Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Boop Leads The Troupe

The topic of what are generically known as 'virtual idols' and their immense popularity is covered by cartoonist Koriander, in his recent 'blog post.

He isn't surprised by the huge appeal, which as he points out has been around for a long time. Citing the example of Betty Boop (whom he labels the world's first virtual idol, though some might with reason contest that term), and covering the Miku Hatsune/Vocaloid phenomenon, he seeks to show why we shouldn't find the new virtual idol fandom unexpected either.

It's an interesting read; and those of us old enough to have even early-life memories of Betty B will recall something of how popular the character was. I remember that I wasn't over-keen because of her 'peculiar' look, especially her mouth and her awkward-looking stances at times – as illustrated in Koriander's piece – but I was only a child at the time, so what did I know?

There are short videos of both idols embedded in Koriander's piece, and they are worth spending a few minutes checking out, especially the Boop one where the lady sings in Japanese(!)

I think this short quotation from the linked post best sums up the appeal of both Betty and Miku, as the writer sees it...
"...no two starlets in the music world have ever appeared more human or more infallible, to countless generations worldwide."
Note that "more human" part: it really tells the whole story, and in Miku's case has been apparent in some of the items I have posted here. Perhaps it is because so many different (human) producers are able to put so much of their own humanity into a performance that isn't being filtered or re-interpreted by another's ego or other potential barriers that what we have available to us is so much more than an actual human performer could ever provide.

I suspect that is at least somewhere near the answer, and we can all benefit from that additional breadth – and sometimes depth – in this way of presenting music without the old barriers.

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