The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (2024)

Welcome to Part 2 of The History of 18+ VTubers, where I’ll talk about what happened in this world in the year 2020. If you haven’t read Part 1, covering everything from 2017 to 2019, you can find it down below.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 1

Conspo

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May 13

Hello again. Obviously, this article deals with adult topics, so don’t read it if you’re under 18. I won’t have any super explicit images on screen, but I don’t recommend reading this in public nonetheless. With that out of the way, I wanna preface this piece with some thoughts. The goal of this Substack is to record parts of VTuber history that have bee…
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2020 - The year 18+ VTubing exploded

2020 brought with it many, many new faces to the VTuber world. The subculture, already pretty big in Japan, would reach unprecedented heights this year and, for the first time, find a foothold in Western fandom. Of course, adult VTubing also grew massively during this period, and a lot of it has to do with, surprisingly, an English-speaking VTuber.

Projekt Melody

One of the most influential virtual faces not only within R-18 VTubers but VTubers in general, was Projekt Melody.

Melody appeared on Twitter around mid-2019 but started really ramping up her activity just before the year rolled around, with her first public upload, an MMD video, made on the 28th of December. She slowly grew her community until February, when she uploaded her first vlog/discussion video, shown above. More importantly, Melody also announced her first Chaturbate livestream, which was set to happen on the 7th of that month. Perhaps encouraged by the warm reception to her debut, she proceeded to stream nearly every day for the next week.

The results were nothing short of shocking. By her 2nd stream, she was reaching upwards of 11k concurrent viewers, making her the most popular Chaturbate camgirl by a landslide. Several other models from that website took to Twitter to complain, claiming they didn’t wish to compete with a virtual model. Nonetheless, Melody had made sure to get the proper authorizations, and as such these events served only to bring more attention to this new virtual adult star. Her followers grew at an unprecedented pace as she went from under 1000 to 90 thousand in a week.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (2)

One of many complaints against Melody.

The hype didn’t end there. She had endless articles published about her in both Japanese and English, was covered by Kiryu Coco from Hololive, got sponsored by FAKKU, and even sold her first merchandise in collaboration with Weeb Shop, all in less than 2 months.

Certainly, she picked an extremely fortunate time to debut: As mentioned, thousands of people in the West were discovering VTubers, thanks to a multitude of factors including Lyger’s viral Matsuri clips, the Covid outbreak, and the Azur Lane x Hololive collab, all of which had started only a few months prior. But even those who had never even heard of a Virtual YouTuber were talking about Melody on social media. Her reach spread far and wide in a way that no other, with the exception of Kizuna AI, had managed until then.

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Kiryu Coco from Hololive covers Melody in her famous morning show Asacoco. She later got reproached by management for talking about an 18+ VTuber.

Melody’s success wasn’t accidental: there’s always some luck involved in these things, but she wouldn’t have gotten as far as she did if she and her team hadn't put hard work and much thought behind their project.It may seem like a simple thing now— people love anime girls and sex, so combining the two is surely an easy recipe for popularity— but you must remember that at this time, other AVTubers were still virtually unknown to Western viewers. Add to it the fact that the concept of English-speaking VTubers had barely taken off,1 and you can see that success was very much not guaranteed. Regardless, Melody’s gamble paid off, and she’s now the face of hentai VTubing for a whole lot of people.

She’d go on to be one of the founding members of VShojo, the first US-based VTuber agency, further expanding her popularity. Nowadays, she’s still active on both her Twitch, where she has an absurd 670 thousand followers, Chaturbate, and other platforms.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (4)

She’s been involved in so many merchandise drops and collaborations with famous brands it’s impossible to list them all. This is the most recent one.

Projekt Melody has been covered extensively by many others, and even the sometimes-lacking VTuber wiki has a wealth of (perhaps too much) information about her. Unlike some earlier VTubers, I don’t feel the need to go as much in-depth into her history since, if you’re reading this, chances are you were already aware of her. What I do want to focus on is the ramifications her debut had on the R-18 VTuber sphere.Perhaps for the first time ever, an English VTuber’s popularity far exceeded that of their Japanese counterparts in the same niche. Seeing the potential of 18+ VTubing, the rest of 2020 would be marked by the appearance of several agencies dedicated to adult virtual content, as well as dozens of indie debuts, both in Japan and in the rest of the world.

PinkPunkPro

One of the first to venture into the post-Melody AVTubing world was a Japanese VR-focused corporation by the name of October. In March 2020, they established PinkPunkPro, a production company with the goal of “creating a new world of virtual eroticism entertainment”. Their attempt at doing so started with two VTubers: Arum Felruaben and Hiina Tenshouin.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (5)

An early promotional image for PinkPunkPro (PPP), featuring Hiina and Arum, respectively.

