Random posts about various subjects by hamano

uncreepy

😱
Apr 9, 2018
806
USA
Personally I'm a bit opposed to the idea of real time control, maybe for the MC parts is good, but I somehow dislike the thought of Miku being controlled real-time by some dancer. If said dancer were to make a mistake or something, it would be instantly reflected in Miku's dancing too, which I think would be a bad thing, not to mention the exhaustion of a live dancer you pointed out.
We're so used to Miku performing the same dances flawlessly over and over again and not getting tired during live shows. I don't know if fans want to see that "human touch" in her movement and possible mistakes a dancer might do.
Technically, Miku's always been controlled by a real dancer through motion capture (I know that Exemplar linked to an article a long time ago that I translated a bit about before, but I can't find it anymore. It was about the girl who made Miku's dance routines. I imagine Sega had her do the mocap, but I can't remember her name. I tried looking it up, and Yui Ogura did the mocap for Project Diva and Project Diva f, but I don't know about the other games or if she's the one who came up with the dances).

I have been thinking about if they would ever switch to fully real-time songs how I imagine they'd achieve it. Personally, I think they would have more than one dancer ready to be motion captured. (Kind of like how interpreters switch with a partner every half and hour-ish at the UN.)

So even if Miku is a hologram, her dances weren't "hand animated" from scratch by animators, it was mainly mocap with some tweaking on parts that didn't record right. There are tons of professional dancers who do seemingly impossible dances (like Kpop stars or like... Lady Gaga backup dancers), so saying they would make Miku look bad is kind of harsh and slighting the dancing profession. I also find it hard to believe that people watching would be like "Oh, this dancer screwed up, Miku's hand should have moved at this height a few seconds ago, the performance is ruined!" I could only imagine it being ruined if the performer collapsed or the mocap suddenly setup failed or something.

I'm sure that part of their plan in having the real-time voice conversion and the real-time mocap is so she can like, run up on stage and give the audience a unique greeting through her poses and words or interract with musicians she's collaborating with. (Because dance routines and clips of Miku talking to the audience take a long time to render and animate compared to the tech for real-time VTuber type stuff.)

Sorry for rambling a lot. I thought what you wrote about the event was interesting, I bet you got tons more photos and what you shared was a fraction of them. And you even got to do cool stuff in Japan that wasn't exclusively being at the concert venue. (I guess it's hard for me to imagine the scale of such an event and what it feels like being there because I've never been to anything like it, but I think it must also be hard to fully convey through words/pictures what being at a Miku event is like.)
 

hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
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Technically, Miku's always been controlled by a real dancer through motion capture (I know that Exemplar linked to an article a long time ago that I translated a bit about before, but I can't find it anymore. It was about the girl who made Miku's dance routines. I imagine Sega had her do the mocap, but I can't remember her name. I tried looking it up, and Yui Ogura did the mocap for Project Diva and Project Diva f, but I don't know about the other games or if she's the one who came up with the dances).

I have been thinking about if they would ever switch to fully real-time songs how I imagine they'd achieve it. Personally, I think they would have more than one dancer ready to be motion captured. (Kind of like how interpreters switch with a partner every half and hour-ish at the UN.)

So even if Miku is a hologram, her dances weren't "hand animated" from scratch by animators, it was mainly mocap with some tweaking on parts that didn't record right. There are tons of professional dancers who do seemingly impossible dances (like Kpop stars or like... Lady Gaga backup dancers), so saying they would make Miku look bad is kind of harsh and slighting the dancing profession. I also find it hard to believe that people watching would be like "Oh, this dancer screwed up, Miku's hand should have moved at this height a few seconds ago, the performance is ruined!" I could only imagine it being ruined if the performer collapsed or the mocap suddenly setup failed or something.

I'm sure that part of their plan in having the real-time voice conversion and the real-time mocap is so she can like, run up on stage and give the audience a unique greeting through her poses and words or interract with musicians she's collaborating with. (Because dance routines and clips of Miku talking to the audience take a long time to render and animate compared to the tech for real-time VTuber type stuff.)

Sorry for rambling a lot. I thought what you wrote about the event was interesting, I bet you got tons more photos and what you shared was a fraction of them. And you even got to do cool stuff in Japan that wasn't exclusively being at the concert venue. (I guess it's hard for me to imagine the scale of such an event and what it feels like being there because I've never been to anything like it, but I think it must also be hard to fully convey through words/pictures what being at a Miku event is like.)
I am fully aware that Sega has used motion capture for ages, I didn't mention it in my previous post as I think it's common knowledge for every Miku fan, and I was specifically talking about real-time control.

