Hatsune Miku didn’t originate as a character from a game, but from the Vocaloid2 Character Vocal Series software. This software, released by the Yamaha Corporation is a singing synthesizer application, that allows the user to “sing” just by typing the lyrics and the melody to a song. There are various voices included in the software package, and Miku is one of them.
Popularity and Influence
The Vocaloid software became very popular due in great part to the Nico Nico Douga site (a Japanese site similar to YouTube). Users began posting their created songs and soon a sub-community formed. Videos made by users would inspire illustrators and artists to create their own songs / remixes or drawings based on the characters / imagery in the videos. One example of this is Black Rock Shooter, a character based somewhat on Hatsune Miku, that originated in a music video.
Hatsune Miku’s first appearance in a game was the Japanese version of the online golf game PangYa, which started a campaign with her included on May 22, 2008. Her first appearance in a regular video game is in 13-sai no Hello Work DS. Her first game as a protagonist was the PlayStation Portable game Hatsune Miku: Project Diva, which was released in Japan in July of 2009 by Sega. Project Diva has spawned several sequels, including Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F, the first in the series to see international release. The Project Diva titles are rhythm games featuring music orchestrated using the Vocaloid software.