Arum Felruaben

Arum was a succubus who came to Earth in search of males, and whose goal was to stand at the top of the succubus world.2 She debuted in late 2019 with a series of semi-lewd short videos. In March, she started working with PPP, a move that led to her followers (or “slaves”, as she called them) increasing almost ten-fold.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (6)

A snapshot of Arum’s channel on 26/04/2020. She had celebrated 3000 subscribers not even a month before.

Arum is a bit of a mystery. During a time when Hololive members were getting demonetized for streaming with slightly sexy swimsuit models, she managed to not only monetize her channel but keep it that way for an absurd amount of time relative to the content she made. She freely talked about R-18 topics, fingered herself on stream, used adult toys while playing games, and all kinds of things that would normally result in your account being instantly banned or at the very least age-restricted.

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One of Arum’s early streams, where she teaches the viewers the correct way to apply a condom.

Of course, this couldn’t last forever. In November, just as she had reached the 40 thousand subscriber mark, her account was deleted, leaving in its wake a red banner announcing the channel had violated YouTube’s policy on nudity or sexual content. She later explained on her new channel that the cause had likely been a video promoting her Virtual AV, which included links to DLsite in the description.

Arum would wound up leaving PPP and continuing as an indie soon after this incident. This time though, she kept the lewd activities mostly to Ci-en, Fanbox, and similar websites. Sadly, she has been inactive since 2022, and with no announcement ever made, we can only wait for her return.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (8)

It really was a matter of time until her channel was brought down, unfortunately.

Hiina Tenshouin

Arum’s partner in crime was Hiina. A lover of both BL and GL, she debuted in March and, despite her prim appearance when compared to her succubus colleague, was equally if not crasser, frequently holding chatting streams about NSFW subjects and proudly declaring her goal to “be the most naughty idol in the world”. Just like Arum, it was not an uncommon event to see her masturbating on stream.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (9)

I’m starting to think they didn’t want to keep their YT channels in the first place. Original clip here, though the full version has been privated.

At the end of 2020, Hiina would invite two of her friends, Emiri Rurikawa and Airi Sonohara, to join PinkPunkPro. These three, with the much later inclusion of Umeru Raisu, would form the POGC (Power Ona Girls Club) group, a sub-unit within the agency. With over 80 thousand supporters on Ci-en, this group is still quite popular today, offering benefits like private calls with its members, erotic ASMR, exclusive R-18 content of both the 2D and 3D variety, among many others. Hiina has also released lewd body pillow covers, virtual AVs, and a wealth of 18+ content in an individual capacity.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (10)

A banner featuring the members of POGC.

There is one more aspect of Hiina’s career I believe is worth highlighting, as it’s fairly unique among adult VTubers: Hiina has several original songs under her belt, and has even released a “mini-album” by the name of minority report. It’s important to note her singing is not at all divorced from her AVTubing career; many of her songs (though not all) are either lewd or talk about sex. A special shout-out to “Presents”, where she sings about the things an ex-boyfriend has given her, which are mostly sexually transmissible diseases, and which includes the English line “Die die eat my sh*t and die.”

Hiina’s most popular song, titled “fapfapfap LOVER”. You can accuse her of many things, but not enjoying her AVTuber career is not one of them.

The POGC group also has its own original song, though it is much more idol-like than the previous examples.

Now, besides Hiina’s friends, two new members also joined PinkPunkPro in 2020: Erina Tamaki, an aspiring female TV announcer, and Rukawa Laki, a magical girl who heals you through lewd activities, though she has sadly been on hiatus since 2022. With new VTubers debuting as recently as April of this year, and fourteen currently active talents, it seems PPP is continuing to flourish.

Masquerade

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (11)

Now, October didn’t stop with PinkPunkPro. Masquerade, a group of virtual maid café employees who seek to provide both comfort and lewdness to their “Masters”, was the company’s 2nd attempt at an 18+ VTuber group in 2020. Its first members, Tenshi Nano, Tokonatsu Aimi, and Momoka Mocha debuted in July. Interestingly, Nano was one of the first to appeal to the “legal loli” niche.3 As the world of adult VTubers expands, so too do the fetishes which they cover.

