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How Fan Translators Made Virtual YouTubers a Global Phenomenon


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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
Posts: 5243
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:42 pm Reply with quote
Nice article, Kim!

Quote:
She streams herself playing video games, often taking on way more difficult challenges than she can chew, and her amusing failures are the stuff of legend among her fans.


Pekora is such a wonderful rabbit. She's crazy, and easy to bully, but it feels so good to see her succeed..



I didn't realize there was so many translators out there. I usually see the same like 5 but I guess they just have the same tastes as me lol.

Watching clips is a great way to get into Vtubers but there's really a magic to watching them live. For example, seeing Pekora lose in Fall Guys for 10+ hours before finally getting a crown. When she got the crown it was like we all won the lottery. You don't need to know Japanese to hear the emotion in her voice - the joy and elation, and gratitude she had for everyone that cheered her on. With the exception of chat streams*, I highly recommend people watch live whenever you can.


I'm surprised you didn't mention best doggo Korone. She seems to be the one that tries the hardest to engage with the English audience. Her comedy even crosses language barriers.

Himemori Luna is well-known amongst her fans for her "Native English". Bless this Princess. Her piano streams are another great entry into vtubers since she plays a lot of western music.

As for Nijisanji, I've only recently started watching Vtubers from them. Specifically Alice Mononobe. YouTube recommended her to me a few weeks ago on what was apparently day 3 of her learning to play guitar. She's been doing it every day and watching her improve has been a blast but she also speaks fairly decent English and tries to interact with the English audience when she can. I wouldn't say she's "fluent" but she seems to understand everything pretty well when people use short and simple English. She seemed really surprised by the sudden surge in overseas viewers recently, but that's just YouTube recommendations doing it's thing lol. We like cute girls, we like guitar. Loli playing guitar? Please and thank you! (Don't say loli in front of her, though!)


I try not to talk too much in English. I know for those that can't read English well they're just gonna skip over it most the time. Short and simple. For anything longer it depends on the vtuber but also best to use Super Chat if you really want them to read it.


Lastly, just the other day this YouTube chat filter add-on/extension came out.
This is great for people that want to watch livestreams that have live translators in the chat but the chat is really hectic.

Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ytcfilter/

Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ytcfilter/mnldnbhgfocmkehnlkeanlhfmopepnko

Source: https://github.com/RomainLK/ytc-filter

Reddit thread


*If there's a live translator in the chat, might as well watch these too and say goodbye to sleep
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VerQuality
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Joined: 01 Oct 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:26 pm Reply with quote
Pekora is terrific, and Korone is a lot of fun as well (she also has a great taste in older games).

Also, as far as accessibility to english-speakers, Akai Haato (aka HAACHAMA) is pretty terrific too, in her own delightful brand of insanity. She's also one of the more creative vtubers as far as content goes, from her spectacular cooking videos to... whatever the heck this is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bF8TesmjfTo

Another aspect that this article doesn't really touch on is that Hololive especially has a ton of skilled singers, especially Watame, Suisei, Kanata, Fubuki, and Sora. Pekora is surprisingly really good, too.

One final thing to touch on is the underappreciated hololive main channel, which has an incomprehensible series of short anime starring the hololive girls, all with english subtitles in youtube's cc options (even with subtitles they still don't make sense). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnAGiLD8hEY
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dark_bozu



Joined: 03 Sep 2012
Posts: 200
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:57 pm Reply with quote
Thank you Kim, as usual it was a good article.
Personally, I want to add that sadly a lot of interesting content usually left untranslated, so those who don't understand Japanese usually knows only one side of vtubers/livers. When it comes to Nijisanji: there's already 100+ livers, so not only their contents are highly diverse, but their opinions as well. For example, clips: some livers encourage to make them and some livers are aganst clips (kirinuki) and asked not to make them; some livers are fine with gachikoizei audience; some stated that they don't need gachikoizei fans etc.
Therefore sometimes translation makes a bad job - western audience begin to think that liver is funny/baka/etc, but actually they're not like this in the end of the day.
For example, a lot of people found Fumino Tamaki (aka Noraneko) and Taka Rajiman stream about cooking Naan very fun - and yeah, it was hilarious! But actually, Tamaki is worry a lot about her content and much more serious - it's not a fun content therefore it won't be popular, so usually it is left untranslated.
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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:09 pm Reply with quote
VerQuality wrote:

Another aspect that this article doesn't really touch on is that Hololive especially has a ton of skilled singers, especially Watame, Suisei, Kanata, Fubuki, and Sora. Pekora is surprisingly really good, too.



