Vocaloid Live Concerts in the West – A Different Interpretation
While watching Vocaloid live concerts is something I would definitely add to the list of things I want to do before I kick the bucket, seeing a camrip video of a particular Vocaloid live concert led me into some deep thoughts, specifically this – when Miku opened up the concert for Lady Gaga. At first, I thought this was a really weird set-up, but then again, it oddly makes sense, considering Lady Gaga herself often wears anime-inspired outfits and hairdos. At the same time, the fashion also resembles Kpop stars, but that’s a discussion for another time.
What I think about the concert, or rather, the concert’s rendition of Miku; she seems to be interpreted quite differently. To be frank, Miku doesn’t look pretty cute. This might comes as a shocking fact, but it’s mainly due to how one’s society and culture perceives “cuteness”.
While I certainly can not comment on particular individuals on their own perspectives, but overall, Japanese and Americans seem to perceive “cuteness” in very different fashion. In Japan, everywhere you go, you can see yourself getting surrounded by cute “mascot” characters from just about any corners – tickets, sweets wrappers, stationary. The Japanese love designing their products with cute characters, and if I’m not mistaken, most stores and even companies often have their own cute mascot characters too.
In Japan, cuteness is perceived as normal, regardless of age. Needless to say, the cuteness appeal is also brought to anime in the form of “moe”, which are just so popular in Japan. However, to an American, he might think differently. To a Japanese who doesn’t bat an eyelid to any cute, cartoonish design; becomes cringeworthy in the eyes of an American, perhaps with the exception of kids. As a result, it’s easy to classify anything with a cute, cartoonish design as something specifically tailored for kids, at least, the Americans just seem to possess that misconception.
And in my opinion, this mindset, makes it harder for Americans to be appreciative of Vocaloid. If you had watched the youtube link I provided above, you can see how
dead the crowd is Miku is interpreted quite differently, it’s as if instead of “cute”, they are pushing Miku to look “cool” instead. When Miku was performing Yellow and World is Mine, two of Miku’s most popular songs, those who are familiar with the original dance routines will easily notice how the choreography seems to be changed. Most of the cuter movements were altered, and Miku seems to move in much more wider motions too, as compared to the original rendition. Miku was “americanized”, it’s as if I was watching MMD live.
I personally prefer the original dances myself, and I assume any long-time fans of Miku would feel the same as well. I know that Miku had already performed in the West before, but this different interpretation in cuteness, I feel, is still going to be an ongoing problem had Miku more concerts in the West. If any of you had watched Vocaloid concerts or are familiar with them, what do you feel regarding this issue?