Have you ever dreamed of becoming an anime character?
As a traditional otaku, I've always dreamed of setting off on fantastic journeys, fighting evil monsters, and riding giant robots!>
For some otakus, a way of getting closer to this dream is to cosplay their favorite characters, and they do a marvelous job!
Others prefer to be part of a story or have one with Original Characters! Some incredible stories start like that!
Recently, these original characters have evolved and become stars! Yes! I'm talking about VTubers!
But what are they exactly? Even though this is not something completely new, the concept may not be so clear for some people, so teacher Liz is here to help you!
The word "VTuber" is short for "Virtual Youtuber." Now things are much clearer, amiright? 😂
VTubers are content creators who use animated avatars instead of showing their real faces in videos.
Like any other Youtuber or streamer, their channels may have any content, like reviews, gaming, vlog, music, and even ecchi subjects😳!
The art style is usually anime or manga, but there are others, such as AI Angel, who are very realistic. And some VTubers prefer the cartoony style. Everything is allowed!
It is hard to think about Virtual content creators and animated avatars without thinking about HER: Hatsune Miku.
The popularity of this virtual idol (and the other vocaloids) inspired many people, not only from Japan. For example, I could mention the UTAUloids: voicebanks for the free singing synthesizer UTAU, created by people worldwide.
And I can't forget about Super Sonico! She started appearing in videos in 2010 and spoke to the audience in a good portion of them.
But we can say the real thing started some years later, in 2016, with Kizuna AI, who came up with the word VTuber.
Like Super Sonico, Kizuna AI is a fictional character created by a company rather than a person using a moving avatar. However, after seeing how popular she became in Japan, other companies and content creators made characters and avatars to replace their real faces.
For years, Kizuna AI was the most popular VTuber, with over 3 million subscribers on her YouTube channel. But recently, the shark girl Gawr Gura has reached the mark of 4 million subscribers!
They are both incredibly successful, super cute, and fun, so check them out!
Other popular VTubers I could mention are:
They are all highly talented singers and streamers; I recommend visiting their channels!
One may think it takes a lot of money and specific devices to become a VTuber, but that's not true!
What makes VTubers more special is that everybody can become one, and despite the name, VTubers don't necessarily need to have a YouTube channel!
To become a VTuber, the main equipment you'll need (besides a computer) is a webcam and microphone.
The webcam will mainly capture your facial movement. For hands or full body tracking, you may need hand and body trackers.
The next thing to do is to get yourself a beautiful avatar! They can be 2D or 3D. You can download or buy a pre-made model, create yours, or commission an artist to make one for you.
Lastly, you'll need an application to make your avatar move! Streamers use different methods for recording or real-time capture, and, again, there are free and paid options in Japanese and English.
Aside from that, you'll need software for recording or streaming and an account on the video platform of your choice, like any other content creator, and voilà! You're now a VTuber!
Aren't VTubers amazing? As an Otaku, I'm impressed by how far our community can go! You all always make me so proud! And always remember you ARE part of it, too, direct or indirectly.
With some research and dedication, anybody can become a VTuber! Expensive equipment and models exist, but it doesn't mean they are mandatory!
The most important thing is to have fun! And I hope you have a great time with your model or watching talented virtual idols.
Maybe even a certain red-headed otaku too? 🥺
Images from Super Sonico Wiki, Crunchyroll, Virtual YouTuber Wiki, Miss Monochrome Wiki
Sources: Voyapon, Neil Patel, Wikipedia