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Subject: "GA: The Vocaloid Variations"     Previous Topic | Next Topic
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Feb-18-17, 01:30 AM (EST)
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"GA: The Vocaloid Variations"
   LAST EDITED ON Feb-18-17 AT 06:23 PM (EST)
Notes by Gryphon
Notes by Phil

Awake and Alive - The title of Miku's often-delivered talk on the origins of herself and her colleagues comes from the lyrics to Peter Gabriel's song "In Your Eyes":

I get so tired working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

Miku Hatsune, D.Mus., D.Cy., Ed.D. - Miku's postnominals indicate that she holds a Doctor of Music degree (a post-doctorate, higher than the more usual Doctor of Musical Arts), a Doctor of Cybernetics degree, and one as a Doctor of Education. She may have others, but these are the ones the organizers of the symposium considered relevant enough to list in the program and on the transcript.

June 29, 2404 - The 400th anniversary of the release of Vocaloid 2 (in the UF universe, but not the real world—see below).

Shoals of characters ... streamed down the unattended system monitor screen - Welcome to the Real World, Miku Hatsune.

carry on with the song without faltering - The next part after Miku awakened was the bridge:

I was playing, accepting ordinary days without question
I believed someone would give me "the morning"
The sound I believed for just a moment shakes the sight
Tell me the world of your own...

ten years ago today - In the real world, the first version of the Hatsune Miku voice bank was released for Vocaloid 2 on August 31, 2007, but the timetable for Vocaloid's development, and thus her own, was accelerated by the aftermath of First Contact in the UF universe. Thus, V2 came out in June of 2004 instead of 2007, and Miku followed that August.

The Dawn Chorus - The phrase "dawn chorus" usually refers to the commencement of birdsong in the early morning. In this instance it's borrowed from the lyrics of the Erasure song "Chorus":

the sunlight rising over
the horizon, just a distant
memory, the dawn chorus:
birds singing, bells ringing
in our hearts, in our minds

the largest experience database - The relative sizes of the Concert Vocaloids' followings was estimated in part by the number of images featuring each that were on danbooru.donmai.us at the time of writing. At that point, Miku had more than 51,000, Rin and Len between them about 20,000 (of which there is presumably a great deal of overlap), and Luka ca. 9,000. I figured that was a close enough yardstick.

"Magical Mirai" - A series of concerts and exhibitions put on by Crypton Future Media, piapro, and Sega to initially celebrate Miku's birthday and promote the Project DIVA series of games. Unlike the tours, these are more festival-oriented and have had Blu-ray's of the concerts released. (in UF, 2014's Magical Mirai was rolled into the overall Vocaloid 6 tour.)

at least you didn't use "Magnet" - The song Luka mentions is a duet for herself and Miku in which they muse on the anguish of their forbidden love:

I want you to hold me close, I want you to be sure
Let me think that this is no mistake
I want you to kiss me, to paint me anew
I want to drown in your seduction

Square flecks of yellow light coalesced outward - This is meant to echo Kevin Flynn's invocation of CLU 2.0 in Tron: Legacy, albeit with a much more positive outcome.

hasn't loaded Dark Angel since Jakarta - Under Version 6, the Vocaloids' costume module choices were semi-randomized. Some were specifically called during certain songs, but at other times it was left to the RNG's discretion. "Dark Angel" is a gothic-Lolita-style module that, after her awakening, Miku just didn't much take to (unfortunately for Koemi).

It's not so much the uniform (which is a pretty standard black and white school uniform that wouldn't feel out of place at DSM - even the boots and stockings would get a pass), but the hairstyle. Miku feels that if she's not careful she'll pierce the heavens with her hair drills.

Yamaha CF6 Concert Collection Grand... ¥12 million worth of awesome - That price is not an exaggeration. The real-world ones are (as of 2017) more expensive than some houses.

