The holoCouncil is in session: a first look at Hololive English’s new generation

It’s coming up on a year since Calliope Mori, Takanashi Kiara, Amelia Watson, Gawr Gura and Ninomae Ina’nis first burst onto the scene, paving the way for a huge boom in English-first VTuber talent. And now, our girls have finally become senpais: the second generation of Hololive English is here at last, with five wonderful new VTubers to add to your bulging YouTube subscriptions list — the holoCouncil.

With their debuts having happened towards the end of the weekend just gone at the time of writing, there’s clearly only one thing for it: check ’em all out and see what they’ve got to offer us! Let’s get started!

Tsukumo Sana

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tv5GyebhQo

First to debut from the holoCouncil was Tsukumo Sana, the personification of space. After her manifestation in the mortal realm, she accidentally stumbled on the Forbidden Truth and became an apostle for the Ancient Ones, linking her to Ninomae Ina’nis, who is a priestess of said Ancient Ones.

Sana’s name can be interpreted in a few ways according to the characters that are used to spell it in both Japanese and English. For example, her family name Tsukumo is written 九十九, which means “ninety-nine”, and is commonly associated with the term “tsukomogami” — the concept that an object or spirit can acquire sentience by living for a hundred years.

Likewise, her given name Sana is written 佐命 in kanji, which is an unusual way of spelling it; the latter character is more commonly used to refer to concepts of life and destiny — entirely appropriate given Sana’s supposed connections to the idea of “fate”.

Finally, her given name Sana is an anagram of NASA, and her logo resembles the NASA logo somewhat. She also follows NASA on Twitter, so there’s that, too.

Sana’s debut stream, after playing the standard holoCouncil trailer, kicked off with an entertaining introductory video that combined the philosophy of the universe with some light-hearted comedy, as well as giving us an opportunity to get an initial feel for her personality — and the way that she can be easily distracted from existential crises with a nice stack of pancakes.

As part of her introduction, she promises the Universe, who has become frustrated at humanity’s refusal to see how awesome it is (coupled with the general shittiness of Twitter), that she will go and tell us filthy humans that “the Universe has no idea what it’s doing, and everyone should just shut the bloody hell up, mate”. Sounds about right.

Sana’s birthday is the 10th of June, and she is 13.8 billion years old, which puts her in line with the estimated real age of the universe, but she insists that she is a toddler in galactic terms. She’s actually bigger than the sun, but the antenna-like “limiter” on her head keeps her human-sized so that she doesn’t accidentally wipe out all human life or destroy the Earth like she did accidentally that one time in the past. But we don’t talk about that.

She is accompanied by an orange wibbly thing called Yatagarasu, who is actually the god of the sun and a majestic three-legged crow, but they took on the form of an orange wibbly thing to prevent humanity’s brains from melting. Yatagarasu occasionally grants wishes by vomiting them out, which is nice. They also speak bird language, which means they’ll probably get along with Kiara.

Sana’s tastes include pasta, macarons and round things, and she dislikes sneezing. Her gaming tastes include cute games, terrible games and what she describes as “psychological-philosophical-existential-crisis-inducing games”. I’m sure we’ll see some Chilla’s Art games from her at some point, then, or perhaps a nice bit of Nier.

Sana’s papa is Pako, an artist who describes himself as “drawing and pooping every day to live”, a sentiment I can get behind. Her Live2D rigger, meanwhile, is tou_ilie, who previously rigged a variety of other Hololivers including Flare, Marine, Lamy, Botan, Subaru, Rushia, Ayame, Nene, Reine, Haachama and more. Definitely some top talent on board, and even Sana herself gets frequently lost in the cool little touches in her Live2D model such as her varied expressions and flexibility of animation.

Sana’s plan for her streams is to do weekly “Holoscope” astrology streams, along with “Kuso Mondays”, where she plays a dumb game and enjoys it with everyone. She also hopes to go a whole year without destroying the Earth. I think she’s probably fine on that front — we’ll probably do it before she does at this rate.

She’s also barefoot, and likes it when Fauna is rough on her and says she’s disgusting, so I suspect she’ll get a fair few fans by virtue of those traits alone, if her infectious energy and enthusiasm hasn’t already captured their attention.

Anyway. Onward!

Ceres Fauna

Appropriately enough, Ceres Fauna, personification of nature, was next up on the holoCouncil debut relay. She manifested as a druid in the hope that she could save nature (i.e. everything on the planet except filthy old mankind), and has Kirin blood flowing in her veins. Her “horns” are made of the branches of a tree, and they most certainly are not deer antlers.

