Virtual Tubers, or VTubers for short, have become the ultimate smorgasbord of a collective community of talented degeneracy — unhinged and shameless but heartfelt and genuine all at the same time. Those who’ve dipped their toes into the wild hodgepodge of modern anime will have undoubtedly heard of Hololive. In contrast to the many well-established online entertainers like Ninja, Pokimane, or XQC, the brigade of VTubers that make up Hololive takes the model of “online performer” to the next “virtual” level.
A Brief Introduction to Hololive
First, let’s briefly discuss what Hololive is in terms of an organization. Hololive Production (aka Hololive) is a Virtual Idol agency consisting of Virtual YouTubers supported and owned by Cover Corporation. Known as “Yagoo” by the community, Hololive’s CEO Motoaki Tanigo had the company created with the goal in mind to form something similar to AKB48, save in a virtual sense.
Hololive has effectively created a new generation of novel and gifted entertainers into an ever-growing industry of VTubers. Do you wish to see a spirited and lively dog-girl(Korone) play your favorite retro video games? Have you ever wanted to see a “well-equipped” Grim Reaper apprentice(Calli) rap some spicy flows? Or perhaps you’ve been curious what it’s like to hear a flamboyant necromancer(Rushia) scream at the top of her lungs while playing Among Us with friends. While all of this sounds dreadfully unrealistic and even a bit cringy, Hololive has successfully realized an anime fantasy of larger-than-life personalities who can act and perform in unique ways that most traditional online entertainers often can’t. What we have here is a huge variety of capable young performers talented in singing, drawing, acting, comedy, and much more.
Lovable Virtual and Likelike Personalities
The overreactions and exaggerated behaviors of VTubers fit their fictional environment and narrative because their persona is, to some extent, not real. Consider for a moment the awkward grown gamer who shrieks while playing Fornite or the typical Twitch streamer who excessively flirts in wince-worthy ways. Contrarily, Hololive VTubers are able to comfortably deliver all manner of skits, pranks, and performances that would be otherwise considered childish or even perverse if they were “actual people.” Each character can sometimes feel more genuine than a “real person” because their overdramatic performance matches the context of their anime image and identity. The unhinged freedom they have to let their craft and creativity flow brings about a “human/lifelike” aura about them.
They are experts of innuendoes, so to speak. Every member brings entertaining and interactive live content to the table that the overall anime community can’t get from solely watching Japanese cartoons or playing games. Whether it be Minecraft playthroughs or comedic skits, the content Hololive members produce stands in the middle area between safe for all ages and NSFW-oriented material. As a result, the Hololive VTubers are enjoyable and accessible to a broad audience.
An Interactive Community
The stream chats and VTuber forums are a haven where Hololive girls (and gals) can lead a community of like-minded people who can use the space to mingle freely, meet others of their kind, and even generate their own content. Not to mention, many VTubers have also rekindled long-lost hobbies or sparked new creativity and in their fanbase. A plethora of Hololive animations, compilations, and remixes have flooded the internet thanks to the influence and inspiration from Hololive. There’s not exactly anything new under the sun that these virtual stars are doing, but it’s the unique anime-esque and collaborative way they go about entertaining their audience. While you’ll still have your obsessive deviants or “Super Chat simps” in the bunch, viewers of the VTuber and Hololive community see these interactive broadcasts and online performances as more of an “afterschool(or work) slice-of-life moe club” dream-come-true.
Collaborations are the bread and butter of the Hololive community, and it is also one of the primary reasons these VTubers have made their anime-like personalities so believable. Seeing the virtual characters play together and actively participate in each other’s streams and videos regularly makes Hololive feel all the more alive and real.
It is worth noting that a VTuber’s public avatar serves as an attractive face and a “protective” barrier between creator and viewer. Being a virtual idol smoothly widens the gap between performer and persona without making the audience feel too disconnected or disengaged. The charming and lovable characters will purposefully act in a way on screen that matches their distinct personality and natural demeanor — something all Hololive fans adore. This kind of behavior sets these virtual idols in the perfectly balanced center of anime fantasy and lifelike reality.
The Rise of Hololive EN: HoloMyth
Hololive English 1st Generation, also known as HoloMyth, is the first wave of VTubers under Hololive English. Previously, Hololive JP’s spread of fame can be largely attributed to the diligent efforts of volunteers and anime community translators who edited and uploaded Hololive content with English subtitles for western localization. While the Japanese branch of Hololive has certainly seen success in its viewership growth and active community, Hololive Production has recently seen massive global success within a few months, owing to Hololive EN. This novel and unique group of five multi-talented VTubers have become the pinnacle of the Hololive community today while still being relatively immature regarding their career duration. The following is a short introduction to each of the five main members of this group:
Gawr Gura (descendant of the Lost City of Atlantis)
- the shortest member of Hololive En with an excitable character and eccentric personality
- most-subscribed Hololive VTuber (YouTube)
- speaks both English and Japanese
- particularly skillful at rhythm games and has a surprising singing range
Mori Calliope (Grim Reaper’s first apprentice)
- a fire-spitting talented rapper and songwriter
- holds a rather gentle demeanor while also being dramatic and assertive
- speaks both English and Japanese
- enjoys games and anime with darker themes
Takanashi Kiara (an immortal phoenix)
- can fluently speak English, German, and Japanese
- often goes out of her way to translate her content for her fans
- fan of popular anime songs and old video game soundtracks
- is considered by other Hololive EN members to have a notably positive attitude and lovely voice
Watson Amelia (witty gaming detective)
- considerably skilled at FPS games and in-game commentary (Apex Legends, Valorant, CS: GO)
- speaks Japanese and English (with both British and American accents)
- fans often refer to her as a “True Gamer” with gremlin-like behavior
Ninomae Ina’nis (talented octopus artist)
- the extremely talented artist of Hololive EN
- widely known for her dry delivery of “dad jokes” and octopus-related puns
- speaks mostly English but is also quite proficient in Korean and Japanese
What are your thoughts about Hololive or VTubers in general? Do you watch or have a favorite Hololive member? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!