In the end, they ARE idols. Still, after all the raging, pranking, and flirting, it becomes really easy to forget they are idols. It's almost always a surprise to me when they upload a song and it's stunning. Towa-sama was the biggest surprise to me. Going from cute voice to deeper, rough singing voice. Love these girls


Last edited by Kougeru on Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Northlander



Joined: 10 Feb 2009
Posts: 813
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:22 pm Reply with quote
I've been following doggo Korone a bit myself. I think it started with a video where she talked about Doom, and then she played Doom 64 (and then later Doom 2016.)

"PARTY IMPOSSIBLE!"
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Covnam



Joined: 31 May 2005
Posts: 1826
PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:25 pm Reply with quote
Not interested in Vtubers myself, but it was still a good read =)
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Yuvelir



Joined: 06 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:43 pm Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:
The end, they ARE idols. Still, after all the raging, pranking, and flirting, it becomes really easy to forget they are idols. It's almost always a surprise to me when they upload a song and it's stunning. Towa-sama was the biggest surprise to me. Going from cute voice to deeper, rough singing voice. Love these girls

It might have started as an idol group like... ahem.
But when you have people like Coco and Marine... they might still try to go for that kind of appeal every now and then (and they consider themselves as such, it was kind of surprising to see how important that was to Okayu) but it really isn't what hololive is mainly about anymore. Or what makes it popular.

Northlander wrote:
I've been following doggo Korone a bit myself. I think it started with a video where she talked about Doom, and then she played Doom 64 (and then later Doom 2016.)

"PARTY IMPOSSIBLE!"

Same here. That stream where she started editing the original DOOM's key visual.
I started getting a lot of Korone recommendatios around may-june and the same seems to be true for a lot of people. I suspect that the algorithm mixed videogame preferences with Korone sounding close to the very popular topic of "corona" lol
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flammie



Joined: 28 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:55 pm Reply with quote
As a heavy anime watcher for the last couple of decades, vtubers have been a godsend considering how thin the last two seasons of anime have been.

In terms of what I usually watch live or untranslated, its usually:

Korone when she plays classic games (snes era or earlier). She is extremely emotive and stubborn so you don't need to understand what she is saying to enjoy her streams.
Marine's karaoke streams. A lot of classic 70's/80's/90's music.
Haato's user submission streams. Its always fun to see her fanbase work Haachama into their content.
Luna's piano streams. I usually play them in the background while I'm working.
Coco's asacoco and hololive meme review streams. A pretty great mix of Western and Eastern humor and presentation.
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:52 pm Reply with quote
There are a lot of popular things in anime fandom that make me scratch my head, but I have to confess that VTubers are one of those rare moments where I can't even wrap my head around a phenomenon. I watched the clips in this article and I...still don't get it at all. Had a good run, but I'm officially an old man now.
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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:08 am Reply with quote
Top Gun wrote:
There are a lot of popular things in anime fandom that make me scratch my head, but I have to confess that VTubers are one of those rare moments where I can't even wrap my head around a phenomenon. I watched the clips in this article and I...still don't get it at all. Had a good run, but I'm officially an old man now.


Basically like regular streamers except anime characters and a defined character personality. Because they're (most of them) part of a company, they're also bound by certain rules and thus tend to be more respectful to their viewers than a lot of twitch streamers are. On that same note, they also do FAR more collabs and end up being fairly close to their "co-workers". Collabs are a TON of fun with vtubers. In the end it's largely their rather unique personalities that draws people's attention. It's not for everyone.

The best way I think I can explain it to people is that it's like a really fun and unpredictable slice-of-life anime about gaming idols that never ends. The last few months alone have been better than any 2020 anime, honestly.



Yuvelir wrote:

It might have started as an idol group like... ahem.

