[Anime Culture Monday] Who is Mirai Akari? [Definition, Meaning]

With the not-so-recent explosion of virtual Youtubers, the streaming scene has now more and more virtual idols to adore, and some of them are big inside and outside Japan, inside and outside the otaku world. This time we are dedicating a few paragraphs to Mirai Akari (or Akari Mirai, for us in the West), an entertainer who keeps gaining notoriety and now rubs elbows with other huge names in the VTuber scene.

So, who is this Akari girl and why should you care about her? What makes her stand out in the vast sea of 2D and 3D modeled stars? Well, have a seat and take a few minutes to discover Mirai Akari, one of the top 5 virtual Youtubers right now. From Japan, with love!

What’s With the Mirai Akari Project?

For many of you reading this, and that's if you are familiar with the virtual Youtuber concept, the first name that will pop on your head will probably be Kizuna Ai. Branded as the Internet's first virtual Youtuber, Ai is a 3D model character who set the fundamental principles of a virtual Youtuber, and Akari is is one of those who most respects these concepts. However, before going deeper into Mirai Akari's career, we need to address Eilene, one of her friends and previous owner of the user "bittranslate", Mirai Akari Project's YouTube channel.

Eilene is a 2D character who we can consider as a rough, early attempt of a virtual Youtuber. Behind the 2D character we can find what many consider the mastermind who created Mirai Akari, a monster that would later develop a life of its own and take away the leading role. Even though Eilene started her channel in March 2014, Akari's birth date is October 2017; less than a year was enough to quintuple the number of subscribers Eleine had, jumping from just 122K to more than 650K.

While Eleine and other characters who appeared in Eleine's channels are 2D models, Mirai Akari is a 3D girl far more animated than her peers. Another thing to mention is that Akari's design was created by famous artist KEI, who also designed Hatsune Miku and other VOCALOID characters. For Eleine, a new 3D VTuber was a fresh start but also a way to attract new people with a better product, and Akari really lived up to its expectations.

Mirai Akari presents herself as a cute blonde in her teens, a lover of dancing, singing, and video games. With her sweet voice and expressive face, but also with her big boobs and the sexy outfit, boys and girls from all over the world are falling for Akari's persona, interacting with her and helping her to become not only a more popular Youtuber but also a deeper character. Something to note is that Akari suffers from amnesia, a feature that comes in handy in many moments but also helps maintain that halo of mystery.

What Can I Find in Akari’s YouTube Channel?

Like we just said, Akari is like any other Japanese teen idol —be it real or virtual— in YouTube as she likes uploading content referred to video games, music or just talking about herself. If there's a thing that differentiates her from the rest, however, that’s her very genki attitude and how she interacts with her fandom. Some of Akari's videos are tests, Q&A sessions or any other excuses to let us know a little more about her. Other videos feature Akari playing viral video games like Getting Over It, although she's also famous for visiting VRChat and playing VR games like Airtone or Beat Saber.

Sure, her animation is not perfect and “her house” sometimes feels really bland for a background, but her charisma will win you over and sooner or later you will forget she's not a real person. For a virtual girl trying to take over the Internet Akari looks very self-conscious too, so being a flawed character is definitely part of her charm. Being a virtual Youtuber Akari has to deal with the competition, and that's another thing she excels at, often collaborating with other virtual celebrities or even making fun of them. If you follow her just to watch her being cute or jiggling her boobs, then she won't disappoint you either!

Although one of the first things Akari said in her first video was that she likes dancing and singing, there are only 2 musical videos uploaded to her channel. The first one is Akari performing a cover of Crusher-P’s “ECHO”, another link between Mirai Akari and VOCALOID, while in the second video she sings Kana Hanazawa’s hit “Ren’ai Connection”.

Her Relation With Other Virtual Youtubers

Many virtual Youtubers start on their own and work alone, but remember the Mirai Akari Project is heavily influenced by Eilene and her other virtual characters. In this regard, Akari was always open to collaborations. In earlier videos, a 2D model of Eilen used to act as the manager of Akari's channel, adding some layers of fun to their act but also closing the circle of these virtual idols' life. As of today, Eilene is not involved anymore in the Mirai Akari Project, but a lot of things have happened in the middle.

In March 2018, Mirai Akari uploaded her first collab video, a Getting Over It gameplay featuring virtual girlfriend Yomemi, another of Eilene's creations. However, a few days later she would appear in Kaguya Luna's first collab video, one of the most popular VTubers. This time she's not playing video games but having fun with a friend, doing random things like animal impersonations. And why is a video featuring Akari and Luna so important? Well, that’s really easy to explain…

Akari and Luna are part of what virtual Youtubers fandom call "the four heavenly kings" (although they're all female characters), a selected group of 4 VTubers who are not only the most popular but the best ones in terms of design, marketing, and animation quality. The other 2 characters in this group are Siro and Nekomasu, but the goddess above them all is obviously Kizuna Ai so it would be OK if you say the four heavenly kings are actually five. Fun fact: Nekomasu doesn't even use a voice modulator! How about a cute fox-girl with the voice of a middle-aged man?

Even if they don’t collaborate too often, the four heavenly kings also interact with each other via Twitter, and that's another fundamental element of being a virtual idol. Being so famous, Mirai Akari shares fanart and post comments on other virtual Youtubers profiles so new collaborations wouldn't come as a surprise, even if we're still dreaming of Kizuna Ai and Mirai Akari in the same video.

Since April 2018, Mirai Akari is also the top member of ENTUM agency, a group of virtual Youtubers collaborating under the same brand much like music idols would do. Created by Eilen, the agency is growing bigger and now has around a dozen virtual entertainers, from singers to gamers. Nevertheless, Eilen is no longer a part of the Mirai Akari Project, and now Akari is finally a star shining with its own light. If you want, you can always check Akari’s channel as she updates new videos every week, and it doesn’t take long until a charitable soul translates them.

Final Thoughts

Mirai Akari’s business model is pretty much the same as any other virtual Youtuber, but she has an enviable charisma to support it. With more than half a million subscribers and fans all over the world, the mystery surrounding this 3D idol is too tempting to let it go: who is behind Eilen and what’s its real importance in the Mirai Akari Project? Who is running the project right now? Is she animated using simple 3D renders or is motion capture involved? Oh, and her fandom’s favorite question, who is the voice actress giving life to Mirai Akari? Too many questions indeed!

If you know anything else about Mirai Akari and her story, please take a minute to share your information with us. Thanks for stopping by!

Mirai-Akari-book-300x425 [Anime Culture Monday] Who is Mirai Akari? [Definition, Meaning]


Author: Rod Locksley

Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...

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