For most of the past Saturday, I was swamped in Vocaloid. I already dip my toes in it most days of the week, but that day happened to have a lot more Vocaloid in it than usual. And it's all because of Stanford Splash that I've really gotten drenched.
One of my friends told me that there were Touhou and Vocaloid classes offered at Stanford Splash, which is a two-day event at Stanford where you can sign up for as many classes as you like (provided that you don't sign up for classes whose times overlap, and it's not free). I actually hadn't been planning to go, because of the experience I had there two years ago. I hadn't been very outgoing at the time (and I'm still not, I think) so I had a hard time not knowing anyone and generally felt rather isolated during the day.
Still, having heard that there was Vocaloid and Touhou was more than enough to motivate me. It means I don't have to go around being a closet otaku since I'm sure the others in those classes are otakus too. (Not that I really am one, though; if someone were to mention that they liked anime, manga, Vocaloids, etc. I'd be eager to talk about it with him/her, proud as I am of my otaku status.) Unfortunately I signed up too late and Touhou was all filled up (the friend who recommended Splash attended it, though. I'll have to badger her about it later). But I did make it to the session about Vocaloids.
Actually, I knew about most of the things in the presentation already - I knew the names and companies of the Vocaloids, I knew about the fame of Ryo/Supercell, I knew about the Giving Day (March 9) live concerts of Miku, I'd already seen the Piko/Sekihan Magnet live version (personally I don't really like their Magnet, but it's amazing that they can sing in girlish voices). I did learn about some weird things that you can do with the program MikuMikuDance - apparently you can use a Wii Remote and something called Kinect (which means I am behind the times after all, as I wasn't quite sure what Kinect was), and then a 3D model of Miku or some other Vocaloid will move around on the screen according to your movements. You can somehow play games using MikuMikuDance, like a shooting game where you can shoot at Tako Lukas and Shiteyanyos (Shiteyanyo is kind of creepy. It's Miku Hatsune, except it's only her head and hair, not the rest of her body; her hair serves as legs. Below is a picture).
What was really a shocking discovery for me at the class was about the plagiarism of Kat-tun. I'd already heard before that Kat-tun had admitted to plagiarism (though I believe that was probably the fault of the composers, and not the singers themselves...?) but I hadn't known that the song that was copied was a Vocaloid song. It's the song Dye by AVTechNO! and it is sung by the Vocaloid Luka Megurine. It turns out that the Kat-tun song NeverxOver was plagiarized from Dye (at least the first part of the song, if not the rest of it). Give it a listen.
The video starts with Dye, and at about 0:43, NeverxOver is played.
Starting from 1:23, you can hear both the songs played at the same time.
It sounds great together, like it could be one song. It's too bad that NeverxOver was plagiarized. -_-;; I liked Kat-tun, but it saddens me that a song of theirs was copied.
Though it turns out there's plagiarism on the Vocaloid side too... Read this. Apparently an artist called Yunomi actually traced stock images (which she hadn't paid for) and possibly even the work of other artists. That clears up some things for me, I read something about plagiarism in Just Be Friends, and I thought it was the song itself; it turns out it's the artwork. (Yunomi was the one who illustrated the popular Luka Megurine song "Just Be Friends") I feel like a lot of things have been shattered for me.
There's one thing that was positive for me, and that was that I finally got up the nerve to join Nico Nico Douga on Saturday night. I've long been interested in the site and I decided that I'd use Google Translate to help me get into it. So yes, I have successfully made an account and can now browse the site for videos. I'm trying to learn a bit of Japanese at the same time, so far I can recognize the katakana for Miku. I'm working on remembering the Katakana for Luka (or Ruka, shall I say) and Rin. So it's a time of great excitement, getting to explore a website and a language that I've long been interested in.