Japanese game maker Sega has screwed up too many times to count. But there's one thing Sega got so right. But only after it got everything so wrong.
At the 2011 Tokyo Game Show, Sega showed a new Hatsune Miku game for the 3DS. It featured a slightly unsettling Miku.
Hatsune Miku is a virtual idol who started out on Vocaloid software, but has since went on to hold massive concerts and star in her own games. This is what she normally looks like:
The "new" Miku shown at the 2011 Tokyo Game Show was based on the Nendoroid brand of plastic figurines. With those big, lifeless eyes, gaping mouth, and hunched over posture, the life-sized, lolly-pop carrying Nendoroid Miku seemed more "creepy cute" (キモカワイイ or kimokawaii) than cute.
Online, this new Miku was dubbed the "electric goblin" or "Sega's greatest miscalculation" (though, I can think of worse Sega blunders). Yet, every time this particular Miku appeared at promotional events, the character drew a flurry of attention. Images of the bigheaded Miku went viral, popping up in countless threads and on numerous blogs:
Instead of being called a "blunder", fans started saying a somewhat cutesy, "It's Miku!" (ミクダヨー or Miku dayoo) whenever she popped up in threads. This "spin off" iteration of Miku has taken on a life of its own and proven so popular that Sega has actually trademarked "Miku dayoo" in Japan. There's also been the inevitable parade of merchandise, including an upcoming Nendoroid Miku, coming full circle. She even appeared in a 7-Eleven commercial this summer in Japan.
But even as this latest Miku craze roars through Japan's geek subculture, there are still moments when folks pause, realizing just how creepy this Miku can be. Take this recent fax (via @yamineko4205), promoting a new Miku figurine.
Well, it's Miku, alright.