Virtual star to be unleashed on US
Hatsune Miku sings, dances, has blue hair and is such a huge hit in Japan that Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to launch her presence internationally in a major sales campaign in the United States.
Unusually, for an idol promoting a product, Hatsune Miku is not a living, breathing pop star and only exists in the virtual world.
The starlet's rise in Japan, via the internet, has been little short of phenomenal and she even has her own radio show on national broadcaster NHK Radio 1 on a Saturday evening.
Hatsune is a computer-generated anime character with a synthesized voice who made her first appearance in 2007. She was created as the human face for a synthesizing software application developed by Crypton Future Media Inc. The software is based on the Vocaloid 2 voice synthesizing technology developed by Yamaha Corp.
Users install the software and are then able to input their own musical compositions or lyrics, which Hatsune then performs on their computers.
According to her official profile, Hatsune is 16 years old and 158 centimeters tall and performs pop and dance tunes best. Her voice was synthesized from the real voice of anime actress Saki Fujita.
The Hatsune Miku software has sold a remarkable 60,000 copies to date, making it a huge hit in a market where sales of 1,000 markets of a synthesizing software is considered a success.
Her songs have twice topped Japan's weekly music charts and more than 20,000 songs have been created for her to sing. On top of that, a video game by Sega Corp. in which Hatsune shows off her dancing skills has sold more than 600,000 copies.
Hatsune has already given a series of "live" performances in Japan, her three-dimensional holographic image appearing alongside real musicians in front of thousands of fans - and it is this presence that Toyota is hoping to tap in to.
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. chose Hatsune to appeal to Asian-Americans and fans of anime and manga to the latest Toyota Corolla models. In May, a promotional video showing Hatsune driving a new Corolla through Los Angeles to get to a concert venue was released on Toyota's official YouTube channel - and was viewed more than 500,000 times in the first three days.
The clip hints at Hatsune's next event, with Toyota sponsoring her first "live" concert in the US.
The event will be held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on July 2, one of the highlights of Anime Expo 2011, which runs from July 1 to 4 at the neighboring Los Angeles Convention Center.
See the video: http://www.toyota.com/corollamiku/
The official Anime Expo web site: http://www.anime-expo.org/
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