Big VTubers have been going collab crazy — here’s 4 of the best

Regardless of if you’re a YouTuber, a streamer, a VTuber or any other kind of performer online, one of the best ways of building your audience is to host some sort of collaboration with someone in the same or a similar field. That way, not only do your own followers show up, but your collaborator’s do, too — and there’s plenty of scope for cross-pollination of audiences that might not otherwise happen.

VTubers have, as you might expect, been wise to this for quite some time, but up until quite recently it’s been more common to see performers restrict their collaborations to peers within their own agency.

Vtuber fanart -- Nyanners and Kiara
Fanart by Kukie-Nyan. See the original source here

Hololive has always been big on this — regular collaborative features such as Kiryu Coco’s Reddit Shitpost Review (now sadly concluded ahead of Coco’s graduation) and Takanashi Kiara’s Holotalk, to name just two, have always been a big hit with audiences. Likewise, VShojo’s LewdCast, featuring Silvervale, Melody and Ironmouse plus guests, has always been well-received and consistently entertaining — though sadly that’s been a bit quiet for a few months at the time of writing.

Independent VTubers also thrive on collaborations; since they often don’t have a larger organisation backing them up, they have to engage in networking in order to help build up their audiences. But the best indies don’t take a purely mercenary approach to this, of course; the best collabs mark the beginning of genuine friendships and perhaps ongoing business relationships between the performers. And we’ve seen these sorts of relationships happen plenty of times at this point.

One thing we haven’t seen a lot of until recently, however, is cross-agency collaborations. That is, until after a significant amount of organisation and questions over whether or not it would actually happen, Hololive’s Takanashi Kiara finally got together with VShojo’s Nyanners and hosted a stream together. This stream was a piece of history, as it marked the first time these two highly popular VTuber agencies had acknowledged one another from a professional perspective, rather than the individual members expressing their own personal appreciation for one another on social media.

Kiara x Nyanners was an interesting pairing, because Kiara always acts loud and confident — despite her having some well-established insecurities and anxieties that she’s talked about candidly on stream on several occasions — while Nyanners is typically fairly softly spoken, albeit with a filthy sense of humour. They might not be a couple you’d immediately put together, but the pair had been getting along well on both social media and in private communication for some time prior to the collab.

They ended up contrasting well — while Nyanners was clearly nervous throughout the whole thing, demonstrated by her being even quieter and meeker than usual towards the beginning of the collaboration, the quickly established dynamic between the pair worked extremely well and was rather entertaining to watch.

Kiara, obviously sensing Nyanners’ worries, quickly took the lead and became rather more domineering than I think we’ve ever seen her, taking every opportunity to tease Nyanners with some light-hearted “bullying”. Some viewers found this a little uncomfortable initially, but Nyanners herself has since made it very clear that she enjoyed the situation — “Kiara basically beat me up in front of everyone,” she said, “and I loved it. I loved every second of it. It felt good. It was revitalising. It felt like when you go to a chiropractor and they break your back into nine pieces, and you just turn into a pile of sludge. I dunno. I’ve never been to a chiropractor before, I just imagine that’s what it’s like.”

The collab itself was very enjoyable — 51 Worldwide Games (aka Clubhouse Games) is an excellent “ice-breaker” sort of game for people to play together since most of the games in it are easily understandable, even if you’ve never come across them before. Most of the games provide plenty of opportunity for interaction and trash-talk, and there was certainly plenty of that.

A few days later, we got our second Hololive x VShojo collaboration, as Calliope Mori and Ironmouse got together to host a fairly simple chatting stream together. Both Calli and Mouse clearly have a mutual appreciation for one another, as a fair chunk of the stream was devoted to the pair of them engaging in some absolutely adorable hero-worship of one another. And this didn’t feel like they were just playing up for the camera; you could feel there was genuine affection and admiration of one another’s talents here.

The reason you can tell this is that Ironmouse in particular has always made a point of being pretty brutally honest about her own feelings; she’s not the sort of person who would beat around the bush when it came to this sort of thing. As someone whose entire life has been turned around by VTubing, the connections she makes with other people are intensely precious to her, because they allow her to enjoy a sense of “normality” that is otherwise closed off to her thanks to her health condition. Consequently, Ironmouse’s obvious enthusiasm for this collaboration was exceedingly heartwarming and genuinely emotional to see.

