Eguchi Aimi is the latest member of the Japanese pop band AKB 48. The only problem is that she, unlike the other six members, doesn't actually exist. Aimi was first featured in a 15 second advertisement for some new candy by a company called Ezaki Glico.
Fans of the band went crazy to find out who the seventh member of the band was. They were convinced that her features were more the result of good genes than the skillful use of computer graphics, according to ChannelNews Asia.
AKB 48's management even created a fake profile page for Aimi that claimed she was a 16-year-old girl from Saitama. Furthermore, Aimi was featured in a magazine, complete with faked photos and biodata. Here's the commercial that started it all:
Ezaki Glico eventually confirmed that Aimi Eguchi wasn't real. The new group member is a computer-generated composite of the real band members. Her pretty face was made up of the "best features" of six other members: Atsuko Maeda (eyes), Tomomi Itano (nose), Mariko Shinoda (mouth), Yuko Oshima (hair/ body), Minami Takahashi (outline), and Mayu Watanabe (eyebrows).
They called her a virtual idol. Her existence was just composed of 1s and 0s stored as 150GB of data. Here's the making-of video, which goes into a bit more detail:
Some argue that while Eguchi is not a real person, she is exactly what some seek out in a celebrity. Many fans want an artificial persona created from a combination of the traits they love the most.
Forget all the science fiction you know about humans falling in love with robots and the problems that ensue. This is even more mind-boggling as the "person" is just data and doesn't even have a physical body.