I don't mean to talk down the profession of dancers, I just think that the "ultimate perfection" in movement is a part of Miku's on-stage identity. I can't explain this well, but I think Miku's dance routines should be processed and tweaked on a computer instead of feeding the motion capture data raw in real time. I feel that's part of her identity. Maybe it's just in my head, but if everything happened real-time, Miku would feel more like a marionette than she does now, and I can't shake that feeling. I feel like making Miku's movements more "human" (leaving out post-corrections they do now, slight deviation from choreography when repeating the same routine, possible mistakes etc.) kills a small part of Miku's "artificial" image.
 
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hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
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I'm really not the type of guy who would update a journal regularly. I'd want to, but most of the time I have nothing to write about, so now I thought I'd write at least something. This post will be mostly about figures, but I'll try to write about something else too. For a long time I've been wanting to write about my relationship with Miku and Vocaloid, and commentaries on what's happening within the community etc., but once again, it shall wait as I'm not up for that rn.

Anyhow, I'm glad my Ghost Miku figure finally made it to me after being trapped in customs for almost 3 weeks. The reason being that Finnish customs pays no attention to the declared value on the package, and insisted on getting a confirmation from the sender. The figure is a prize from Toreba, and unfortunately Toreba doesn't give any values in their shipping notification, but you have to ask for it from their customer service. In my case I never got a response from them, so in the end I had to wing it regarding the value (based on some examples ofonline store prices) and thankfully Customs approved my estimate.
So here she is:
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Truthfully, GHOST isn't exactly my favourite module, but she looks nice. The facial expression brings some variation to my collection of mostly smiling Mikus.

Other fairly recent figure purchases are the Shifuku ver. Miku and Noodle Stopper Miku (x2).
Some photos & commentary on them:
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Sgifuku Miku looks so cute, though she doesn't quite capture the cuteness of the original illustration. I sometimes have a cup of coffee with her sitting on the table next to mehaving her cup too. In fact, she could reside on my kitchen table.
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I didn't have cup noodles for her to sit on, so a stack of CDs shall do. She's definitely among my favourite prize figures.The pose and expression are cute, yet mature. In fact, I got 2 of these!
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Regarding figures, it's disappointing to see so many of them getting delayed. For example, Racing Miku 2017 Haregi ver. was delayed from September to January, Racing Miku 2018 Thailand ver. delayed from this month to next etc. I had previously combined my figure preorders so that all figures to be released this month from one shop would be shipped together, but these delays have completely messed it all up. On a bright side though, Amiami has finally shipped my Magical Mirai 2018 figure (that was also delayed; Japanese customers got the figure in August, which was it's original release month, but foreign orders (aka Amiami orders) were delayed first to September and then again to October). I'm really thrilled to get my MM18 Miku to stand next to the MM17 version! I hope she arrives soon, though given it's size the customs are bound to pick it up and ask to pay duties (which will be a good amount of money given the figure cost around 17000 yen). Two more prize figures are also on their way. Sometimes a month may go by without me getting a package of merch, but recently the pace has been about 1 package per week, sometimes even two.

Art

I've made an illustration that took me ages to complete due to the level of detail I put in it, though I might make a background too. I haven't posted it anywhere for now, as it is part of a project not yet public, I will publish it once things are at a point I can do so.

After that I've been in a creative void of a sort. I'm designing business cards for myself to hand out at Miku Expo, but the card illustration is taking forever, mostly because I kind of don't have passion to finish that piece, don't know why. Basically I only need to finish shading, add highlights and some details. Thankfully the illustration will be small in size when printed so I don't need crazy amount of detail.

Real life

Autumn might be my least favourite season, and the constant rain and weather getting colder just drains my energy, even the colourful autumn foliage is gone already, so now it's getting ever greyer and darker until the snow falls. I don't want to sound depressing, but autumn isn't very pleasant in my opinion. The forecast now does say we might get some snow next week, but it won't stay on the ground for long.
 

uncreepy

😱
Apr 9, 2018
806
USA
I'm glad your Ghost figure made it to you. Thanks for sharing pictures of your figures, they are cool. It makes me want to get one. I really like the Miku noodle one, she looks pretty (it seemed popular on Twitter, too).

If you finish your business card design, will you share it with us?

I'm okay with Fall, but I'm not looking forward to winter. I don't wanna fall down several times like last year. orz It's supposed to be wet here, so the yard will probably be flooded and turn to an ice rink like last year (hard to play with our dog on a giant icy death trap). Bleck.
 

hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
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Noodle stopper Miku has been massively popular with fans. I'd say the noodle stopper figure is one of those rare cases where a figure is the source of so much fanart.
If you're going to get a figure, prize figures are a good choice. They're cheap but have decent quality (don't expect too much though, they're crane game prizes after all).

