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Cool Find: K-ON, MikuMikuDance Style! (Updated)

Yes, dammit, I’m still on my K-ON! kick.  I’ve gotta cheer myself up somehow now that the show is over (although there is a movie coming, we don’t yet know if it’ll be new material or just a retelling).  And before you start whining: yes, I like K-ON!.  No, I don’t “OMG LOVE!!!!11” it, nor do I consider it God’s gift, or the greatest thing since sliced bread, etc.  Yes it’s moeblob at its finest, but it’s still good clean cheerful lighthearted fun.  No there’s no overarching plot (and to those of you who complain about it, I invite you to go look up slice of life).  I think alot of the haters and whiners are just expecting way too much of the series.  Not that that would have made much difference anyway – after all, you know what they say, Haters Gonna Hate.  Anyway I discovered K-ON! during a period of my life when I quite frankly needed a great deal of cheering up (alot of stuff going on, most of which was not good), and it helped me stay sane and did in fact put a much needed smile on my face, and it will thus always have a place in my heart.  So there.

Anyway, enough jibba-jabba.  By now you’re probably thinking to yourself “oh joy, here comes another fan-made video of them playing along to K-ON’s music.”  Not exactly.  It’s true that one of the many things I like about K-ON! is the music from the piece, and the fact that the publishers took the rather extraordinary step of publishing versions of the K-ON! music with various instrumental tracks missing, and including sheet music — the idea being to make it easy for people to pick up an instrument and play along.  And play along they did.  If anecdotal evidence is to be believed, it has helped generate some interest in learning how to play an instrument.  A quick search of the YouTubes will result in plenty of evidence to corroborate this.  Of course not everybody is, erm, cut out for it, shall we say.  But there are a few who have achieved legendary status.

No, what I speak of today is just as cool, but in a different way.  See, there’s this other thing popular with otaku these days, and that’s the Vocaloids.  This is some pretty impressive voice synthesizer software developed by Yamaha that, given lyrics and a melody, can synthesize a voice singing said lyrics to said melody.  (I’ve written a bit about it here before.)  Pretty amazing stuff.  There are quite a few different voices available, including arguably the most popular of them all, Hatsune Miku.  And as the Japanese are wont to do, they’ve created cute anime representations of these voices that have become extremely popular in their own right.  So popular that they are frequently the stars of many fan-made videos.  And the software used to make most of these is called MikuMikuDance.  It looks to be pretty powerful, capable of animating a single character, or multiple characters, all combined with a surprisingly powerful physics engine.  If you’re curious, you can even download it yourself (Windows only, sorry) if you feel creatively inclined.

Well someone had the bright idea (and the 3D modeling chops) to create models of our beloved girls from HTT and insert them into MikuMikuDance, to have them perform various songs from the series for our enjoyment.  And they have done an amazing job.  I’m no expert, but the motions they make to play their instruments look pretty authentic (or darn close to it anyway).

Check out two videos, one for “Listen!” (first ED from Season 2) and “Utayo!! Miracle” (second OP from Season 2) on YouTube, or via the embedded players below the cut, and be sure and check the “related videos” on each for more MikuMikuDance-ified K-ON!.

Updated! 02-Oct-2010. Feel like taking a shot at making one yourself?  Well then you’ll want to go grab MikuMikuDance (link above), and you’ll also need the K-ON! girls’ model files.  The site’s in Japanese, but I’m sure you can figure out which files you’ll need.  😉  Note that the file above Ritsu’s without a picture is Azunyan.  This Crunchyroll thread also contains some other useful pointers.  And if you do end up making something, tell us about it!

(And don’t worry, this K-ON! obsession of mine will burn itself out.  Eventually.)


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