If you spend enough time on the internet you would have, at some point, stumbled across cute anime characters streaming video games. At first glance, they are pretty confusing as most people were unsure if they were AI-controlled robots or just complex animations. But, behind the virtual avatars, VTubers are people just like you and me.
Most avid VTuber fans might have wondered why almost all VTuber avatars take on the form of an anime character. So, keep on reading, as today we’re going to get to the bottom of it.
What Is A VTuber Avatar?
It’s probably useful to get acquainted with VTuber avatars before we delve into why they are, the way they are. The term VTuber is an abbreviation for Virtual YouTuber, which almost perfectly describes their profession. They are virtual characters who stream and create content on YouTube. A VTuber avatar, however, is the virtual identity of the VTuber in front of the camera. A VTuber avatar is controlled by motion-tracking software in order to mirror the movements of the performer.
VTuber avatars are pretty complex as they have to be designed with various different animations and movement physics to make them appear lifelike. For this reason, a lot of time and money goes into creating these virtual avatars for VTubers.
Finding an artist to create a VTuber avatar can be difficult sometimes. But, most people opt to work with independent artists through Twitter and Fiverr, or VTuber commissioning services like VTuberArt.
Japanese Influence On VTubing
One of the main reasons why VTuber avatars take on their anime appearance is due to the fact that it all started in Japan. For a short while VTubing remained a niche social media trend confined to Japanese internet culture. But within the last decade, VTubers have spread like wildfire. Now, it’s common to see viral VTuber stars from all over the globe making it one of the fastest-growing communities on the internet.
The first VTuber and inventor of the term itself, Kizuna AI, pioneered the iconic anime tropes that modern VTubers use today. The cute schoolgirl uniforms, big eyes and whacky hairdos are inspired by her success. The Japanese VTuber was known for her bubbly personality when talking with her chat, singing and karaoke. Kizuna went to the lengths to even have her own virtual concert which thousands of fans tuned in live to watch.
Kizuna the VTuber sensation also has her own TV anime based on her journey to becoming a virtual sensation. The anime is titled Kizuna no Allele and is set to premiere this year.
On top of VTubing being heavily influenced by Japanese culture, the anime aspects also come from its popularity in the western world. Gaming, anime, music and live streaming are all massive components of pop culture which VTubers happen to perfectly encapsulate. All of the most successful VTubers carry out Let’s Plays, produce their own music and even parody videos all in the form of an anime character. For some, VTubers are more or less the closest thing to interacting with a real anime character, which is any Otaku’s dream!
Anime Influence On VTubing
Most fans of VTubers tend to be fans of anime too. However, it’s not always the other way around. VTuber avatars have their own lore and origin stories that are often enjoyed and expanded upon by the fans. Immersing the fans in the story helps to strengthen and play into the character that viewers see on stream. Anime characters have a similar impact on their audience. Interesting backstories and a copious amount of fanfiction feed into the obsession with the characters. Before you know it, they’re your desktop background and you’re a $100 of merch down the drain.
But, jokes aside. There are many similarities between the characters created for the VTuber live streams and anime characters. VTubers are renowned for their voice acting which is often their most powerful weapon. Most of the females talking with high-pitched kawaii voices and the boys being either extremely deep or softly spoken. Hence, it makes a lot of sense that VTuber avatars take on an anime style.
While the vast majority of VTubers do have an anime aesthetic, there are a few exceptions who have managed to break the mould, such as Baacharu, who takes on the form of a man in a horse mask. His outlandish and energetic personality has attracted a loyal fanbase as a male VTuber which is difficult to do. However, he is often collaborating with anime-style female VTubers who help to boost his viewership.
In summary, with the most popular VTubers and the overwhelming majority of creators taking on anime avatars, it’s clear to see that there’s a certain appeal it has to its audience. As a fellow anime lover, the animations are much more satisfying and deeper rooted in the internet culture than any other art style. So, if you’re an anime fan who loves gaming then why not give VTubers a try?