I'll probably showcase the card design once it's done and printed, I still have to work on the colours of the overall design and decide what to do with the backside of the card. I've been thinking about a chibi character on that side, but not sure.

I like winter much more than autumn. When it rains in the winter it's at least snow and not water. Only if the temperature gets colder than -20°C it starts to get a little unpleasant to go outside.
 
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hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
693
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Since I've had a bit of a habit to show my latest figure acquirements here, I thought I'd continue with that tradition. (Although, to be honest, I've skipped quite a few over time)

First off, two prize figures I bought from Mandarake. First one is the Miku autumn clothes renewal figure. I didn't have the original version of this, so I thought I'd add this recolour version to my collection. And if I'm honest, I prefer this to the original version, I think the orange jacket suits her better than the red of the first version.
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Second prize figure is the Christmas 2019 ver. Miku. I admit I haven't been a fan of Christmas-themed figures in the past, but I thought this one looks pretty good. And I'm not disappointed! One small bit of critique goes to the twintail supports that were a pain to get right. First I had to google for pictures of this figure to see how they're suppised to go, as the package doesn't come with any instructions on placing them. The biggest pain was to get her right twintail on the support, as it required quite forceful twisting of the twintail part in order to get it sitting on the support (good thing Sega's figures are sturdy)
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My third figure for this time is certainly not the least; Magical Mirai 2018 figure! I'm glad she made it here despite the postal workers having started their strike on Monday. Originally this figure released in August, but deliveries to overseas customers was delayed twice, eventually getting released in the last days of October.

I've seen some people bashing F:NEX for alleged poor quality control, but I see no problems with this figure (nor in my Magical Mirai 2017 Miku that's made by the same company), so at least based on my experience, F:NEX quality is good.

Anyway, I simply love this figure! Vibrant colours, good sculpt, cute appearance, what's there not to love.
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Now the next source of figure worries is the Vintage Dress Miku that just shipped from CDJapan. The postal workers' strike will last for 2 weeks, and they've already warned it could go on for additional two weeks if the union and the post can't come to an agreement. According to the post's website, they don't handle packages coming from outside the EU at all during the strike. It might be a long wait for me...

Art
I've talked about my business card design on a couple of occasions, but I ended up discarding the illustration I made for this purpose. I wasn't super happy with it so I decided the cards will feature the Snow Miku art I'm working on. The original art might've been alright, but I guess I'm too critical of myself. I might still go with the original art for the cards if Snow Miku doesn't look good on the cards' colour scheme.

Then there's the Vocaverse Christmas gift thing I'm looking forward to. Obviously art is the only thing I'm capable of. Small part of me is a little concerned that I'm getting a wish for a character or a design I'm not familiar with or is elaborate. My concern with that is my self criticism, I don't want to gift an illlustration that's half-arsed or disappointing to the recipient. But it's all for fun in the end, and I don't think whoever gets my gift will be overtly critical. I'm curious to see what kind of request I'm getting!
 

hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
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Originally I intended to state my opinion on the controversy regarding the Miku Expo contest winner in a profile post, but in the end this post turned out so long I decided to post it on my journal instead.

A lot of you probably know already that the winning song in question is "MikuFiesta". The song is in Spanish and has a somewhat latin or flamenco vibe to it. I recommend you listen to it instead of me trying to explain it:

It seems that around social media there is a fair amount of negative comments about the song, for example how it's not suited for Europe in terms of music style, how it's just bad because the lyrics are Spanish, the lyrics have some expressions that are common in South American Spanish and not so in Castilian Spanish, or comments like "if the winner isn't in Japanese, it should've been in English bc everyone understands it".

Seeing the hate makes me sad. The producer has surely put a lot of hard work in the song, I imagine making Miku sing in Spanish, a language she's not intended to, isn't exactly a breeze, though I don't know as I haven't tried. I can only imagine how the producer feels reading those hate comments.

Heck, I even saw a post about some fans willing to sell their concert tickets after the winning announcement. But in the end, most of the responses to MikuFiesta have been positive.

Now, everyone is of course entitled to their opinion, but all-out bashing a song for ridiculous reasons like hating the Spanish language because they had to study it at school (the same person also said about the song "it couldn't get worse" "Spanish Miku, I wanna die" and stuff like that). Hating a song just because it's in a language you don't like is not cool. Besides, Spain is one of the countries of the Expo tour, so I don't see the problem. Mind you, I'm not a huge fan of English language Vocaloid music myself, but I don't go out hating English Miku songs. I appreciate the creativity they put in their work and people who enjoy the fruits of that work. Let people write songs in whichever language they want. I like to think that the freedom of expression and bringing people around the world together is what's so great about the creative culture surrounding Miku. A lot of people want to see Miku grow globally and take on new languages. And when that happens, the same people start an outcry. I'm just glad Crypton shows recognition towards other languages too instead of "western community = English community".

