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Mandarin VOCALOID4: Lu Niang 3rd new character for Shanghai Wangcheng

#16 User is offline   Robyn Is A Ninja Icon

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 12:18 AM

frankly I love designs with animal themes, and I think she's pretty cute. Zoku does bring up a good point that I didn't even consider which is that this is just her default design before she was even possibly a Vocaloid. I do think, despite that, it's not a terrible coincidence that she follows the Miku Formula, but she's really cute anyway. I'm looking forward to her hearing voice when the time rolls around

I'm just in love with how many Vocaloids in V4 are animal themed lol
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#17 User is offline   NebulousViper Icon

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 06:01 AM

Her voice provider auditions started on August 7. Now we just have to wait for the results.

They also changed her bio a little. Here's what my friend got so far:

Birthday: August 8
Gender: Female
(Additional) Character traits: She is a tough girl who loves to stick up for her friends.
Job: Customer service representative of NetEase Comics
Talents: She is good at coloring manga, singing
(Additional) Likes: Cleaning, electronic music, Yangsheng (It's a kind of lifestyle I guess), all stuff related to deer
Color: Orange-red
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#18 User is offline   Somebodyrandom Icon

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:41 PM

View PostZoku, on 07 August 2017 - 09:21 PM, said:

People are acting as if they purposefully followed the "Miku formula" when it seems that Lu Niang had this design before the possibility of a Vocaloid VB even occurred. She was a mascot for a comic chain before being a possible Vocaloid.

That's all I'm saying about design because other than that, I feel people should stop paying so much attention to design and more to the voice. That's why we have a kind of "generic" voice in the first place..

That may be true, but... Miku is a generic trope list herself so it doesn't take too much to get to where you have a Miku clone accidental or on purpose. I mean, she is based on the same tired formula that's been around since the 80s-90s period and was made popular by series like Sailor Moon. When you think about Sonic the Hedghog is basically taking notches from Micky Mouse in his desing, you kinda see the similarities popping out the more you look. Especially with Sonic's original design. Its an issue that's quite a well known problem for a lot of companies... They really rely on the same tired formulas over trying new things more times then not. Even I call this one chance more then "purpose", but I agree with others on whats been said and hope they do progress forward with a better design.

I think we're saying this because we're just concerned overall about it. Surely you yourself have seen how some fans wanna tear a character apart if it even dares LOOK like Miku. It is very disheartening and scary to witness and has become too often then not a issue. I myself don't feel threatened by any of this, but I'm too aware of what has gone on in 7 years to ignore there may be a problem if the character doesn't change to something else for the release. It doesn't take much for something to get hated or ignored by a lot of fans and many seem to just use any old excuse for doing so. The more a vocaloid can stand out in even one aspect, the better it gets noticed at this stage. People still fall back on the Big 8 over many other vocaloids, and only odd ones like Ia or Yukari have been lucky to break through this.

Also... I disagree on the "generic voice" comment, it has little to do with paying more attention to design then the vocal. You are aware that singers are often trained to channel their voice in a certain way to get a effect right? Many of the V3 vocaloid vocals were "pop" vocals, which meant they were subject to pop culture trends and reflect the current Music industries desires. To make matters worst the method of recording the vocaloids made them all sound too similar to each other and most traits of a vocalist that did make them stand out didn't make it into a vocaloid. In short, you can't blame the design for the issue with the voice as their two different things. Some vocaloids had the design first and the vocal later, but many (such as Gackpo) had the design later based on the voice (in fact Gackpo was even delayed a month because his design wasn't ready, the same thing appears to have happened with Ryuto and Gumi English hence why their design arts weren't used on the box). :-/

And right now... We have no voice to really comment on, its been noted before you can't blame everyone for voicing an opinion when its all that's given to us ad right now, we're all stuck hoping that this isn't it. And since the general fandom uses the boxart as a first impression before they dive into the Vocaloid itself... Well... We've got good Vocaloids that knock socks off of others... And you still are left explaining that Sweet Ann's boxart is based on a woman that in real life that was quite attractive and all they did was change colours on a poster of her. At this point, there is no secrets about the fandoms issues and takes on Vocaloids. You try telling a Kagamine Len fan how problematic his Act1 voice is when all they see is this "cute young blond kid" and that is one of the LQ of V2's era...

