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When you say that to my face I actually get kinda embarrassed...
... Well, I don't feel bad about it though.
—GENBU's quote on the VirVox website

GENBU (ゲンブ), also known as Kurono Takehiro (玄野武宏), is a Japanese vocal developed and distributed by VOLOR, and was released in December 2018 for the first Synthesizer V engine. He was the first male Japanese voice database to ever be released. He later became part of the VirVox Project in May 2021.

GENBU later received an update to the Synthesizer V Studio engine as a Standard voice database in July 2020.

On August 1, 2021, a Synthesizer V AI voice database for GENBU was announced.[3] At the time, a crowdfund was planned but was later canceled due to the lack of the required permissions. Continued production of the AI voice database is currently unknown.[4]

His voice provider is Gallo, a Japanese voice actor and game scenario writer.

Concept[]

GENBU's voice is described to be calm and soothing and resembles his somewhat weak personality. He may seem a bit straightforward to the point of being called rude, but he cares about the people around him.

Etymology[]

His name, "ゲンブ (genbu)", means "black tortoise". In Japanese mythology, it is one of the four guardian spirits of Kyoto and one of the four symbols of the Chinese constellations (the "Azure Dragon", the "Vermilion Bird", the "White Tiger", and the "Black Tortoise"), which are said to be four mythological creatures appearing among the Chinese constellations along the ecliptic, and are viewed as the guardians of the four cardinal directions. It also represents the north direction and the winter season. It's sometimes called "the Black Warrior of the North" (北方玄武 Běi Fāng Xuán Wǔ).

While the kanji for "genbu" is written as "玄武" in both Japanese and Chinese, the Chinese pronunciation is "Xuanwu" (Xuánwǔ).

GENBU's real name was later revealed to be Kurono Takehiro (玄野武宏).[5]

Appearance[]

GENBU's attire is inspired by traditional Japanese clothes. The motives used for his design are pen nibs, a monotone-color scheme, rope, and the "White Tiger of the West".

The rope around him is similar to a shimenawa, which are ropes found around Shinto shrines, sacred landmarks, and usually at ground-breaking ceremonies before the construction of a building begins. They can also be found on yorishiro, objects that are capable of attracting and housing kami spirits.

The "white tiger" most likely inspires his white kimono-like clothing. It is one of the four symbols of the Chinese constellations, it represents the west direction and the autumn season. It was most likely simply used as part of the monochrome-color scheme that onidaruman wanted to convey while also relating to the theme of the four beings that appear among the Chinese constellations, as there doesn't seem to be any other design choices related to the "white tiger".

His black gloves have red visualizers on them. The visualizers cannot be viewed on GENBU's official art, as the side that has them is obscured. They are missing from GENBU's 1st anniversary illustration, although the illustrator's comments say that the visualizers simply had been forgotten.

The pattern on his left shoulder could be a reference to his name.

Relations[]

Voice Libraries[]

Additional Information[]

Marketing[]

GENBU VirVox Project.jpg
VirVox Project's Kurono Takehiro

In May 2021, GENBU was confirmed to be part of VirVox Project, a small doujin circle that focused on marketing him along with three other male characters at the time of introduction. They provided him with the name "Kurono Takehiro", and with VOLOR's permission, they hoped to create merchandise, 3D models, and physical copies of GENBU along with any potential voice databases that may release at a later time.[6][7] They conducted a survey with fans for an interest check on these ideas.[8]

On June 27, VirVox Project announced a new AI text-to-speech synthesizer TALQu library for Kurono Takehiro. Plans to bundle and distribute voice and standing picture materials with different facial expressions for video production were also announced.[9] Reading samples for the TALQu software were uploaded on June 30.[10] On July 6, a demo was uploaded showing the library's speech capabilities, and VirVox Project noted that the voice was generated by a conventional vocoder and a new vocoder.[11] Takehiro's TALQu library's Terms of Use and the Voice Material Terms of Use were published on July 10.[12] On July 16, VirVox Project released a "Lite" version of the TALQu library, which was free to download.[13] At the same time, the official standing picture materials (PSD Tool compatible) and voice materials (50 types) were placed up for sale on the VirVox Project BOOTH shop.[14] A high-quality version of the software was announced for a later date.[15]

On July 19, VirVox Project announced an additional speech library for Takehiro using the CoeFont CLOUD AI text-to-speech synthesizer. [16] It released on August 2 with one expression noted as "Happy".[17][18]

On August 26, an official 3D model by SIBAINU for Takehiro in his regular clothes was announced.[19][20] It was officially released on December 20.[21]

On December 3, GENBU and the other members of VirVox Project were featured in 4-paneled comics illustrated by onidaruman.[22] These comics were originally written in Japanese, with English translations by Xuu.[23]

As of December 6, works featuring GENBU, Eleanor Forte, and AiKO were accepted on Piapro, a well-known Japanese center of the VOCALOID, and extensively, voice synthesizer community.[24]

Reputation[]

GENBU's character status
Reaction
GENBU's voice database, character, and design were generally well-received, especially as the first male. As one of the two released Japanese voice databases for the first Synthesizer V engine, the other being Yamine Renri, this gave him an advantage in receiving interest from producers.

Impact
GENBU was introduced as the first male Synthesizer V voice database to be released and remained as the only one until Muxin's release on Synthesizer V Studio in August 2020, though was still the only male Japanese vocal available until Ryo's release in February 2022. Like with the other free Synthesizer V voice databases, GENBU was easily accessible for users, making him a vocal readily available for any beginner.

Achievements
  • First and only male Synthesizer V voice database to be released.
  • First male Japanese voice database to be released.
  • First male voice database from VOLOR.
  • First male Japanese voice database from VOLOR.
  • First voice database from VirVox Project.
  • First male voice database from VirVox Project
  • First male voice database released for Synthesizer V Studio.
  • First Japanese voice database updated to and released for Synthesizer V Studio.
  • One of the first Standard Lite voice databases released for Synthesizer V Studio.
  • One of the first Standard Lite Japanese voice databases released for Synthesizer V Studio.
  • First male Standard Lite voice database released for Synthesizer V Studio.

References[]

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