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Given the massive success he’s since enjoyed as a video game character designer and director, it’s almost hard to remember how skeptical everyone initially was about Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura. When he stepped up to the plate as character designer for Final Fantasy VII, long-time fans were uneasy about his ability to fill the boots of predecessor and renowned artist Yoshitaka Amano. When Nomura announced Kingdom Hearts, a new series that would blend characters from Final Fantasy games and Disney animation, early reactions ranged from puzzled silence to nervous laughter.

Fast-forward 15 years, and Nomura has established himself as the single most influential person behind those two Square Enix franchises. As a matter of fact, his skills are now in so much demand that he’s produced his take on virtual idol Hatsune Miku, which was recently shown off in gorgeous animated form.

The video was originally shown as part of the Universal Positivity Hatsune Miku art show, which was held at New York’s Wallplay gallery. The exhibition wrapped up last month, and since it no longer has to worry about stealing Universal Positivity’s thunder, the official Hatsune Miku YouTube channel has released the clip for everyone who couldn’t make it to the Wallplay to see.

▼ This being from the Final Fantasy designer, of course there’s a crystal.

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Fans are used to seeing Miku looking pretty cartoony in illustrations, and even when appearing as a hologram at her live shows, the vocaloid still has a simple and stylized appearance. That’s not the case here, though. Square Enix turned its Visual Works team loose on the aqua-tressed diva, and the group responded with the super-detailed and hyper-realistic visuals it’s known for.

▼ Square Enix’s CG artists are always down to show off their ability to reproduce the look of vastly different textures.

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▼ Including hair and skin

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In regards to the video, Nomura said, “I’m a designer, not an illustrator, and as such, I design things to be part of a larger work. So for this project, too, I didn’t want to stop at just a still picture, and wanted to try making her move.”

It’s actually a little jarring to see Miku, a singer whose whole deal is that she’s not an actual person, looking like you could see her walking down the street, outlandish hair and computerized costume notwithstanding.

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Still, there’s no denying the talent on display, nor the songstress’ power to inspire her admirers and collaborative partners to make a little computer magic of their own.

Sources: Jin, Famitsu
Images: YouTube