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[VTuber] thread: The character is virtual. Everything else is real.

MrBlarneyMrBlarney Registered User regular
edited December 2021 in Social Entropy++
What are VTubers?

VTubers are online streamers who present themselves in the form of animated avatars. Everything that your typical Youtube or Twitch streamer does, you'll also see VTubers do.

Gaming streams? Of course.
Chat streams? Yep.
Art streams? Indeed.
Singing streams? Lovely.

So there's really not much different between virtual streamers and other traditional streamers in the activities they perform. There are cases where streamers have switched between virtual and real modes, or who stream in both modalities. But one benefit of the virtual streaming mode is that the virtual avatar allows for a streamer to have a distinct break between the performance they put on stream and the rest of their life they have off-stream. It can provide a mask to let those that would otherwise be too shy or afraid to stream to be able to connect with others. This thread is here to primarily share the fun that can be had with this new and growing form of entertainment. Welcome to the rabbit hole, enjoy your stay.


Who are some notable VTubers or VTuber groups?

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No overview of VTubers is complete without mentioning Kizuna Ai. While Ai's not the first to produce online content through a virtual avatar, she is by and large the origin point for the modern idea of what it means to be a virtual entertainer, and the origin for the term "Virtual Youtuber" in the first place. While her star does not stand out nearly as brightly as it did before, she still remains a recognizable figure, and active in promotions and events outside of the standard VTuber sphere. Her intricate 3D tracking, including through full concerts, remain a notably strong aspect of her content.

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One of the two major Japanese-based VTuber agencies, Nijisanji made its mark as a major force in establishing the current formula for VTubers, with 2D avatars and live-streamed content. The agency now hosts almost 150 talents across their domestic branch and their growing international branches. While the number of "livers" (that's live-ers, not as in the bodily organ) within the organization may seem intimidating, the large number of streamers also presents an incredibly diverse variety of styles and interests. The (re)launch of a dedicated English-speaking branch in the middle of 2021 presents an easy entry point into the group.

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The other major Japanese-based VTuber agency, and arguably the single agency with the largest international outreach. Overseas clip translation and the opening of their English-speaking branch in 2020 established hololive as many international viewers' reintroduction to VTubers outside of Kizuna Ai. The "idol" moniker given to their talents might bring to mind singing, dancing, and variety shows, but most of hololive's talents are not particularly different from other VTubers in what their general activities look like. The "idol" label does mean that they play things a bit safer than other major groups, but it also makes them a generally easy starting point if you're getting familiar with what VTubers do.

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VShojo is an English-based collective, and the newest agency covered in this list, having been established in the last few months of 2020. However, the agency carries a lot of presence, as most of its founding talents were already known from their independent VTubing activities and close associations with one another before the group was formally announced. The VShojo members generally stream on Twitch, with their YouTube channels generally focused on archives and clips. VShojo also has a bit of a reputation for being quite a bit spicier than the two other Japanese-based agencies highlighted above.

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There are dozens of other VTuber groups out there, and thousands of individuals who stream with a virtual avatar. While there are still costs to be had in avatar artwork, model rigging, and software, those costs are not so insurmountable that VTubing is such an exclusive group. It is increasingly becoming just another style for content creators to put a face forward to their audience.


VTuber thread discussion guidelines

Minimize discussion of VTuber identities - In many cases, the Vtuber character exists as a separation between the streamer's front-facing entertainer persona and their private life away from the screen. So try to avoid gossip related to the 'inner' characters of Vtubers. This also extends to discussion of when a VTuber retires or a previous persona to take up the mantle of a new character, as is sometimes the case when someone joins a VTuber group. There's usually not much good to be gained from sharing that kind of talk. If you want to know that stuff, do it on your own time.

Source your translations - A lot of the more prominent VTubers hail from Japan, and so naturally stream and post on social media in Japanese. If you're posting a translation of a VTuber tweet, try to source your translation. This is especially important if you're relying on a machine translation: while services like Google Translate and DeepL have made great improvements in recent years, they still have lapses in context that can mislead or misinform. So citing your sources can be useful so that an appropriate weight can be put on how valid the translation is.

Avoid spreading unconfirmed rumors - Entertainment and being in the public eye brings with it the potential of unwanted drama, whether you're behind a virtual avatar or not. So if you want to discuss something of a serious nature, double-check that you're taking from reliable, and ideally, direct sources. Serious news is already tough enough to deal with on its own, but having it come from a place of uncertainty or rumors can bring about an needless and unnecessary rise in emotions.

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