Hatsune Miku EXPO 2014: The Second Offensive

Remember my article back in 2011 about Mikunopolis at Anime Expo? Good.  Neither do I.

Although Hatsune Miku did perform her holographic concert at AX 2011 I, like many others, was not able to attend. It was a bit more of a commitment that time around though since you had to acquire an Anime Expo badge in order to purchase the $15 Miku concert ticket. Three years and three months later, Hatsune Miku returns to the same Los Angeles area but comes with her very own mini-convention and concert available to alli.

Main Road

I suppose the word “convention” makes what this Expo sound a bit more grand than it actually was. The above photo effectively  captures the majority of the area, but the sign that can be seen in the background denoted the start of a line that stretched behind the scope of this photo. Here you can see how the line for the store curved back to where nothing else was actually going on.

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Yes, I am standing at the point where the line loops from the left to the right side of the photo.

Supposedly the store was selling a special edition Halloween Miku Nendroid that would only be available here.  Although it would have been cool to have one, I’m not enough of a merchandise fanatic to wait in line 5 hours for one.

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The convention featured: the aforementioned store, the “Candy Stage”, the “Pumpkin Dome”, a Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd demo booth, an art/informative exhibition room, and “authentic” Japanese food.  I did not go into the Pumpkin Dome because it was essentially a 6 dollar entry to see Hatsune Miku AMVs in one of those 360 degree globe theatres, and I already get enough of that every year at Phoenix Comiconiiiii.

The best singer was the little girl (must've been about 7), amazing really.
The best singer was the little girl (must’ve been about 7[not shown above]), amazing really.
After grabbing some good ‘ol Mama’s Fried Chicken Karaage Chickeniv I headed to the Candy Stage which was showing a presentation workshop of sorts on how to operate the Vocaloid software. This lasted less than an hour and, in my opinion, should have gone on much longer. The gentleman operating and showing off the bells and whistles of the program seemed like he wanted to keep going, but did not get to cover much and karaoke followed right after. It was a shame actually, since I felt that it was the only real productive event that was to take place all-day aside from the exhibits shown in the “Expo Hall” which I will cover next.

More interesting than any history class in high-school.
More interesting than any history class in high-school.

The bulk of interesting content was held inside of the “Expo Hall” which was in-fact, just a room adjacent to where the merchandise was that opened up two hours after the convention opened. Up till this point I had assumed that in order to get in here you’d have to wait in line to get to the merchandise area as it was insinuated that they were together in the same area. Luckily, once the Expo Hall opened up, they informed us that there was a separate entrance to it, I’m very glad about this since I was not sitting in that 5 hour line for anything short of getting a free copy of Vocaloidv.

I couldn't fit Rin&Ren in the shot. It's ok, nobody will miss them.
I couldn’t fit Rin&Len in the shot. It’s ok, nobody will miss them.

The exhibits in the Expo Hall were nicely laid out for everyone to walk around and take pictures of, unfortunately it was somewhat crowded so getting pictures without interference was near-impossible. The banners had information on the history of Hatsune Miku and the Vocaloids that followed, as well as their individual specifications such as voice-banks and tones of singing they’re suited for.

DTM

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Semi-Before
ArtWall2
After/”You must be at least 6’6″ to continue creativity”
vi To me, this Wall Of Art was the most interesting thing to see at the whole convention. While some people treat their fandom of Miku as one would an anime character or “my waifu” status, it was touching to see some people write messages denoting Miku as an icon of hope and/or happiness in their life. You can really see how this idol has influenced many people’s lives, for better or worse. As a person who has only played the rhythm games and listened to some of the music, it was enlightening to see the depths of worship that Miku has created.

They ran out of masks in about ten minutes, I kid you not.

Because the theme of the convention was something along the lines of “Halloween Monster Miku Party”, they had this table set up for people to color masks to wear at the Halloween Party later that nightvii after the concert, assuming you wanted to drive back to the conventionviii.

(I want to make a quick aside. This convention, albeit about Hatsune Miku, has close ties to the anime culture. Whether it be the style in which the characters are drawn or the way that the music is put to animations of sorts, if there was a disparity between the Miku scene and the anime scene, it’s not very big. Now, there’s a festival in Arizona called the Arizona Matsuri where Japanese tradition and culture is celebrated and even though Matsuri has little to no focus on anime culture, I’m not joking when I say that there were considerably less cosplayers at this convention than I see every year at Matsuri. Just some food for thought.)

Here you can see some Hatsune Miku designs that have been created over the years. What I noticed the most was the second one “Calne Ca” which was really freaky looking and part of me wish I had never known it existed. I did see some people attempting to cosplay the teeth portion of that design though, and I didn’t understand it until I saw these showcases. If you’re interested in the video that it’s from, click here and be ready to not sleep tonight.

Somebody please tell my camera that that's the wrong color for Miku
Somebody please tell my camera that that’s the wrong color for Miku.

At last, the real reason why everyone lurked around the convention for much longer than they wanted, the concert was here!

For anyone who’s not aware of what this concert is all about, it is a holographic display of the Vocaloids singing their songs while a live band plays along on the instrumentals. If you’d like to see an example, I recommend you check out these search results on Youtube (and don’t click “did you mean to search for [x]”, Youtube doesn’t know any better).

As I mentioned before, I have played Hatsune Miku music games beforeix and I like to listen to a few Vocaloid songs, not always Miku either, but in the end I’m more of a fan of real live-singer music. To that end, concerts like the one I attended and detailed here are more up my alley, but if there’s one thing this concert did better than almost any concert I’ve ever been to before was put on a FANTASTICx show.

I got here a little too early.
I got here a little too early.

If I have one regret, it’s that I did not get the VIP/standing section tickets at the front past the barricade. If the guy sitting next to me was correct though, they apparently sold out the night they went on sale. I will be more vigilant in the matter if I find a chance to go again.

Things are starting to shape up!
Things are starting to shape up!

So about that 5:30 Pumpkin Dome showing, yeah I probably could have made it and gotten here in time. But I got such a good parking spot because I got here so early!

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Because pictures alonexi can’t portray the awesome-ness that occurred during this concert, I don’t have any more than this, but I really do recommend looking at videos on Youtube. Between the 2011 concert, the subsequent Japanese concerts, and this one, they have changed up the song-list and even created a brand new original song called “Sharing the World” for this event. You can also see her perform itxii on the David Letterman show here.

As of this article, the Los Angeles concert dates have passed, but if you’re on the East side of the US, the concert will be performed for two nights in New York, NY. You can find details at the official site http://mikuexpo.com/ny

Did this event change my view on the culture a bit? I’d have to say yes, if anything I’ve come to appreciate it more than before. If Krypton Future Media’s idea was to brainwash everyone into buying their product and attempt to become a musical artist themselves, they may have succeeded, or maybe it’s just the hype passing through.

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