Some said the song doesn't fit the Europe tour because it sounds more Latin American. Or too Spanish, and it doesn't fit the other locations. The contest was open to participants around the world and in all languages. What would've been fit for Europe? Yodeling and folk music? And if I'm honest, MikuFiesta leans more towards modern pop (that's very diverse stylistically) than being distinctively Latin. Would a generic pop or rock song have been better for Europe specifically?

I personally like the song. It's fun and I think it'll work quite well performed live. Admittedly my interests are in the Japanese music, but I see no reason to not like MikuFiesta. It's a cute song with a nice vibe to it. I am looking forward to seeing it live.

I'm sorry that this post was rambly in places and a bit disorganized. I just wanted to state my scattered thoughts on this.
 

mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
915
^That is a great post.

I really agree with you. As a software, one of the hallmarks of Vocaloid (and really vocal synths in general) is its flexibility, its ability to be adaptable to any genre of music and give you a shot at doing whatever it is you have in mind to do. With that flexibility also comes a certain kind of acceptance--your vocal synth doesn't care what kind of creation you have in mind, and whatever it is you make, once it's done it becomes a part of the vocal synth community.

That mindset extends into the culture surrounding Miku specifically, too. As a policy, CFM doesn't give Miku a personality. But they can't really avoid doing so, in how she acts onstage, or in the songs she's given to sing at concerts. And when you look at her (or any of the CFM 'loids really, though we aren't given as much to work with in guessing their personalities), what you see is someone who wants to accept and support everyone. Hate isn't in her vocabulary. I personally think, as it's one of what seems to be a very small number of Spanish songs, that Miku would be happier about this new song and it's prominent place in the concert than anyone.

This world, that Miku and the other synths inhabit and embody, where all kinds of people can get together, interact, and learn from and about each other is an advanced one. When you have the power to create any message and put it before thousands to millions of people, you also inherit the obligation to use that ability responsibly. Freedom of expression is a precious and protected right in a number of countries, and every opinion or idea is potentially important and valid. But at the same time, simply hating someone or their creation for no particularly valid reason serves no useful purpose. Expression of such an idea solves no problem, it doesn't make anyone better off. All it does is hurt people. It's meaningless, hurtful noise.

The one comment you mentioned that made some sense was the comment about Latin American/Castillian expressions. But that seems like a really nitpicky point to me. Spanish is spoken in many countries. Is AlexTrip Sands (likely a resident of Latin America, I'd guess) supposed to become an expert in the expressions used in Spain so that he/she can make an absolutely fitting song? Are we really that sensitive and need to be catered to that much? In the advanced world I described, you should reasonably be able to expect people to accept and be kind to you, but it also requires having a somewhat thick skin, so that you can embrace people whose (worthwhile, not hateful) ideas are different from yours.

There have been and will be a lot of growing pains, but overall, I think people are more tolerant than they were several decades ago, despite all the drama that comes up. Gradually, I think we'll move toward what I would call the future. Which is, fittingly, what "mirai"/"Miku" means.
 
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hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
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Since I finally got the packages coming from Japan delivered, I can now show the two new figures that have joined my collection, the Hatsune Miku Winter Live prize figure and the Vintage Dress Miku.
I also got some plushies from Toreba.

The postal strike in November really delayed them, especially Vintage Dress figure that took over a month to arrive. I'm glad they're finally here!

First off, the Winter Live Miku from Taito. I love her pose and the winking expression is really cute! Miku's outfit is quite detailed for a prize figure, twintails look nice with the gradient paintwork, although the way her twintails flow, she takes up some space.
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The first obvious point of criticism is the paintjob on my example. The white collar is poorly painted with red plastic showing through. The mic and the badge have paint issues as well. I have some paints left from times when I made scale models, so I'm debating on if I should try and fix the paint problems myself.
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The red coming through the white paint looks worse live than in photos.

Another little annoyance on this one is the mic stand. The stand came as a separate piece that had to be pushed through a hole in her right hand and and slotted into a hole in the mic she's holding in her left hand. The hole in her right hand was a tad too small so some paint came off the mic stand as I pushed it through. Thankfully that doesn't stand out too much. Also the right hand and the slot on the mic aren't perfectly aligned, so the stand is a bit crooked when in place. I think they could've designed that in another way, but that's how it is now. It doesn't bother me that much, it barely shows.

Overall, this is a very nice figure though, except for the rubbish painting on mine. The paintjob is the biggest letdown and I'm not sure whether I should try repainting problem areas myself. I won this Miku from Toreba, so I think I'll try to contact them, and see if they'd be willing to send a replacement.

