What is Nico Nico? How do I use it? Looks like there are a lot of Nico Nico MMD videos! Can NicoNico help with my MikuMikuDance?
Nico Nico MMD Videos…
Models, Motions, and Music!
Using Nico Nico is fun, easy, and informative!
If you have been searching around the catacombs of the internet, chances are you’ve run into Nico Nico (formally known as Nico Nico Douga). Nico Nico is a video service, similar to YouTube (and has gained the nickname of “Japanese YouTube”) where users upload their videos. Though unlike YouTube, Nico Nico users can also upload images and much more. But I will get to that later on in this article.
Now, you may be wondering how Nico Nico can be useful with MikuMikuDance. To put it simply, Nico Nico is one of the major hubs for Japanese MMD videos. As of current, Nico Nico hosts over one hundred thousand MMD videos and over sixty thousand images for MMD. Now, before going further, I should note that if you want to use any of Nico Nico’s services, you’ll need an account. You can find the registration here. The process itself is very simple and shouldn’t take more then five minutes to complete. Now, I should tell you that unless you live in Japan or Asia, you will likely log onto the English server. While you will still get full access to all the content Nico Nico has to offer, some errors may pop up from time to time.
Using Nico Nico
So, now that you’re set up, let’s have a look at Nico Nico’s homepage. As you can see, the homepage isn’t hard to navigate with the main tool, the search box, located right on the top of the page. We’ll type in “MMD” into the search box for now.
So, this will be an average search feature. Right now, I have the settings to show me the newest uploaded videos with the title “MMD”. This setting can be changed by the little drop down menu that’s titled “Newest Uploaded”. Now, as you may notice, there are four tabs on top of the search box labeled “Videos”, “My List”, “Images”, and “Live”. Videos are, of course, videos. My List is similar to a playlist on YouTube, and clicking it will bring up lists of MMD videos. Images I will cover shortly. Live contains live video feed. Though in this case, we want to mainly deal with Images and Videos.
As you can also see in the picture, there are “tags” under the search box. These tags (which you can copy-and-paste) include Touhou MMD videos (東方MMD), Hetalia-Axis Power MMD Videos (APヘタリアMMD), a tag we’ll cover later known as model distribution (MMDモデル配布あり), and MMD drama videos (MMDドラマ). Now, understand that these tags act a bit differently then most website tags and the other tags we will see listed in the videos. When you hit, say, MMD Drama, you will get video results for all videos with the title containing the words “MMDドラマ”. Normally the “tags” will be found in front of the video title and be labeled as [Tag Name]. Now, let’s take a look at an actual video.
Now, this is an average video window. First off, we have the title which is in the top and bold (you can see the tag right in front of the video title). Underneath that is the description and stats, including views, comments, when it was uploaded, etc. Now, finally, we have “Tags”. Unlike the tags I listed up above, these tags act differently and can be considered something similar to a category. So in this videos’ case, the “category” is Touhou. Clicking on the tag will bring up all Touhou videos, not just Touhou MMD videos.
Now, let’s look at the video itself. The video, on the bottom left, is simply that. Very easy to navigate and use. On the bottom right, we have the comment section. Unlike YouTube comments (or other video sites comments for that matter), the comments actually play during the video. Now, knowing fully well that this would be annoying, there is the option to turn comments off. While this won’t take the comments away on the right, it will stop them from playing during a video. Now, I can’t leave this section without adding that all comments are basically English/Spanish, and rarely Japanese. Reason being is that by signing up on certain servers, video comments will only contain comments from that server.
With videos covered, let’s look at that second tab I mentioned: Images. Now, this section functions like the video section except that you have a filter (I’ll explain why this is important in a minute), allowing you to search all “safe” images (the first and default selection), R-15 images, and then all images, including R-18 (adult) images. I’ll explain ratings in a moment.
So, keeping in mind that the image section is exactly like the video section, let’s take a look at an image. Set up similar to videos, the images have a title (where you will find the “tags”) and description above the main image. On the right we have the comments (though this image doesn’t have any comments) and stats. Now, unlike video comments, image comments contain all comments. Finally, underneath the image we have the tag/category.
