40 days of fundraising and almost $4,000 USD later, we have a Vocaloid concert! And no, this isn’t Crypton Future Media, SEGA, 5bp, MARZA ANIMATION PLANET INC., or any other entity or production studio typically associated with Vocaloid concerts that put this show together. With enough continued momentum, Synthesized Reality Productions could very well be the go-to production studio for local Vocaloid concerts until it gains traction with the likes of larger conventions such as Anime Expo. Anyone who is a Vocaloid fan who knew about and/or was fortunate to attend the 2011 Mikunopolis event in Los Angeles would probably agree that seeing more of Miku, Luka, Rin and Len onstage here in the United States is something we really need to see more often, especially for the efforts put forth at this year’s Pacific Media Expo. Read on for my quick impression of the show and some photos of the concert.
I admit, I was spoiled by Mikunopolis in 2011. I went into that concert with no prior understanding of the Vocaloid franchise, and yet I walked out at the end of the show with a new interest in the subculture of it all. The songs, the artists that tirelessly craft those songs, and the illustrators who give life to these songs through visuals was an ecosystem I felt deserved so much more attention. After all, this system is how unsigned artists have gained recognition and profit for their work; how rewarding is that! So here I was, standing in a dark banquet hall somewhere in the Hilton Los Angeles Airport, wondering how in the world this show can measure up or even come anywhere close to a big production like Mikunopolis. After all, Pacific Media Expo is such a smaller-scale convention that isn’t as focused on anime and manga like Anime Expo is; what success could possibly amount from this hour of wondering whether Yume (the digitized performer pictured above and SRP’s mascot) would ever bring the original Vocaloids onstage with her?
Queue the blue lights. Ah, there she is! Hatsune Miku appears before us in a slightly different character model from what we’re probably used to seeing! Actually, she didn’t appear on stage until after some songs by GUMI (another fan favorite as of late from what I gathered by the crowd reactions that night). Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised at how the character models came out. SRP did a great job in using their own artistic style to bring these characters to PMX, and the choice of songs (at least from what I remember hearing) was entertaining.
After Luka, Rin and Len took to the stage (Remote Control featuring the Kagamine twins? Sweet!), Gumi also came back to sing a few more songs in different attire along with two backup dancers (that I’m not presently familiar with).
My favorite image of the event: Senbonzakura by Kurousa-P! Falling cherry blossom petals and Miku dressed in her Meiji Restoration-period outfit made for a wonderful capture that demonstrated SRP’s efforts to put on the Vocaloid concert. For a crowd-funded Vocaloid show, this one seemingly had great production values for the minimal financial backing its Kickstarter project earned. I’m really excited to see where Synthesized Reality Productions will take the franchise from hereon and hope they will continue to find the support needed to spread their work globally as they intend. For starters, there are obvious improvements like better motion capture, choreography, and a larger playlist, and I can only hope the characters’ routines become more fluid and consistent as the production company masters the tools they use to bring them to life. Their potential especially shows in instances like the Senbonzakura segment.
If Pacific Media Expo is defined by its very own name, then the unofficial Vocaloid concert held on Saturday in Los Angeles sure helped to prove that point. This is about a small production company making big efforts to make a huge impression on a focused group of convention-goers. And I really dig that. Are the musical and visual artists who helped create and bring life to these songs getting any sort of revenue stream for this concert? I’m not sure and that’s probably not any of my business. Are they getting recognition for their work? I sure hope so. At the bar that this production company set for a show like this, I can only expect them to get better and gain more popularity. Keep up the good work, PRS! Can you have Luka sing Dixie Flatline’s “Just Be Friends” at some point in one of your future shows? I would greatly appreciate it.
The rest of my PMX photos can be found here: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjMgfxKs