Falling down the Nijisanji rabbit hole

It would appear that I have once again fallen down to another floor in the VTuber rabbit hole, and this time the hole through which I fell was in the shape of Nijisanji. Don’t worry though, I don’t need any help — I actually quite like it down here, and to be honest, I don’t think I want to leave anytime soon.

Yep, it happened again. This boy started out as a simple Hololive enjoyer whose journey began after Shirakami Fubuki’s acapella Scatman. (Don’t forget this amazing remix – Ed.) From there I ventured forth into the world of VShojo, where I would discover the likes of Nyanners, Veibae, and Ironmouse — all incredible human beings and entertainers. Now I find myself becoming something more. Something Pomu?

Falling Down The NijiSanji Rabbit Hole

Nijisanji

For those of you who may not know about Nijisanji, they are a mostly 2D VTuber group similar to Hololive. Nijisanji started up with Japanese VTubers back in early 2018, but has since moved on to other countries and has become something of an international company. Unlike Hololive, Nijisanji boasts an enormous number of active members throughout its numerous branches, and it currently has 190 active members. 

Now as someone whose VTuber origins lie in the world of Hololive, I would have expected Nijisanji’s most popular members to reflect similar trends. Maybe they’d have someone like Fubuki, who became famous because of viral memes that made it to the west? Or perhaps streamers like Korone or Pekora who are commonly clipped and translated?

Nope. The most popular member of NijiSanji is a male streamer who goes by the name Kuzuha

Until now I have viewed VTubers as something completely dominated by female streamers, as both guys and girls can find the immediate appeal in a cute female avatar — that’s just how anime works. However, seeing both Kuzuha (over 950K subscribers) and Kanae (just shy of 800K subscribers) in the top 2 spots of Nijisanji is mindblowing — and so cool to me. 

For a while, I was under the impression that male VTubing was still in a growing stage of finding out exactly how it can differentiate itself and flourish, but I guess I was wrong! These two have been killing it, and it is backed up by their consistently high viewer count whenever they go live. 

Nijisanji LazuLight

LazuLight

In May of this year, Nijisanji announced the debut of their first generation of English-first VTubers, known as LazuLight. This group consists of 3 members: Pomu Rainpuff, Elira Pendora, and Finana Ryugu. I think that after seeing the massive success of Hololive’s English generation, Nijisanji decided to follow suit — and thank God they did. 

Honestly, I was quite surprised that Nijisanji didn’t beat Hololive to the punch when it came to an English generation of VTubers, considering that they already had Japanese, Indonesian, and Korean branches. But here we are.

You can check out our other piece here so you can get a look at what the members of LazuLight are like in more detail, so I will simply reel off some of the things I personally enjoy about these three members.

First up, the mermaid Finana Ryugu. Finana is full of surprises; I can say that with complete certainty thanks to the state of my Twitter timeline after following her — not that my timeline was particularly clean, to begin with.

I must say that upon first impressions I felt something akin to when Ninomae Ina’nis of Holo EN debuted (It’s that deceptively gentle laugh – Ed.), but that feeling was quickly stamped out once I watched Finana more. She may look seiso, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Please watch the egg clip. 

Next is Elira Pendora the Solar Sky Dragon. In terms of design I think that Elira is definitely the most captivating. She looks incredibly distinctive with her baggy jumper, dungarees, an awesome hairstyle that covers one eye — and to top it all off she has Pikl, the little dragon sat on her shoulder.

Elira is without a doubt a memer who grew up deep in the belly of Internet culture, and this is made clear with her “Dragon deez nuts” type humour along with her consistently clipped “sheesh”. I click with Elira a lot, and could watch this girl play anything.

Last up is Pomu Rainpuff. Definitely not an elf, Pomu is a tiny forest fairy who can magically change her size to match up to her fellow gen-mates.

I am quite surprised with myself honestly, as I didn’t expect to love Pomu as much as I do. Maybe it’s her apparent innocence or obliviousness to the pranks Elira and Finana pull on her, or perhaps it’s her incredible work ethic; this girl works a full-time job along with her streaming — thankfully she is moving towards full-time streaming and hanging up her office job.

If you’re deep into the rabbit hole, you know that most VTubers tend to refer to their illustrators as either “mama” or “papa”, and this is something I love about VTuber culture. Most of the time these illustrators will interact with their creations on social media to one degree or another — but the relationship between Pomu and her mama Kujou Ichiso is too wholesome. 

The amount Ichiso cares about Pomu — not as a character but as a person — is a part of the VTuber culture that I really enjoy. Every time these two interact on Twitter, it’s like a shot of serotonin.

Pocchi-sensei, the mangaka who designed Pavolia Reine of Hololive ID is another standout when it comes to illustrators who love being VTuber “parents”. I can only imagine that for illustrators who became inspired by manga and anime, having one of their own creations come to life must be a feeling like no other. 

Nijisanji

Continuing deeper…

My journey into the world of Nijisanji is only just beginning, and while Lazulight will always remain my main point of entry, I have already started to find more of their talent that I have been enjoying. I mentioned Kaede earlier in this piece, and he has been very entertaining to watch — and good Lord, is the man good at Apex Legends. 

OBSYDIA, the second generation of Nijisanji EN, recently debuted three more English-speaking members known as Selen Tatsuki, Rosemi Lovelock, and Petra Gurin. I am still getting to know some of these streamers, but I know that our Editor can only speak words of praise for these three. (Damn right – Ed.)

Lastly, I want to mention Nishizono Chigusa, a member of Nijisanji JP who debuted almost a year ago and has become a fast favourite for me.

There are certainly some outgoing and extroverted VTubers out there, despite a big appeal of VTubing being the anonymity it provides — especially helpful for socially anxious people. But I have never seen anyone like Chigusa. This girl is a beaming light of social confidence and as someone on the introverted side, she has been a pleasure to watch.

Our Editor asked me to leave you with this in the hope that it might brighten your day. I’m off to delve ever deeper into that rabbit hole…

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Conor Evans
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