.......
......
......
but it really isn't what hololive is mainly about anymore. Or what makes it popular.



it may not be what makes it popular initially but if you look at the most popular videos for a given girl (well, before the big privatization) the most popular videos in terms of views were by FAR the singing and music videos. I think it's more that the gaming streams keep people engaged inbetween the rather slow uploads of music.
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marshmallowpie



Joined: 22 Sep 2009
Posts: 249
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:45 am Reply with quote
I watched a bit of Kizuna Ai a few years ago (scary to say that!) and last night I was watching some other videos after hearing about how YouTube is getting rid of community captions, but... even with a cutesy anime-style character in the corner, watching someone else play video games is so uninteresting! How can it be popular? Most of the character designs also feel a bit excessive and tryhard to me...
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AkumaChef



Joined: 10 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:32 am Reply with quote
marshmallowpie wrote:
I watched a bit of Kizuna Ai a few years ago (scary to say that!) and last night I was watching some other videos after hearing about how YouTube is getting rid of community captions, but... even with a cutesy anime-style character in the corner, watching someone else play video games is so uninteresting! How can it be popular? Most of the character designs also feel a bit excessive and tryhard to me...


I can see the appeal of the characters and personalities like Kougeru mentioned, but on the other hand I don't really get watching someone else play video games (or sports, for that matter). I might enjoy seeing a really good example of gamer or sports skill like a very impressive speedrun of a video game or watching a fancy triple play in baseball, but generally speaking I don't see the appeal in watching other people play. I'd rather play a game/sport myself or better yet with friends. Watching others do it just doesn't appeal to me. The vtuber personalities and designs are great, it's the watching people game that I just don't get--it's not for me. I'd love the slice-of-life with cutsey anime characters if it was more slice-of-life oriented rather than just gaming.
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dark_bozu



Joined: 03 Sep 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:51 am Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:

The best way I think I can explain it to people is that it's like a really fun and unpredictable slice-of-life anime about gaming idols that never ends. The last few months alone have been better than any 2020 anime, honestly.

Yeah, the whole august was so stacked with content that I almost haven't watched any anime and I enjoyed it much more than any anime in 2020 so far.
Yuvelir wrote:

It might have started as an idol group like... ahem.
But when you have people like Coco and Marine... they might still try to go for that kind of appeal every now and then (and they consider themselves as such, it was kind of surprising to see how important that was to Okayu) but it really isn't what hololive is mainly about anymore. Or what makes it popular.

Well, they're not "idols" in general sense (expect for Sora), but there's still a lot of rules essential to idol's industry: no relationships with guys, groups based on gender (hololive/holostars, with last being really in a shade) etc.
marshmallowpie wrote:
I watched a bit of Kizuna Ai a few years ago (scary to say that!) and last night I was watching some other videos after hearing about how YouTube is getting rid of community captions, but... even with a cutesy anime-style character in the corner, watching someone else play video games is so uninteresting! How can it be popular? Most of the character designs also feel a bit excessive and tryhard to me...

Twitch viewers/streamers would disagree with you. Also, if you don't like games - there's a lot of zatsudans (aka "talking stream"), tho it won't be interesting unless you somewhat understand Japanese. Drawing, karaoke, learning how to play guitar, assembling PC, cooking, radio talk... There's a lot of different types of streams, not only gaming ones.
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GVman



Joined: 14 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 10:04 am Reply with quote
Top Gun wrote:
There are a lot of popular things in anime fandom that make me scratch my head, but I have to confess that VTubers are one of those rare moments where I can't even wrap my head around a phenomenon. I watched the clips in this article and I...still don't get it at all. Had a good run, but I'm officially an old man now.


I used to not get this at all and was honestly mystified by all this video game streamer/e-personality junk until recently. This stuff got big while I was in college over half a decade ago, but it just never clicked with me. It seemed like it was always the same crap: someone exaggerating their reaction to every little thing, someone gives them a few bucks, they lose their mind and engulf the mic in their mouth while they scream.

Apparently, my issue was that I find the usual streamer behavior paradigm boring and annoying as all get-out. I actually managed to find someone I enjoy a few weeks ago. They don't fall into the usual crap, but most of them do, and I don't know that it's worth the effort to find one that clicks with you. It did help me better understand a buddy of mine that eats and breathes streamer stuff, though.
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VerQuality
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:02 am Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:

In the end it's largely their rather unique personalities that draws people's attention.

... it's like a really fun and unpredictable slice-of-life anime about gaming idols that never ends.


I think this is a really good way to put it. It's really neat seeing the sort of 'hybrid personalities' of the vtubers - on the one hand they play to their character designs (character voices, exaggerated personalities and reactions, peko casually bringing up she's 111 years old), but on the other hand there's a lot of their real selves there as well (discussing anxieties and events in their past, moving in together, etc).
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