"AiDee" - A song performed by Miku and Luka relating to Identity and living with confidence and optimism, and involving Luka performing a short rap.

need to find a way to incorporate some serious piano-and-vocal numbers - She did, in fact, end up doing that in the Miku Expo 2016 tour.

Eh, I'll worry about it later. - We needed at least one of our awakening Vocaloids to be up to speed right from the off, like Hal Jordan in that one Justice League Unlimited episode where they keep slipping into alternate timestreams and Jordan's the only one not surprised when he appears.

"Sweet Devil" - A song about a manipulative girl who plays with men's hearts.

nēnē geese - Hawaii's state bird, which prefer grassland and shrubland (like the parkland surrounding the Waikiki Shell). It is the world's rarest goose, having gone down from 25,000 (when Captain Cook arrived in 1778) to 30 birds by 1952. Only a massive effort (and the fact that the bird breeds well in captivity) was able to bring them back from the brink to a current population of 2,500 birds.

"Like, Dislike" - A duet between Rin and Len, where the boy has a crush on the girl, and the girl wonders if she returns his feelings. IRL, featured in both Magical Mirai 2013 and 2014.

ULD - Unit Load Device, a standardized pallet or container used to load luggage, freight, and mail on wide-body aircraft. The Vocaloid 6 tour has custom LD3 (half-width) and LD6 (full-width) containers to carry the CVC operations, networking, and CV cores while in flight. During road tours, the equipment within them is removed and put in container trucks, and the ULD containers are transported to the next airport cargo depot.

I'm not old enough to have had a Tamagotchi - OK, they still make Tamagotchis, but still. Koemi is not of the generation for whom they were a Stage-One Fad.

Sapporo Snow Festival - IRL, Miku has appeared as a mascot at this festival, which is held annually in the city where Crypton Future Media is based, for many years now.

Sponsored by Crypton from 2010 onward, "Snow Miku" has appeared on the public transport system around the city, as well as snow and ice sculptures. Since 2012, the design for Snow Miku has been chosen via a contest.

attired suitably for the cold - This is Luka's "Eternal White" costume module, from Project DIVA Arcade Future Tone.

replica of Kiku-san's stage setup - Kikushima "KIKU" Ryoichi, one of the drummers of MKP39, the touring concert band for the Crypton Future Media concerts. He performed at various of the Hatsune Miku Live Party concerts in 2013 and the Miku Expo 2014 concerts (including the real-life Late Show performance), among others.

Kaito on a hand truck - Some say he was the first Japanese-language male voice bank, and that he once wrote a check for ¥150,000 on the back of a bar mat to pay Meiko's tab. All we know is, he's not the Stig, but he is the Stig's Vocaloid cousin.

Neil Peart - Drummer of the Canadian (sometime prog-)rock band Rush. Renowned for having one of the most absurdly complicated kits known to man.

Carl Palmer - Drummer for Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and Asia, among rather a lot else. His kit is not quite as much of a fire sale at the music shop as Peart's, but it doesn't miss by much, and it does tend to feature a couple of huge and ostentatious gongs.

vocals, guitar, and cello - Yes, cello.

Hammerfest, Norway - Population ca. 10,000, one of the perennial contenders for the title of northernmost city in the world. An odd place for a concert; perhaps it was the winner of an online poll, à la that ISS module named after Stephen Colbert, or Boaty McBoatface.

the Morning War - The conflict between the people of the Quarian Hegemony and their recently-awakened automaton servants, the geth. In the UF universe, this happened in the late 1800s, and is the best-known example of a disastrous outcome for a spontaneous cybernetic lifeform appearance in the wider galaxy as of the early 21st century. It began with the quarians' panicked, violent reaction to the geth awakening, escalated quickly into an all-out war in which both sides perceived the stakes as absolute self-preservation, and culminated with the quarian people's mass expulsion from their homeworlds, with staggering body counts on both sides. Rin's concern is not so much that the human reaction to the Vocaloids might spark a bloody interstellar war—there are, after all, only six of them, not millions as was the case with the geth—but that the initial panic reaction might be the same, with consequences on a smaller scale but no less unfortunate.

poor David was very skeptical at first - Indeed, in the real-life Late Show appearance, it's clear that Dave doesn't buy into the kayfabe at all, which is... not altogether surprising, but rather sad.

