How Project Diva turned me into a Vocaloid Fan

PD1

I remembered the days when Vocaloid suddenly grasped the attention of otaku and music listeners all around the world. While I tried listening to a few of their songs, the critic in me kept finding flaws – the voice is too robotic, the “raps” sounds like a radio being fast forwarded, typical Jpop, etc… I also didn’t know just which song should I listen to, since there are just so many releases. I had a somewhat general positive reception on them, but for the most part, I remained neutral.

miku

As most would probably know by now, I’m not the type to play games as soon as they were released, so I jumped into the Project Diva bandwagon quite late. Project Diva is a series of rhythm game that used Vocaloid music, paired up with Vocaloid music videos. As I had been listening to anime OSTs more, I thought Project Diva might be perfect – I can get both my musical and anime fix in a single game, and I do like what I saw in the Project Diva F demo on my PS3.

miku2

After getting the game and started playing it, something changed-my perceptions on the Vocaloid series. Constantly replaying my favorite tracks, watching the videos and fawning over Miku – it took awhile to notice that I had become a fan, effectively breaking the neutrality I had always felt towards Vocaloid. Addicted, I immediately played the older Project Diva games in the series too, namely Project Diva and Project Diva 2nd on the PSP (at the time of this post, I still haven’t started Extend), both incredibly fun titles as well.

miku

At this point, I had already gotten used to the robotic sound, and even considered as one of it’s unique sound. After diving into the fandom, I had also no longer see the songs produced by Vocaloid as “typical Jpop”, the wide array of songs Vocaloid consists of is amazing – pop, rock, techno, dance, ballad, jazz, blues, enka, oriental and the list goes on. It’s capability to just go into any genre of music is probably the fact that Vocaloid is completely fan-influenced. The fans make the music, and it’s through the hard work of the thousand of fans around the globe that had turned the Vocaloid idols into what they are now.

miku_luka

I think one of the reason why the Project Diva series has such a huge impact with my views on Vocaloid is that it promotes interactivity with the fandom. Unlike before when I was just listening to random Vocaloid songs from god-knows-where, Project Diva already handpicked the best, more common and popular tracks for you. In a way, you can say one of the main roles in Project Diva is to recommend the best songs out of the tens to thousands of songs. It’s ironic how for me, it feels kinda reversed. As I listen to Vocaloid songs before I even play them, when I was playing the original Project Diva on the PSP, some songs had me thinking “Oh! This song! I heard it before.”

rin_len

Additionally, the Project Diva series also helps me familiarize with each of the characters. Admittedly, I couldn’t differentiate their voices before, but that changed after playing Project Diva. Obviously, there are a lot of Miku songs, but there are songs dedicated to other Vocaloids too, like Luka, Rin and so on. There are even collaborations where two or three Vocaloids sung in a track, and especially with the added videos, it’s very easy to differentiate their voices, to finally know just which Vocaloid sings which segment, and with due separation, it’s easy to familiarize with each Vocaloid’s pitch and tone. I also like how each Vocaloid idols seem to have their own respective fashion tastes. For example, Rin seems to like wearing hot pants, while Luka seems to favor mature dresses. Miku herself is an embodiment of Zettai Ryouiki.

miku_game

I become such a fan of Vocaloid and the Project Diva series that I ended up putting the game series in my list of favorite games – certainly a niche series to be added in typical favorite game lists. At this moment, I still can’t compare to the more hardcore Vocaloid fans of cause, but it’s a good start nonetheless. I think this tells me the importance of availability and interactivity. So Japan, localize your stuffs! I honestly wouldn’t had been such a fan of Vocaloid now, if not because of the localization of Project Diva F, my first game of the series, and the main root that turned me into a Vocaloid fan. In fact, I had a feeling quite a number of non-Japanese fans of Vocaloid also entered the Vocaloid bandwagon through these Project Diva games too.

P.S: So jelly of people watching Miku concerts…

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This entry was posted by Kai.

17 thoughts on “How Project Diva turned me into a Vocaloid Fan

  1. I’m not a Vocaloid fan myself but Project Diva F is exactly the game I would want if I was. The music videos are awesome and the extra stuff you can do with all of the characters seems pretty rewarding. Would I ever make it on the harder difficulties? No. I only have the standard sets of hand and finger joints.

    • I think it help if you had at least somewhat levels positive reception on them first. I remained neutral, but still positive on them – finding and listening to random Vocaloid tracks and watching the Miku Camrip concerts (horrible quality, lol. I just recently got another better quality Miku concert video, but will watch it only after I played Extend). Since my reception on them remained positive, I feel that’s the reason why I was able to dive into the Vocaloid series so easily once I started playing Project Diva ^^

      Music videos are awesome yes, I sometimes spent minutes to hours just watching them – alternating between different outfits to see which looks nice in the video. Although older Project Diva has a more “mix and match” style with the outfits and videos, Project Diva F seem to have really specified outfits for each video, at least that’s how I see it.

      As for harder difficulties, one trick I like to use is to alternate between left hand and right hand, even if you technically just need your right hand. Since the directional buttons also work as an alternative for the Triangle, Square, Circle, X buttons. Less strain on your hand this way, although you still need some level of hand co-ordination between your left and right hands, lol.