I hear what you are saying, but I counter it with experience of this fandoms worst side.
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#19 User is offline   NebulousViper Icon

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 12:45 AM

This wasn't something I really wanted to discuss, but I suppose it's relevant to her design problems(?).

Part of the reason why Chinese companies (particularly large Chinese companies) that focus on anime choose designs like this is mostly because they know anime-esque products tend to sell regardless.

Ren Li was interviewed for an article (http://www.fx361.com/page/2017/0710/1995371.shtml) and mentioned how companies don't understand the appeal of anime in China. All they know is that the young generation likes it and that it's a trend. So the companies respond by making products related to anime or actual anime or manhua (manga).

That can be fine, but the problem was how it was worded (please keep in mind that I'm giving a rough or summarized version of this part of the article). It sounded a lot like all of the companies guilty of knowing nothing or making no effort to understand why these audiences like the things they like, simply make these products to make a quick buck. And unfortunately, plenty of fans do end up buying it regardless if the product is good or not. That means in other words, companies can make such a zero-effort product or half-assed design and people will buy it just because it's cute. There are (at least from what a friend told me) a lot of Chinese-based anime and manhua that aren't good and companies get away with making bad content like that just because that's all the fans quickly settle for.

And in this case, because of the B2B (business-to-business) method, the consumers don't even have to be VOCALOID fans to buy the product. If they know Chuchu from "Chuchu Dong Ren" or Luniang because she's a NetEase mascot, then they don't have to know a thing about the software. They'll buy it just because they know Chuchu, Yuecheng, and/or Luniang. So even if VOCALOID fans don't like these characters or don't buy them, other people would. But even if they did okay in sales that way, if people don't use the product, then they don't get exposure. It's a good and bad thing I guess.

TLDR: Don't be too surprised if characters in China don't look very original or unique. Some companies basically put in little time or thought into them just to make money and because "anything anime = general young anime fans will like it". I don't know if this is exactly the case for Luniang, but it very well could be (especially since I heard that some of NetEase Comic hosted manhua weren't that good?).

I'm not necessarily trying to slam Shanghai Wangcheng and the characters by saying any of this. I'm trying to remain as neutral as possible (which is very difficult considering how Ren Li still has controversial problems which reflects on the products as well) since I still support the other hardworking developers involved (since they shared a lot of awesome songs as producers). But I wanted to at least bring this into the conversation since we're talking about designs. Personally, I'd like to see something more unique for Luniang in terms of designs. I think she would have looked way more cuter in winter outfits or something else. There were other images of her in traditional clothes and those looked really nice.
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Posted 21 August 2017 - 08:19 AM

To make matters worst, many rip-off characters came directly from China, though these days Korea is more or less guilty of producing the mock-characters more. It pretty much ends up being a case of taking the character, using the same design but tweaking it. The reason for it is basically to catch people out. When you consider that there is a fake Disney land and another was being built at one stage, among other things, China's view on Copyright is pretty much "so long as its not an exact clone, we can get away with it".

its not intentional, I'm not putting China down, as I said these days Korea is doing it worst. ITs more of an example of the law of one country meaning null almost in another. Plus, the average Chinese person not having the money to buy the copyrighted products results in them instead buying the mock reproductions. So culture plays a part too in how copyright is treated. You get throughout the world with just about it... I remember someone saying that they went to Mexico here on VO and a Pocaloid version of Miku was being sold at the border. And in some respects, China has been slowly waking up to the Coprigth issue over the last couple of decades so things "are getting better", since overseas businessmen are driving some of the change of attitude... :-/

This is why I don't get why people take the discussion of design with a bit of salt in their mouth, especially when the design is all we get at times these days. In the end none of this matters, we all know whats going on and shouldn't pretend there is nothing going on. We *know* companies are taking tips off of Miku and co, as I said before those confirmed look NOTHING like her so far. If people show enough concern, even if they do not plan to re-design her, it may call their hand and make a re-design happen, as this happened with Uni and Stardust it seems.

To me, seeing the wave of newer Chinese vocaloids that are coming in, with Hua now Hau coming in, I just consider this the trial and error stage of things.
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