For a while, I thought Vocaloid might be dying out. I remember when Hatsune Miku, the now beloved green-pigtailed digital idol, first became a sensation back in 2007. Her first big hit, “Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru,” rocked the weeb internet scene. After this a boom in original Vocaloid content ensued with songs such as “World is Mine,” “PoPiPo,” “Melt” and many others. It was the golden age of Vocaloid.
Now, more than 10 years after the release of Hatsune Miku, it seemed things may be slowing down in the Vocaloid scene. Sure, her Miku Expo live hologram concerts are still big hits, but aside from the live shows I haven’t heard much noise in the Vocaloid world. Beloved Voclaoid artists are still putting out great new songs, but it felt like there was a lack of new producers compared to when the boom first started and musicians were inspired to create their own content. That is, until I checked out the new songs slated for Project Diva MegaMix.
This year I’m hoping to buy a Nintendo Switch, which is why I’m elated that a new Project Diva game is going to be released. In case you don’t know, Project Diva is a series of Vocaloid-themed rhythm games with the first one released back in 2009 for PSP. I’ve longed for, DREAMED about getting a Project Diva game back then when they were still difficult to get in America (unless you wanted to spend a lot of money on Ebay), but this new game is set to have a 2020 North American release.
With my otaku excitement bubbling up, I checked out a Youtube video listing all the songs that will be in MegaMix. Many classic Vocaloid songs which we all know and love will be returning to the game, but I was a bit sad to learn that there will only be 10 new songs added to the game. As I listened, many of these songs are by already well established Vocaloid artists, such as MitchieM and kz(livetune).
While I enjoy these new additions, I wondered, “are the golden days of Vocaloid over? Is there no longer room for new artists and composers to rise up?” And then “Jitterbug” by a composer named Nanashi Hayashi played as part of the new additions.
Personally I’ve never heard of this composer before, and their rock meets electro-swing sound stood out. I decided to look up the song to watch the whole video, and boy do I not regret it.
Over the past few days since finding the song, I must’ve watched the video over 100 times. It’s been a very long time since I’ve fallen in love with a Vocaloid song in such a way.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, I highly recommend checking it out. Probably the first thing you’ll notice: It’s a Hatsune Miku and Meiko duet!! Has that ever happened before?! What a historical moment (lol).
Though the song has a frantic beat similar to many popular Vocaloid songs, it is rare to see a combination with electro-swing sounds. The video mixes anime with American aesthetics in design, the jolting but vivid animation giving me creepy but pleasing vibes in a similar style to the video game The Cat Lady. The brown and gray mixed with splashes of saturated color reminds me of the East Village, the punk-rock area of NYC I grew up in. (The beautiful art and movie is created by @koron5623 over on Twitter, so make sure to go follow them!)
My favorite part of the video is towards the end where Meiko takes off her glasses and looks straight at the viewer, asserting herself and showing she doesn’t need to hide her true self anymore.
Aside from the addictive sound, the message of the song adds to the pleasure: To not worry what the f*ck others think of you and to grab your aspirations, to live your life the way you want to. Even if caught in a dark place with judgement surrounding you, forget about those wandering eyes and live your best life. This song is pure perfection that I can’t get enough of.
Conclusion: While I enjoy a new song by established Vocaloid artists such as MitchieM or Livetune every now and then, Hachiya Nanashi is an artist to watch out for. You can check out the video for their song “Jitterbug” here. Their music is also available on Spotify. What’s your favorite recent Vocaloid song that not enough people know about? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!