Fauna is four and a half billion years old, and her name is relatively self-explanatory; “Ceres” was the ancient Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility, while “Fauna” is the word used to describe the animals of nature — this also stems from the name of a Roman goddess of animals, nature, spring and fertility.

Fauna’s art mama is Asagi Tosaka, who is a prolific artist with a distinctive airy style. Her Live2D papa is rariemonn, whose previous work includes rigging for a variety of other Hololive talents, including Pekora, Korone, IRyS, Ina, Fubuki and many more.

Fauna’s likes include animals, drawing, tea, co-op games and cats. She has two cats — a 21 year old sweet grumpy old man named Clover, and a 10 year old “heart melting lap cat” called Snail.

She also likes kalimba, the twangy “thumb piano” — she claims to be a beginner and “a bit musically impaired”, but has found the kalimba to be her speed and is keen to perform for her audience. She dislikes eating mushrooms (but thinks they are cute and cool to look at) and thinks grasshoppers are scary.

Her favourite games are the work of Kotaro Uchikoshi, particularly Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and she also enjoys Okami, SOMA, Animal Crossing and Super Mario Odyssey. She has a particular preference for games that make her think.

Fauna’s goals are to learn Japanese, learn to sing and create an original song, collaborate with her genmates in the holoCouncil, learn to speedrun games and perhaps one day appear as a voice actor in a video game. She believes the latter is a long shot, but also notes it’s been a longstanding dream of hers. As for her future streams, she hopes to do a weekly ASMR session — ideal with her gentle, soothing voice, plus it’s something she already has experience with from prior to joining Hololive — along with community days, games and art.

She is also barefoot, so there’s that, too.

Ouro Kronii

Next up was Ouro Kronii, the personification of time. She believes that humans have so many means of defining time and make it such an everyday part of their lives that they do not worship and adore time as they should. She was also very surprised to see both Space (Sana) and Nature (Fauna) interacting with humanity — something which she had assumed wasn’t allowed under the rule of the holoCouncil.

Kronii burst onto the stage with the large clock floating behind her head whirling around at high speed, proudly announcing that the “Kronii-copter has landed”. She immediately sets herself apart with her rather deep and mature-sounding voice, and despite a certain amount of seeming nervousness when she first started, appears to have some natural presence about her.

Kronii role on the holoCouncil is as the warden of time and, being the manifestation of the abstract concept of time, has an age that can only be described as infinite. She does, however, have a birthday — March 14 — and speaks English and Korean. She’s also in the process of learning Japanese.

Her hobbies include sleeping and napping, walking at night, existential dread and swimming, and she also spends a lot of time playing games, procrastinating, lying down, watching videos and singing. I mean, if you are literally Time, you can probably put that thing you were supposed to be doing off until tomorrow, right? She also dislikes sleeping and napping, procrastination, working under time pressure, rage-inducing games and vegetables.

Her favourite games include Fire Emblem, Monster Hunter, puzzle games, strategy games, relaxing games, simulators, Zelda, Pokémon, Animal Crossing, Super Mario Sunshine, philosophical and deep games (spotting a bit of a pattern here), story-focused games, games with “pretty visuals” and indie games. So we should expect to see a fairly varied lineup of gaming videos from Kronii, it seems!

Her goals are to improve her singing, get better at mixing, form a meaningful connection with the community, make new friends and strengthen bonds. She also specifically notes that she wants to be happy and have fun “because… I’m not a happy person, but I would like to be happy”. Big mood, as the kids say.

Kronii’s art design is the work of Arco Wada, the character designer for the Fate/EXTELLA and Fate/EXTRA Vita and PSP games. Her Live2D rigging was handled by Keffiy, whose past credits include Kiara and Ollie from Hololive as well as Veibae from VShojo. Her motion graphics, meanwhile were designed by LUMINA, who has previously worked with several VTubers — most recently, their work can be seen on the video and cover art for Ina’s original song Violet.

She is not barefoot, but she does have very long legs that are clad in shiny stockings.

Nanashi Mumei

Next up was Nanashi Mumei, the guardian of the concept of civilisation. Unlike the other holoCouncil members we’d seen by this point, Mumei was not created by the gods, and is instead a living embodiment of the sum of mankind’s efforts. She was free to choose her own appearance and decided to make herself look like an owl, after the bird that symbolises wisdom.

