It’s been a pretty eventful year in the Vocaloid scene- a slew of new Vocaloids, Project Diva 2nd, Hatsune Miku’s second live concert, KAT-TUN’s alleged plagiarism of Megurine Luka(AVTechno’s to be precise) song DYE, Miku being mentioned in news papers and tv shows around the globe, the release of the ‘Append’ software for Miku and Rin/Len, and the incredibly exciting announcement that Kaito and Meiko are being revived for the Vocaloid2 engine with something like an Append as well. And of course an absolutely massive amount of new songs.
This post is mainly for me to show off my favourite from each Vocaloid this year, as well as the best PV and best song of 2010 overall. So as we step into the Year of the Rabbit, let’s take a look at Moeronpan’s Tops of 2010.

Image source: "Rabbit Peeeeeeace!" by 雨る on Pixiv: http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=15561263

On average, close to 100 new songs (more at some times of the year, particularly a Vocaloid’s birthday)  by various Vocaloid users are uploaded to Nico every week; there are those that become hits, those that fade into obscurity after a while and those that don’t even get noticed at all, so it’s pretty much impossible to even calculate exactly how many songs came out this year let alone listen to every one. The way I’m doing this post is to select what was, in my opinion, my favourite song utilizing each Vocaloid. Keep in mind these are just my opinions, and everyone’s opinions are biased. These aren’t necessarily songs that I think ‘deserve’ to be hailed as classics, they are merely the songs that I, personally, enjoyed the most. Also please note that there is one Vocaloid I didn’t include…Gachapin. This is because I don’t like Gachapin I really couldn’t find any songs by him I liked, but if you know of any feel free to link them in the comments.
Another note: Due to the unstable nature of youtube links disappear of get taken down, so please notify me in the comments when these videos no longer work.

So without further ado…

Hatsune Miku:
Sweet Devil by q*Left and 8#Prince, illustration by yuna

This is a song that came out around Valentine’s Day where it enjoyed brief popularity before dropping off the charts. It only ended up as number four hundred and something on the yearly ranking, which surprised me because it’s hands down one of my favourite Miku songs. A fast, sexy and incredibly catchy dance/techno track filled with gratuitous engrish, it has an awesome chorus that makes it one of the songs on my ipod I can never seem to skip when it comes up on Shuffle. A rather sultry devil-Miku sings to a lover as though to seduce him with lyrics comparable to World is Mine in places, although the reality is she’s completely in love and doesn’t know how to express feelings non-aggressively, to the point where she’s quite yandere-ly posessive.  It’s one of the love-it-or-hate-it Miku tracks, but I love it.

Megurine Luka
Kimi no Kakera (A Piece of You)
by Solidio (illustrations by HaruAki)

Man what is it with technodance-ish Luka songs about breakups? In a similar vein to the smash hit Just Be Friends here’s another song about a relationship that just didn’t work out. The similarities end there however.
Luka’s amazingly tuned, her voice powerful despite the sad lyrics. Her voice here manages to pack a surprising amount of emotion for a robot.
It comes packaged in a beautiful PV with HaruAki’s gorgeous illustrations that really succeed in bringing out the emotion in the song. It actually only came out recently, but one listen and I was hooked, and after a lot of thought I decided to give it the crown of Best Luka Song of 2010.

Kagamine Rin
Ur style – abitrary style- by DatekenP, illustrations by amoko

Yes, I know it’s a remix, yes, I know the song it’s remixed from is from 2009, yes, I know it’s pretty obscure but damn, this is absolutely adorable and I don’t care what anyone else says. To be honest, while Rin had a LOT of high-ranking songs this year I can’t say any of them particularly grabbed me that much, and most of her best songs were in duets, which actually surprised me. (Alas, ‘Muzik’ , which is an amazing song, came out on the 27th of December 2009 so it only barely just doesn’t count for this list, as much as I want it to) Which is why I’m including this song. It’s incredibly cute, a pleasant and easy-listening experience complimented with a simple video with adorable cat-eared Rins. If it doesn’t at least bring a smile to your face you clearly have a heart of stone, but you’re going to be humming it for a long while after regardless.

Kagamine Len:
Tantei Mushi Megane – Saraba, Kaijin 256 Mensou(Detective Loupe – Farewell, Mystery Man of 256 Faces)
by bucchigiriP, video by Agatanomichi

Bucchigiri’s songs are usually always tremendous fun and Mushi-Megane is one of the most fun so far. With a style that’s part retro point-and-click mystery game and part theme song, it’s all about Super Detective Len and his crazy assistant Gumi, seen here being met with a highly confusing case. It’s one of my favourite of the ‘story’ songs. It’s true that Len isn’t all that well-tuned in places and he sounds pretty off whenever made to ‘speak’ rather than sing (although that’s just Len’s voice mostly), but the rollicking chorus with the awesome video makes it the most enjoyable Len song for me. Plus it’s about a detective I mean come on how is that not the best thing ever.

