If you follow anime subcultures you're probably no stranger to Kizuna Ai
But perhaps you're also familiar of the current hot trend of the virtual youtuber subculture, an influx of Japanese folk making debuts as virtual characters ranging from full bodied virtual models to simple live 2D animation.
Now from the amount of fanart,(And there's a lot), I've seen of these particular youtubers, Kizuna Ai , Kaguya Luna , Siro , Nekomasu they are clearly some of the more well known heralds of the rise in popularity of the virtual youtuber subculture.
And given their popularity, gave rise to an increased interest in this subculture.
(Here's a Pop Team Epic OP MAD to convey this craziness)
No surprise since Kizuna Ai herself has been incredibly successful of being a part of
Merchandise such as nendroids, official promotional material, and collaborations with other youtubers.
While she may not be the very first "virtual" youtuber she's undeniably one of the biggest influencers for this trend in japan.
A couple of weeks ago I came across the subreddit r/VirtualYoutubers who are also following this growing subculture, and that led me to understand that it's becoming its own growing community.
The trend has been going steady for awhile, so much so that we've just about reached a point where a Virtual Youtuber is explaining what they define a Virtual Youtuber is
Although I feel like there's only so much that they can do, so many current trending games they can play, so many live streams they make, obviously personality is the selling point here. Virtual idols(?). Chances are you'll find a personality among the many virtual youtubers that you like. International audiences are also an important point, so the language barrier can be off putting, although you might struck lucky with someone being kind enough to subtitle their videos.
They can range from a team of people working the virtual personality, (like idols), to virtual youtubers that made their models by hand.
The point being this a pretty niche subculture, based in japan, so it would take effort for it to channel popularity overseas. Kizuna Ai is one of the few who was successful enough to do so.
But there are some great and pretty cute virtual youtubers out there, that give themselves a certain edge. For example Mirai Akari seems to be some of the few virtual youtubers that visit VR Chat and interact with the community, even english speaking folks.
I recently subbed to this qt3.14
because of her absolute sick fps skills
I feel like the appeal for anime folks or the otaku culture is that these existing personalities, who many base themselves from existing anime character archetypes or give themselves distinctive voices, are interacting with a real audience, doing livestreams, Q&As, Let's play's, etc.
So what do you folks think? Is this a memorable subculture or a passing phase?
Have you been following this subculture?
Personally I find this whole thing fascinating, I don't think I can give it enough justice with this post alone but this can be another example of how virtual reality is being used and is coming along…