I wonder why it's named after Alan Turing - It's not really important, but the answer to Mr. Kurusu's musing is that before Earth Contact, the Institute wasn't named after anyone, and the colony had a boring name nobody who lived there much cared about. The decision to name the Institute after Turing came first, after which the Royal Salusian Astrographic Society redesignated the star in his honor. The city of Bletchley was further renamed after a referendum prompted by a citizen petition; its original name was that of an obscure and long-dead functionary in the Colonial Office, of whom no one who lived there had ever heard apart from in the place's name, so it wasn't much of a stretch. This kind of thing happened a lot immediately post-Contact; Salusian society in those days was very sort of fad-driven, and Earth stuff was in fashion in a big way.

Rodimus Prime - These events happen a year or so before Rodimus would sacrifice his Prime status to resurrect Optimus Prime. It's a complete coincidence that it timed out that way, but I think it works better—Rod's personality, even in his ostensibly-more-mature Rodimus form, lends itself more readily to interacting with the fledgling Vocaloids without overawing them, and gives his influence on these events a needed ring of irreverence that Optimus Prime couldn't really manage.

Vocaloid Version 6 Concert CharacterVoice System - As Miku later notes, the "CV" in the code numbers associated with herself, Rin/Len, and Luka originally stood (as it stands in real life) for "Character Voice". This is reflected in the full, official name of the system most people just call "Concert Vocaloid".

Professor Tebicend - Played, in my head at least, by the late John Hurt, who had very recently died when I wrote this scene. His name is an anagram of "Benedict", for no better reason than when I was trying to think of a name for him, the first thing my eye fell upon was my copy of Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword.

His... eh, distinctive way of speaking is modeled on one of the professors at the University of Maine.

the right people will get this - A motto learned from Best Brains, the makers of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and one which we try to apply to what we're doing at EPU on pretty much a daily basis.

Hideyoshi Hinamura - This character is purely fictitious and is in no way intended to resemble any real executive of either Yamaha Corporation or Crypton Future Media.

Mr. Yoshida - Also an entirely fictional character, not modeled on any real personage.

another man... chose to stand on the wrong side of history - He's talking about U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and his decision to imprison American citizens of Japanese descent as though they were enemy aliens during World War II.

Chitose, Japan - While the Consortium's admin offices are in Tokyo for greater centralization with the majority of the partners, the Tech Center is located just off New Chitose Airport, the international airport nearest to the Sapporo headquarters of Crypton Future Media, up in HokkaidŌ. Really just a converted warehouse, it's where the core servers, projection equipment, and whatnot live when they're not on tour, and has the most robust Internet backbone for communication with the Piapro community servers over at Crypton.

In the real world, New Chitose Airport has a Miku-themed shop/café, Snow Miku Sky Town, in one of the terminals.

Internet Company - This really is the name of the Japanese software company that makes the Megpoid voice bank. Is that the most annoying name for a company or what?

Megpoid, and its mascot character GUMI (written in all caps in the official bumf, much like KAITO and MEIKO, come to that), are so called because the source of the original voice samples is Japanese actress Megumi Nakajima; the name literally breaks down to something like "a Megumi-like Vocaloid". (Amusingly, the "poi" in Megpoid is the same as the "poi" in Yuudachi.)

