By Jason S. Yadao
The latest news from the Hawaii Entertainment Expo (HEXXP) camp that emerged over the past weekend is a tale of two personas -- one real, one virtual.
His name is Kz. (Pronounce it "K-Zet," please.) In 2007, he, along with Kajuki P, formed the music group Livetune. They started off as a doujin music group -- think of it like indie bands in the United States -- before Victor Entertainment signed them. In 2009, when Kajuki P left to work for Capcom, Kz became Livetune all by himself. He's since moved from Victor to Toy's Factory.
Her name is Hatsune Miku, a Vocaloid and the most famous contemporary virtual star this side of that holographic Tupac Shakur at the recent Coachella music festival. For those of you reading this blog who are unfamiliar with the whole Vocaloid phenomenon, gals like Miku are almost entirely computer generated, save for voice samples taken from Japanese voice actresses. Sometimes they even appear in concert, like the Mikunopolis concert at Anime Expo last year. Here's a clip.
That team is forming the foundation of what we're going to be seeing at HEXXP in October, as Babel Entertainment presents the Livetune DJ Dance Party Featuring Hatsune Miku. Expect plenty of glow sticks and people dressed up at Miku and all her Vocaloid friends bopping around to some of the crispest Japanese technopop beats out there.
When Livetune and Hatsune Miku get together, they're quite a formidable musical combo. Livetune's breakout album on the doujin music scene was the Miku-driven Re:package, which proved so successful that Victor Entertainment's first release after signing the group was, well, a repackaged version of Re:package, with three new songs. It promptly rose to No. 5 on the Oricon music charts -- think of Oricon like Billboard in the U.S. -- selling more than 20,000 copies in its first week. A remix album, Re:Mikus, followed in 2009, as well as other singles that have popped up on the Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series of games.
Then there's "Tell Your World," just released by Toy's Factory in March, available for your purchasing convenience on iTunes -- a song that Google used in one of its commercials for its Chrome browser.
The Livetune dance party is the first spotlight event for the first day of the convention, Sat., Oct. 20. It joins the previously announced World Cosplay Summit regional qualifier and a concert featuring Nobuo Uematsu and the Earthbound Papas, which are both happening Sun. Oct. 21.
Two-day passes are $55 general admission (ages 13 and up), $20 children ages 6-12; single-day passes are also available. You'll want to preregister, too, to be entered in the monthly prize giveaways leading up to the convention. For more information on HEXXP or to preregister, visit www.hexxp.com.