My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I browsing through Netgalley titles and ran across this. Being a rabid Vocaloid fan, I didn’t waste any time downloading it. And it was a pretty neat find, all things considered.
For those who don’t know, Vocaloids are a voice synthesising software produced in – you guessed it – Japan. Basically you input the lyrics and melody of a song and a Vocaloid will sing it for you. Hatsune Miku, the girl with blue hair on the cover, is the most popular, so unsurprisingly, 98% of the graphics in here are hers.
The book can be divided into roughly three sections – two parts containing artist focused works separated by a poster collection and a last section with a few stories.
The first section is the highlight of the book. While most of the illustrations are run-of-the-mill pieces that focus exclusively on Miku and her blue dress, there are a couple of stunning works worth applauding as art on their own.
One is this gorgeous painting by Meola, which I presume is a water-colour:
Another is by Ryouno-san, who combines their favourite things – Vocaloids and masking tape:
In the second half, the artwork continues, with Miku mysteriously getting plumper. The generic cuteness and blue tones go on. Prepare to have your eyes glaze over.
Before that though, there are a bunch of full length illustrations. Most of them are not very different.
I will include this one by Kamijo Eri, which is just stylistic awesomeness:
Also worth noting for sheer creativity is artist Milo’s work with paper:
Then it gets a bit boring as lots of adverts jump in expounding how diverse the franchise is and so on. I particularly dislike the diva references to Miku, as if she were a real person. The beauty of Vocaloid is that each person can interpret the same character differently, so referring to her like she has a set image a la Lady Gaga is annoying.
The last 20 pages or so are devoted to cute short stories of Miku and her friends. I liked the time capsule comic, probably because it featured KAITO and followed canon the closest. The others are similarly candy fluff. There was one I couldn’t make heads or tails of, since it had no text and was illustrated ambiguously.
This book is great eye candy, especially if you like to pick up such things now and then to look at. The artist’s websites are also helpfully included, in case you want to check out more of their work. I don’t know if it’s a worthwhile buy at its price, but it would make a good coffee table book and a conversation starter. The nicer illustrations are almost worth it.
P.S. I recommend checking out these artists’ works in addition: Linco draws adorable characters perfect for keychains; Nabeya Sakihana has a unique style; Pisuke has a strange haunting quality and Merinow is pretty great too.