Mini-Doc Binary Skin Digs Deep into Virtual YouTuber Craze

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

What are Virtual YouTubers, where did they come from, how are they made, and what's the secret behind their popularity? If casual anime fans have probably heard of Kizuna Ai, the groundbreaking VTuber personality that has expanded beyond in the internet to create her own CDs, appear on television, and was adapted into 3D merchandise. Cyber Girl Siro, another popular personality, has appeared in video games.

Other popular virtual personalities are crossing over as anime voice actors and companies attempt to capitalize on the craze by adapting already popular anime and video game characters into YouTube channel hosts. Sword Art Online's Asuna made her debut last month. Games like Overlord: Mass for the Dead introduced a completely unique character to serve as its newscaster, Dropkick on My Devil!'s Pekora is coming to YouTube to drum up home video sales, and Nitroplus' buxom mascot Super Sonio also transitioned into a YouTube personality.

If the cute anime girl aesthetic seems too populated, there are also characters that focus on a comedy. Dirty Old Man Tanaka looks like the uncle that always eats too much on Thanksgiving and the YouTuber Ubiba has an actual horse for a head.

No matter which Virtual YouTuber is your favorite, there's certainly a huge variety and demand from audiences to have a more interactive experience with characters. Archipel, the YouTube channel behind the monthly Toco Toco web series, produced a new 20-minute documentary titled Binary Skin that gets under the surface of the Virtual YouTuber craze to explain the technology and what draws thousands of viewers to tune in to these characters.

The documentary includes eye-opening interviews with the companies that brought this phenomenon to life. Activ8 founder Takeshi Osaka talks at length about how the virtual YouTuber community is like its own population of an alternate world that he and his company helped create.

"My theme was to ask what was needed for people to keep hope in their lives. At that time, I decided on the mission to create more world alternatives to live in. If the current society and rules we live in cannot be changed under any circumstance, I thought we could create new ones for people to live in which is how I made my company," Osaka says.

Taking on a virtual YouTuber persona allows people to express themselves and create freely while also maintaining anonymity. Is it possible for the trend to expand beyond entertainment to even further areas like customer service? Or will the VTuber bubble eventually burst?

Source: Archipel YouTube channel

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