Hololive Production's Origins Remembered as Agency Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Hololive Production released a special program on YouTube commemorating their 5th year anniversary, featuring Cover Corporation CEO Motoaki Tanigo (YAGOO) and the agency's first talent Tokino Sora.

The special, titled "Tokino Journey," is now viewed over 700,000 times as of press time.

Aside from YAGOO and Sora, select members from all Hololive branches (Japan, Indonesia, English) shared their thoughts. The Nishikigoi duo of​​ ​Masanori Hasegawa and Takashi Watanabe​ hosted the celebration.

The special was broadcast live, with English subtitles added afterwards:

We share valuable insights about the origins of Hololive and how it built a reputation for VTuber idols in this post.

What Led Cover to Venture Into VTubing

The first few minutes of the program talk about Cover's beginnings prior to the creation of Hololive. Cover was founded in June 2016, but the term "Virtual YouTubers" did not exist at that time yet.

Cover first developed a free VR table tennis game which can be played by people around the world. A quick search led us to "Ping Pong League" for HTC Vive and Valve Index which is still available on Steam, with mixed reviews.

The company didn't start out with VTubers until they created a system for a VR character to provide live commentary alongside the tennis game.

Kizuna Ai Helped Cover Change Its Direction

YAGOO shares that by the end of 2016, Kizuna Ai appeared, and coined the term "Virtual YouTuber," which helped the company change its course:

It continued growing from there,​ ​​​and soon after, around the end of 2016,​ ​​​​​ ​when Kizuna AI-san appeared and brought​​​ ​the term "Virtual YouTuber" with her,​ ​we thought to ourselves​ ​that we could do the same.​ ​​So that's when we kind of changed direction.​

Tokino Sora's Early Days

Tokino Sora debuted in late 2017 without fanfare—no music and with just a white background. At this time, it was only YAGOO and another staff member who were helping her.

In the beginning, Sora had 13 viewers on an average day. Fans regard those "whole thirteen viewers" as her "Knights of the Round Table."

"Hololive" Was First a System and Then an App

Hololive at first was not a name for the VTuber group—it was introduced first as a system and then an application, much like the avatar live streaming app Reality.

Yes, at first, we brought it​ to the world in the form of an app.​ We released it as an app​ ​​​for watching Sora-chan's streams.​ ​​"hololive" was originally​ ​​​the name of the system​ ​​​used for creating her streams,​ ​​but we reused the name for the app​ ​for watching those streams.​ ​​​We extended it to allow anyone​ ​​​to become a VTuber​ ​​using the camera on their smartphone.​

The Atre Akihabara Collaboration Helped Hololive Cement Their Idol Image

Screenshot from Hololive on YouTube

Their collaboration with Atre Akihabara, a store known for its anime tie-ups, proved to be successful in cementing Hololive's "idol" image. YAGOO describes the artwork prepared for the installation (above):

This was designed with the idea that we could​ ​gather all the members at [that] time together ​and see if we could make it​ ​feel like an idol group.​ ​​[...] We got someone who specializes in that ​particular style to design the artwork for us.

It was this collaboration that helped YAGOO gain confidence in building a VTuber idol group:

​This experiment showed us quite clearly​ ​that our fans wanted that idol element. ​It also gave me the confidence, or rather, ​showed me that it was the right move to try​ ​​​and develop hololive into​ ​​​an idol group as we grew.​

Other Hololive talents share their experiences and insights in this special program, and we encourage everyone to watch the whole video to know more about Hololive Production.