KAITO:
Gyakuzai Koushin Kyoku (Heinous-Crime Marching Song)
by machigeritaP, video by mizumaru

Meanwhile the strongsuit of machigerita seems to be these really creepyass kind of songs. While he’s very talented, I was never really into any of them until this one because it’s that good. Just as the title suggests, it’s a very powerful marching song, and just as it’s producer suggests it’s filled with creepy beats and strange music. But the piano is very, very well-done and the whole song is a lot of fun to listen to…which is ironic given that the ‘Heinous Crime’ referred to in the title is infidelity and the song is about a two-timing man who eventually has to choose between lust and love.
The video’s pretty perfect for thiskind of song with a creepy, almost Zetsubou Sensei-esque style that evokes novels such as Daizu Osamu’s ‘No Longer Human’ (hell I wouldn’t be surprised if the song is based on it in places, I mean the title even comes up in one of the ‘tweets’), all with a very war-like flair which only adds to the creepy. Even more bizarre is the twitter-like messages that come up at intervals which is completely at odds with the time period the rest evokes. (which seem to mostly be about masochism and random unrelated things, such as wanting to buy LovePlus for the 3DS. Uh, okay then machigerita. These gets steadily creepier as the song progresses, at which point they seem to be more like insane tweets from the characters than machigerita’s random ramblings.)As a massive Kaito fan it seems odd for me to have nominated a song about such a sleazy and unlikeable guy, but I can’t help it, this really is a good song.
It was a really, really hard choice between this one and ‘What’s COLOR?’ by ShinjouP. (which is much closer to my usual Kaito tastes. I guess I like Gyakuzai more for being so different)

MEIKO
RESOLUTION by mijipinP, illustrations by Sakura-namiki Nami

2010 was quite a great year for Meiko, perhaps it’s just me but it seems as though there was more songs that caught my interest than usual. This song is one of the many that was uploaded in celebration of the big sis’s 6th birthday. With her sweet and melodic voice, Meiko is best suited to oontz oontz dance-pop songs, and this is exactly what we have here. A very powerful song, it’s complimented by some very gorgeous and unique illustrations. Her voice sounds amazingly realistic and its truly a song that wouldn’t sound as good without her voice. Whilst not her best of this genre it’s a worthy addition.

Megpoid Gumi:
Mozaic Role by Deco*27

It sure was hard choosing between this and Deco’s other hit song Yowamushi Mont Blanc, but Mozaic Roll wins in the end. 2010 really was a great year for Gumi. After her initial splash when she was released, she faded into obscurity before making a very sudden and positively roaring comeback, and now she can hold her own against Miku, Luka and Rin/Len. She has a great voice when tuned well and can even sound amazingly realistic. One of the top-ranked songs this year, Mozaic Roll is a great rock song with one of the most recognizable guitar riffs I’ve ever heard. Most should know the story by now; light and dark Gumi are in constant conflict but need eachother. To top it all off is the beautiful, almost SHAFT-like PV.

Gakupo
(With backup from Others)

Venomania-Kou no Kyoki (The Madness of Duke Venomania) by mothy(akunoP), video by Suzunosuke.

mothy not getting on a ‘best of’ list at least once would just not be right. Part of his currently unfinished Seven Deadly Sins series, this is actually the first time to my knowledge that he’s used Gakupo at all. To be honest, I’m not all that fond of Gakupo’s voice for the most part (although he can make strong backup vocals) but mothy’s really nailed him and made him sound pretty damn good. The lustful Count Venomania seduces woman after woman until…well, that would be spoiling (for the like, 3 people in the Vocaloid fandom who haven’t seen this PV anyway). All I’ll give away is that the last woman is the most beautiful of them all. More fun is the list of Venomania’s ‘conquests’ which includes the english Vocaloid Sweet Anne who is humorously listed as 62 years old.
Like pretty much everything else mothy has ever been involved with, the art in the PV(courtesy of Suzunosuke) is absolutely gorgeous and it’s all very sexy. Keep in mind that it’s a little too sexy in some places so it’s probably not entirely Safe For Work.

SF-A2 Miki
Star Maker by HayakawaP

Besides having one of the more unique designs, Miki’s voice still doesn’t really stand out to me and she also doesn’t tend to get used anywhere near as much as others do. However a few months ago Nico had an impromptu ‘KiraMiki Festival’ which resulted in some very nice songs, including this one. This is a really solid track that I’m surprised was never really super-popular (I don’t think it even registered on the Weekly Ranking’s top 30); I’d hazard a guess that people may have gotten a little too accustomed to mostly generic songs coming out of Miki and didn’t pay enough attention. I myself was never a huge fan of her (although I like all the Vocaloids that aren’t Gachapin but this rockin’, amost 80s-esque song converted me.

