Kiryu Coco, one of the most popular VTubers on the internet, has “graduated” from agency ‘Hololive’, officially marking the end of her avatar’s career and leaving her fans inconsolable.
While the world is still warming up to YouTubers and social media stars breaking into mainstream media, yet another online sensation has sparked in their wake — ‘VTubers’.
VTubers are, generally speaking, animated avatars controlled by motion-capture technology, which are run by real people who use them to stream or create content rather than showing their own faces.
A slew of VTubers have risen to fame in the past decade, including the likes of Kizuna Ai, who largely pioneered the genre (which was, to be fair, initiated by none other than Hatsune Miku), but one of the most popular of these, at least in recent times, is Kiryu Coco.
Kiryu Coco isn’t the real name of the person running the famous avatar; instead, it’s the character’s name, who has amassed over one million subscribers and stands as YouTube’s most SuperChatted channel, raking in an estimated $2 million plus from Super Chats alone.
Coco has also gained massive popularity with English-speaking audiences, as she speaks both English and Japanese, resulting in a huge influx of overseas fans viewing her content and taking an interest in the VTuber genre as a whole.
Just a year and a half after starting her channel, Coco announced her “graduation” — meaning that she would no longer create content as Coco ever again.
— 桐生ココ🐉ホロライブ卒業生 (@kiryucoco) July 1, 2021
“Graduating” isn’t exactly like retirement; taking the term from Japan’s idol craze, “graduating” technically means “aging out” of an industry and moving on to another step in one’s career.
After announcing the news earlier this month, Coco went live with her very last broadcast on July 1 with a final segment of her satirical ‘Morning Coco’ news show. That’s not all; Coco and friends even went out with a bang with a full-on idol concert.
Although it was a bittersweet ending, Coco’s final live stream saw over 500,000 concurrent viewers at one point and even raised around $164k from donations.
Where will Coco go next? No one knows for sure, but her absence has already created a huge void in an explosive industry that only grows bigger as the days go by.