She is, however, extremely forgetful, due to how much she has seen and experienced over the years, and has forgotten her original name; both “Nanashi” and “Mumei” can be read as “anonymous”. Some believe her to be somewhat pitiable, at least partly due to the fact that her best friend is a paper bag. This was a deliberate choice; she felt lonely on her continual travels, and thus she decided to make herself a friend out of something that was indispensable to the development of civilisation: paper.

Mumei’s birthday is August 4, but she doesn’t know what her actual age is. She likes obtaining knowledge, vegetable broth, drawing stuff and singing things, but she dislikes forgetting things, mud, printers and mosquitoes. She particularly resents any time her forgetful nature means that she forgets how to tie her shoelaces or how to tie her hair in her ponytail.

Her gaming tastes include simulators, world builders (we found the obligatory Minecrafter!) and rhythm games. Her goals are to have a song featured in a rhythm game, relearn Japanese (although she already seems to have at least a reasonable grasp on the language, since most of her visual material was bilingual) and collaborate with her senpais and holoCouncil genmates. She’s also keen to do a 3D live show at some point.

Mumei’s art papa is Azure0608, whose past work has a pleasant painterly style to it, with plenty of cute witches in evidence for those who are into such things. Her Live2D papa, meanwhile, is once again rariemonn, who is a Hololive fixture at this point.

Mumei hopes that her future streams for the holoCouncil will include natural and ancient history, museum exhibits plus new games and new experiences, along with some art study. It looks like she’s taking aim for some relatively “highbrow” subjects, which will be interesting to see — perhaps a follow-up to Amelia Watson’s recent streams where she looked at ocean creatures, monkeys and insects.

As part of her debut stream, she introduced a work-in-progress song that doesn’t yet have a name — and promptly impressed everyone with her professional vocal delivery and production, despite the fact that the song was supposedly incomplete. That desire to do 3D live shows definitely makes a lot of sense now — the rather “folky” feel to her song would look great with some choreography.

She is not barefoot, but she does has asymmetrical stockings and very nice boots.

Hakos Baelz

Last to debut — and probably the member of the holoCouncil that people were most excited to see, judging by buzz on social media — was Hakos Baelz, the manifestation of Chaos and the chairperson of the council — a position that she hasn’t officially accepted. She has both human and rat ears, if you were wondering — that way she can hear better.

Baelz tends to spell her name out in the English style as Baelz Hakos, and helpfully informed everyone during her debut that it is pronounced “bells hay-kos”, but that she typically goes by “Bae” because people only ever use her full name when she’s done something wrong. She is, in her own words “your bae, everyone’s bae”.

Her birthday is February 29, which messed up the human timeline, so Kronii had to fix things by creating leap years. She doesn’t know what her actual age is, so encourages everyone to roll a dice, and that is her age in rat years at any given point. She speaks English, Japanese and Korean, and favours coffee as her beverage of choice. Lots of coffee.

Her favourite games are those on consoles — particularly Nintendo games (“because there are less buttons to press”). She also appreciates RPGs and simulations, and has dabbled in gacha games, but notes that “those things are powerful“.

Bae’s illustrator is Mika Pikazo, an artist whose style is best defined as “cute girls in incredibly vibrant colours”. As it happens, Bae was already a big fan of her work before she saw her own design, so she, in her own words “falls in love with herself very often”.

Her Live2D rigger, meanwhile, is Jujube of Studio Dream Emulator, who has worked on a variety of other VTubers in the past and seems very much to know their stuff — Bae’s model is packed with personality and subtle touches, particularly with the expressions her mouth is capable of showing.

Bae’s goals are to dance in 3D, attend a live voice actor event, do lots of collaborations both with her holoCouncil genmates and beyond, and to do some voice acting for an anime — perhaps a Hololive anime. She also wants to create her own coffee drink, and plans to do some coffee tasting streams as part of her regular programme.

She’s got a wide variety of streams lined up, including challenge videos, collaborations, singing, the aforementioned coffee reviews, live voice acting, gaming, Japanese practice and a morning radio-style talk show — perhaps this will be a good companion to Kiara’s semi-regular Holotalk show.

She does not have bare feet, but she can move her arms.


And there we have it — the second generation of Hololive English, or the holoCouncil.

Except…

What could it all mean?

More importantly, who out of the new holoCouncil gang do you reckon you’ll be spending the most time with? Let us know down in the comments — or write us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page if you want to get all deep and meaningful on us!

Header art by Pako – original source here.

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