This Year's Snow Miku Wants to Go on a Date With You
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
Last year's Snow Miku lit up the sky of Sapporo during the yearly Snow Festival. The virtual idol is part of the festivities that includes huge snow sculptures and ice carving contests and she changes her look each year based on winners of an annual design contest. Themes have included the local night sky, winter sports, and native wildlife. This year the theme is returning to a Hokkaido regular: the Red-crowned crane as designed by Taichadon.
The character also gets a new theme song ever year. This year's theme is "Round off the Square Earth" by TOKOTOKO with a music video by mogelatte.
This year's Hatsune Miku is offering an extra special experience for festival goers. The company KDDI is creating an augmented reality application "Miku Sanpo" that lets visitors go on a date with Miku. The AR app was first announced at last year's festival and shown at the Niconico Chōkaigi and au SENDAI events.
The AR app lets users experience a date with Miku at the ferris wheel located on the roof of the NORBESA shopping mall in Sapporo. It costs 400 yen to use the app and a separate ticket for the ferris wheel is also required. Miku will start accepting dates on February 9-28.
If rides aren't your thing, you can take Miku to NORBESA's MIRAI.ST cafe & kitchen restaurant inside instead. The AR content mirrors the experience shown at the au Sendai cafe in July. The experience costs 800 yen plus one drink and will start on February 9 and run until February 12. Only a limited number of visitors will be allowed in each day for the AR dates.
Looking for an even cheaper date? The experience will also be at Snow Miku Sky Town, the shopping area in The New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido where users can take a stroll with Miku for free. The airport will host the experience from February 9 to 12.
The dates are limited to the specific locations because KDDI's app isn't available to the public. Each location rents out iPads with the app already installed and there currently isn't any plan for general release. The app's technology is based on Google's Tango app for Android devices and then reworked with Apple's ARKit.
The AR dates won't be Miku's only virtual appearance at the Snow Festival. She'll also appear via Virtual Reality app Hacosco's cardboard kits. The kits will go on sale in Hokkaido for 2,000 yen starting on February 5. Users will be able to see this year's Snow Miku dancing.
Visitors will also want to pick up the all new Snow Miku goods being sold throughout the festival venue.