- Robert Wages
Anime Girls are Taking Over Live Streaming
In these days of stay-at-home orders and self-isolation, people are finding themselves spending more time on the internet. Content always available online are video game live streams. Streaming personalities have built large and dedicated followings that can interact with them and each other in real-time. Viewers talk with one another, as well as tip and donate money to the streamers. While competitive games like League of Legends, Overwatch, and Counter Strike are the most popular games on YouTube and Twitch, it’s the streamers’ personalities that keep fans returning for hours every week, as evident by the constant growth of streamers like Jerma985 and CallMeKevin. These streamers put themselves front and center, connecting with their audience and creating the illusion that there’s nothing between chat and themselves. They’re popular because they’re sincere and their behavior feels genuine and honest. Of course, none of that matters because cute anime girls are more important than sincerity and honesty.
In 2016, the YouTube landscape was rocked by the emergence of a virtual content creator. Kizuna AI is often credited for being the first virtual YouTuber, and since her debut four years ago, has gained over 4 million subscribers. Kizuna uses a cutesy anime girl avatar to portray the character of an artificial intelligence who just wants to have fun. Her popularity opened the door for other virtual YouTubers, called vtubers. These anime girls stream games and interact with chat just like any variety streamer but use motion capture software to control an avatar instead of using a webcam.
Vtubers are something completely new. Each one has her own backstory, social media and personality. Instead of just being themselves, they assume the roles of these characters and are acting while they stream. Gawr Gura, a 9000-year-old, half-shark anime girl has 580 thousand subscribers on YouTube and nearly 8 million total views since she made her debut in early September. I’m sure that sentence was a lot to take in. It’s okay, I’m scared too.
Oh, and she sings too.
Gura’s Twitter isn’t anything to scoff at either, having gained over 230 thousand followers in two months. Her fans are quite active on her social media as well. Gura regularly retweets fan art of herself from her rapidly growing fanbase.
She’s even got some die-hard fans.
They’ve got a Lovecraftian horror anime girl too! Ninomae Ina’nis is an ancient being of unknown origin who, instead of spreading madness, has decided to livestream to her 300 thousand subscribers. Like Gawr Gura, she has an active Twitter as well.
These vtubers are absolute meme factories as well. Reddit loves them.
You know what? This is fine actually. Streaming hasn’t changed much in years and vtubers are a nifty addition to that landscape. Their streams are cute, and they add another distraction during this scary time. If the world’s going to end, at least they finally made anime girls real before it all goes up in flames.