Friday, June 24, 2011

Eguchi Aimi...human surrogate?

I am at a total loss to explain this phenomenon. Why would one devote technical skills to accomplish this? Is it an economic motivation? To produce a surrogate for the socially awkward?

"Japanese Scientists Build a Perfect (and Fake) Pop Star"


Everett Rosenfeld

June 24th, 2011


Eguchi Aimi is your typical Japanese pop star: perfect skin, high-pitched girlish voice, lithe figure, and a team of computer designers, photographers, and other pop stars artificially constructing her every movement.

You read that correctly. Aimi does not exist – at least not in the traditional sense. But this drawback has not stopped the girl, who was announced as the newest member of all-girl supergroup AKB 48 earlier this month, has already graced the cover of Japan's Weekly Playboy, and is part of a prestigious campaign for Ice no Mi – an ice cream product made by confectionary company Glico. But Aimi has not only infiltrated the uppermost echelons of superstardom in her brief lifetime, she also convinced much of a nation that she was a real girl for several weeks.

Eventually her true origins were revealed; Glico announced on June 19 that their newest spokesperson was created by a computer. But her technological background does not mean that Aimi is lacking in human components: in fact, every part of her – from her legs to her voice to her eyebrows – is borrowed from another member of AKB 48. She is simply composed of many photographs blended together to create a single composite pop star.

When Aimi was first introduced in a media blitz, her producer Akimoto Yasushi heralded her as "the heroine of the new age," and said that the reason he created the AKB family may have been in order to meet her. Aimi was hyped up to the Japanese public even more when her producer's accolades were outdone by the computer-generated beauty's magazine shoot whose captions read: "Ultimate Beautiful Girl, Ultimate Talented Girl, Ultimate Great Attack, Ultimate Fairy Tale Story."

But there were some who could not believe that Aimi's perfection could be born of nature. In fact, the CGI super-girl had her doubters from the start. Tokyo Hive reported that superfans of the pop group recognized some of her facial features and her voice from other girls, and that certain parts of her biography bore a striking resemblance to Gliko's own history.

There has been no formal announcement about whether Aimi will continue to be part of the pop group after the Gliko promotion has concluded. But, for fans of the concept of a make-your-own starlet, Ice no Mi's website allows users to create their fantasy superstar with the images of other AKB 48 members.

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