Virtual YouTubers are taking the Internet by storm! They can do everything humans can do, but cuter and with some impressive FaceRig technology. One of them, Aoi Fuji, already has almost 35,000 subscribers and more than 1 million views since launching in December 2017. But she had a goal — and she achieved it thanks to her fandom.
Personally, we already think Aoi is adorable. She has a great voice, and the 3D model she’s using is cute. But not all her viewers seem to think so… and to that end, she raised money for a redesign.
The Makuake campaign raised 115% of its 10 million yen goal. With the results, Aoi will redesign her model to more closely resemble her “ideal appearance” as has already been sketched out.
Supporters chose from a variety of donations levels. Gifts include pins, ballpoint pens, clear files, and even CDs featuring songs performed by Aoi!
The Future of YouTube
Like many in the virtual YouTube space (and traditional), Aoi is backed by a larger company. In her case, Smarprise is behind her channel. The company also created the app ReviYou, which allows Japanese shoppers to rank everyday items.
In many cases, actresses are cast after the character is designed. In fact, there are a few such auditions going on as we speak. And the characters’ reach is going beyond YouTube. Some are being integrated into AR apps. With these, fans can experience weekly live videos as though the characters is in the room with them!
FaceRig software is available for about $15 on Steam, and only takes a good artist and a willing host to get rolling. Who knows? We might see “virtual hosts” taking off more and more in the West. Though there was a Black Mirror episode about that… so we may have to watch ourselves.
Are you rooting for Aoi Fuji? Let us know in the comments below.