This year is already a wild year for VTubing, but we tend to overlook the technology involved in integrating 3D and real-life footage, in which 5 VTubers in my list have done through vlogs or direct live streams.
This is a biased take based on my personal point of view, and I'd appreciate it if you can direct me to more of them so I can watch them the soonest.
1. Azuma Lim
I still consider Azuma Lim as an early adopter of VTubing, who debuted in 2018. She did struggle as a corporate VTuber, but the moment she fell in love with a Super Cub C125 motorbike (at a time when the Super Cub anime was about to air the following season), she was already on her way to create interestingly comfy videos.
Now a fully independent virtual high school girl, she continues to share bits and pieces of her life. I am sharing her latest video where she accompanies writers from motorbike magazines Tandem Style and Lady's Bike.
Prior to the video above, she has integrated her virtual self in real life through her other videos such as riding her bike on the way to camp, as well as a fishing trip with her grandfather.
2. Yume Kotobuki
When Yume Kotobuki from the KOUEN agency debuted her "hyper 3D model" two years ago, it was a cardboard of her face attached to the body of the talent behind the character.
Nowadays, she's able to stream live with an actual 3D head covering her real face, which I still consider as risky. What if the face was uncovered? Well, it's a rare open secret if I say so myself.
3. Omega Sisters
Prior to the video, they participated in Virtual Market Winter 2022's Nagoya station booth.
4. Shinonome Hatsuri
Shinonome Hatsuri debuted last year, and the DIY VTuber sure has a lot of tools at her disposal.
We are first introduced to Hatsuri's DIY lifestyle through uploaded videos where she makes things in real life. Just like Azulim, Hatsuri embeds her virtual self in a real environment.
I figure Hatsuri has a software which uses AI to cover human flesh and blend it with the 3D model and the surroundings.
5. Peanuts-kun and Ponpoko
Now, let's get into the video I shared (though you should not watch it while eating as it involves ear cleaning). Peanuts-kun is having his ear cleaned so good as Ponpoko watches.
Before VTubing, Peanuts-kun was a character of his own web series. When the 5-year-old talking peanut debuted as a VTuber, I felt that he's much closer to his goal: To become popular and trendy.
Together with the ninja raccoon Ponpoko, they organize 24-hour marathons under the name "Pokopee 24."
I recall the talent of one of the pioneering vloggers of her generation, preceding Kizuna Ai herself—Ami Yamato. Ami had made great lengths in recreating her 3D self in each video, and we first recognize her efforts.
Next, we recognize the efforts of CodeMiko and her Technician, and how they were able to build a following through quasi-interactions with her model and the audience, which sometimes shock me to bits.
We also recognize the efforts of Hololive's Omaru Polka and Usada Pekora, as well as Tsukino Mito (or rather, Nazo no Mito) for jumping from many, many feet above the ground either by skydiving or bungee jumping.
You have reached the end of my list (for now), and I thank you for reading all the way. Again, if you happen to see other examples of VTubers integrating themselves to real-life environments, please do not hesitate to tag @vtubernewsdrop on X.