During Anime Expo 2017, we had the chance to speak with veteran voice actress Yui Horie about her virtual idol project, Miss Monochrome. Along with her were team members of Showmaker, an upcoming software application for the Steam platform.
For people who aren’t familiar with Miss Monochrome, what’s the best way to describe her?
Horie: Well, she’s not as popular as you’d think in Japan still, but Miss Monochrome first showed up at my concert as an enemy. Now she’s trying hard to become a big idol.
How was the conception of Miss Monochrome?
Horie: First, as you can tell from her name, Miss Monochrome… it’s black and white. So she didn’t have much expression either, but now she’s becoming more expressive and outgoing.
Can you tell us a little about the Showmaker program and how Miss Monochrome is being incorporated in it?
Dev Team: Showmaker’s first character pack will be Miss Monochrome. Our goal is to make Miss Monochrome popular worldwide through using the Showmaker tool.
For people not familiar with the program, how easy is it to use? How about features?
Dev Team: We’re trying to make the app as simple as possible, but also aim to create the tool with fan feedback so we’re trying to get feedback from users on the steam forums. With their ideas and suggestions, we hope to make it a popular app.
I know you’re saying you’re launching worldwide. Is it a simultaneous release?
Dev Team: Yes, also it’s going to be out Winter 2017.
We also see that it’s SteamVR and VIVE compatible. I guess for the team and Yui, how challenging was it to also build for VR?
Dev Team: First, when we created Miss Monochrome for VR, it was really hard to convey how smooth and fluid she moves. It was originally hard to showcase that, but now we’re getting better at it and we’re happy to see how well she moves on VR. As Miss Monochrome’s producer, she is very well made and high resolution. It was very hard for the developers to display her clearly on VR.
Horie: All I did was to cheer them up and to support them.
Was last night Miss Monochrome’s US concert debut? How was it?
DevTeam: Miss Monochrome is not that popular yet in Japan and we know that. So we were worried about how many people would show up, but we were relieved and happy that so many people came! Actually there were more people in the audience than there are in Japan.
Horie: I was very happy to see all the fans that came out to sing and dance along with Miss Monochrome. It was fun to see how they were reacting and supporting. The audience understood what I was saying in English. I was so relieved.
Fans were really happy about the Toradora song you sang, though it was through Miss Monochrome. How did that make you feel?
Horie: Ah “Vanilla Salt”! Before the concert, we were deciding the song list we wanted to perform. We decided to do Vanilla Salt from Toradora. There was a big reaction from the song, we were really relieved and happy that the fans sang along. When I shouted out “Ya-hoo!” the fans replied back with their own “Ya-hoo!” I was happy with how Miss Monochrome interacted with the fans.
About Miss Monochrome herself, what do you think makes a great idol?
Producer: How she appears is great, but her motto is trying really hard to expose herself out there. That’s how she’s out in America to perform for the fans. That kind of spirit is one of her great points.
Horie: Miss Monochrome is perfect. Perfect dance and everything. So how the concert goes is the crowd reaction. That’s the part of the attraction of Miss Monochrome to me. It’s “what makes her great is up to you!”
Last question, both for the team and Horie. What’s next for Miss Monochrome?
Producer: Later this month, Miss Monochrome will be in China for a concert. Going to different parts of the world and have a lot more people know about her.
DevTeam: In America, we hope to have the concert in a much bigger venue next time!
Horie: Miss Monochrome goal is to become the world’s number one idol. So I’m cheering her on to become the best.
Where can people learn more about Miss Monochrome and the Showmaker app?
Producer: You can find more about her on King Record’s Miss Monochrome’s English webpage!
Thank you to Anime Expo and Showmaker for providing a translator and interview.
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