Not only did this year’s Mirai no Neiro present music videos at Anime Expo 2012, the series of panels also hosted famous VOCALOID producers from Japan as well. KagomeP, Agoaniki, VocaliodP (OdoP), DeadballP and Dixie Flatline were present to introduce themselves and show off their songs. VocaliodP’s friend and illustrator Kyosuke also showed up to join in on the fun. KagomeP hinted at Yuzuki Yukari’s imminent release outside of Japan, and Agoaniki described how he took the scenic route to the convention. VocaliodP and Kyosuke talked about how they met, and DeadballP was being his usual outrageous self. Finally, Dixie Flatline talked about how seeing the audience singing along to Just Be Friends at Mikunopolis left a lasting impression on him. The MCs this time were dressed up in Colorful Melody cosplay.
The second panel to Mirai no Neiro opened with the opening movie as usual, featuring the music of KagomeP and video direction by Masataka. After the video finished, KagomeP introduced himself in English, saying that it was a dream to be able to meet everyone here in America. He noted that while VOCALOID fans might recognize him as a mastering engineer, he also produces his own music as well. He especially likes using the elementary school girl VOCALOID Kaai Yuki and Kagamine Rin, the latter being the singer for the opening movie that was just played. According to him, for some reason he likes to use VOCALOIDs who sound young, but he actually personally prefers older women.
After the personal introduction, KagomeP went onto talking about the opening movie in particular, crediting MasatakaP for the “amazing music video” whose theme was clubbing culture and night life. The song was built around the phrase, “Thank God it’s Friday night; the clubbers gather at the venues to party ’til sunrise.” After the song was finished, he then heard that LA clubs stop serving alcohol at 2AM and usually close up shop, to which he had exclaimed “OH MY GOD!” at the time. As was mentioned through the lyrics, Japanese clubs used to be open from 11PM to 5AM. However, recently things have changed. Japanese clubs are now regulated strictly and dance venues can only be open legally until 1AM. KagomeP quipped that recently in some instances even dancing was labelled an illegal act, and while this sounds like a joke, it was a serious issue. Many all-night clubs have closed down and people now hold daytime parties. As a result, KagomeP proclaimed, “That’s why I decided to take on a rock-style tune to appeal to this Japanese club scene situation. So, Japanese government, F*ck you!”
Moving on, KagomeP mentioned that he is a member of VOCALOMAKETS and involved in producing VOCALOID sound banks himself, the first release being Yuzuki Yukari released through AHS. He describes Yukari as “a VOCALOID with a very sexy and grown-up sounding voice” and also noted that “she will soon be released in a country outside Japan.” It is apparently also one of his favorites and he asked the audience to please check her out if interested. Furthermore, KagomeP had encountered on YouTube people outside Japan using Yukari and making her sound very human. He is “very very very happy” that she had crossed so many oceans. In closing, KagomeP credited Dora (illustrator for his Kaai Yuki song Showasen Girl) with translating his script into English and shouted out “Thank you so much, Dora! I love you!”
Next was Agoaniki. The panel screened the world premiere of the PV for the song Atashi ga Buta ni Natte mo, and then Agoaniki introduced himself, starting off with a very accented “My English is very difficult. I speak Japanese only, okay?” and then moving on in Japanese to describing himself as the producer behind Double Lariat. The interpreter translated it directly to the audience as “My name is Agoaniki. I made Double Lariat. Thank you all for coming today,” to which Agoaniki quipped in Japanese “He … is NOT Agoaniki.” He then commended the other producers’ English, saying that they had been practicing in the hotel and thus to look forward to them instead for any English.
