What? Oppaidesu got an intro, I deserve one too! … But there’s not much to introduce. Anyway, meet Aethri, a misspelling of Aetheri that I just adopted because I thought it sounded better than Aetheri. Awesomejapan’s real life friend, a lover of
all most things furry and anime. And here ends vanity (yeah, right…). Onward to Vocaloids!
The main cast of Vocaloid. Starting from the teal haired girl, moving clockwise: Hatsune Miku, Meiko, KAITO, Rin Kagamine and Len Kagamine.
What is Vocaloid? Well, it’s a singing voice synthesizer. There are both English Vocaloids and Japanese Vocaloids, as well as one bilingual Vocaloid, and another capable of singing in any language. They can be quite easy to work with, in the case of Hatsune Miku, or devilishly hard, in the cases of the Kagamine twins and SONIKA, but they all work more or less the same way. I’ll cover a “free version” of vocaloid, the fanmade UTAU’s later on. Unfortunately, there are no UTAU’s currently capable of singing in English.
Ok, one thing to get down, each program sings in it’s own way, and has been attributed various traits by the fandom, which vary between intrepretations. I’ll be covering the most common ways of seeing them, as well as my personal views in this.
The program as it looks to a user.
Ok, this will be in order of release! So if you want to go straight to the popular ones, skip Lola, Leon, Luka, Gakupo, and generally anyone not listed in that pic up there.
Ok, lets start with the guy and girl who started the Vocaloids, the English singers Lola and Leon. They were released simultaneously on 14th January 2004. Lola specialises in Techno and Trance music, while Leon takes Soul as his genre. They’re relatively limited singing wise, don’t have any official art, and not much characterisation, so there’s not much to talk about unfortunately. They’re sometimes depicted as siblings, and can be heard singing together in this video.
Meiko's official box art.
The next notable vocaloid to be released was the Japanese Meiko, one of the most mature voices in the bank to date, released on the 5th November 2004. A specialist of vocal effects and Choir singing, but she finds use in almost all genres. She was quickly assigned One Cup Ozeki sake as her character item, and is said to be often found in bars. She’s generally a well-balanced singer, but she is noted to contrast with the voices of Len and Rin (discussed later), and her voice quality is much higher than that of Lola. Her anime design was later carried on to be a tradition for later vocaloids. She can be heard singing in this video.
KAITO's official box art.
Last of the first era Vocaloids is the Japanese KAITO, an oddball amoung Vocaloids. He initially sold so little that he caused a loss, and it stayed that way until some time after the beginning of the second era of Vocaloid and the videos “A Request from Hatsune“* and it’s reply “An Answer to Hatsune“*. This video’s gave Kaito his character item, an ice cream, and got the fans to re-evaluate him, which means his distinct, soft and tender voice keep him securely in the top vocaloids. He doesn’t have a specialisation, and is capable of singing almost any song. He can be heard in this video.
Thats it for the notable members of the first engine. I’ll give the second era a dusting eventually. The Vocaloid’s unfortunately left out were… Well, I only left out the English Miriam… Well, CIAO!
*Translation: “Kaito, where are you? What are you doing?”
**Translation: “Kaito, where are you? What are you doing?” “I’m eating ice cream! … Lets eat it together next time”