The Crowd Went Wild For Hatsune Miku, The Virtual Anime Pop Star

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Illustration by Angelica Alzona

I’ve seen a massive crowd line up around the block to watch an internet-fueled hologram of an anime girl sing. I’ve seen a packed auditorium erupt into a wild cheer for a text-to-speech voice that said: “Hello Seattle.” I’ve seen our present day, in all its bracing cyberpunk wonder, at Hatsune Miku’s live concert at WaMu Theater last weekend.

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And it was pretty great.

This piece originally appeared 4/29/16.

It works like this: The virtual pop idol, instantly recognizable in her floor-length twin ponytails, appears on a translucent projection screen placed in the center of the stage. The screen is wide enough to give her some room to dance and move around freely while she sings; she isn’t restricted to a single point. There’s a live human backing band, though they’re relegated to the extreme far sides of the stage because the majority of the space is reserved for the display. (Anamanaguchi, Miku’s opening act for the North American leg of this tour, has to work with the same setup, which prevents the usually ebullient chiptune band from really owning the stage.) The artifice is not

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