Kaai Yuki
Disco Chocolatheque by KagomeP

Another Valentines-special song from the crazy Kagome who has since taken Yuki up as a personaly speciality. I really love this song, ridiculous as it is. It’s a dinky little disco tune that gets stuck in your head, about Yuki trying to make chocolates and failing spectacularly. The whole PV is basically just Yuki doing a simple hip-swing dance but it’s mesmerizing. I really love Yuki’s voice, but I never would have thought it would suit so well with this kind of song until KagomeP got  hold of her. Yea~h Yea~h Yee~eeeah~

Hiyama Kiyoteru
Guilty Verse by PeperonP, illustrations by Shina and video by Wata

Poor, poor sensei. He was hardly the image of popularity when he first came out last year, and now he’s fallen far into obscurity and getting barely any love at all save for his roles in those Vocaloid BoyBand songs. Which is a real shame. His voice is pretty decent when used properly (unfortunately it’s really hard to find any songs where this is done), and he has such potential as a character, being a teacher and all. Thus this song wins kind of as a fluke because it is honestly the only song I’ve heard with him that I liked all that much and it’s really a stroke of luck on my part that it was from 2010. That said, it’s a surprisingly decent piece of J-Rock, even if it is hilariously over the top in places, and Kiyoteru plays the part of brooding bad boy surprisingly well. Be sure to stick around for the hilarious Light-faces and epic scream.

Lily
Chloe by seleP

Lily is the avatar of the lead singer in a band called AniMove who became a Vocaloid without even having to change her character design. She was heavily marketed before her release – the first to offer a free trial and a contest, and so far the only non-Crypton Vocaloid to have a figure made of her. Despite hyping up her release though, I was a little underwhelmed with her. Her voice can range from a more light and airy sounding Meiko to far too similar to Luka. However, when she’s used well she has the potential to sound more natural and realistic than either of them. Although I like her voice well enough, I haven’t really found any songs that grabbed me, but I would rank Chloe as the best I’m aware of. It’s an extremely creepy, yandere lovesong that gives me the chills. Good song though!

VY1/Mizki
Hakumei (Hinamoto Oniko Image Song) by onichoukyouP

2010 really is the year of new Vocaloids that are interesting in some way, be it their origins or their entire nature. VY1, or ‘Mizki’ as ‘she’ is sometimes called, is a Vocaloid who was sold without any character to go with ‘her’. With no avatar, given gender (‘she’ can be either) or anything besides the program itself, the goal was to have the users of VY1 focus more on the music than the character.  Whether they were successful or not one can’t really say because VY1 is already getting fan-created depictions; which are usually in the vicinity of a long dark-haired Japanese girl, often in a kimono and sometimes with twin-tails. (However I did see her represented as a pink-haired girl once, and the up-and-coming Vocaloid tv program ‘Vocaloid revolution’ has a mascot character called Cul that uses her voice and looks completely different again. I guess in this sense VY1 is more like a virtual seiyuu than a ‘vocaloid character’.
With all that out of the way, Hakumei utilizes the aforementioned ‘japanese girl’ aesthetic for its unofficial theme song for Hinomoto Oniko. For those not in the know, the character Hinomoto Oniko was created by 2chan as a comeback against racial slurs against the Japanese from the Chinese, “Japanese Devil”. 2chan turned the insult into a moe girl (the kanji for Hinomoto Oniko can be read as ‘japan devil child/girl), rendering it useless. Fanart of this Oniko exploded online, so it was only a matter of time before it ended Vocaloid fandom as well.
As for the song, it wouldn’t sound out of place amongst Touhou vocal arranges; eastern flair with a techno twist that’s full of fantastic piano. VY1 ‘her’self sounds absolutely stunning too.

Nekomura Iroha
Tobira no Mukou(Beyond the Door) by Shigoto ShiteP

Iroha’s one of the vocaloids with the strangest origins – a character in a Hello Kitty game. From her almost Angelic-Layer-esque appearance with Hello Kitty motifs on her outfit and giant speaker hands one would have expected some kind of hypercutesymoe voice out of her. Certainly no one expected the deep, beautiful voice that she actually had. Never mind how at odds with her character design it seems, it’s a very strong and very realistic voice that works extremely well with Japanese enka-style songs or others with a traditional eastern flavour. This song is in that vein, and it’s quite hauntingly beautiful and highly impressive.  I also like the way she’s drawn in the picture; it suits her voice much more.

Utatane Piko
Kotoba Meteo (Word Meteor) by HybridSense.

