Agen Domino has just turned into a defining moment in music in that capacity, as well as in cosplay. In a brief timeframe, it prevailing with regards to pulling in the consideration of such a large number of cosplayers, that by and by there is none without no less than an adaptation of a Vocaloid ensemble. Perhaps the most intriguing of its highlights is its boundless flexibility and its energy of ceaseless change. Continuously subtle, exactly when one supposes it’s getting excessively exhausting, making it impossible to see the same Agen Domino outfits, all of a sudden another adaptation shows up, accentuating yet another aspect of a character everybody considered finished with. It’s an ensemble, as well in general universe that must be comprehended before finishing each outfit, and such a universe is made for each of the effectively innumerable renditions of Hatsune Miku, Gakupo, Luka or Kagamine Len.
The Agen Domino Rythm of a Costume
Each Vocaloid can be regarded as a huge dollhouse, in which all the outfits are very well kept, and then taken out and worn one by one, in a never ending stream of stories. The concept itself has its own story, and Mr. Hiroyuki Itoh, CEO of Crypton Future Media, mother-company of Hatsune Miku and other Vocaloids, was kind enough to recount it for us. In his own words, Vocaloid was the name of artificial-voice technology and had no meaning of “singing character”. We put “personal appearance” on the package of Meiko, our first Agen Domino, for the first time in 2004 when we developed it and had a sales success for it. After that, we have been using “personal appearance” for Vocaloids we produce. However, YouTube had not been born yet when we released Meiko and Kaito. We started developing Hatsune Miku in early 2007 and had decided to use the voice of an Anime voice actress for the model of Miku because there are a lot of Anime fans in Japan and we thought the software with an actress’s voice would be accepted by them.
Paradoxically, in a world in which almost all media has become the target of a veritable copyright infringement paranoia, the element that contributed a lot to the development of Vocaloid and Vocaloid cosplay was the license policy adopted by Crypton, who understood the role of the fans in the spreading of this phenomenon. The Vocaloid fanbase is increasing worldwide, and for many it has become an outlet of creativity, whether by creating their own songs, illustrations or cosplay. In most cases, these elements are actually inter-related. Users of Vocaloid software synchronize the music they produce with illustrations and create videos, then upload them on video sharing sites such as Nico Nico Douga or YouTube. As Mr. Itoh recounts, in December 2007 a further step has been taken. We thought the illustrations of our characters would be necessary for music creators who make videos, so we launched a website called Piapro (piapro.jp) a platform for the music creators and illustrators to meet. Also, we made the copyrights for our characters open to illustrators, in order to allow them to use our characters, such as Hatsune Miku, for their creations. I think the number of Vocaloid cosplayers has increased because such creations on video sharing sites have spread around the world.
Perhaps what makes Vocaloid so special in comparison with other elements of Japanese contemporary culture is its perpetual changing in both characters, and universe alike. A Vocaloid is not a static character, with a given story and a fixed set of attributes, as in the case of many classic characters, such as those in manga or anime. A Vocaloid is in fact a process, and, as with any real artist, the virtual one also has a career, songs, stage performances, and personal life with ups and downs and its share of dramas and happy moments. And the most amazing fact is that nothing of these is scheduled beforehand, but all of them develop and unfold unpredictably, and the fans have a huge role in this development; no one knows what future holds for Miku – although virtual, she has a life of her own, and the fans and cosplayers alike will eagerly follow her along the way.
On the other hand, while not considering Vocaloid cosplay rather special in comparison with other cosplays, Kanasai acknowledges its amazing power, given mainly by its direct connection to music. If everyone gives Vocaloid works a chance, they will find a song that they can relate to, sing along with, or get addicted to, regardless the reason.
Same thing goes for Lina, who approaches Vocaloid cosplay the same way she does for her other cosplays. Nonetheless, she still considers that Vocaloid cosplay provides a little more artistic freedom in the sense that you have less background information to work with, be it in terms of the story of a particular PV or the costumes themselves. I particularly like this since I like building up back stories and atmosphere, and the lack of specific boundaries gives me more license to play around with it. I enjoy putting in some personal interpretation when I plan my cosplays and photoshoots, and the Vocaloids are a perfect medium for that.