Through the blueprint of *Kira* Miki

She’s the star that always shines in the dark night sky. She’s the glow that will guide you through your sorrow. She’s the northern light that will show you your dreams.

She’s *Kira* Miki and September 3rd was her birthday.

An idea I had while thinking up characters was “a variation of the bitter idol archetype”. The idea being that this was your usual idol fed up with the business, but instead of coming off as a primadonna, she’d come off as… batman or something like that. Bitter but willing to make the sacrifice for the sake of her fans.

The problem is that this idea didn’t have much mileage at the time of actually writing, like I couldn’t make a whole client out of it. But the idea for an idol remained in the back of our minds.

Then, something fun happened.

There’s this spanish band called “La Oreja de Van Gogh”. On November of 2014 they finally gave a concert in Venezuela after 10 years since the last one. It was quite the feat too, especially considering that they delayed their other date for the concert after Chavez died. I went to that concert with my family.

The concert was filled with difficulties. There were delays, it was cold, it started raining while outdoors and with no good covers nearby… and yet, people were just waiting patiently. At one point the fan club that was closer to the stage started singing.

And then the concert began.

If there seemed to be little to no hard feelings in the air already, any trace that might’ve existed vanished when the actual music kicked in. It was all loud and cheery but not in a manner that would drown the actual concert. At one point the band even started a song after acknowledging that the fanclub was singing while waiting. There were some older folks sitting near us and when the music kicked in they started dancing. And if the wholesome atmosphere wasn’t enough, hearing the band and the songs I basically grew up with live was a really REALLY amazing experience.

Then at the end, just as they were starting an encore, the mall cut off their power, forcing them to leave and dispelling the illusion that we were somewhere other than a crumbling country.

But this concert also had an extra layer of impact for me.

I grew up in a family of musicians. My dad and uncle have always been in a band, I’ve met all manner of musicians and there’s even stories of my mom going to my dad’s concerts while carrying me as a baby. The result of all this is that I got too used to live music and concerts, but hearing a band I actually like, live, reminded me that yeah, music is pretty awesome.

The whole point of this anecdote is that I took the idea for an idol and used it to convey all the feelings that concert stirred on me. Miki is the embodiment of all the wholesome sensations from that night, and her concert is a reference to the conditions of the one I went to.

As a result we have this pure embodiment of love for music and fans of said music. Someone so nice she doesn’t think ill of people breaking into her home and only gets mildly annoyed if they mess with her underwear. Someone comically nice to a fault.

I had this idea of making Lilim follow a different set of priorities than humans, to make them break usual logic just enough to feel like they live a different reality than everyone else. Miki was my first try into developing this idea further.

And then I realized “Oh yeah, I could also cram that batman idol idea I had”.

Miki’s design was a battle in and on itself. Kiririn struggled for the longest time to balance old school idols (like Minmay in Macross) with the new batch of idols (like Azusa from iM@S, from whom Miki draws inspiration and even her model name). Idols have to look like untouchable goddesses while also looking just approachable enough.

And we’re happy with the end result. The final Miki design brings up all of her wholesomeness, while also giving a different vibe than most idols. She’s what happens when you take your usual idol archetype and age her up. She looks young but not too youthful, mature but not too old.

From left to right: 2014’s design, 2015’s design, the final design and some last minute polish to said final design.

My final thoughts aren’t so much about Miki herself but rather something that she brings up with her concept.

A common point in scifi is that of humans stagnating because machines just do a better job at everything. And while there’s logic and precedent to that (after all, things are becoming more automatized by the day), going to the extremes that machines could take over creative fields is… kinda silly.

I’m not one to think a machine could never achieve sentience or start creating stuff, but thinking that machines doing this would mean humans becoming “obsolete” at creation is like saying that I won’t start writing because there’s this other dude or dudette that writes better than me.

The reasons that drive people to create vary from person to person. Hell, Davey Wreden made a whole game exploring what it means to create from person to person (it’s The Beginner’s Guide in case you were wondering). But a constant is that creativity begets creativity. *Kira* Miki being an AI that sings doesn’t automatically mean every other singer is now obsolete.

2 thoughts on “Through the blueprint of *Kira* Miki

  1. The Beginner’s Guide was great! Quite a heartfelt and honest piece work.
    Also, thank you for these write-ups, they’re really interesting!

  2. I managed to see gorillaz in concert this summer with my dad, and I think that on it’s own was a big pushing point for me to kick off my hobby as a singer/songwriter, because for as long as I’ve been around, basically growing up with the band, I’ve listened to them. Finally seeing them live was like lighting the match. It’s really funny how music and music idols are so influential over people and helps create new, interesting ideas. Great post lads!

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