The virtual YouTuber phenomenon hasn’t shown any clear signs of ebbing as of yet, with countless new channels rising and falling every day. That being said, a new challenger appeared out of left field this weekend, carrying with her a sizeable amount of clout. That challenger is no other than Super Sonico.
Super Sonico began as a mascot character for a Nitroplus music festival in 2006, but quickly gained a popularity of her own. Since then she has appeared in manga, anime, games and photo books. Her latest game, Sonicomi, was dubbed and released in English in 2016.
But the above video marks Sonico’s debut as a virtual YouTuber, and it seems rather uninteresting at first glance. But, as fans of Sonico may pick up, she mentions that she has moved “agencies,” perhaps signalling new developments in the Sonico canon. Whether or not this is an agency to do with her work as a member of the band First Astronomical Velocity or as a gravure model is unclear, but we’re promised new information “soon,” so there may be some original storytelling arriving on the YouTube channel every very soon.
In addition, when comparing the model used in the video to the models used in the latest Super Sonico title, the gravure photography Sonicomi game for PC, it seems completely different –
leading me to believe that Unity is being used, the same software as used by many other prolific virtual YouTubers. This does beg the question of why Nitroplus wouldn’t use their own software, but it’s probably safe to assume that using Unity turned out to be easier.That being said, even if you hate Sonico it’s hard to dismiss the effect that she could have on the virtual YouTuber scene. After all, behind her is the development giant Nitroplus, responsible for the legendary Steins;Gate and the BL smash hit DRAMAtical Murder, who will no doubt funnel considerable resources into Sonico’s activities as a virtual YouTuber. Furthermore, the change in dynamic from independently operated channels to corporate owned and operated channels could represent a new phase in the phenomenon itself, perhaps leading to other licensed characters appearing as virtual YouTubers as some point. That’s certainly an exciting thought to entertain.