  2. When I first saw the youtube videos of that first “live” concert (what, four years ago now?) I was blown away. I just found it very satisfying (in an odd sort of way) that “they” had found a way to mix the technologies together to produce that concert so well. I’ll probably never play the games you describe above, but I do like some of the vocaloid songs and I enjoy watching the game video clips people post and the concert videos.

    Next step, mix that on-stage hologram avatar with an AI that could pass the Turing Test…

    • I found it oddly awe-inspiring too. I think they managed to make it work using some kind of.. projectors? Not sure since I haven’t really check behind the stages of these Vocaloid concerts. And that Vocaloid concert I watched was also honestly quite a few years ago, I’m not surprised if they found out some even more convincing way to propel Miku in all her 3D goodness. Some of those game clips are self-made, just in case you see some game clips with an oddly “fanmade” feel ^^” There’s an option called “Edit Play” in Project Diva where you can do exactly that. I tried it myself, but it’s too much work.. xD

      Miku with AI.. Oh, yes, yes, yes!

  3. I stopped listening to vocaloid songs a while ago, admittedly, because it eventually became an exercise in attempting to pick out the good songs of a bunch… But yeah, vocaloids are amazing. There are a few cases where I felt “only vocaloids could sing this song with the slight robotic edge”, even after I started listening to utaite stuff. I also appreciated not only the musical talent to the composers, but the storytelling, too. Some of them were incredibly interesting, and several songs leave the meaning up to interpretation – does Panda Hero mean anything or is Hachi nuts (there was also Kagerou Daze, but apparently that turned into a series that answered that song in part?)?

    Admittedly, I can’t say anything about the games…

    Anyway, what were your favourite songs? I’m curious now~

    • Then I recommend playing Project Diva xD

      It’s interesting because that “slight robotic edge” is something I wasn’t used to at all, but I got used to it by now and even regarded it as unique. There are a few songs that makes use of this very “robotic edge” and it’s something I don’t know if real singers can replicate on their songs (and no, I’m not talking about just using autotune). Even if they do, I feel their presence becomes kinda unneeded since you just need so much “editing” on the voices. Then again, I feel most singers nowadays already has this dillemma with them plainly using autotune, lol.

      Funny that you mention KagePro, it is something I just recently finished (the songs, at least), lol. It’s such an unique way to tell a story-using music. I know some music videos, virtual or real, take somei nterpretation from the lyrics and symbolism, but KagePro really took that concept to the very extreme. It’s so rewarding to know that all the seemingly separate songs in the KagePro, are actually all connected in one huge picture. And if you were talking about the anime series, it did had an anime adaption recently. Good or not, I’m not sure since I haven’t watch it (a lot of questionable opinions as far as I can see). I don’t know anything about Panda Hero though, lol. A quick google led me to wiki, and I saw “it’s about opium addicts playing a baseball game.” Whut? o.O

      My favorite songs:
      Miku~
      Weekender Girl
      Time Machine
      Summer Idol (with Rin)
      Freely Tomorrow (the composer, Michie M, is known for making Miku’s voice oddly realistic)
      World’s End Dance Hall (with Luka)
      Nyanyanyanyanyanyanyanya!
      Sadistic Music Factory (a song I called total “demoefication” (how’s that for variety xD). And it’s also a song that makes use of aforementioned “robotic edge. If you haven’t, try to check out the video, you will be surprised xD)
      World is mine
      Dear Cocoa Girls
      Inochi no Uta
      Strobe Nights
      From Y to Y
      Cantarella (with Kaito)
      Miracle Paint
      Hajime no oto
      Kocchi Muite Baby

      ~Luka
      Dye

      Kokoro (Rin)
      Migikata no Chou (Len)
      Gemini (Rin and Len)
      Remote Controller (Rin and Len)

      Well, that was fun, lol.

  4. While I am not the biggest fan of Vocaloid, I do admit that I really enjoy the game quite a lot even though I can only clear a few songs. Still, I generally prefer real life singers opposed to computerized, but I still understand the appeal. Aside from that, I still need to get the newest Project Diva games.

    • Last I heard, you were playing Project Diva 2nd right? Could be wrong, there are songs I couldn’t clear too, lol. That last song is crazy, especially in Hard and Extreme modes, it’s as if I’m facing a big badass final boss rhythm game-style D:

      About listening to real life singers, I just find that they had been overusing the techno/electric sound lately, especially mainstream music. Some good singers even use autotune, when in most cases, it just ruin their original good voices :-( Even bands who originally specialized in other genres shifted to this style. When I saw their interviews transcription and stuffs, I see they say something like “experimenting a new sound” but I see it more as simply “following a trend”. I was like “Hey, everyone is using the electric sound nowadays, why not just listen to Vocaloid” in a deadpan face. Fortunately, real Jpop singers seem to has a lesser scale of this issue, not completely sure though, then again, other than instrumental anime/game OSTs, if I’m listening to vocalized songs, it will most of the time be Vocaloid songs nowadays :p

  5. I was a bit like you before I started liking Vocaloid, sometimes they can sound REALLY robotic and umm what’s the word? stiff? and it bothered me LOT. But then my little bro showed me Project Diva and I totally fell in love with it!
    Anyway you should check out ‘utaite’! they’re people who covers vocaloid songs and they’re real good singers! Just a suggestion though,since vocaloid lead me to them hehehe

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