Anime Expo 2012
Vocaloid Panel

by Carlo Santos,

A large, enthusiastic crowd was on hand to see and hear some of the latest creations in the Vocaloid world. The panel began with an introductory video showing various clips of Vocaloid music videos, cosplayers, concerts, and other creative offshoots of the music-making software and its line of mascot characters.

The highlight of the panel was a lineup of guests who had come from Japan to present their work: producers Kagome-P (the creator of the opening video), Agoaniki-P, Vocaliod-P (misspelling intentional) and illustrator Kyosuke, Deadball-P, and well-known producer Dixie Flatline.

Kagome-P introduced himself and spoke at length about Japanese dance clubs and how that subculture inspired the material in his video. In particular, he expressed his displeasure at the Japanese government's recent laws restricting operating hours for nightclubs.

Next up was Agoaniki-P, best known for the song "Double Lariat." Although currently working on new songs, he claims to be currently addicted to Diablo 3. Agoaniki-P also draws the illustrations that accompany his work, plays in a band, and has a musically inclined sister who has started composing her own Vocaloid songs. He also recounted how he missed his connecting flight getting to Los Angeles, and went on a roundabout adventure from Osaka to Seattle to San Diego before making it to Anime Expo.

After that came the creative team of Vocaliod-P (who got the name from one of his own typos) and illustrator Kyosuke. After briefly introducing themselves, the audience got to watch the video to Vocaliod-P's latest song, the upbeat-sounding "Because the Sky Is." That was followed by a special video created just for Anime Expo: an English-language version of his earlier work, "1/6." (Admittedly, Miku's English pronounciation is hard to make out unless following the subtitles.) Vocaliod-P also spoke about how manga and anime have inspired many of his songs, as well as how he met Kyosuke through the art website Pixiv.

Producer Deadball-P led off with the video to his nonsensical comedy song "Japanese Ninja No. 1," which got a big reaction from the crowd. "I don't remember why I made this song," he said, but regardless of the reasons, it was clear that the Anime Expo audience loved it. He got his nickname after a uploading a bizarre, risque song that listeners considered neither "safe" nor "out" but a "dead ball"—something so strange that it was out of play. A natural comedian, he also got a lot of laughs from the crowd just talking about himself.

Finally, Dixie Flatline got a chance to present his work, starting with a video for a ballad titled "Answer." This was created specially for Anime Expo audiences, and the song was written as an "answer song" to his most famous hit, "Just Be Friends." As a musican and composer for the last 10 years, Dixie Flatline draws from his love of American R&B, soul, and pop to create Vocaloid songs. He had long dreamed of creating music in the United States, but circumstances forced him to return to Japan. However, after seeing the footage of "Just Be Friends" from last year's "Mikunopolis" concert and the audience singing along, he realized that his dream of reaching out to American listeners had, in a way, come true.

This heartwarming story exemplifies one of the great things about Vocaloid—that a "virtual singer" program from Japan has the power to bring together fans from all around the world.

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