Second is a figure I've been eagerly waiting ever since it was first announced, Hatsune Miku Vintage Dress ver.!
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Vintage Dress is one of my favourite modules on Project Diva, and the prototype sculpting looked gorgeous. Now that she's here I can say she looks stunning! The details of the sculpt are amazing. And I adore the paintjob! Her red costume has that nice velvet-like finish, and the glossy hair looks great. I feel like I can't express how much I love the finishing on this!
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Photos don't do justice to the excellent paintwork.

Her base is a mirror, which looks cool and fits the figure in my opinion. Although I can't completely shake the thought that the designer had, err, low-angle views in mind...
The panties on Miku figures are usually nondescript white, but this Miku is wearing a red thong... (I won't post a picture now)
But probably that's not the case, a mirror base just looks nice instead of the usual plastic bases.
20191219_154939.jpg

But I do have criticism too, I feel like the quality control hasn't been exactly top-notch when it comes to assembling her. The left twintail wouldn't slot in it's place and in the end I had to use a hobby knife to open up the hole a bit more in her head where the twintail goes, as the hole narrowed towards the bottom and had some casting seam inside. Second problem was similar, as attaching her to the base proved problematic. I was able to push the pegs all the way in with brute force in the end, but I was genuinely afraid of breaking something. If you're looking to get her, be very careful when putting her on the base! Third problem was the mic. There's a hole in Miku's hand and a corresponding peg on the mic. Again, I had to resort to my knife and make the peg thinner to make it fit. I read on myfigurecollection that other people have had similar issues with assembly.

So, the assembly was a pain, but I think this figure is definitely worth the money. This is such a beautiful figure.
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
915
Glad to hear that the postal strike is over for you!

It might be worth seeing if you can find pictures of other people's Taito Winter Live Miku. If they're each hand-painted, that's one thing, but if they're mass-produced, even ordering a replacement might not do you any good.

Vintage Dress Miku looks gorgeous! They really did a great job on all the fine detailing, like the itty bitty little points on the crown, or how her twintails seem so clearly defined from her head by the hairbands (which is obviously enhanced by them actually being separate pieces, but still, it looks amazing).

Vintage Dress is always the module I associate with Romeo and Cinderella. I remember seeing a video of her performing that song at a concert once; I still feel a little emotional when I remember how excited the crowd was when that song came on!

You might be right about the mirror base. But from the pictures, I think you would almost have to have your face over Miku's head to use the base that way. It might have been an intended function for it, but I don't suppose the designer could really have expected it to work well for that use. Probably you're right and it was just supposed to look refined :). If it nags at you too much, you could possibly cut a circle of paper to fit over the top of the base. It would be easiest to apply after taking her off the base again (which sounds like it probably wouldn't be worth it), but if you left slits between the edges and the holes where the feet attach, you could possibly feed the thing in there between her feet and the base. If you have black paper, it looks like it might still keep that refined look.

(Jeez, I just noticed that the little pink ruffles even look like they have a lacey texture. The detailing on the figure really is first-rate!)
 
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uncreepy

😱
Apr 9, 2018
806
USA
Wow, even though both figures have some issues, they still look great! Thanks for sharing photos/your reviews of them. It sounds like having to wait because of problems with the mail would be painful, but I'm glad they're here.

I think fixing up the paint problem would be an annoying but manageable DIY. Also, I have heard of some figures having problems with pieces not fitting right, apparently you can heat up the plastic in a cup of warmish water so it can get popped in properly.

Your comment about the glass stand makes me think of two things. One is that we have some little crystal figurines at home that have glass bases and they look really fancy. Two is that me and my sister were watching an anime yesterday and they were talking about someone owning figures that you can't look at from the bottom. Haha. I'm sure there are people who pick up the figures and investigate them from every angle, anyway.
 
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RoboCheatsyTM

That one Sukone Tei stan
Sep 21, 2019
545
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I've heard that Miku figures tend to have issues with things not fitting into place properly, especially the pigtails.

Glad to hear the postal strike is over, though! Both figures look like they'd be well worth the wait! The vintage dress Miku is so pretty! Now I want one! XD
The finish on her so is so shiny and lovely! Clearly there was a lot of care put into her!
 
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hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
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It might be worth seeing if you can find pictures of other people's Taito Winter Live Miku. If they're each hand-painted, that's one thing, but if they're mass-produced, even ordering a replacement might not do you any good.
Well, prize figures are made cheap so you can't expect perfection, and there are little flaws in them sometimes. But a paint defect like that stands out a bit too much in my eyes, so I'll just ask if Toreba thinks it's a big enough flaw to warrant a replacement. If not, I'll just try to do some touch up work myself.

