki Hatsune Mix began serialization in the Japanese manga magazine Comic Rush on November 26, 2007, published by Jive. The manga is drawn by Kei, the original character designer for Hatsune Miku. A second manga called Hachune Miku no Nichijō Roipara! drawn by Ontama began serialization in the manga magazine Comp Ace on December 26, 2007, published by Kadokawa Shoten.
The character's first appearance in an anime is in (Zoku) Sayonara Zetsubō Sensei, where she (and various other people and characters) try out to be the voice of Meru Otonashi. For online multi-player games, the Japanese version of PangYa started a campaign with Hatsune Miku on May 22, 2008 in which a player could purchase her outfit for one of the characters. Her first appearance in a video game is in 13-sai no Hello Work DS (13歳のハローワークDS?) for the Nintendo DS where she is included as one of the characters. Hatsune Miku was given a PlayStation Portable game called Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA that was released on July 2, 2009 by Sega. Hatsune Miku made a cameo appearance in the Lucky Star OVA in the form of Kagami's cosplay in her dream. She made a vocal appearance in the finale ending theme of the anime Akikan!. Hatsune Miku received the 2008 Seiun Award in the free category. She is also a playable character in the game Tales of Graces as downloadable content for 400 Wii points.
On August 27, 2008, Victor Entertainment released the album Re:package which contains a collection of songs performed by Hatsune Miku and composed by a pair of dōjin artists named Livetune. The album sold over 20,000 copies in its first week and successfully broke into Oricon's charts by placing fifth for the week. Following up with the success of Re:package, Victor Entertainment released Livetune's second Hatsune Miku album, Re:MIKUS, on March 25, 2009, which contains many remixed versions of original songs from various original music artists, such as Supercell and kz of Livetune. It also contains four more original songs sung by Hatsune Miku, which again were made by original dōjin artists.
As a virtual idol, Hatsune Miku performed a "live" concert during Animelo Summer Live on August 23, 2009 and at Anime Festival Asia (AFA), Singapore in 2009. In addition, singer Gackt performed alongside Miku.
In late November 2009, a petition was launched in order to get a custom made Hatsune Miku aluminum plate (8 cm x 12 cm, 3.1" x 4.7") made that will be used as a balancing weight for the Japanese Venus spacecraft explorer Akatsuki which will be launched in summer 2010. Started by Hatsune Miku fan Sumio Morioka that goes by chodenzi-P, this project has received the backing of Dr. Seiichi Sakamoto of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. On December 22, 2009, the petition exceeded the needed 10,000 signatures necessary to have the plates made. An original deadline of December 20, 2009 had been set to send in the petition, but due to a couple of delays in the Akatsuki project, a new deadline of January 6, 2010 was set; by this deadline, over 14,000 signatures had been received.

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