With introductions done, he went on to talking about the video that was just played, figuring people might need an explanation. He started by saying that it isn’t actually his song, and although he makes his own songs, recently he had been too caught up in Diablo III and thus haven’t been keeping up on the song production side. Agoaniki then mentioned that he has a band in Japan and his little sister, who is just as beautiful and intelligent as him, plays guitar and does vocals in the band as well. Recently she had also started composing music and writing lyrics, and this song that was just played is her second VOCALOID song. However, he pointed out that he did work on the arrangement and performed the song, so it wasn’t that this song was totally unrelated to him. According to him, there are a lot of VOCALOID songs about love, but a lot of them are either about princesses or sad love songs, etc. Since his little sister wrote this song, it’s kind of a down-and-dirty song about love from a woman’s point of view. The illustration was also done by his sister, and Agoaniki pointed out that just like him, she was overflowing with talent. Lastly, he apologized for not having any English skills and asked the audience to feel the song with their heart in lieu of actual English lyrics.
Next, Agoaniki asked if the audience knew Double Lariat, and there was very loud cheering in response. When the cheering subsided, he proceeded to sing the first line from the song, gathering even more applause and laughter. He noted that although the video looked quite silly, he had poured a lot of emotion into making this song. Therefore, he was very happy and grateful to be able to have everyone in the audience listen to it. On YouTube, he got very curious about English comments on his other songs asking whether this was the same guy who drew Double Lariat, and thus he was wondering if people outside Japan know that he does illustrations. After making sure everyone knew he drew the pictures and made the videos, he proceeded to talk about his big adventure traveling to the US.
Originally, he was supposed to fly from Osaka to Los Angeles via Seattle, but he had gotten caught up in immigration in Seattle and failed to catch his connecting flight. Basically, he was someone who didn’t speak any English and he had this impressive fro hairstyle, and hence the border control person asked him a lot of questions. Afterwards, he managed to get rebooked on a new flight, but this flight was to San Diego instead, and he was to take a bus from there to Los Angeles. The person at the counter in Seattle also wrote for him a small sign on a slip of paper that read: “I am looking for the Super Shuttle. I only speak Japanese. I am trying to get to Westin Buena Ventura.”
Unfortunately, the hotel name was misspelled (it’s supposed to be Bonaventure), and the bus driver was quite confused about it. Many people helped him out on this trip he felt that American people were really nice and friendly. With this trip under his belt, now he feels like he can go anywhere. However, he’ll have to practice English some more. In closing, he was happy to be able to meet all these VOCALOID fans from outside Japan in real life and asked everyone to enjoy the rest of the convention and the speeches from the rest of the producers.
VocaliodP + Kyosuke
The panel continued in English with VocaliodP introducing himself as the creator of 1/6, noting that it was played at Mikunopolis last year. He says his online handle is “noa”, but everyone calls him VocaliodP because he misspelled the term. Thus, he asked everyone to simply call him the shortened “OdoP”. It was his first time in America and he was a little nervous but also very excited. He then introduced Kyosuke, who made illustrations for most of his songs. Since the name is usually a male name, he quickly added “it sounds like a man, but she is a girl!” She also worked on the illustrations for a video made specifically for this panel. With that, he turned the mic over to Kyosuke.
Kyosuke introduced herself in very good British-accented English, saying that she had done illustrations for OdoP for the past 5-6 years, ever since she was a student in the UK. Because of him, she had opportunities to meet fans like everyone in the audience in big events, including Summer Comiket. She said she was amazed at “the power of AX” and that it was “quite different from Japanese events.” She was “quite moved by [everyone’s] power,” and that she “saw so many beautiful cosplayers.” Therefore, this experience would be a great memory for her and it would be inspiration for her future works.
In response to her good English, OdoP replied “as you know, she can speak English very well!” Now, they were ready to show a song OdoP made for Anime Expo, because the sky is. After that, he showed off the English version of 1/6 subtitled “out of the gravity”.
With the showings done, OdoP returned to talk about “because of sky is”, saying that it revolved around the theme “hard to live.” He said that he sometimes feel that life was hard and wondered if maybe people in the audience also felt the same way at times.
He then moved on to say that he is inspired by Japanese manga and that he liked anime and manga just like the audience. According to him, sometimes anime and manga have a negative image in Japan, and he notes that prejudice is involved with some people. However, he thinks there’s no difference between people buying expensive bags and those who buy anime and manga. “It’s important to cherish what you like, isn’t it? It’s a wonderful thing,” he noted.