If it nags at you too much, you could possibly cut a circle of paper to fit over the top of the base. It would be easiest to apply after taking her off the base again (which sounds like it probably wouldn't be worth it), but if you left slits between the edges and the holes where the feet attach, you could possibly feed the thing in there between her feet and the base. If you have black paper, it looks like it might still keep that refined look.
I'm sure there are people who pick up the figures and investigate them from every angle, anyway.

The base doesn't bother me at all, I think it looks nice. The thought just crossed my mind that someone had low angles in mind when designing it, I don't think that's really the reason to make a mirror base. I do like to inspect my figures closely and I appreciate the manufacturers' attention to detail even in places you don't see when the figure is on display.

Also, I have heard of some figures having problems with pieces not fitting right, apparently you can heat up the plastic in a cup of warmish water so it can get popped in properly.
I've heard that Miku figures tend to have issues with things not fitting into place properly, especially the pigtails.
Yeah, the manufacturers usually recommend warming the parts with water if there's issues in fitting them. With Vintage Miku that would've not helped though, the hole for the left twintail was about 2mm too narrow so even warming it up would've been useless. I have 48 Miku figures so far, and this one was by far the most difficult to assemble. Sure I've come across tight fits before, but this was the first time I needed a knife to attach parts.

The Vintage Dress figure was delayed from it's original release date, but it still seems MaxFactory rushed the release a bit and didn't make sure parts fit in as they're supposed to. And judging from the experiences of others who bought her, mine wasn't the only one with issues. But I don't want to complain, she's still well worth the price and the small trouble of assembling.
 

hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
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So, 2019 is coming to an end and a new year begins. I'm not quite sure how to describe the past year, there have been ups and downs, so I guess overall this has been an average year for me.

In real life, I had probably the worst working experiences ever. Over the years I've been working for 8 different companies, and the driver's job I was at this year was the worst. Truck driving itself is fun but I don't want to do it 12-14 hours everyday with tight schedules and under poor management. Since I resigned from there my working life has been pretty unstable. Next year I'm hoping to find a permanent job that I also enjoy doing. I could go on with fixed-term enployment too, but it's stressful having a secure job for only a few months at a time.

My art hobby took a step forward in January when I moved to digital drawing, something I hadn't done before. I'm happy to see how I've improved, but there's always more to get better at. I'm happy I got to make a Cheers39 fan event visual late this year.

In 2020, I'd like to look into the idea of commissions, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen. I could do one-off commission from time to time, but definitely not constantly. For me art is a hobby after all, and in order to enjoy it I like to keep the freedom to choose what I draw and how. Besides, it would be hard to promote myself given the amount of commission artists around. But if someone asks, I could be commissioned if I actually want to draw what they want me to.

In terms of being a vocaloid fan, this was a pretty good year. I had my regular trip to Japan to see Magical Mirai. And to enjoy the country overall. This year was my 5th visit to Japan and my third (consecutive) Magical Mirai.

I am definitely traveling to Japan again in 2020 for Magical Mirai, I can't wait to see how it's like. I'm most likely going to the Tokyo leg in December, which is also something to look forward to since I've never been to Japan during the winter. In 2020 it's also 10 years since my first Japan trip back in 2010. Maybe I should finally visit Hokkaido, that and Okinawa have been on my list of places to visit for some time.

I feel like my "bond" for Miku only gets stronger every year. If this sounds weeby then so be it, but Miku is probably what matters the most in my life. At least that's how I feel. Looking back, I genuinely feel my life was empty before I met her. Back then working was my main reason to live, I had no real hobbies except gaming and I was somewhat depressed periodically. Now things are different, she brings joy and things to do, helps to meet new people and takes me on trips abroad (at my expense of course). I may reveal more about a thing related to my affection towards Miku next year, maybe.

Since I sometimes post my thought on my new figures, and I buy a reasonable amount of Miku merch, I'd like to sum up how much I spent. But I don't know. It's too hard to keep track of, but I'm estimating maybe around 1500 euros or a bit over went to Miku merch this year. If you include some figure preorders I've already paid, and money spent on concert tickets we're past the 2000 euro mark. And this doesn't include indirect costs like shipping fees, concert-related costs etc.
So overall a rough estimate of money given to the goddess Miku-sama this year is over 2000 euros. It's not the cheapest hobby, but there are dumber ways to spend your money. At least I'm happy and given the amount spent, I expect Miku (or Crypton) to be happy too :D

Anyway, I hope the new year will be great for everyone, let's do our best to achieve our goals!
 

hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
693
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Finland
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Alright, my first two figure shipments of 2020 arrived yesterday and today. This time it's all about Racing Mikus (and more Racing Mikus are coming later thus month). The three figures I'll be taking a look at today are Racing Miku 2010 of GSC'S Pop Up Parade lineup, Racing Miku 2018 Challenging to the Top ver. by Aquamarine, and Racing Miku 2018 Thai ver. from Freeing.

