“Hai domo,” a phrase now synonymous with YouTube’s virtual sensation Kizuna Ai, but who is Kizuna Ai? Sitting at the forefront of a growing Japanese trend, Kizuna Ai is a virtual YouTuber. While YouTube, the world’s largest, and most popular video site, is well known for hosting personalities like Grace Helbig, The Slow Mo Guys, and PewDiePie — their flesh and blood e-celebrities — the virtual Youtuber is something new.
Virtual YouTubers adopt stylized, anime inspired personas through which they can carry out any variety of on-screen actions and antics. While many of the users adopting the trend are Japanese, those outside of Japan are able to enjoy the content through fan-submitted translations accessible through YouTube’s closed caption functionality.
Kizuna Ai’s success on YouTube has skyrocketed since her first videos came out in the closing months of 2016, with her channel holding an impressive subscriber count of 1.5 million. Her success has also laid the groundwork for other virtual YouTubers such as, Kaguya Luna, Mirai Akari, and Dennou Shojo Siro. In response to their considerable reach and popularity, it was only a matter of time before these internet idols got their own merchandise. In January it was announced that Kizuna Ai would have a 96 page, hardcover photo collection book printed, marking a transcendence from online oddity to legitimate fame. Later on, during Wonder Festival (WonFes) Winter 2018 it was announced that both Kizuna Ai, and Kaguya Luna, would be receiving figures. For Kaguya Luna it would be one of Good Smile Company’s signature Nendoroids. Kizuna Ai is also getting the Nendoroid treatment, but she will also be receiving a Figma figure by Max Factory, and two additional bishoujo scale figures.
To top off this already impressive lists of accolades for Kizuna Ai, she will be receiving a television show called Kizuna Ai’s BEAT Scramble. Announced on February 26 on her official Twitter account, Ai’s television debut will be a variety show that will introduce all the latest trends in music, anime, gaming, and online content. Kizuna Ai’s BEAT Scramble will air Friday nights at 12:00AM JST starting in April on BS NTV.
Image Source: A.I. Channel