Using Nico Nico for MMD
So, now understanding a rough outline of how Nico Nico works, let’s go over how we can use it for our MMD purposes. One of the main purposes to use Nico Nico (besides watching videos, of course) for MMD purposes is for the models, stages, and effects.
When searching for this purpose, the tag “MMDモデル配布あり” (MMD Model Distribution) will be your best friend. See, rather then just uploading them to a file sharing site and leave it as that, most model makers want to showcase their models and effects. So, when they release a new model, they will painstakingly create a video to show off this model. To help sort these videos from regular MMD videos, the tag MMDモデル配布あり is used.
When a video using this tag is presented, it means that the author is going to showcase off a new model (or stage and effect) and give directions on how to download it. In this situation, read the description. Normally the descriptions will give you a link to use the file (generally linking you to Bowlroll) and the passwords to unlock the files. For more information on that, see here.
Now, one lesser known advantage with Nico Nico is that you can see your model in action before you download it! As in, you can see the limits that a model you downloaded can take. So, while the model image may look good on the cover, you can actually watch how it moves and reacts in videos. So, a rather good looking model may not be as great as you think. This can save a lot of time and hassle in the long run.
Another thing you may want to watch out for is “version fixes” or “updated models”. With many Japanese models being built by scratch, it’s easy for bugs or errors to occur. Thankfully for us, many authors simply don’t upload and leave behind a model. Instead, they listen and try to work out the issues that can occur with a model. So, if a model you downloaded seems buggy, just wait. Chances are the author is working on fixing the problems.
Lastly, Nico Nico offers the chance to watch some well made MMD videos that you may not see anywhere else. MMD videos, for this case, can be categorized into two different categories. Dramas and Dance Videos. Dramas (found under the tag MMDドラマ) are going to be your romances, your tales of honor and fighting, or just humor. You’ll be surprised to find that a lot of these dramas are voiced, though by Vocaloids and other voice synthesizes. Now, a section of Dramas exist known as “Picture Stories”. These are sorta like a video comic, but normally with voices.
Dance Videos, making up a good chunk of the MMD population, are just that. Dance videos. These videos can range from expert shaded and amazing speeds (some videos are sixty frames a second), to first timers in the MMD field. So, try finding what you like and go with it.
As mentioned above, I’m going to be needing to cover this. Now, understand that Nico Nico is a generally good site and viewing MMD videos should be fun process. However, just like everything in life, you have people who are going to ruin it for the rest of us. In Nico Nico’s case, we have a rating system of sorts where videos are put into three different ratings,
To tell what the rating is, look at the title. This video, as you can clearly see, has the R-15 and R-18 tags, both in the title and in the tag section. With Nico Nico, you have the chance to get out of a “bad” video rather quickly if you click on it. The video doesn’t start until you press the play button, and you can tell right away if the video is going to be inappropriate by looking at the tag section. If you see the R-18 tag, run. Now, that being said, let’s take a look at the ratings.
This isn’t a rating per say, but we’ll use it to cover non R-15 and 18 videos. General videos are usually safe with the worst thing you can get is a up skirt shot (even then that can be avoided with the proper camera motion) or maybe someone in a swimsuit. Luckily enough, most videos are rated “General”.
A rather rare tag to see (as most videos are either General or R-18). Imagine R-15 as being something similar to a PG-13 movie. While not overtly bad, they can contain some rather mature content so it’s usually best to leave them be.
The shame of MikuMikuDance. R-18 videos are the ones you would not like to show to your grandmother, religious aunt, father, mother, sister, and that guy you know who lives two blocks down the street. While Nico Nico has rules on what you can and cannot upload, R-18 videos push this limit. Take my strong advise, DO NOT WATCH THESE VIDEOS.
With everything said and done, Nico Nico is likely one of the best places you can go for MMD. While overwhelming at first, given the site is in a different language, it’s not hard to master and with a little patience (and a whole lot of Google Translate), it should be working in no time. Now, also understand that this guide briefly covers some of the features of Nico Nico useful for MMD purposes, but not all features in general. This guide should give a much better explanation on using Nico Nico for more then MMD purposes.
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