Asimov never saw Virtual Streamers coming
After Hatsune Miku showed the world that the stars of the future need not necessarily be real to capture the hearts of fans, it was only a matter of time before someone applied the formula to Let’s Plays. I am of course referring to the phenomena that is Kizuna Ai.
For those who don’t spend their lives trawling through the debris and detritus of the internet, Kizuna is a virtual streamer. Despite insisting that she is an AI, it is speculated that Kizuna is either a person behind a webcam, animated with face-rigging technology or a fully animated Miku Miku Dance model.
I say speculated because nobody is really sure where she came from. Though her model has been attributed to a user by the name of Tomitake.
The mystery seems to be working for her. Her YouTube Channel has over a million subscribers.
While Kizuna has the virtual anime Let’s Player community (didn’t think I would ever have to write that) in a stranglehold, there are plenty of contenders for the throne.
The biggest rival is Luna Kaguya, a futuristic anime cat girl, because of course she is. Not content to stick to Let’s Plays, Luna also posts relationship advice videos, maybe. I’m not exactly sure what she is saying because Google Translate doesn’t accept YouTube URLs.
There’s also Kasuka Reiden, who may or may not be a ghost.
And don’t forget Norakyatto, who is also a cat girl.
Last, but certainly not least, is Bacharu. He’s just a regular guy who likes to get around in a horse head and styling blue suit.
The Final Word
So, what’s the end game here?
Are these streamers to be respected or feared? Does their prominence say something about how modern culture has degenerated? Or perhaps it’s the start of an entirely new medium?
Honestly, probably not.
I don’t see the start of some big culture conflict. Instead, I see a bunch of people, some of which are probably a little camera shy, finding a new way to express themselves creatively.
Streaming and vlogging are largely visual mediums. For some, there is nothing more stressful than seeing your own face talking into a camera. Kizuna Ai and her kin get around that issue in a neat little way.
Virtual Streamers won’t change the world, but they will give a few people the confidence to get out and make something they enjoy.
I think we should all be supportive of that.