Behind The Model: Flare & Umbre on VTubing as a Duo

Flare and Umbre have been streaming together for years. VTubing is just yet another medium for them to bond over.

This story is also available in English (courtesy of Kentaro Kuwahara).

Duo VTubers are in the spotlight now more than ever. But Flare and Umbre have been leading the charge for years now. Together for nine years and streaming for four, they have been around the block a few times.

This didn’t just forcibly happen though. It took a little bit of luck and a fateful meeting in Warframe to actually bring the two together.

“I was just playing some games with randoms, and somebody popped into the lobby. One person was named UmbreonGirl,” Flare reminisced on Behind The Model.

“This UmbreonGirl kept seeing that I kept falling down because I was playing a new character. So I kept falling down in the mission and she kept reviving me. And afterwards I said, ‘Hey, I have some free keys to get special items or whatever like that. Would you want to join me?’

“She brought along her boyfriend at the time,” he laughed. “[But] we became friends from there, [and] two years later, things didn't work out. And we obviously became a thing.”

Being in call with them, you note the natural chemistry and how they bounce off each other. When the cameras aren’t rolling, Flare is usually pretty reserved and contemplating.

That’s quite the difference from the talkative Umbre, who will just entertain herself (and those around) with her random quips.

Flare picking up on that small detail was one of the reasons why the duo pushed into streaming. It originally started as Umbre’s project. She streamed as a face cam streamer for a couple of years, playing whatever she felt like.

“I kind of pushed a little bit because she always talks when gaming and I think that's like the perfect thing to be as a streamer,” Flare stated. “Like you just naturally talk all the time. And so I was like, you know, you would be amazing as a streamer.”

“I'll literally be playing like some Overwatch or Dead by Daylight. It'll be like ‘she sounds angry.’ No, I'm just a very talky gamer, as we have found out,” Umbre laughed.

Occasionally, Flare would join in ⁠— or even take over the stream ⁠— but he didn’t see that medium as his style of entertaining. He was more used to short-form videos, and even completely different mediums like backyard wrestling.

But it was when Flare started asking for more and more days, and the stream schedules got filled up on both fronts, that they looked at making it a joint project.

Given she was the UmbreonGirl, it’d make sense for him to be Pokemon-related. But Flare’s favorite Pokemon was actually Cyndaquil. And straying from the Eeveelutions didn’t roll off the tongue as well. So he swapped allegiances to Flareon (sticking with Fire-types was non-negotiable).

The duo streamed under these monikers with their real name, and even Eevee-inspired models for a point in time. But they know they couldn’t stay within the IP forever, so they found their own flair.

“We decided to move on, evolve from the duo into a Mythic Duo and we are now a Phoenix and a Kitsune, but we kept our names.”

The branch into VTubing came from a spot of curiosity from Umbre: “I had seen VTubers before, and I always thought they were so cool and so pretty.”

And so now the couple split their time streaming, three days a week each (including a collab every Friday), each forging their own audience.

“We used to state it more into our channel,” Umbre continued. “Flare would mostly play Nintendo games, where I'd play more like PlayStation and FPSes and all that. Flare plays cozy games, adventure story stuff. It really is like different stuff, different person.

“[And] I’m going to be real: it's been kind of nice not having to worry about it all for myself.”

However, through it all there’s always been one question raised, privately and publicly. Whose project is it anyways? At the start the channel was in Umbre’s name, and Flare himself will “always consider [himself] the sidekick.”

New viewers can get a bit confused though. One day you’ll see the blazing phoenix, and the other the dusky kitsune. Some audiences prefer one over the other. And while having a favorite streamer is totally acceptable, voicing it in their chat is a no-no. They are a duo, and if you want to be in the Mythic Duo community, you have to respect both halves.

“We have a plenty of people who come in the first time and then they'll come in the next time they'll be like ‘oh’, especially if it’s the other member or something like that,” Flare said.

“It probably does hurt us a little bit in that sense. But at the same time I wouldn't trade it. It honestly makes our channel very unique. We've seen a couple of duo VTubers actually hit like the partner mark and stuff like that. I believe we'll be able to do it eventually.”

Undertaking this journey of streaming together has been eye opening for Flare and Umbre. They’ve learned plenty about each other along the way. It’s brought them closer together as partners. And now, they couldn’t see themselves making content without each other.

“I guess it's kind of like a job, so it's kind of like once you're off the job, our lives are pretty normal. Our lives are going to work, playing video games, making dinner, all that stuff,” Umbre said.

“[Streaming] is just very implemented into our lives. It’s something for us to actually do together.”

“I think it’s brought us closer,” Flare continued. “When we're not streaming, she has her friends that she likes the game with, and I don't always play the games that she plays.

“And then I'll just do my own thing, like I'll be watching anime or Kamen Rider or playing my own games or whatever like that.

“We’ll share interests with some games and we do share interests with a lot of other aspects of life. But the fact that we're a team on streaming and that we are part of each other's lives in this situation does absolutely, I think, help a lot in a sense.

“We're able to [understand each other] and it's not like, ‘oh, I'm just streaming’ and she doesn't understand what I just went through or something like that.”

Learn more about Flare and Umbre's story in their Behind The Model episode.