In closing, he wanted to thank his friends who helped him a lot, including Kyosuke and shindy, who’s a sound engineer. Shindy had been OdoP’s best friend since his days in the university, and they were in the same band. When OdoP started working with VOCALOID, he helped him as a sound engineer. As for Kyosuke, he met her originally on pixiv when she made an illustration inspired by one of his songs. Their first contact was when he asked her to make an illustration for a new song of his. He also wanted to thank the Mirai no Neiro staff as well, because he had never spoken in English before in “front of millions of people.” Lastly, he wanted to say he was glad to meet Miku, because she linked him and everyone together, and that he wanted “her to be [his] wife.”
DeadballP’s segment started with a showing of the Japanese Ninja No. 1 PV, and the audience was happily clapping along with the song. When the song ended, DeadballP introduced himself and said that he “was so glad to be here, and [he] was so happy to see many people is in interested in VOCALOIDs, and [he] was so excited to know that these many people love Hatsune Miku.” He apologized for not playing a new song like the other producers, but he really wanted to play this song in America. “This is called Japanese Ninja No. 1, but I dunno, um… this is … insane. I… don’t remember why I made this song,” he added, sending the audience into bouts of laughter. According to him, he really loves this song and it’s on YouTube, so he told audience to “please search for it.”
He then went to talk about his P name, saying that while his P name is DeadballP, he doesn’t play any baseball. It apparently happened with his first upload to Nico Nico Douga, called Kisei Jijitsu, which was also an insane song and a “hentai song”. The listeners warred over whether this song was “out” (as in violates guidelines) or “safe”. Eventually someone said “this is not out, this is not safe, this is [a] dead ball” and the name stuck. DeadballP said that from then on, he continued to upload these “hentai songs” but sometimes he does compose normal, comedic songs. However, the majority of his songs are “not good for education.”
With that said and done, DeadballP introduced the audience to the phrase “ore no yome” and then exclaimed, “Hatsune Miku is my wife!” He backed it up by saying that he was the only one who “made a baby with Hatsune Miku.” Apparently he brought some CDs from Japan and the “baby song” is included on the CD. All interested audience members were asked to talk to him after the panel. In closing, he said, “I’m so happy to see this many people, and I’m so excited. Please enjoy the show today and thank you very much.”
Dixie Flatline’s portion started with a showing of a new song called Answer (official English subbed version on YouTube). After the song finished, Dixie Flatline introduced himself and told the audience, “the video I showed just now is a gift especially for you guys.” This song is apparently his “answer song” to Just Be Friends. It is not an epic or flashy song, but that’s okay according to him, because three years had passed since the couple broke up in Just Be Friends and not much drama was needed at this point.
He then talked about his profession — he is a musician, songwriter and music arranger as well as keyboardist, and he had been in the profession for about ten years in Japan. His musical influences lay in the R&B and pop music from the US he heard starting from when he was a child, including music from acts such as “Prince, Stevie Wonder, Danny Hathaway, D’Angelo, Raphael Saadiq, Black Eyed Peas, The Roots, and needless to say, Michael Jackson.”
Eight years ago, Dixie Flatline quit his job in Japan and moved to New York in order to find a music-related job; he really wanted to show his music to the American people and wanted to be a part of a country that had the best music culture to him. It was his dream, but things didn’t pan out for him, and he had to go back to Japan, a huge disappointment for him.
Time passed, and last year, Dixie Flatline saw a video titled “Mikunopolis” where Luka sang his song. For a while after watching, he couldn’t figure out what had happened; he had seen so many people singing his song along with Luka in Japanese. He said that he was supposed to have given up his dream on that day eight years ago. But when he saw the footage, his dream had somehow come true; he had nearly leapt for joy. “No joking,” he added, and he left the audience with this closing remark: “Watching Mikunopolis, watching you guys singing JBF in that video is one of the best memories for me in my life. I appreciate you guys from the bottom of my heart.”