Greetings, everyone! This is Kowhey of VNN Japan. Some of you may know me from the VOCALOID news site “Miku Stream” which I used to run, or from the Magical Mirai hashtag #みんなとマジカルミライ. Speaking of Magical Mirai, today, I would like to report on the sights and sounds of the exhibition area for this year’s event. Among the readers here, I know that there are probably those who are too busy to attend, those for whom the Magical Mirai journey is not yet over, and even those who have just returned from Magical Mirai with fond memories of the event. I hope all of you can get something out of my detailed report here!
Before we get down to business, I’d like to look back at last year’s event venue. It took place at the Science and Technology Building, about a 5-minute walk from the Nippon Budokan, and strewn throughout the first floor and Science Hall were various exhibits and mini stage areas for the many different booths. And yet, it just didn’t feel very satisfying to me; it was essentially like a watered-down Niconico Chokaigi event, and attending it leaves one with the wholly unsatisfied feeling of being swamped from all sides by merchandise for sale and merchants shouting, “Come get your goods here!” or “Now accepting new card holder members!” I remember thinking they could make it like Niconico Chokaigi all they want, but ultimately, I just wanted an exhibit area where I could take in and enjoy the culture surrounding VOCALOID music creation, and came away deciding that I would place my hopes in the next Magical Mirai (and I even recall expressing this thought on the Tokyo MX forum). The live concert, however, was spectacular.
Now, back to the present, this year’s Magical Mirai 2016 took place at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center. The first line you’d see upon opening one of the event’s pamphlets was a message from Crypton CEO Hiroyuki Itoh, explaining how this place is known for serving as the venue for events like Niconico Chokaigi, Tokyo Game Show, and Summer Sonic Music Fest. This would then be followed up by all sorts of positive praise for the venue site, such as how it’s even larger than the Intex Osaka Convention Center where Magical Mirai 2014 was held. This, of course, was all to be expected.
However, upon stepping up to the waiting lines, my mood perked up immediately! That’s because all throughout the queue lines were tons and tons of people wearing goods and clothing articles with the name “Hatsune Miku” written on them. It’s a sight that readers may see photos of on the internet all the time, but when you’re actually there in the flesh and become part of a large gathering of people whom you previously could never meet in person, you just can’t help but feel elated. By the way, these photos were taken on September 10th, but I heard that the line of people wishing to enter on the 11th was even longer, with a wait time of about 45 minutes.
When I finally got to the entrance, I was greeted by a life-sized Miku clutching a cube! This life-sized Miku has been making appearances since 2014, wearing the outfit featured in the main visual illustration for each Magical Mirai event, and garnering wide-eyed gazes aplenty. Going a little further in, I then found an altar decorated with merchandise, dolls, and figurines of every Magical Mirai version of Miku from 2013 to the present one.
Once in the exhibition area, you can’t help but want to start collecting merchandise, so I hightailed it to the nearest merchant area! But even this early on in the event, there was already a good amount of items that were sold out. In every line that I saw, there were people eyeing the products, checking their wallets, and looking like they were having a hard time deciding what to buy. I myself was examining all the product signs, when suddenly…
… I caught sight of illustration panels for the six different Cryptonloids like Miku and KAITO! (As for the other four characters, I missed the window of opportunity to snap photos of them. Sorry, fans!)
After I bought as many goods that I was able to, I put on the ones that were wearable and then headed to the sponsor’s exhibit area. It was there that I caught a glimpse of a section of the wall that said “Take a peek into Miku’s dressing room!” When I rushed over there…
… I saw a large illustration of LENA’s Magical Mirai 2016 Miku looking bashful and surprised, and then started to question whether or not I should take a look. “No, I shouldn’t… I mustn’t peek…” the voice in my head kept telling me…
— 初音ミク マジカルミライ 公式 (@magicalmirai) 2016年9月9日
“We invited the main visual illustrator, LENA[A-7], to come draw this! Here’s Miku blushing as you peek into her dressing room!♥ Thank you, LENA!”
(By the way, I heard that LENA actually came here to draw the above-mentioned wall illustration.)
