apanese VTuber Kizuna AI will star in an upcoming anime project in a to-be-announced medium. News of the anime production was recently announced on her official Twitter account. The announcement surprised and delighted fans who are struggling with Kizuna AI’s indefinite hiatus from YouTube initiated after her “Hello, World 2022” concert in February.
In 2016, Kizuna AI started her adventure online as one of the world’s first virtual YouTubers, on “A.I.Channel”. This sweet anime girl with a heart-shaped bow quickly catapulted to fame and built a strong community through video content focused on discussions, Q&A videos, and traditional “Let’s Play” content—a variety streamer. As of 2020, Kizuna AI had more than 4 million subscribers across three YouTube channels—A.I.Channel, A.I.Games, and A.I.Channel China.
The successful VTuber appeared in campaigns for noodle company Nissin, partnered with gaming company Asobimo on the video game “Avabel Online”, and became an ambassador for the “Come to Japan” tourist campaign in 2018. Further, with Metaani, she tested out NFTs while collaborating on a crypto art project that featured 11 Metaani’s, all wearing Kizuna AI’s iconic heart-shaped headband, released in September 2021.
Since then, interest in the NFT space has exploded. With hundreds of new virtual YouTubers appearing every day, Kizuna AI decided to take a break from YouTube to reinvent herself and create new experiences for fans through NFTs.
“Compared to five years ago when I first started my activities, the world has gradually become more comfortable with virtual existence and people having their own avatars. It makes me really happy, and it also gives me a chance to rethink my identity. I am not that rare anymore,” she says in her video message on the hiatus.
Now, with the latest announcement of her upcoming anime project, Kizuna AI turns her attention to other emerging opportunities—ones that will better help virtual beings like herself stay relevant and connected to fans in unique ways. The movie industry, in particular, has shown an increased interest in virtual personas and the marketing potential they offer.
In the anime movie “Belle,” the movie’s protagonist and namesake appeared on Instagram as the film premiered in July 2021 at the Cannes Film Festival. By adopting a life as an influencer, Belle attracted fans before the movie even hit cinemas. After the official release, fans of the film could instantly follow Belle’s next storyline and engage with her on their feeds or tune into her music across streaming platforms.
Kizuna AI has yet to reveal if her anime project will be a full-blown series, a movie, a webcomic, or a short original video animation (OVA). She could turn to her fans for creative input or interlink her anime debut with an NFT project, or she may orchestrate it herself.
For now, much will have to be left up to the imagination of her 4M+ longing fans.