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Crunchyroll Expo 2022 - Interview with CoverCorp CEO Motoaki Tanigo

by Lynzee Loveridge & Kalai Chik,

hololive production's Virtual YouTuber talents have earned millions of fans around the world. ANN sat down with Motoaki Tanigo, CEO of COVER Corp. (COVER for short), at Crunchyroll Expo to discuss the recent debut of HOLOSTARS English -TEMPUS-, the company's efforts to engage with international fans, and a hint at their ambitious future plans.

ANN: COVER is now 6 years old, and it's been 5 years since the debut of the first Hololive Virtual YouTuber, Tokino Sora. When you reflect on how far COVER and hololive production have evolved, what would you tell yourself back in 2016?

Motoaki Tanigo: I would probably tell myself that there are a lot of people in the U.S. who would be into hololive production and be willing to join in the events and everything.

Congratulations to HOLOSTARS English -TEMPUS-, who made their event debut at Crunchyroll Expo. How long ago did COVER plan to create their first English-speaking male group?

We already have a HOLOSTARS group in Japan, and we've always known that we wanted to create a group dedicated to the international market. As far as when we've really thought about it—and it might've been a little bit late in retrospect—it's probably around 2-3 years ago.

Speaking of HOLOSTARS English -TEMPUS-, how does hololive production decide on VTuber designs?

We first decide on the design for the unit as a whole, and then from there we will use parts of the design to fit each character.

There's an overarching theme for each unit, but I believe each individual character is designed by a specific artist. How do you pick the artists?

It depends on the artists' expertise. For example, we would pick someone that is really good at drawing yuusha (the hero in a medieval-themed RPG) to be the designer for a specific yuusha-themed character.

Are there plans for more in-person experiences like the holoMeet experience zone at Anime Expo and Crunchyroll Expo?

Absolutely. Events like hololive Meet, holoMeet for short, are really important for fans in the hololive community to be able to interact with the talents. We would really like to have more events like this in the future.

Did you see the huge head a fan made for you at Anime Expo? How do you feel about being named ‘best girl’ by fans?

I saw it. It's very strange (laughs). It's a little embarrassing, but it makes me happy as well, because that means that the fans are enjoying the content, so in some ways it's a compliment.

With hololive Indonesia, hololive English, and HOLOSTARS English, where would you be interested in seeing hololive production expand to next?

This is a hard question. Right now, Japanese anime is big all over the world, so there are a lot of really strong markets. I don't have extensive knowledge about the international scene, but there are places like South America or Europe where a lot of anime are localized, and which are really interesting to me. We would like to try out those markets, and if things go well, we may also localize for those markets and foster talents from there.

Over the past two years, hololive production has expanded into many multimedia projects, such as concerts and the hololive ERROR game. So what's next?

We're interested in creating some TV anime content—something you might find on Crunchyroll, even. However, it's not underway yet. We're also creating a metaverse game.

Can you discuss the general expectations to become a VTuber at COVER and how the company maintains work-life balance for the talents?

First of all, applicants have to have a unique skill and know their way around live-streaming as well as have the equipment ready for that. But most important of all is to be motivated enough to want to do it.

Work-life balance can be very hard for our talents, especially since a lot of them use their voice so much. Some of the talents would even lose their voices, so we make sure that they take breaks—whether it be a day or a week or two—so that they can recharge. That's how we try to keep that balance.

hololive production is a VTuber agency which consists of talent groups such as hololive and HOLOSTARS that specializes in livestreaming and content creation on platforms such as YouTube. hololive production specializes in utilization of complex 2D and 3D character model designs in livestreaming and content creation.

COVER Corp is a start-up company in content creation and technology industry. Its vision is to utilize its VR/AR technology to create new culture of virtual talents who can be widely accepted in the global market.

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