But in the end, with the heavy sense of guilt weighing in my chest, I decided to stealthily peek into the peep hole, you know, so as to not disturb Miku. And when I did…
… I saw Miku relaxing between performances and reading the Magical Mirai pamphlet! And during the times when Miku would be performing onstage…
… you’d see nothing but a towel left on her chair through this peep hole, meaning it syncs with what’s actually happening in reality! I have to say, this “dressing room peep hole” is quite the remarkable mechanism, really making you feel like Miku is part of the real world!
After venturing in a bit more, I came across one of the largest art displays I’ve ever seen. I saw one announcing the Snow Miku 2017 Exhibit and another one for MIKUEXPO. All were displaying high-quality printouts of illustrations from the many contributing artists for the event. It was quite the awe-inspiring sight, to say the least!
Up next, the corporate booths! This is the area that I looked forward to visiting the most! I first checked out the booth for Yamaha, who put together a so-called “VOCALOID Wagon.” Here, one could sample and play musical instruments, listen to and compare VOCALOID voices, and more. It was one of the more fun booths, but the one that I wanted to see the most was this one!
Just behind the VOCALOID Wagon was a display of every single VOCALOID product released so far, arranged in neat little rows. Seeing it in person was like experiencing history unfold right before my eyes. In fact, I actually plan on buying the Hatsune Miku V4X software pretty soon myself!
Next, here we see the booth for the widely talked-about LUX Straight & Beauty commercial in which Miku appeared in. It was a pretty audacious booth, considering it mainly consisted of a single LED monitor that looped the same commercial over and over again. For the record though, at the entrance of the booth, I was given a plastic bag containing samples of their products, so I did leave with something.
Up next is the booth for Ezaki Glico, the company behind all things Pocky! At the booth, the commercial produced by Kasoku Satou in which Miku appears in and eats Pocky is introduced, and you were greeted with the KEI-designed “Pocky-Style Miku.” At the center of the booth, a guitar sat on display, along with all the tools that were used to develop “the wonderful ‘sound’ of Pocky” (their words). Furthermore, they even had clear file folders lined up as gifts for anyone who tweeted the photos on display at the booth with the hashtag ＃お菓子のいい音, and showed the tweet to the booth representatives. Plus, if the last two digits of your visitor number happened to be 39, you’d even get some free Pocky!
Moving on, I next stopped at the booth for “Character Crepe!” where they were making Miku crepes! Have a look at the creation process!
What do you think? If you look really closely, you’ll see Miku’s face being drawn in chocolate on the pancake interior! Seeing them really makes one smile, although once someone orders a crêpe, her face gets hidden from sight!
And here we even see a tiny Miku cookie, where she looks so cute that you could eat her all up! If you look really, really closely, you’ll even see that she’s wearing a bow in her hair! You can buy one along with a postcard for ￥700 JPY (about $7 USD)! With such meticulous detail in craftsmanship, I’ll bet that the waiting line for these crêpes will never run out!
Afterwards, I arrived at the Volks booth, home of Dollfie Dream!
At the booth was one big, wondrous display of all the VOCALOID Dollfie Dream figurines, including the newly announced “Deep Sea Girl” and “Daughter of Evil” dress sets, and the moving Miku Dollfie Dream known as “Dollfie HONEY!” Check her out in the video below!
— ロヂャお (@umaslim) 2016年9月9日
Continuing on, I went to the workshop area where there were many stations for drawing Miku. I first tried out the Piapro wall. My results of that challenge are below…
And here is a wall illustration colored entirely in masking tape!
And lastly, here’s the coloring station, which I visited on two separate days. On the first day, I took the easy route and colored Miku regularly, but on the second day, I tried coloring her in more Snow Miku-like colors. I had so much fun that I could hardly stop!
And finally, I arrived at the Itasha Parking Lot!
In addition to all the user-donated Itasha and Itabikes, an Itasha sporting Miku’s official design by the Spik Kobo car paint group was on display! To its left was even a blood donation table, where quite a lot of people were giving blood.
As you can probably see, my days at Magical Mirai were spent visiting one booth after another, after another in rapid succession, and taking nonstop pictures all the while. The booth designers really went above and beyond with all their creative ideas for the booths, and really livened up the event to the point that I found it to be far better than any Chokaigi event! Next year’s Magical Mirai will also be taking place at the Makuhari Messe, and I look forward to seeing what they all come up with next!
And thus concludes my Magical Mirai Exhibition Area report! Thank you so much for reading!
Originally written by Kowhey of VNN Japan.