With the popularity of VTubers exploding over the course of the last couple of years in particular, it’s no surprise to hear of some of them hitting some significant milestones.
Most recently, Calliope Mori of Hololive’s English branch and Nyatasha Nyanners of VShojo have both hit a million subscribers — and Gawr Gura, also from Hololive’s English outfit, recently crossed the two million subscriber mark, making her one of the biggest VTubers in the world after the legendary Kizuna Ai.
When approaching an important milestone, a lot of VTubers these days tend to host special streams as a sort of “countdown” to the goal. These often turn into “endurance streams”, where the VTuber in question doesn’t log off until they reach their goal; this is a canny piece of personal marketing that, in turn, encourages the VTuber’s fans to put the word out and get their favourite virtual entertainer over that edge.
Plus it’s often quite entertaining to see what many hours of non-stop streaming can do to a VTubers’ brains and abilities to communicate.
Calliope “Calli” Mori’s endurance stream that finally brought her over a million subscribers on YouTube lasted for nearly twelve hours in total and took in a variety of different activities, including video games, chatting with the audience, karaoke and Super Chat reading. Notably, she played through classic RPG Maker game Yume Nikki (after a few volume woes), polished off her playthrough of challenging pixel-art platformer Blasphemous, and even played Mario Kart 8 with her fans, the Dead Beats.
For many viewers, Calli’s appeal as a VTuber lies in the fact that she is capable of spitting absolute fire on her music, but also remains endearingly humble at times like this, demonstrating genuine affection for her audience. Plus the ongoing TakaMori ship between her and fellow VTuber Takanashi Kiara has become the stuff of legend at this point — and both parts of said ship happily lean into it and encourage it!
Nyanners reaching a million subscribers became something of a running joke towards the end of 2020, with her promising her audience that if she didn’t achieve the milestone by the year’s end, she would be “taken out the back and shot”. Indeed, on January 1st, 2021, having just missed out on the million, she appeared to make good on her promise with this video, but subsequently revealed the even more embarrassing truth behind it. (In reality, she was taking a much-needed break before returning to the fold in the new year.)
She did eventually reach that elusive million, however, and hosted a special stream on YouTube (rather than her usual Twitch) to celebrate. Said celebration stream commenced with her numerous clones mourning her apparent death through a combination of seal noises and gratuitous swearing. More than that, though, this opening demonstrated Nyanners’ versatility as a performer and her mastery over the tech that powers VTubing. She then launched into a heartfelt thank you to her audience while simultaneously attempting to fend off the chat’s demands for her to show feet. Business as usual for a Nyanners stream, then.
Nyanners then got right back on form with a slime-themed ASMR stream, during which there was an unfortunate ass-related Incident, for which she felt the need to deliver a very genuine and heartfelt YouTuber Apology. Never change, you damn cat.
When Hololive’s English branch launched back in September of last year, it was anyone’s guess as to which of them — if any — would be the runaway success story. They all had their distinct appeals, after all, but there was also an element of risk — while there had been English VTubers before, a company as huge as Hololive had not, prior to this point, jumped headfirst into the primarily English-speaking market.
Gura did stand out right from the beginning, though — particularly with her impressive singing performance during her debut stream, which immediately endeared her to a large number of people.
It didn’t take long for it to become apparent that Gura was pulling ahead of her friends. Something about this adorable, energetic little shark girl really resonated with people — and her varied, entertaining streams really helped, too. She’s primarily streamed games — and her rhythm game streams have been particularly popular, despite the difficulties they’ve had with streaming rights and copyright issues — but she also takes the time to chat with her fans, host movie watchalongs and take part in frequent collaborations with her peers and senpais.
Like Calli, Gura doesn’t appear to have let fame go to her head, and remains just the same old ancient Atlantean entity that she’s always been. You better believe people will be paying even more attention to her now, though; according to this VTuber subscription tracking site, Gura’s position at 2.08 million subscribers puts her behind only Kizuna Ai (who has 2.9 million) in terms of popularity.
While VTubers may still trail somewhat behind some of the bigger, more established and ubiquitous names on YouTube such as PewDiePie (108 million subscribers), these milestones are nothing to be sniffed at — particularly when you consider how quickly all three of these performers have reached them. Calli and Gura only debuted in September of 2020, and Nyanners only became a “real” VTuber in July of the same year, despite having been active on YouTube and Twitch for some time prior to that in one form or another.
And the best thing? The success of these girls has inspired plenty more people out there to explore VTubing as a means of expressing themselves and developing their confidence to perform and communicate online. After all, if the ever-present global pandemic means we can’t go outside for the foreseeable future, we might as well live our best lives as the cute anime-style characters we’ve always wanted to be, after all, eh?
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