Calli also seemed comfortable, at ease and genuinely pleased to be there — a good sign, since she has often appeared rather nervous during previous collaborations, with a notable example being her appearance on Kiryu Coco’s Reddit Shitpost Review. To be fair, appearing alongside the force of nature that is Coco is enough to make even the most strong-willed Hololivers weak at the knees — but still, Calli appeared very obviously more at ease with Mouse than she did with Coco.

The stream itself was simple, straightforward and chilled out, consisting of some simple chat followed by responding to some questions from the popular “anonymous questions” site Marshmallow, beloved of VTubers everywhere. It didn’t need to be anything more than that; Calli and Mouse had such excellent chemistry that they were able to carry the whole stream themselves without needing any sort of gimmicks. Here’s hoping they have a chance to get together again soon.

Some time prior to Kiara and Nyanners’ collaborative stream, Hololive English’s Ninomae Ina’nis hosted a collaborative stream with Amano Pikamee. For one reason or another, there didn’t seem to be a huge deal made about this stream online when it was happening, but it was still significant — Amano Pikamee is a popular VTuber from outside Hololive, so for her to appear alongside Ina was a big deal.

For the unfamiliar, Pikamee is part of a loose organisation known as the Vox Monsters Project — or, rather unfortunately, VOMS for short. VOMS is not an agency in the same way as Hololive is; rather, VOMS members are independent, subject to certain criteria such as a minimum number of streams per week and VOMS founder GYARI having exclusive rights to produce merchandise. Because of the way this works — and somewhat in contrast to VShojo, which has become known as a collective in its own right despite the independence of its individual members — the Ina x Pikamee collab perhaps wasn’t seen as “significant” or newsworthy as Kiara x Nyanners.

It certainly was a delight to watch, however. Ina’s calm, refined nature coupled with Pikamee’s infectious energy and enthusiasm — somehow emphasised by her adorable “Monster” hoodie — made for an excellent pairing, and the two had very good chemistry. Once again, 51 Worldwide Games did a great job of allowing the pair to have something to do while they chatted, and the whole thing was a thoroughly comfortable experience — perfectly in keeping with Ina’s usual output.

Meanwhile, if you’re in the mood for absolute chaos, the Prop Hunt collab between Nijisanji EN’s Finana Ryugu, VShojo’s Zentreya, Atelier Live’s Artemis of the Blue, Cloud9’s Vienna, OfflineTV’s scarra and independent VTubers Haruka Karibu and Bao should keep you happy. Each member hosted the stream separately — though sadly YouTube broke for Finana towards the end of her stream, causing her video to get cut off — and the gameplay was a delight to watch, as Prop Hunt always is.

This collab was noteworthy for bringing together so many VTubers from so many different places. It also sets a good precedent for Nijisanji EN’s willingness to work with other VTubers from outside their own agency; the other groups involved had all previously collaborated outside their main organisation prior to this, so it was important for Nijisanji to show that they were willing to do this too.

Finana was a good pick for the collaboration, too. While she is softly spoken and has a pleasingly gentle laugh that will appeal greatly to fans of Hololive’s Ina, she’s a good conversationalist and was able to quickly establish a sense of rapport with the other members of the collab — no small feat when dealing with personalities as large as Haruka, Bao and Zentreya in particular!

All in all, the future looks very bright for VTuber collabs, and there are no real downsides, either; the VTubers get to expand their audiences by meeting new communities, while the audiences get to know some performers that they might not have thought to explore themselves previously. Everyone wins — and, it seems, so far, everyone has played nice with one another, too, which is always good to see; bringing different communities together can sometimes result in “clashes”, but in these instances at least it seems things have gone pretty smoothly for everyone involved. Anyone who has a problem with this sort of thing probably isn’t worth your time anyway!

What are some of your favourite VTuber collabs to date? Why not pen us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters page and share some of your top picks? Hit up the “Write to Rice!” widget over on the right and send us a note!

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Pete Davison
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