Silvervale started streaming to help aid her loneliness. Three years on, she’s found her calling and her purpose through VTubing. After blowing up onto the scene with VShojo she wants to keep going forever, or at least treasure the special moments while it lasts.
Some VTubers are very into their lore. For others, it’s only a neat backstory to describe their model. Silvervale definitely falls into the latter category, but she has put a little thought into it.
“I’m a sakura goddess who encourages people to appreciate the little things in life… I don’t know how deep I’ll go with it, so something like that,” she laughed. “Sakuras only bloom for a short time so you only get to appreciate it a little bit, and they’re really pretty so I vibe with them.”
Watching the VShojo star, who boasts more than 340,000 followers on Twitch, is like watching the sakuras bloom for that one week of the year.
She might not play intense games or get up to karaoke shenanigans too often. What she does provide though is a calming broadcast — with the occasional scream — with two purposes: to help everyone appreciate the little things, and give people company and comfort.
“I like to think I’m the cozy second monitor stream where you can play a different game or work and I’m just there to make you not feel so lonely,” she described.
“I have a lot of people who say this on my stream when I’m playing with my family, but if they’re not super close with their family or their parents have passed away, it’s a good way to live vicariously through us as a fun gamer family. I like to make people feel comfy and happy and feel a bit better about how sh*tty life can be sometimes.”
Silvervale’s family is almost the unique draw of her content. Alongside brother Konzetsu — also a VTuber — and with Mamavale behind them both, the three of them bring their fun to everyone on Twitch. It’s heartwarming, and can fill a void in someone’s life if they’re feeling especially homesick.
It wasn’t the intended plan, even with how close Silver is to her family. But it has made the streaming journey all the better with them by her side, and given her even more purpose.
“We had one stream, which is maybe one of my favorite streams ever, where we did Fear Factor. She picked out a bunch of foods I knew I would hate and she made me eat them on stream. Bugs — a lot of bugs — oysters, you name it. There was one part where I was trying to eat it but it was so gross. I had it in my mouth for five minutes not knowing what to do with it. I was freaking out.
“We’ll do a lot of fun mother-daughter streams like that. For Christmas one time we rated people’s decorations — just fun family things that maybe people in chat won’t experience themselves. We celebrate holidays together so they can celebrate with us.”
The “mom friend” of the internet
Silvervale started out in the early days of VTubing, before the 2020 boom. In fact, she didn’t even know what VTubing was when she started — she just wanted to be a cute anime girl.
“I didn’t know there was a whole community for it, I didn’t know there was a name for it,” she laughed. “I wanted to stream and I had done it with a webcam a long long time ago, and I went through Steam and I saw something called FaceRig. I knew there was that guy who streamed as a shiba inu and I was like ‘that’s what this is.’ I then saw you could be an anime girl and thought that was kind of cool. I like anime, it’s cute, I don’t want to use my webcam so I tried it.”
Becoming a VTuber in those early days was more of a challenge than it is nowadays. While it might seem hard to break into today, back then you were working in the dark. There were very few, if any, resources out there about making models and getting motion tracking to work. That’s if you even knew where to look, which Silver didn’t.
She managed to get a custom model (a white-haired wolf girl to start with) and started streaming Black Desert Online, often “playing for 12 hours a day grinding forever to no one”.
However, someone finally managed to show her the light: “I had my friend Shachi, she found me when I was a little no one playing BDO and she said ‘you’re a VTuber’ — and that’s when I figured out what a VTuber was.
“We became very close friends and she told me about the community, and it blew my mind how many people there were that knew what it was.”
She slowly grew from there, playing a variety of MMOs as well as chatting to her newfound petal pals. Silvervale’s cozy interactions slowly warmed the hearts of the community too, with the wolf girl quickly becoming the “mom friend” of the VTubing community.
That’s her family rubbing off on her in more ways than one.
“I did get it from my mom,” she quipped. “I want people to be happy. If they’re struggling in a game or have tech issues, I try to help them. I have heard from people that I inspired them to VTube, or inspired them to get their parents to play games, or to try and stream. It makes me feel very special.”
The ever-evolving VTubing space
Having been so deeply ingrained in the VTuber space since it began, Silvervale has heard everything, both good and bad. Early virtual entertainers, especially in the West, faced a lot of vitriol. Most of this was from a lack of understanding or knowledge.
However, the walls are slowly being broken down. The boom of 2020 made most people on the internet somewhat conscious of VTubers, and its growth hasn’t really slowed down despite all predictions. It might still weird some people out, but many see it as no different from normal streaming — Silvervale included.
It does have its very clear upsides everyone will tell you about: anonymity, privacy, the ability to go live without having to worry about what you look like or what’s in your background. It’s liberating in a sense.
“You can almost be more of yourself when you’re VTubing,” Silver explained. “You can make weird sounds, do crazy stuff, because you’re not wondering ‘what does my face look like when I make this crazy sound?’ Nyan, for example, makes a lot of crazy monster sounds. I can’t imagine what her face looks like when she does that. But as a VTuber you can do a bunch of stuff like that, weird stuff, funny stuff, and you don’t have to worry about what you look like when you do it because you’re always going to be a cute anime girl.”
There are also some less clear ones though. Smaller aspects of VTubing culture are just straight up not replicable for your run-of-the-mill streamer.
“When you look at a VTuber you can tell by their design, their vibe, their stream layout that you know what you’re getting into,” Silvervale explained. “But as a normal person, you have to hang out there to guess what they’re going to be able to do.