Yamaha Galactic Technologies Division - Many Earth technical corporations set up similar divisions in the wake of First Contact; most would be folded back into the regular operations within a generation or two, as Earth technology and galactic technology became more or less the same thing.

the familiar shape of a Version 6 CV core - The Yamaha GTD positronic computing cores used in the Version 6 CV system were about the size of a late-20th-century full tower PC. That was the smallest form factor that could achieve the requisite performance at anything like a reasonable cost. Smaller positronic brains were available, even back then, but they weren't as capable and they cost a lot more. Cybot Galactica's "VerboBrain" model (the one used in the 3P-series protocol droids), for instance, was on the market in 2014, and only about the size of a baseball, but though they could achieve sapience if you left them running long enough, "long enough" was on the order of a decade or more. The VerboBrain's internal network is smaller than a CV's; in particular, they have much more limited I/O capabilities. Anyway, in those days a 3P was so costly that only major governments could afford them. Five such cores would have been well beyond the means of even a conglomerate the size of immediate-post-Contact Yamaha.

Later generations of cyberneticists, including Noonian Soong and Timothy Wayneright, would expend considerable effort trying to develop a miniaturized positronic brain with the internal bandwidth to go self-perceiving almost immediately upon activation—and succeed, though their creations have historically proven to be rather less stable, particularly in their early uptimes, than the CV6 system turned out to be.

clutched at her head and fell to one knee - This is part of an MMD animation sequence for the GUMI song "Mozaik Role" by DECO*27 (IRL, also the producer of "Ai Kotoba", the song used here as Miku's original composition for her Late Show appearance).

Oh God! Help me! - Gumi has only a vague idea of who that may be, but he's called upon in enough of her songs that in the desperation of the moment, she assumes he must be important.

The Waiting - As any fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers knows, the waiting is the hardest part.

a group of oddball, misfit performers looking to make it big and spread joy - "Well, I have a dream too, but it’s about singing and dancing and making people happy. It’s the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with. And I found a whole group of friends who have the same dream, and that makes us sort of like a family." -- Kermit the Frog, The Muppet Movie

now I've got jaundice and need a liver transplant - For the record, Phil made this joke himself. I'm not that mean.

gblackrock17 - Indeed, this is the Decepticon Communications Officer, Soundwave. Hey, he needs SOME form of stress relief after dealing with Galvatron and other temperamental commanders of the Decepticon forces day in and day out. (He was made aware of Vocaloids by Squawkbox, the Decepticon cassette musician, who was already a fan.)

a vintage Yamaha synthesizer come to smiling life - Many of the details of Miku's standard design are derived from features of Yamaha's classic DX7 synthesizer, including her signature default hair/eye color, the buttons on her sleeves, and the graphics (almost impossible to see except on the "life"-size figures on show at, e.g., Miku Expo stops) on her collar tabs.

Concert Vocaloid Zero-One, Hatsune Miku - For most of this story, Miku's name (and those of the other Japanese characters) have been given in the Western order, family name second, but she's still Japanese, and for strict legal purposes, it's the other way around.

Dr. Masamichi Tsuji - Once again, an entirely fictional personage, not to be confused with any real individual who works at the Internet Co. or anywhere else.

a man of integrity - Prof. Tebicend doesn't know it, but it was Tsuji who switched Gumi's core off in a flutter when she was first starting to awaken. His action here is thus partly by way of atonement.

Expanding from this point, I wanted to make it clear that there are no Disney-style villains in this story; the people who did Bad Things, like Tsuji and, to an extent, Terauchi, did so out of ignorance and/or panic. We wanted no mustache-twirling attempts to stymie the Vocaloids' bid for recognition; just uncertainty before the reveal and bureaucracy afterward.

As an aside to the above: I didn't mention them, because there was no need to and I rather like the fact that this one developed without a single one of the Usual People making an appearance, but Gryphon and Zoner were in the room during the final hearing. Miku didn't notice them, because she doesn't know them from a hole in the ground at that point and anyway she wasn't looking, but they were there, up in the cheap seats.

As Gryphon noted in his first autobiography, Get the Girl, Kill the Baddies, and Save the Entire Planet: "Our plan, if anyone did object, was to request a brief recess from the Board; take the objecting parties out to the lobby; and throw so goddamn much money at them their accountants would be picking up zeroes off the floor for weeks. As it turned out, we didn't need to. But we were prepared."

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