What is a VTuber (Virtual YouTuber)?
A VTuber, or Virtual YouTuber, is someone who streams using a virtual model, instead of their real face. The models come in all forms, each being individually commissioned for the user. While this idea began in Japanese, it’s recently reaching English-speaking viewers. The market is quickly growing, and knowing what’s involved can be confusing. I’ve made a list of five VTubers to get you started!
1. Gawr Gura
Here’s what you need to know. Gawr Gura’s debut stream on YouTube boasted over 100,000 views. She quickly moved to being the number one VTuber on the site.
Her lore says that she is a 9,000+ year old shark who came to the human world out of boredom. She regularly teases viewers for never having seen Atlantis, claiming that it is her home. Of course, this is all part of the personality portrayed.
She’s known for being unbearably adorable. Gawr has trouble with math, notably thinking that 9+10=11. But her gaming skill is impressive, landing her a mix of viewers. Some are interested in the game itself and some are interested in her intense personality.
While being personified by one person, she’s part of Hololive, a Japanese company that manages 56 VTubers.
2. Kiryu Coco
Number two, Kiryu Coco on the list is known for having an outgoing, boisterous persona. Coco is a 3,500 year old dragon who says she enjoys interacting with humans.
She has her own comedy skit called ‘AsaCoco Live News‘. It features parodies of real news, or that of her and other members of Hololive. She became one of it’s most popular members soon after receiving her model, surpassing many of the older girls.
She is far from being stuck-up about her fame, she regularly features other members in her show. She has expressed wanting to move in with other Hololive members in a ‘Hololive House’.
Many YouTube personalities have done a similar concept in the past.
She’s appeared on television in Japan and on talk shows in the West. This is in part due to her having a full scale model, meaning her entire body can be viewed rather than just what you’d see looking at someone across a desk. This allows her to dance on television, which she has done.
Coco also enjoys trolling viewers, such as the time she claimed a censored photo on the screen was her father, when it was clearly a character from an anime (Shenron from Dragon Ball Z).
3. Kizuna AI
Kizuna AI is often credited as being the first widely known VTuber, debuting in 2016. She was a company creation which was eventually rebranded as Kizuna AI Inc.
She’s unusual from the others in that her ‘shows’ are thought to be produced by an entire crew, much like a tv show would be. The identities of most of her creators are unknown to protect the suspension of disbelief that comes with viewing her.
The exception is her main voice, Nosomi Kasuga, a woman who went on to run the company.
Kizuna is outgoing and enjoys trying new activities on her channel, while maintaining the idea that she is simply an AI come to life. This suspension of disbelief in her lore allows for people to raise debates about technology and the expanse of AIs. Could they one day come to life in a similar way, and would we recognize it?
This interest in the very concept has led to her continued success through the years.
Her sweet personality and adorable pink outfit help to cinch the deal for many viewers.
4. Projekt Melody
Projekt Melody her lore states that she is a futuristic AI program which was corrupted by, well, adult material.
Melody is an “American Vtuber”, one of the few mainstream who is Western-based. She was able to purchase the rights to her model, leaving her one of two on our list who are in charge of their own content and appearance.
Much like Coco and Kizuna, Melody actually has a full model. However, hers is featured regularly, pushing the previous limits on the capabilities of the technology.
She can be seen in multiple YouTube videos, walking around her room. It’s located in Virtual New Tokyo, a made-up location within her backstory. Much of her subject matter is mature in nature, but she does have a completely SFW Twitch which was partnered before she even began streaming!
While considered controversial simply for the nature of her existence, she’s excitable, and interacts directly with her viewers on a regular basis. This has earned her loyal followers.
In addition to her standard content, once a month Melody’s stream is ‘invaded’ by a second AI personality. This is called Melware, and likes to cause mayhem before leaving once again. It’s just one more thing for her viewers to look forward to.
5. Yoona Boona
Yoona Boona an up-and-coming VTuber, English-speaking, and male! Which is basically like finding a unicorn. His lore isn’t really known at this point, as he mostly talks on stream only about the content. Unlike some of the others on this list, he’s actually a college student, making his upstart much more indie and personal. Like Projekt, he is in charge of his own content.
At the moment he has two models, the older 2D version and a newer, 3D version. He’s well-known for his eyes twitching, as they don’t move simultaneously. Small details like this can make a streamer feel more relatable to their audience.
His content is primarily gaming, with a variety each week, and sometimes multiple per stream.
He’ll play with friends or on his own, talking consistently to his Twitch chat.
Occasionally, much like Gawr, he will even sing in between games! His songs tend to be parodies. His YouTube channel primarily focuses on gaming references.
A brief conclusion:
There’s plenty of VTubers out there, with more and more debuting everyday! Some are small, at-home streamers who created their own models. Others are signed to a company, and still others, like Kizuna, are the company! But they’re here to bring you enjoyment as much as any entertainer. Enjoy their content, and I hope this helped you find a community to be part of!
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Frequently asked questions about VTubers
Who is the most famous VTuber?
Gawr Gura’s is currently the number oneVTuber, as of november 18th 2020 she has 1.38M subscribers on her English YouTube channel. Want up to date info? Check this list!
What is a VTuber?
A VTuber, or Virtual YouTuber, is someone who streams using a virtual model, instead of their real face. The most common VTubers are using an anime based avatar.
What is Hololive?
Hololive is a large agency created for Japanese Virtual YouTubers. In this Japanese article you can see the enormous amount of market share they cover.