BIG AL is an English VOCALOID developed and distributed by PowerFX Systems AB., and was released in December 2009 for the VOCALOID2 engine. His announcement was on January 21, 2007 and his provider during that time was Michael King. After another period of development, his voice bank was redone by voice actor Frank S., whose last name cannot be revealed due to privacy reasons. BIG AL's believed original codename is "RONIE" due to sightings of it alongside "JODIE", Sweet ANN's codename. There was also a 3rd unknown provider used during the "RONIE" period prior to Michael King that was cancelled for unknown reasons.
Concept[edit | edit source]
Etymology[edit | edit source]
It is unknown why PowerFX chose the name "BIG AL".
"Al" can be both a male and female name. It is usually shorthand for other longer names. When applied to boys it is shorthand for names including (but not restricted to) "Alfred", "Albert", "Allen", and "Alphonse".
On his Taiwanese release, BIG AL's logo is stylized with a dash. Yamaha also has written the name as "BigAl" without a space between "Big" and "Al".
Appearance[edit | edit source]
BIG AL's original illustrator remains unknown while the revised illustration is by artist Ash. In both incarnations, the monster he is based on is Frankenstein's monster; according to PowerFX, their VOCALOIDs are more like Cyborgs than Androids.
In 2019, on BIG AL's 10th Anniversary, Ash revealed early design concepts from 2009 where it was revealed that in the process of the redesign, several design elements were attempted, including "crazy eyes, fangy evil smile, snakie tattoo" and "cleavage out". However, the design was tamed down to make BIG AL appear friendlier.  In an early concept, BIG AL had a light/dark red button down shirt, grey pants and silver bullet belt with a bracelet on his right hand. Following this tweet were several redesign drafts showing what would be the official outfit for the finalized design. In a later tweet, Ash stated BIG AL's box art pose was a reference to the Bara manga "Kuso Miso Technique" also known as "Yaranaika". The tweet also suggested that AL was to be sitting but was altered to a standing position to avoid direct referencing.
BIG AL's scythe in his Taiwan design resembles a musical note.
The original boxart features the RCA-44 Ribbon microphone or a variant of it, this mic was first released in the early 1930s.
Relations[edit | edit source]
For more on VOCALOID relationships, see the FAQ.
- Sweet ANN - A complementary voice bank with feminine vocals.
History[edit | edit source]
Marketing[edit | edit source]
Like Sweet ANN, BIG AL's original boxart bore similarities to early 20th-century movie posters, depicting him as a monster morph of Elvis. The new box art was more of a loose representation of such a monster and was aimed more towards the VOCALOID fandom than ANN was, marking a switch in focus for PowerFX from solely that of professionals.
Unlike Sweet ANN, BIG AL was not geared up to be reviewed by normal means (software reviews) and relied more upon the VOCALOID fandom to promote and use him, building on the growing interest in English VOCALOIDs that was now occurring. While a MySpace page was made for Sweet ANN's promotion, BIG AL did not have a social networking outlet.
Voicebanks[edit | edit source]
- BIG AL
- Sweet ANN's counter-partner vocal, he has a deeper tones vocal for classic rock and is able to go deep down the octaves. Due to development issues, at least 3 different versions of the voicebank exists, each with a different singer entirely. All of them had the same goal of giving a rough timbre to contrast that of Zero-G Limited's LEON vocal.
Music featuring BIG AL[edit | edit source]
|Translation||Little Toy Robot|
Reputation[edit | edit source]
In 2010, Crypton Future Media produced a ranking of the VOCALOIDs they sold on their website. BIG AL was ranked the 8th most popular VOCALOID they sold, and in the process the most popular of the imported VOCALOIDs that Crypton sold.
In 2014, Crypton's download store Sonicwire reporting that BIG AL had been the 10th most sold VOCALOID product for the year.
BIG AL's original voice did not appeal to many, but the sudden change of vocal and boxart redesign pleased many fans. These changes caused much confusion at first, but also a great deal of excitement.
BIG AL's change of boxart led to character-base art styles becoming normal for PowerFX VOCALOID releases as PowerFX stated that this is what the fandom wanted. He is also regarded as a factor in the over shadowing of Tonio's release, as despite Tonio producing more "beautiful" results, BIG AL's vocal had more "personality" to it.
In the Nico Nico Douga International VOCALOID ranking 2010, BIG AL was noted to have dominated the rankings and appeared in 18 of the top 30 International VOCALOID related songs, the second highest being LOLA with just 5 songs. Also, his vocals were used in 8 of the top ten songs of 2010, the only exceptions being two songs where LOLA was the sole English Vocaloid singing. BIG AL was the only English Vocaloid in the top 10 with solo songs. Considering how little an English VOCALOID makes it into any Nico Nico Douga ranking overall, BIG AL managed to appear in the rankings with songs such as Little Toy Robot.
"海外組VOCALOIDランキング2010（仮）" by あっちゃん ft. English VOCALOIDs
An independent search on Nico Nico Douga revealed that most VOCALOIDs had less than 1,000 videos uploaded on Nico Nico Douga in 2011 between July 1st and December 15th. BIG AL fell into this category.
In 2015 a survey was made based on the popularity of VOCALOIDs on website Nico Video. For the year 2014, BIG AL was the 41st most popular Vocaloid and the 4th popular "Engloid".
In 2016, a cover by Giuseppe of the song "Sway" managed to gain 1,000,000+ views. This made BIG AL the first VOCALOID2 English only release to have a video reach 1,000,000 views. He was the 3rd English only vocal to get 1 million views on a YouTube video.
References[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
|English||PowerFX Systems AB. official homepage||Link|
|English||VOCALOID2 Big Al product page||Link|
|English||deviantArt , art and media community||Link|
|Japanese||Pixiv , art and media community||Link|
[edit | edit source]