Piko was the last vocaloid to join the crew in 2010, and he’s also notable for a reason – not only does he represent Sony’s debut into the Vocaloid scene but his voice bank comes from beloved Nico-singer Piko. Opinion on him is currently quite divided, however I’d love it if he got more popular because I loved him before I’d even heard his voice and I swear not just because he’s so traptastic and right now he’s shaping up to be one of my favourites. As for his voice, it’s pretty fluid and can sound either high (and girly) or low (and more masculine) without sounding too unnatural either way, with his default voice sounding like a slightly more ‘human’ mixture of Len, Luka and Kaito. He’s only been on the market for less than a month but he already has some songs out, the most notable being samfree’s  super dramatic ‘PikoPiko Legend of the Night’ which I almost selected as the best by default but this song won by a margin. I can’t wait to see what 2011 brings for Piko, in any case.
Kotoba Meteo is quite a strong and rocking song and Piko sounds quite nice…however he does seem to have recurring problem of sounding a little slurred at times so it would be interesting to see if any producers can overcome this. Piko seems to be singing in a way as though announcing himself to the world and his desire to sing for the people he loves and deliver the words in the song like a meteor.
The video pretends to be something serious before quickly degenerating into adorable lulz so be sure to stick around for that. The art is quite gorgeous too, although it seems as though they’ve swapped Piko’s very dress-looking costume for some shorts and given him some kind of butt-rockets.

Cover Song of the Year:
KAITO:
Rolling Girl Rap Version by yoshianP (main part) and KatoudetouP(rap part) (original song by wowaka)

It was a tough call between this and Luka’s recent stylish rehash of Melt, but this cover is the reason I wanted to put this category in Kaito’s tuning in this is too impressive to ignore. As much as Kaito’s my favourite Vocaloid, I well recognize the difficulty in making him sound decent, but to make him rap? I wouldn’t have thought it possible to do that and make it sound anywhere near as good as it does here. It’s a very interesting remix with two Kaitos, one sings the original Rolling Girl while the other raps in the background. Who ever thought that could work? With a song as rapid and ‘busy’ as Rolling Girl, adding anything else to it – and fast-paced rap of all things should by all counts turn it into a mass of noise and not much else. And it is a mass of noise…but what a mass of noise! It adds a lot to the original song (and not just literally) and becomes something totally different, and really quite impressive. Not only is it my favourite cover of the year, it’s one of my favourite Vocaloid tracks, period.

PV of the Year
Megurine Luka:
secret by seihinP (original song by aRth)

Yes I think this song may have come out in 2009 (or maybe just very early 2010), but this PV came out this year and that’s what matters. It’s one of the most interesting, well-drawn, well-animated, beautiful, stylish and wtf Vocaloid PVs I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. Is it about a crazy dream? Crazy drugs? Luka going insane? We may never know, but it’s definitely a must-watch.
As for the song, it’s a strangely addictive, almost Gaga-esque piece of engrish that makes about as much sense as the video. What’s interesting is how Luka’s voice is tuned; a strange high pitch that I’ve never heard her sound like before. The voice is not what I’d call ‘pleasant’ but it compliments the video’s imagery perfectly.

Special Award – Tearjerker of the Year
Okay, if you read any of my Vocaloid posts you should know I have a weakness for tearjerker Vocaloid songs. And there is no shortage of them. But hands down, this year my favourite one, the one that most made me want to just curl up and cry whilst managing to be incredibly, simplistically beautiful…

Hatsune Miku –
Saboten to Shinkirou (Cactus and Mirage) by knots/JakkanP

Adorably sweet, horribly sad yet lovely song, with adorably simple, horribly sad yet lovely video. I needn’t really say more. Just watch it.

And finaly, the number 1 song of 

2010 is….

 

Hatsune Miku

Rolling Girl by wowaka

Yep, not even a contest here, it’s the original Rolling Girl, posted here with my personal favourite of its PVs(art by akiakane and movie by yama_ko)  just because. Wowaka was skilled enough to land two songs in the top 100’s top 5 this year, and while the rest of the internet seems to be crowning his no.1 winner World End Dance Hall, I think Rolling Girl is a far superior song. Whilst Miku reaches some very high and nigh ear-piercing notes in this song, it actually adds a lot to the convoluted and overwhelming mood that it has. Strong chorus, strong lyrics, strong music…all that and wowaka’s totally bitching Mad Piano Skills (which I think could have made the song win this post alone).  Fan interpretations of the lyrics meaning range from the benign (a slightly eccentric girl wants to play. By rolling. Personally, I don’t buy this.) to the dark (a girl in a endless cycle of of abusive relationships with terrible luck, which given wowaka’s usual subject matter along with the lyrical clues in this song, seems more likely), although the PV’s skew to the darker side, such as this one. It’s also one of my favourite Vocaloid PVs.

So there you have it, Moeronpan’s personal Best of 2010.  Whether I do this again in a year or not I still havent decided,(and perhaps I’ll do a different format, with best of music genres instead. There are SO many good songs that came out this year that are better than some I have here but I didn’t have a place to stick them) but I can’t wait to see what 2011 brings.

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