Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X does pretty unique with the Vocaloid characters. For the first time in the series, they really have a voice. Sure, you could customize their rooms in previous Project Diva and Project Mirai games and give gifts, then seeing them wordlessly interact with their surroundings. But this time, they actually converse with you and one another. There’s a story and point to the proceedings, which offers a better look at characters like Miku, Luka, Rin, Len, Kaito, and Meiko.
It’s difficult to assign personalities to Vocaloids, since they have no official attributes. There are manga collections, but the array of one shots and series each paint the characters in different lights. There are general assumptions. Kaito and Meiko are considered to be older folks in the group, due to their programs releasing first. Miku is always presented as the star, sometimes with either Luka or the twins, Rin and Len, sharing the spotlight. Though, there are even some who would consider Rin and Len siblings, others who would call them mirror images of the same entity, and you’ll even find some who consider them boyfriend and girlfriend. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X has the difficult job of trying to assign attributes to characters who, by their very nature, are blank slates.
Fortunately, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X’s Clouds help address that issue. When outside of the areas and talking about the general problems influencing the in-game world, the Vocaloids’ personalities are rather generic. Miku is probably the most unique of the group, as she’s very positive, energetic, and bubby. She’s ready to take on the world, ready to work with her fellow idols and the player to solve problems. The best way to describe most of the other characters’ attitudes is that they respond to her reactions and personality in these off times.
Once you get into the Clouds, characters get more defined. Kaito’s personality in fan works can sometimes be that of a goofy older brother. He shows up to help Miku find her way through the Cute Cloud. At first, he’s trying to hard to find his inner cuteness. Eventually, the two learn the best way to be natural. The Elegant Cloud has Luka and Meiko aiding Miku through her endeavor. Which is fitting, as the two are considered to be the more mature Vocaloids. Meiko is a big sister type, while Luka is an elegant woman. The Quirky Cloud saw Miku observing Rin and Len as they got into arguments about silly things, before making up and being friends again. They play off of the places they’re visiting, which is appropriate since the characters can have different “personalities” depending on the roles they take in the songs.
My favorite parts, however, are the personality quirks people might not notice. Have you ever noticed the scripts in the gift-giving section of Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X vary depending on the character’s outfits? These aren’t subtle changes, either. Let’s use Rin as an example. If she’s wearing the Cute Orange Fox module, her response to a gift she likes will be appropriately adorable. She’ll say, “This is poptastic! Thanks!” When she’s in the Cool Burning Stone module, she’ll say, “Ha, just what I wanted!” A Classic Future Style Rin could say, “H-How did you know?! Did Len tell you?” It’s a nod to the fact that these are malleable characters who can be different from song to song, depending on what the person working with them wants. The “Daughter of Evil” Rin is very different from “Melancholic” Rin or “Ring x Ring x Ring” Rin.
Even their body language offers hints at their dispositions when these modules are applied. Vocaloids in Cool modules will constantly be striking aloof poses. Their arms will be crossed. They might be turned away from the player. Quirky and Cute characters both behave in a more energetic manner. There are exaggerated arm movements. When the idol is Elegant, he or she might seem almost flirty. The Classic modules have them standing in ordinary, relaxed poses. Even when they switch into different attire, you can tell their sense of self shifts. Their ensuing poses reflect the dispositions. They’ll let out different exclamations.
It really does handle the issue of characterization in a rather ingenious way. Miku, Rin, Len, Luka, Kaito, and Meiko still get to be blank slates. There aren’t any permanent attributes and dispositions tied to any of them. Yet, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X still allows each one to have a personality that sets them apart and makes us like them. By having each Cloud have an attribute attached, we’re able to see them exhibiting behaviors that can temporarily be canon. When equipping modules, some of which are inspired by songs, they can enter a mindset appropriate to that mood or work. They can be unique, yet also be constantly in flux. It’s quite clever, and I encourage you to pay close attention to the Vocaloids when they’re “in character.”
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X is available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.