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The Virtual Idol Gaming Forgot About

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Here at Kotaku East we have had a lot to say about Japan's most popular virtual idol, Hatsune Miku. But just because she is the most popular one doesn't mean that she is the only one.

Back in 2006, Tetsuya Mizoguchi—creator of Space Channel 5, Rez, Lumines, and Child of Eden—teamed up with record producer Kenji Tamai to create a new virtual band: the Genki Rockets. The star and singer of the group is Lumi, a girl "born on the International Space Station on September 11, 2019, who has never visited Earth."


Behind the scenes, Lumi is made up of two people: Japanese voice actress Nami Miyahara provides part of Lumi's singing voice while Japanese-American singer Rachel Rhodes lends Lumi her physical appearance in addition to the other part of her voice. Neither appears on stage however. In concert, the Genki Rockets perform like a mix of Miku and Daft Punk—as a masked DJ mixes the tracks and a hologram of Lumi sings on stage.


While not a superstar, Lumi has had her own modest success. Her first single, "Heavenly Star" peaked at number 24 on the Oricon music chart—and was featured in both Lumines II and No More Heroes. Her other singles have met with moderate success as well, being used in TV commercials and for various events.

Of course, what gamers are most likely to know Lumi from is last year's Child of Eden, where she plays a digital version of herself who must be rescued from a computer virus. The game itself is full of remixes of Genki Rockets tracks as well, providing the majority of the music game's impressive soundtrack.

So while not nearly as successful as Hatsune Miku, Lumi and the Genki Rockets should not be ignored. After all, they prove there is enough room in Japan for more than one virtual idol.