Twenty Thousand Tunes under the Sea

“Under the sea, Darling it’s better –
Down where it’s wetter, take it from me”

About the figure:

Let’s face it: When shooting with Hatsune Miku there are a ton of figures to choose from. One of the more remarkable sculpts is without a doubt Iwanaga Sakurakos “Deep Sea Girl” Version based on an artwork of Haruyo.


This stunning piece of art was released by Good Smile Company in 2014 and will get a rerelease in September 2017.  The statue shows Miku in a black dress, sitting on a stone at the bottom of the ocean. Also included are two pink corals. At first glance you might think she only comes with one, since the second coral is behind her, not visible on most of the official product pictures.


The major highlights of this figure are definitely Mikus curly braids. Those came separate and can be detached from her head. They are also function as mounting for the whole figure. But even without using any pegs in this little underwater project Miku sat well on her stone and didn’t start to float around.


Also very recognizable is her gentle smile. Her facial expressions do fit the theme of this figure very well. The corals that came with are kinda soft and bendable to a certain point. Those two corals and a few rocks colored in turquoise are the only accessories that came with this about 120 Euro worth figure. This is a little disappointing, because when I think about things like the Great Barrier Reef, I picture myself tons of exotic plants and surroundings like jellyfishes or anemones. Having only two corals is a little measly for such a high prized figure. But luckily my planed scenery will make up for the lack of decor.

About the character:

Miku is one of many humanoid personas for the synthesizer application Vocaloid from Crypton Future Media. Among the “Vocaloids” she is the most prominent figure, making her the “frontgirl” of the whole singing synthesizer genre. Crypton first released Hatsune Miku back in 2007 and within the last ten years the software is now featured in over 100.000 songs released worldwide.


Special themed Mikus such as “Snow Miku” or “Racing Queen Miku” are now newly released every year. Her singing voice is modeled after the seiyū Sai Fujita who recently worked on shows like Working!!, Kantai Collection or Danganronpa. Aimed and marketed to professional musicians Crypton was selling over 300 copies a week in their peak years.

Thoughts about the picture:

Years ago I saw a mermaid themed anime figure sitting in a fish tank. So I thought to myself “That would make a pretty spectacular figure photo”. And when a friend of mine offered me his figure for the shooting I finally was able to realize this project.  Before buying the props I opened a thread on My Figure Collection and asked how to approach a shooting like this and got very useful advice. Originally this was planned to have real plants and also living fish in the tank. But some people who actually own a fishtank discouraged me from doing so, since that would put the fishes and also the figure in needless danger.


I thought the whole plan over and came to the conclusion that plastic plants and a smaller tank would be fine for using it for one photo. Ultimately I invited my friend over for the evening to do the shooting while having some homemade ramen for dinner.

Behind the scenes:

The first thing to do was to wash the nearly 15 kilogram of gravel so that our tank would not be cloudy when filled with water. This step is also highly recommended when setting up a real fish tank.

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After the washing of gravel I also painted this fake coral pink in order to match the ones the figure comes with. Even if the result looks not that bad I murdered a Copic sketch in the process. But the alcohol marker provided a fast drying finish that is also waterproof.

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To secure the base from scratches I covered it up with plastic wrap. After that I began to fill the tank with the gravel and to bury the base under it.

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To add an extra eyecatcher to the scenery I wired two of the plastic plants with my tiny “firefly lights”. That way I was able to enlighten the plant even more when under water.

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Here you can see the final arrangement of all the fake plants and stones I bought. For the background I used the picture of a real reef on my television. Once everything was set up it was finally time to slowly add the water over a funnel.

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When the tank was filled up I quickly did a couple of shots since we didn’t want to keep Miku under water for too long. After the shooting I used a hose to empty the tank.



Here you can see the final picture. First I tried to create the bubbles by blowing into a very narrow hose.  The results were not as I have imagined so I ended up adding the bubbles with a brush.

Canon EOS 5D, 90mm Macro lense / ISO 200 / Exposure time 1/8 sec. / aperture: 11n


Time and effort: 
It took me a while to wash the gravel and to paint the coral but the rest of the set was done over the course of one evening.


CostsCosts of the props:
Since I had to buy the tank and all the accessories I ended up way above my 100 Euro budget. Luckily I was able to return some of the used props to the store the other day.




  1. What size tank did you use? I’m going to get a statue and cover it in an aquarium safe clear coat and add it as an ornament for an aquarium with fish.


    • The one I used was a 45 liter tank that was about 50x30x30cm and was the perfect choice for the project because it fitted Miku and wasn’t expensive. When you go for a permanent tank with fish you might to use a bigger one or a smaller figure.


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