First up, 2010 Racing Miku
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Now, the 2010 version hasn't really been my favourite Racing Miku design. I do like the costume, redjuice's artwork much less. But when this figure was announced I knew I'd buy it, she's not closely modeled after the original illustration which was a plus for me. Also she was quite cheap so it made sense to get her. This figure is a part of Goodsmile Company's Pop Up Parade product line, which means cheaper price than actual scale figures, but also less detail and simpler sculpt & paint. The quality is above regular prize figures though, so this lineup is basically an in-between option of the two. Pop Up Parade figures are non-scale btw.

I like the fact that she is small and doesn't take up too much space. Her height is about 18.5 cm with the stand included.
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Her face still has that "redjuice look"

Like I said, I like the costume design of the 2010 Racing Miku. The generous use of orange makes it stand out from the usual designs for Miku. I'm a bit unsure how I feel about the finishing on this figure though. Her clothes are shiny, which kinda goes against how I imagine the material would be. It just looks a bit off to me.
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Obviously you can't expect a huge amount of details on a budget figure like this, but I suppose the level is decent for the price. The tool pocket on her hip could be better though, now there's just tools sticking out from an orange lid. Maybe they could've made it to have a bit of depth and paint the inside dark so it'd look better? That's just a minor thing though.
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All in all, Racing Miku 2010 is a good buy, especially if you're just getting into figure collecting and don't have a lot of money to spend while still looking for higher quality than prize figures.

Next, Racing Miku 2018 Challenging to the Top. I didn't buy Goodsmile's figure of the 2018 Miku since I wasn't a fan of the space hogging pose, so I ordered this one instead. She's 1/7 scale, but requires only modest space thanks to the pose. (You may have noticed I'm talking about space again, that's because I'm currently suffering from lack of display space, I'm trying to find a bigger apartment this year).
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I wasn't excited about the 2018 design initially, but it has grown on me over time, I quite like it now. I can't say this figure has stunning details, but that's only because the costume design itself is quite simple. Everything is executed well in this figure, her staff was easy to put in place and the twintails aren't even removable, so the most common assembly problem was absent in this figure.

Paintjob looks good all around, and I adore her blue gradient thigh-highs!
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Finally we have another 2018 Racing Miku, the Thai ver. to be exact. Each Super GT season includes one race in Thailand, and Goodsmile Racing has had a special Thai version of their mascot for it. Thai versions are pretty much just a variation of normal Racing Miku, but with tan and less clothes.
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When it comes to 2018 Racing Miku, I actually like the Thai version more than the normal design. She has an aura fit for summer and heat, and I think the pose of the original illustration is very cute. The pose has been recreated well in the figure.
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She didn't require any assembly which was nice. Only attach her to the base, put the gold hair ornaments in place and that's it. I wish the base was different though, a plain white base is a bit boring. The skirt and top are loose, but not removable. That's a bit of a shame, it would've been a fun option to didplay her with the bikini she's wearing under them.
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I do understand that making those parts removable would've not been an option, as it would require the figure being made of separate parts (like some GSC figures, where the legs and hips are a separate part from the upper body, allowing you to remove the separate skirt part from between if you wish).

Now I'll have to try and find a place for these three, which is a task in itself. I already have figures scattered around because my display cabinet can only hold so much. I'll have to take some prize figures out from there to make space for these. (It's better to put the expensive figures ina safe place and have the cheap prize figures on open shelves/desk/wherever. Just in case something were to happen. Prize figures are easier to fix too)

The next time I'm getting new figures, it'll be more Racing Mikus, though I think they won't arrive before Miku Expo, so my next entry will probably be about that. We'll see.
 
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hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
693
26
Finland
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Remember the Winter Live Miku figure I won from Toreba and had paint defects? I emailed the Toreba customer support with photos of the problems asking if they are able to provide a replacement or a refund. Today they finally responded. Here's what they said:
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I was hopeful they could provide a replacement figure, but seems not. At least I got some game currency to spend. I might try doing some paint touch up at some point, hopefully it will turn out okay. The other option is to buy another example of the figure second hand. (Or try to win another from Toreba, though it's probably cheaper to buy one).

Miku Expo Europe tour is about to kick off with the London leg tomorrow. Too bad I won't be there, I'll have to wait until the 20th for the Berlin show, and try and dodge setlist spoilers until that. I'm looking forwars to the show, though it's not nearly as much importance to me as Magical Mirai, but still, a Miku concert is a Miku concert after all. And then there's a lot of people to meet, some of who I've met at previous Miku events in Japan and Europe, and of course new people who I've only talked to online.