“If you’re a big role player, it’s almost cringe if you did it as a normal person. But as a VTuber you’re playing a character, and if you really like role playing that’s perfect for you. You can play the lore, and maybe one day you want to be a different character — that’s totally acceptable.
“It’s almost unfair as a VTuber because we make this big deal out of like ‘oh I got new clothes’. I really want to see a normal person throw a debut like ‘I got this new T-shirt from Walmart’ — I want a normal streamer to throw a new outfit debut every month because it’s really funny.”
Vtubing and streaming are still relatively young — live streaming is an advent of the late-2000s, and VTubing is only six years old really. But in Silvervale’s eyes, there’s an inherent advantage to the latter in terms of what it can offer viewers, as well as how high the ceiling is in terms of technology.
“VTubing is constantly evolving which I think is really cool in comparison to normal streaming. You’ve got a webcam, you’ve got a game, maybe you’ll put on a silly hat for a chat redemption. But for VTubing you can throw things at us, you can change our clothes, you can do so much cool stuff and it’s constantly evolving.”
Despite all the positivity, VTubing is still mildly controversial in the space. Whether it be people claiming sexualized models are just ‘thirst traps’ or the medium can promote bad actors, it can be cast off as an unknown that doesn’t need to be explored too deeply.
But, at the end of the day, VTubers are still streamers. They just look a bit different.
“It’s just people who want to be comfortable and it’s fun,” Silver said. “It’s fun to get new outfits and have props. It’s more fun than being a normal person. You play games to escape from the world sometimes, and maybe you want to stream to do that too. Being a character and seeing yourself do cute sh*t, that’s really fun and it helps you escape.”
The freedom of VShojo
Silvervale’s grind as an independent eventually led her to VShojo, the biggest VTuber agency on Twitch. The group feels more like a team of independents banding together — and it was the perfect fit for Silver. Approached by Projekt Melody to join the group, she laughed about how her redebut in November 2020 was the “most stressful and anxious” experience in her life.
“I was shaking, having cold sweats, forgetting how to talk. It was nerve-wracking but it was really exciting and it was cool to have this group that I love — I am so lucky.”
The weight of it all isn’t lost on her though, even two years on. Just thinking about the hard work it took to get here, for her and VShojo, brought her to tears. There was hardship, and times when it looked like breaking apart.
However, the journey made it worth all the trouble. Even if VShojo was to disband tomorrow, Silvervale has achieved things beyond her wildest dreams.
“I was at a concert, on stage with a bunch of Japanese VTubers and my friends [at VILLS], and that was the coolest thing in the world. My mom came over, ate pizza, and watched me on stage. It was so cool to be a part of something that big, and none of that would have been possible without VShojo.”
August 19 update: We made an error in omitting some context regarding Silvervale’s view on other agencies. Her mentions of ways VShojo differs from Hololive was not intended to be a direct comparison. We have reworded the context, and amended quotes for brevity, to avoid further confusion. We apologize for the error.
Having just brought on Kson and Amemiya Nazuna in their Japan expansion, VShojo wants to change how people see VTubing too.
The agency professes “talent first” and that’s an idea Silvervale wholeheartedly believes in. There’s a raw and personal touch to her content given her intimacy with her family — it’s not an exclusive drawpoint to her stream, but it’s different to what others offer.
While some agencies like Hololive and NIJISANJI were born out of Japanese idol culture, VShojo comes from a different background. For Silvervale, this is less about one model being better than the other, and rather different approaches to the same medium.
“There hasn’t been a VTubing agency quite like it in the West and it feels really amazing to be a part of it,” she continued. “VShojo is different and works really well for a lot of us because much of our content is pretty close to other ‘normal’ streamer content on Twitch, but as a VTuber.
“For most Japanese agencies you have to ask permission to bring your family on your streams or play certain games. Collabs with other streamers have to be planned far ahead and approved by management. You also can’t be on stream without your model unless it’s just your hands in gloves and it’s pretty common to be vague about your real life.
“In VShojo you own your model and channel and you make up your lore, if you want any. You can talk about yourself and your parents, your real life, you can play whatever you want when you want with whoever you want. Just be yourself and not be tied down by all these expectations of adhering to a lot of permissions and specifications to what you can do and say.
“You can be yourself and do what you’ve always done on stream as an indie, but have this huge support network and be able to grow and show the West that VTubers are here too and they can make awesome content.”
Life without VTubing
VShojo or independent, VTuber or real life, Silvervale would still be toiling away at streaming even if she was only pulling a viewer stream. She’s just one of the lucky ones that was able to make a living from it.
Even if she never cracked it into the big leagues on Twitch, she’d die trying. Streaming has given her life so much purpose. Without it, she’d be “miserable”.
“My VTubing life, and life in general with streaming, is a dream. It’s literally my dream. I never thought I’d get this far. It was just a pastime or to feel less lonely when I was playing BDO for hours, and I never thought I’d get to this point.”
Now that she is here though, she’s excited to see what the future holds: “I want to grow and expand it. I want to have a cool 3D setup and a 2D model that’s really good. I want to keep experiencing the cool technological advances because it’s all very cutting edge.”
Beyond pushing new technology and working VTubing into the mainstream though, Silvervale just wants to be there to soak it all in. Much like her stream vibes, she just wants to go with the flow and see where it takes her — as long as the journey doesn’t end too soon.
“I want to stream forever. I want to do it with my family, my friends, make new friends and grow my community more and keep accomplishing really cool things. I want to take it as it comes, and make people happy — and cry a lot.”