Virtual J-Pop Star's Vancouver Fans Outraged by LED Screen Performance in Place of Hologram

This was the Japanese Vocaloid idol's first tour overseas in years, and fans are petitioning for refunds

Photo via @peeeeeeeeeeeeeeenjs on TikTok

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Apr 10, 2024

Virtual Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku kicked off her North American tour in Vancouver late last week, immediately disappointing fans in attendance (and those seeing photos and videos on social media) when she appeared on an LED TV screen instead of in hologram form.

There's a lot to unpack here, please bear with me: from what I can tell, Miku is a Vocaloid (a form of singing synthesizer software) idol who made her "live" musical debut in 2009. She last toured North America in 2016, so fans of the mega-popular J-pop singer were excited for her to return overseas — so excited, in fact, that some were willing to spend hundreds of dollars on tickets.

However, when Miku performed in Vancouver on April 4, something was awry: the Vocaloid, whose concerts are associated with (and billed as) hologram performances, appeared only two-dimensionally on a big LED TV screen.

While some fans have noted that the switch is slightly less jarring for people with floor seats directly facing the screen, Miku's new form has prompted a ton of online backlash — as well as a petition for fans to be refunded. "We were not informed, or at least CLEARLY told that it would be a TV, and not the signature, iconic hologram," petition-started Khamila Roman wrote in the description. As Kotaku noted, the ticketing section on Miku's website doesn't detail how the character will be portrayed, while some venue listings (e.g., Boston, MA's Wang Theatre) say specifically that the performance will use "a transparent screen in the centre of the stage."

As per fans on Twitter and TikTok, it wasn't unlikely for attendees to pay upwards of $200 for each ticket. (Miku is scheduled to perform in Toronto on May 16, and resale floor tickets for that show are going for more than $1,000 each.) Many have expressed that they feel scammed by the event's producers, anime streaming company Crunchyroll LLC.

Some in the various comment sections are going on about the technological nitty-gritty (something about previous iterations having been on a glass screen? The lighting needing to be different to help maintain the illusion?), but I'm at least gathering that the quality of the Miku projection has historically been a lot better than this. Many are making references to that one VTuber concert.

While some wondered if this would be a Vancouver-only situation, the same followed at subsequent tour dates in Portland, OR, and San Jose, CA, although apparently, they may have at least moved the screen back to blend in with the staging a little more at the latter. Some commenters are wondering if Miku's usual screen is in the desert for Coachella or something.

Inflation really does get us all. See clips from the Vancouver show below.

@peeeeeeeeeeeeeeenjs was still a fun time even tho i was disappointed a bit #mikuexpo2024 #vocaloid #hatsunemiku ♬ original sound - junepoop
@kawhiney I love hatsune miku but for nearly $200 i didn't expect to see a tiny screen :( #miku #hatsunemiku #mikuexpo #vancouver #concert #vocaloid #mikuexpo2024 ♬ original sound - Page ε(*´・ω・)з

Latest Coverage