I said I'd be reviewing the two new figures on their way after Miku Expo, but tracking says the package will arrive on Monday so I'm probably posting a couple of photos of them next week, before I depart for Berlin on the 19th.

And the Magical Mirai 2019 Bluray is at customs. I was hoping it'd slip through like last year, but no, the government wants tax money.
 

Leon

AKA missy20201 (Elliot)
Apr 8, 2018
205
Can I just say I love your figure posts? I don't know why (I've never even collected figures, I just have Kaito's simple Project Diva one) but I love people's analyses and comments about these things. It's really fun to read. I love the 2018 Racing Miku ones! They're both very cute.

Bummer about the Toreba one, but at least they refunded you :z

Have fun at Miku Expo!!
 
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hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
693
26
Finland
mobile.twitter.com
^Thank you^^
I'm trying to improve on my figure posts in the future, I've been thinking about lending a camera from my dad for better photos (I still don't have a good place to take photos tho, and proper lighting is another issue that'd need resolving).
 
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mobius017

Aspiring ∞ Creator
Apr 8, 2018
915
Ah, that's too bad about the Toreba figure.

I was trying to think if there might be a service like the opposite of proxy shipping. Some proxy shippers give you an address in Japan, for example, then purchase your products and have them shipped there and forwarded on to you. So I was wondering if there could be something where you ship to a warehouse and then it gets forwarded on.... But you would definitely need the help of your proxy company to do that, as someone would have to pick up the item at the warehouse and then reship it. I doubt you could temporarily set up mail forwarding with the post office; they probably wouldn't appreciate that kind of thing....

Of course, all that would likely be much more expensive than trying to buy a replacement or purchase paint. Plus the risk of shipping her again, and the effort involved. Not to mention the fact that you have a refund already, so you probably couldn't really send it back now even if it were possible to arrange it somehow.

Good luck if you try to touch-up the paint job! And have a good time at Expo!
 
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hamano

みくみくにしてくれた人 @Miku Expo Berlin +Cheers39
Apr 8, 2018
693
26
Finland
mobile.twitter.com
Racing Miku 2017 Thai ver. and Racing Miku 2019 figma have arrived!

(Note: I noticed the page is sometimes a bit slow to load when I post a lot of full size images, so I'm using thumbnails now. You can click to view the images larger)

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The 2017 Racing Miku Thai design isn't massively detailed in terms of clothing and accessories, but looks fine enough in figure form. I really like the flowing twintails and the paintwork on them. They're really beautiful! However the overall appearance of the figure is a bit bland in my opinion. I can't really put my finger on what it is, maybe it's just the simplistic costume.

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When I looked at the prototype images of this figure, I thought her skin tan looked too reddish and kinda clashed with the hair colour, but in reality it looks good and I have no complaints.

Her pose is elegant, although she needs some space thanks to the twintails and pixie wings. Miku's twintails require supports due to their weight. While I know they're necessary, I'm not a fan of them. They don't ruin a figure, but in my opinion it's always better if the design doesn't need them.

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The base is large accordingly, but unfortunately plain white, which is a bit boring. This seems to be a common feature with the Thai version Racing Mikus.

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Overall this is a nice figure, but somehow it doesn't quite make it to my favourites. Given how expensive she was I was waiting for something more. Don't get me wrong, I like her, but if I had to choose between this and the 2018 Thai version, I'd go for 2018.

Next, Racing Miku 2019 figma. Now, I'm not as huge of a fan of figmas as I used to be. Most of the time I can't be bothered to put them in different poses, and that's basically what they're for. But as I am a fan of the 2019 design, and figmas aren't ridiculously expensive, I went for another one.

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I adore the design of the 2019 Racing Miku. I remember being a bit sceptical when it was first revealed, but it has grown on me a lot. The idol-esque Racing Queen design is now among my favourite Racing Mikus.

As for the figma itself, it's cute and fairly easy to pose. The joints are stiff enough to hold in position, only exception is the heavy umbrella which she can't hold up with one hand, you need either the other hand to support or pose it so that it leans on her shoulder for example.

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She doesn't have that much accessories to play with. Only the open and closed umbrellas. (The stickers that go on the umbrella are a pain to put on. Wish they were wet transfer decals and not normal stickers). There's a selection of hand parts and two different face plates. I just wish she had more props, especially when I think about how much parts the 2019 Snow Miku figma has.

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Another small point of complaining for me is the ribbon on her back/neck. It's removable and falls off quite easily when you're posing her. Also her neck joint is too stiff and requires a little bit of force.

My final verdict is that she could use some more extra parts to create more varied poses, but you can have a lot of fun as is. In the end her cuteness does overcome the lack of accessories though. If you're into figmas I can recommend getting her!
 

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