Sunday, March 06

Anime

Frequently Asked Vtuber Question


You keep mentioning and linking this Hololive and related stuff. I'm out of the loop. What is that, and what's the background on it?
Some background from my personal perspective might help. I spend long hours alone at home at my desk, sometimes late at night, and I find that having something playing on the second monitor can help prevent me from getting even more distracted and wasting time on Twitter or wherever.

For a few years I was a dedicated listener to a long list of podcasts, including networks like This Week in Tech and The Incomparable. But as we moved into 2020 a lot of the stuff I was listening to on ostensibly tech or geek culture topics was becoming unpleasantly political, and by "unpleasantly political" I mean batshit crazy communism. The same stuff that had wrecked Twitter by 2018.

But around that time, this surfaced in my recommendations on YouTube, the only time Google has gotten anything right since about 2013.



It's only a 20 second clip but it was enough to make me sayWhat the heck?and take a closer look. And then I found there's no escaping the rabbit hole.

This is Hololive:



Yes, there's a lot of them. (That's seven videos edited together by a fan, which explains why some of the transitions aren't perfect.)

Basically Hololive is a 24/7 international all-girl improv comedy channel. Unwoke, unpolitically correct, irreverent and chaotic. They even have their own Bugs Bunny character - you see her for a couple of seconds in that video, her name is Usada Pekora and she has 1.8 million YouTube subscribers.

They sing, they dance - they have live concerts using full motion tracking and 3D models, they draw - at least two are successful commercial artists, they play an awful lot of Minecraft, and they don't take any shit from anyone.



Hololive's own background is also interesting. Parent company Cover Corp was working on a new AR device, that replaced expensive motion tracking with a regular iPhone and clever software, but they weren't having a lot of success breaking into the market.

Then in 2017 two Japanese girls fresh out of high school approached them and said what they needed was their own virtual spokeswoman. One of them is now Tokino Sora with 900,000 subscribers, and the other is referred to as A-chan, and is a senior manager overseeing activity across the entire company.



The pivot was spectacularly successful, and Hololive is basically a money factory. Their smallest channel - and they have dozens - has close to 300,000 subscribers, and the largest is approaching 4 million.

I think a lot of people are sick of hypocritical woke crap and are looking for entertainers who will simply tell it like it is. The 2D characters they use and the stage names (and a very strict corporate policy protecting their privacy) give them enough distance that they don't need to maintain a pretense in their opinions.

They don't get explicitly political but in this benighted age that itself is a profound political statement.

And beyond the official content - and there's so much of that that it's impossible to watch it all - there's an absolute avalanche of fan content, from cute video clips:



To entire virtual worlds:



So forget Hollywood, forget Netflix, forget podcasts, I really don't care anymore. I'll be over here in the corner juggling hedgehogs.

Also, Hololive is the main reason I bothered to get back on Twitter. They post their stream announcements there.

This is Gawr Gura of Hololive EN, the most successful virtual YouTube of all time:



Okay, yeah, she's a bit of a ditz on some things. But she can maintain both sides of a conversation for four hours at a time, every day, without ever repeating herself, and for the most part while doing three other things at the same time, and that's a rare talent.

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