Get Served By Virtual YouTuber at Tokyo Bar
posted on by Kim Morrissy
A bar featuring anime-style Virtual YouTubers as attendants opened in Ginza on Saturday. The bar, called "Snack Jūdo," is seemingly identical to any Japanese bar that serves an assortment of snacks and alcohol, but instead of a human attendant, a monitor on the front table displays a Virtual YouTuber, who interacts with visitors in real time.
The bar utilizes the "Vtuber Anywhere" technology by developed by Akihabara-based tech company Balus. Balus CEO Norikazu Hayashi said, "The good thing about Virtual YouTubers is that they can interact with you even when they aren't physically in the same place as you. As long as you have a camera, computer, and monitor, you don't have to worry about the distance. The staff will give you the actual food and drink that you order, but customers can sing with the 'Mama' and enjoy conversations with them." ('Mama' is the colloquial term for female attendants at Japanese bars, who are generally older women who can engage in worldly conversations.)
Snack Jūdo will operate until November 23. A total of eight Virtual YouTubers will be active in two hour blocks once or twice per month. The full schedule is available on the bar's website. Balus also has plans to implement the technology in other bars and storefronts in the future.