Hatsune Miku is an icon. First launched in 2007, the anthropomorphic representation of the popular Vocaloid voicebank has become a massive and recognized star worldwide. The character has since appeared in countless video games, anime series and other media. It was also recently confirmed that Miku will appear in a special crossover series called Dropkick on My Devil! X Mame Anime, which will promote the island of Hokkaido. However, this isn't Hatsune Miku's first anime appearance -- nor is it the weirdest.
In 2018, Hatsune Miku appeared in an anime called Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion. This train-based mecha series, created by Takara Tomy and Japan Railways Group, follows a young boy who loves trains named Hayato Hayasugi. One day, Hayato learns his father is secretly working for the Shinkansen Ultra Evolution Institute, a secretive organization that creates Shinkalions to fight monsters that try to attack Japan. The boy turns out to have an aptitude for piloting Shinkalions and becomes the pilot of the Shinkalion E5 Hayabusa.
Miku appears in the anime's 15th episode, "Go North!! Shinkalion H5 Hayabusa." Hayato and his friends realize their mysterious foe is planning to spread panic by revealing monsters to the world, and they're soon proved right when one attacks Hakodate in Hokkaido. The pilots dive into their Shinkalions and head there to fight, but realize they're not going to make it in time.
However, before the plan can come to fruition, another Shinkalion enters the fray. Hayato and his friends are initially confused when they learn the pilot is a girl with distinctive blue twin tails and a robotic voice. This girl holds the monster off, eventually destroying it with her robot's finishing move. After the battle, she introduces herself as Hatsune Miku. However, this Miku differs a little from her usual forms found in other media. Here, she is an eleven-year-old girl who wants to become a Shinkalion driver but is held back by motion sickness. When Hayato falls ill, Miku once again must dive into battle in her Shinkalion, proving herself as a pilot.
Shinkalion's Miku lore is full of references to the original Vocaloid. The character is voiced by Saki Fujita, the actress whose voice is the basis for the singer's voicebank. Her age of 11 references the fact that the Miku voicebank was 11 years old at the time of the episode's release. Her being based at the Shinkansen Ultra Evolution Institute's Hokkaido Branch references the headquarters of Crypton Future Media -- the company behind the Miku voicebank.
However, this isn't Miku's only appearance in the franchise. She would show up several times during the series and also appears in the movie Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion the Movie: The Marvelous Fast ALFA-X That Comes From the Future. This film reveals that in the time since the end of the original series, Miku has become a singer just like her Vocaloid counterpart. Her appearance here also means she has fought against a form of Godzilla and fought alongside Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion, further proving that Shinkalion is home to some of anime's most unexpected crossovers.
Dropkick On My Devil will not be the last time Miku is seen in an anime. She's become such a part of anime fan culture that she'll inevitably make another crossover or cameo appearance. However, it will be hard to top her Shinkalion role for pure weirdness, especially as the anime made Miku a unique character in its own universe while paying tribute to the original Vocaloid. This cameo also tops the oddity charts because it means that Miku has technically crossed over with loads of other franchises due to Shinkalion's own number of cameos and crossovers.