With cyan pigtails down to her ankles and eyes wider than her fists, Hatsune Miku is undeniably a cartoon. Nonetheless, “she” performs for stadiums of ecstatic fans across Japan – and even a show in Los Angeles this summer.
Miku sings and dances on stage as a hologram. Her moves and appearance come carefully crafted by marketers, but her voice is available for hire. Crypton Future Media sells home software that allows anyone to write songs for Miku to sing. The voice is based on a real singer, then modulated by Yamaha’s Vocaloid software to make each word hit the right note.
Miku (or at least Crypton) even released a No. 1 single last year and appeared in a Toyota commercial.