Hatsune Miku is on a 10-city North America tour this spring. The turquoise-haired star is filling stadiums with glowstick-wielding superfans, as she has in Japan for years.
She's also not a real person. Miku is a vocaloid—a carefully marketed persona of a singing synthesizer application from Crypton Future Media. Anyone can create a Miku track using the consumer software that generates her teenybopper Stephen Hawking voice, and thousands have.
She appears on stage as a 10-foot tall hologram projected onto a transparent pane—a high-tech version of the "Pepper's Ghost" illusion common in haunted houses—accompanied by a live band. YouTube videos of the 2016 tour reveal some delightfully meta moments, including yellow-clad twin sidekicks Kagamine Rin and Len dancing the Robot to a song called "Remote Control." Miku also sings an oddly moving number called "Glass Wall": "This glass wall between us / won't keep us apart," she warbles. "I will sing out my heart / Just for you, my love."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Heart of Glass".