2014 JUL 24
It is with great sadness that this evening I am announcing the closure of “MikuStar – Hatsune Miku’s World” after 2 years and 8 months in operation. Needless to say this has been an immensely difficult decision. I’ve made a huge investment in time, money and emotional capital creating MikuStar but I’ve taken the site as far as I’m willing to go.
Though the move to close the site may seem very sudden to most fans, the truth is that this decision has been a long time coming. Over the last several months, my experiences running the site and a series of events that occurred largely in the background have led me to the inevitable conclusion that it’s time to move on. I will be leaving the fansite business to pursue a career as an author.
MikuStar opened in October 2011 as a tiny little 12-page starter-site, the result of me wanting to tell the world about Hatsune Miku, the virtual diva that I had discovered barely 3 months earlier. I knew that big things were going to happen in North America, that they were barely over the horizon. It’s just that North America didn’t know it at that point. Naively perhaps, I figured that I would be the one to tell everybody about Miku. My friends and family thought I was a little crazy. Then again, so did I.
I had no idea that almost three years later, not only would the site still be up and running, but it would form a comprehensive and engaging introduction for fans who were new to Hatsune Miku. At its height, MikuStar had 90 blog posts and 36 authoritative background articles on Vocaloids, UTAUs, derivatives and the important people who work with them. MikuStar has had a lot of exclusive content, including interviews with influential people in the Vocaloid industry.
Many fans have assumed that MikuStar is somehow “official”, that it is supported financially by Crypton Future Media and is run by a team of people. The truth is that MikuStar is only run by one person, it has never made a single dime and it is paid for entirely out-of-pocket.
Over the last three years, MikuStar has grown immensely and it is much to be proud of. But it has also become an tremendous burden which has become a little too much to bear. I have used every moment of my spare time as I struggled to keep up with maintaining the infrastructure and doing no less than three complete rebuilds of the site, all while trying to provide fresh content so that everyone would stay interested. On top of that, I’ve faced other unpleasant fan-related issues that I do not intend to discuss.
Even with MikuStar’s eight partner sites and a group of about 300 or so avid followers which constantly visited, “liked” the Facebook posts and shared the articles with their friends, there was never enough support from the Vocaloid community “as a whole” to justify the amount of work that went into making the site. So I decided back in June that I would close it, although the exact timing had not been decided until recently.
Given that there are still fans interested, it’s been suggested by a few people that I should simply allow MikuStar to remain up and running, albeit without adding further content. My reasons for wanting to close the site completely are complex; it’s safe to say that the circumstances surrounding my decision to shut down MikuStar were such that I felt it necessary to have a clean start. Needless to say, I don’t take lightly the thought of turning my back on three year’s work…or on the group of supporters that has come to rely on me. For what it’s worth, I have transferred a few select MikuStar articles and the Vocaloid fanfiction novel DIGITAL ANGEL to my new personal website (www.GScottFairbairn.com). There will be a few more transferred to that site in the coming days. It is from that page that I hope to finish DIGITAL ANGEL and then devote more time to writing.
I want to thank MikuStar’s eight partner sites for their support: Vocaloid.fr, Vocaloid Radio, VocaloidOtaku.net, VocaDB, Vocaloid-World-de, Project DIVA.de, Project DIVA Wiki and OtakuBuzz. I also want to thank the official companies that recognized, supported and provided opportunities for MikuStar: United Music & Arts (UMAA) in Japan, Zero-G in England and also VocaTone.
Some of the individuals who have stepped forward over the years to provide me with help, support or encouragement include (and this list is not exclusive, nor is it in any particular order): Jim Hoberek, Lewis Kilgo, Alan Douglas, Rose Stoessel, Randy Williams, Vengaris Junsei, Linh Le, Mariana Maroevich, Carl Tropea, Ken Durbrow, Sean Mocabee, Grey Otaku, Jonothan Clayton, Cero Mach, Marcus Zink, SeyrenLK, Riipah Furude, Kelly Hilltone, Mind Ch, Andrew Yang, Jojelyn Aryap, Dan Parks, Titan Arifin, Heru Tri K, Emerald Blue, Craig Symonds, Catherine Rytwinski, Panda Tomoyam, Oliver Stefan Mußmann, Christian Krautwald, Hassan Moazin, Cheyne Huizenga, Benjamin Sim, Candy Hatsune Wolff, Phil Klitgaard, Rachut Rattanameechai, Roger Lehman, John A. Sheffield, Erik Chen, Amir-Ali Bahrami, 弘樹森山(Hiroki Moriyama), Martin Jameson Ngọc Lâm, Fabrice Loup, Jeric Rocamora, Azure Flux, Erfëa Coil and Richard Tan, Ken Chong, Akira Henke, and Dominik Schmelzer.
Among those on the official side that have helped me, I’d like to also thank Anders Sodergren from Vocatone, Amy Elizabeth Wheatley (concept artist for Oliver and a good friend), Tripshots, Aki Glancy (concept artist for Avanna), Hideo Saito, Dom Keeffe from Zero-G, DECO*27 and Anri Myajima from UMAA and Wolf Neve and NeutrinoP from Synthesized Reality Productions.
For special mention: my good friend, artist Kazuhiro Hirata from Japan who created two amazing concept illustrations for MikuStar including MikuStar’s original “White Lily Miku” as well as Robin Gissler (lEDogawa), Hikarisoul and qrullgx13, all who created their own beautiful interpretations of that character. Also another good friend, this time from Guatemala – world renowned MMD producer RaikuP for all he has done and all he has shared with MikuStar over the years.
Over and above all these I have an extra special thank you to my son Logan who shepherded me through the process of launching the original MikuStar along with all its social media and subsequently became the site’s resident technical expert for the ensuing three years. Thanks Logan for putting up with your newb Dad and all his moods. ;)
Needless to say, with this many people to thank I have no doubt that I’ve missed a few names. For that I’m deeply sorry. I truly hope you’ll forgive me.
The one thing I should emphasize is that this move does not in any way reflect a change in my feelings for Hatsune Miku. In fact, given that I won’t be tied to spending most of my spare time writing articles, researching or building website infrastructure, I’ll be able to enjoy her just as everyone else does, watching her beauty, listening to her voice, taking in more of those amazing MMD videos and if the planets align I might even be able to attend an official show. After all, Miku was the light in my life before MikuStar. She will still be shining just as brightly afterwards.
Thanks again to all of you who have visited and supported MikuStar in the past. I wish you all the best and I look forward to joining you all in watching Miku spread her music and her love around the world…”one heart at a time”.
Above: This beautiful and powerful image of Hatsune Miku was originally planned to be MikuStar’s header for the month of August 2014. I put it here because I didn’t want any of you to miss it. It’s done by Russian artist Saikono. Image link: http://saikono.deviantart.com/art/Hatsune-Miku-461191391
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