Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rant: My Love, Hate, and Fear of Oliver

In many ways I have a love-hate relationship with Vocaloid and its fandom.

I loved the Engloids but many times find myself at odds with parts of fandom. With the debut of Oliver the fandom's reaction was diverse. He received a wide range of reactions ranging from for fangasmic gushing to barely considerate shrugs.

That being said some reactions made me RAGE and sometimes I forget how young, and sometimes immature we can be as part of a fandom. I was seriously upset and disappointing in some of the comparisons and extreme reactions people were making with Oliver.

No, I am not talking about comparisons people had with Len, we will get to that later, but rather the parallels people were drawing with VocaTone staffer Sango's UTAU Neko Kanochi. People were saying that Neko wears and eyepatch and Oliver has one too! They must OBVIOUSLY be related amirite? [/sarcasm]

It probably wouldn't have been that bad if that was as far as it went, drawing parallels, but of course everything must get blown out of proportion and people went so far as to attack Sango, Oliver, and his design. People were calling him unoriginal, uninspired, and one person accused him of being flat out ugly.

I am not sure where this righteous furor came from but people got MAD. Commentary ranged from people complaining about his eyepatch, asymmetric design, blonde hair, to drawing style of the official artist. Some points were more valid than others but on a while I was taken aback.

I was having flashbacks to the Bruto/Clara Voctro Labs fiasco a couple weeks back. Thankfully, unlike Voctro, VocaTone stood their ground, stood behind their design, their art staff, and their product and did none of the still backtracking Voctro did and outright dismissed some of the less rational attacks on Oliver.

It always disturbed me how vocal & irrational minorities could have such a loud voice on the internet. Thankfully, not all of his reception was bad. In the some 1,900 posts of the Oliver News Thread a majority of the feedback was positive, besides the odd skeptic or two, it was only really a handful of people that were being negative.

That being said even in the "good" and generally positive comments I found a bone to pick and I am glad I am not the only one. The sentiments of "THIS IS THE FIRST/ONLY ENGLOID I LIKE" appears way too many times for comfort. Each time it was said in that thread it was like a stab and a twist of knife to my heart.

I could probably write an entire thesis on this alone but I learned long ago that arguing with fanboys over the internet is a pointless endeavor. Really, that is all I can say on that matter because there are a wide variety of quality Engloid originals and covers out there, to suit anyone's tastes.

If you can't find something you like then I am not sure if you game them a fair chance in the first place. To reject Engloids en-masse is to reject English en-masse and is both closed minded and terribly short sighted. At this point I would say you are less a 'Vocaloid fan' than a 'JP-loid fan' or 'Crypton-loid fanboy'. Hell I might even go so far as to accuse you of being dangerously Weeaboo.

My beefs with Weeaboos aside this is not necessarily a bad thing. In a Skype conversation while I was writing this BaggageLizard aptly described Oliver as a possible "Gateway Engloid" with all the good and bad connotations a title like that might imply. A bit unfair, but it seemed to describe my fears perfectly.

Have no doubt I fear Oliver. Not for anything he is but for what he might represent and the unknowns that have been not-so revealed now that we have opened his Pandora's Box. Oliver represents possibilities and a very much uncertain future. As the first Vocaloid 3 Engloid we are treading new ground and his future seems bright, almost blindingly so.

I fear with the development of VocaTone and the elevation of Crypton to an almost Demigod status. I fear this influx of new fans who know nothing of Engloids. I fear him somehow catching on and heaven forbid, becoming mainstream. I fear that now that we have opened this box, let this genie out of its bottle, that we can never go back to the way things used to be. I fear the 'character' of Oliver will outshine to 'voice' of Oliver.

In this fearful and uncertain future I am not without hope. His samples are crisp and clean. If he can avoid being shoehorned into a very limited genres his possibilities and musical applications are endless. As long as the Vocals are clear I am confident skilled producers can work around his limitations.

Have no doubt he does have his faults, I can see some of them already, but that is a topic for a future rant as this one is already some 900 words long and I haven't even critiqued his design. I guess this is a good a point to stop as any.

Expect my Opinion article on his design sometime tomorrow and more on his voice as more demos are released. Tis a bit early to draw any conclusions till I can see him in more genres and at a wider range.

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