We all know who Hatsune Miku is as she’s the most popular Vocaloid around. She’s huge in Japan, has recently made big splashes in America and is gaining traction in Europe, so the appearance of a 480~ page manga, Unofficial Hatsune Mix, is no surprise.
Consisting of many short stories featuring all of your favourite Vocaloids, including Miku, Luka, Rin, Len, Meiko and Kaito, I was taken on an enjoyable journey that made me laugh and tugged at my heartstrings. You might be wondering, “how exactly have they created a story for all of these characters?” and it’s simple; they’ve taken their bubbly personalities and inserted them into various stories revolving around their careers, hobbies, relationships and more.
The stories thinly intertwine with each-other, mainly focusing on their careers as Vocaloids, their reason for singing and how they react to new Vocaloids joining; this is best experienced in a story explaining how Meiko reacted when Luka originally joined. They also shed personality on the Vocaloids, such as how ditzy and simple-minded Miku can be (and her love of leeks), that Len is a huge fan of games, and Luka’s reason for singing.
Featuring so many stories you’re bound to find some you don’t like quite as much as others, or ones that completely change the tone of the book as a one-shot. One focuses on what it would be like if Miku died and what affect that would have on music, and I honestly wasn’t expecting this in the same manga that has a story where Miku fights Hachune Miku with a leek. The variety is nice and the manga goes a long way in giving life to the Vocaloids off of the stage.
As stated, it’s a thick book – roughly twice the size of your standard manga – and consists of mostly black and white pages although there are multiple stunning colourful works of art; Miku graces most of these, and I’d have liked a bit more of the gorgeous Luka myself. The art varies from story to story, so you’ll end up picking your favourite art style (perhaps subconciously), but none of them are bad by any means. Although the cast and stories already kept me interested, seeing what the next panel would look like was quite exciting!
The paper is high quality, and the colour pages are a bit more durable although I’m sure you’ll be careful with all the pages, anyway – no dropping it in the bath! The colour pages show off some unique modules and there are credits on some as to who designed them if you’re interested. There’s a short colour story about Miku’s visit to SEGA as she, Luka and Rin play Project Diva F and comment on some of the modules they can wear; yes, it’s obviously a swimsuit! Apparently this story is based on actual play experiences at the offices, so I assume someone was really dedicated to trying to beat one level of the game like Miku is struggling to do!
You might’ve noticed that I’m using images mainly from Project Diva F – this is because finding images for the manga is difficult as I don’t want to scan my book or show non-approved images. If you’re interested though, you should totally find a copy soon as I’ve seen it selling out in some stores, and Dark Horse are preparing a second print run due to its already soaring popularity. I almost missed out, but luckily my local Waterstones had it stock.
The soundtrack is go-oh right, yeah, there isn’t a soundtrack in a manga. Not even a Hatsune Miku manga you guys, you can’t open the book and have a little hologram pop up and sing to you, sadly. The Vocaloids prove that they don’t require music to put on a good show! Throw on the Project Diva F/2nd soundtrack if you really want to hear the their beautiful voices as you’re reading.
If you’ve ever seen a handful of Hatsune Miku music videos then you’ll already be familiar with how different they are from one another – one has her travelling the world and singing with cats, one has her dancing off against Luka and another sees a sadistic Miku being trapped inside of a music factory. The point I have here is that the one-shot stories are all so different, like the music videos, but blend together perfectly regardless. The story and animation may change, but the Vocaloids are still the same ones you love.
I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of Hatsune Miku for long, but with the Project Diva F games I started listening to her and the other Vocaloid’s music more often which prompted me to pick up this manga, and I can’t say I regret it. I paid £15 but for over 400+ pages worth of content with many colour pages which act as visual feasts, I can confidently say that I got my moneys worth. The one-shot comics might not appeal to some whereas a meaty, consistent story might’ve been preferred by others but this is how the manga was created and it’s a hugely enjoyable read. If you’re a fan, I recommend that you pick this up as soon as possible.
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