Hatsune Miku Future Delivery Volume 1
Writer: Satoshi Ohio
Artist: Hugin Miyama
Translation: Michael Gombos
Lettering and Touchup: Susie Lee, Studio Cutie
Publisher: Dark Horse
A review by Scout Schiro
Hatsune Miku is kind of like a Barbie. She can be anything you want her to be. She’s been a racer, a princess, various incarnations of magical girl…and since her release in 2007, many more roles. After a good deal of her fanbase has moved onto franchises with larger casts like Love Live and the Idolm@ster, it’s good to see her get some love again in this issue of Hatsune Miku Future Delivery, published by Dark Horse and written/drawn by Hugin Miyama and Satoshi Oshio.
The concept of Miku performing ‘roles’ is at the heart of this piece. The piece follows an interstellar traveler named Asumi and her assistant robot and friend Asimov (the name being a nice hat tip to the father of robotics laws in SF, Isaac Asimov). Asumi has lost her memories, but retains a vivid image of a green haired girl named Mike. She embarks on an interstellar mission alongside Asimov to find her. As it turns out, Miku has appeared in many worlds, playing different parts in each one – and Asumi still isn’t sure if any of these are the girl she’s searching for.
- Appearances by other Vocaloids! So far, we’ve seen Megurine Luka and both Kagamine Rin and Len playing various roles. Learning more about the Vocaloids’ role in the universe and how each character’s purpose may be similar or different to Miku’s is something to look out for in future volumes.
- I love Asimov’s design. His simple shapes are reminiscent of midcentury sci-fi and it adds a retro touch to the futuristic setting. He’s also got a lot of cute comedic moments, particularly in the medieval world.
- Miku’s roles are interesting. Alternate universe concepts are definitely en vogue in fandom right now, and it’s fun to see various iterations of Miku, from an aspiring manga creator to a knight in armor to a scientist, and it shows the versatility of the character.
- Little jokes in the forward omake section are very cute and a nice touch. Highlights include ‘please do not take cosplay photos in front of or otherwise block the planet’s air vents’ and ‘porta-potty use encouraged. You’re helping us build nitrogen!’
- The art style can suffer from ‘same-face syndrome‘. Until about halfway through the book it’s tough to distinguish characters from another except for characters with standout designs like Rin. I couldn’t even identify Miku at first, since she wasn’t shown wearing her traditional high pigtail hairstyle.
- The piece is episodic in nature. This remains true due to the idea of Miku’s ‘roles’. This makes sense, as she’s the focal point of the manga and the draw for most readers. Asumi and Asimov shine in later chapters of the volume, but there’s still a lot to learn.
- The story begins in media res. Asumi has little to no memory retention at all, so all information gained about the setting is at her pace. It leaves the reader wanting to know more, but at the same time can be pretty frustrating due to the episodic format.
Buy it! Since Vocaloid is meant to be an open ended music software, writers and artists have free reign in how to portray the various mascot characters. The same is true for Hatsune Miku: Future Delivery Volume 1. The episodic nature isn’t without its faults, but overall leads readers wanting to discover more about Asumi, Asimov, and Miku’s journey across the galaxy. The volume drops on November 14th!