Masquerade’s talents usually focus on ASMR and gaming streams, with 18+ content available in the form of voice works over at DLsite and exclusive videos on Ci-en. Almost all of them also do real-life lewd content, often cosplaying as their VTuber selves. This is a trend that becomes increasingly more common from 2020 onward among not just Masquerade and PPP4 but AVTubers in general. There are still many who are exclusively 2D, of course, but this does pose some questions as to the limits of the virtual world for 18+ purposes. Do these girls do it to attract a wider audience? Or is it because there are some things you can’t do in VR just yet? Is it because of their desires, or for the audience’s? How much of an overlap is there between those who watch the VTuber streams and those who watch the IRL ones? Is the eroticism of the real-life content enhanced by the idea that you’re looking at “the person behind the mask”, and if so, what does that say about VTubers in general? I don’t have an answer to these questions, but I think they’re certainly amusing to ponder.

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Stream thumbnails from Supika, a former member of Masquerade’s 3rd generation of VTubers who has since gone independent. Most AVTubers under PPP/Masquerade do at least some amount of “live-action” streams.

Masquerade still exists as a group as of the writing of this article. However, out of 12 talents that debuted over 4 years, only 2, Yumemiya Alice and Nekoda Pepero, remain in the company.

Rin Yuzuki and Emoechi Productions

Just as promised in Part 1, we’re talking about Rin Yuzuki.

A prominent figure in the AVTuber world up until her graduation in July 2022, Yuzuki had her humble start in ‘19, doing lewd ASMR on YouTube and posting nudity on Twitter. In February 2020, she joined Emoechi Productions, a VTuber agency created by the company Fly that proclaimed to be the first of its kind to focus exclusively on 18+ content. According to an interview, Yuzuki was approached with the offer and, having an interest in lewd things and an admiration for AV actresses, decided to accept.

As part of her debut within Emoechi, the “World’s First Virtual AV” featuring Rin Yuzuki was filmed. She was also promoted online as the first AVtuber ever, which is a questionable title when we consider how many 18+ virtual creators came before her. Still, if we take AVTuber to mean specifically a Virtual Youtuber who has filmed and sold a p*rn video in VR, there’s no denying she was the first.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (13)

A screenshot from Rin Yuzuki’s virtual AV.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (14)

Rin Yuzuki’s tweet announcing her AV debut, including the messages she got from Emoechi management. This went slightly viral on the Japanese side of Twitter and remains her most popular tweet. There were both positive and negative reactions, with some remarking this was “the start of a new era”.

Emoechi Productions didn’t start with just Rin, though; her gyaru sibling Yuzuki Reina had debuted just one month prior to the foundation of the agency and joined it at the same time. The Yuzuki sisters did the standard ASMR videos, along with selling 18+ audios and archives of streams too spicy for YouTube in the usual places. This didn’t save Rin’s channel from the ever-present ban hammer; she saw it deleted a total of eight times during her career. Reina, in contrast, managed to avoid that fate before she left Emoechi, around 9 months after debuting. Both her main and her live stream channels, which together reach over 200k subscribers, are still up, allowing fans to watch many of her old videos and streams.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (15)

A promotional image from Emoechi, with Rin, Reina, and their producer (the mushroom). The text at the bottom reads: “Adult VTubers that bring you healing…”

Several other VTubers debuted under Emoechi over the years, and as of July 2024, they have 12 active talents under their wing, with 15 more who have already graduated. At some point in 2021, an official channel was created with the intent of posting clips of their VTubers, though it sadly seems to have been abandoned.

Out of all these members however, I want to focus on a certain one, who went extremely viral and accidentally introduced plenty to the concept of adult VTubing.

Asahina Meiro

Debuting as part of Emoechi in October 2020, Asahina Meiro was an apprentice maid who often did ear-licking lewd ASMR streams, the standard fare for AVTubers at this time. She had a relatively slow start, amassing only a few thousand subs, until a certain stream in December where this happened.

Obvious NSFW audio warning. Some of you will recognize this thumbnail, even if you don’t know her name.

This clip5 got posted all over social media and went particularly viral on Twitter, where the poster implied she was having sex on-stream and “NTRing” her viewers. Like many other viral moments, it has been misinterpreted. There never was any NTR: the stream’s title was “[ASMR F*p Support] Restraint S*x With 5000 Subscribers”. Of course, no one can say what was really happening behind the screen; but I sincerely doubt it was anything more than well-done sound effects and realistic moans. Regardless, the idea of a VTuber cucking their viewers live was too juicy for Twitter, and the video got reposted thousands of times, reaching a wider, international audience that had never watched VTubers and which parroted the idea that she had had her back blown out on stream.

As one might expect, Meiro’s subscriber count figuratively exploded after this incident, and she went from 5k to 80k subs in less than a month and a half. More than likely, the only thing that kept her from breaking the 100 thousand mark was a YouTube ban in March 2021, which forced her to create a new channel. Often, when someone goes viral like this, many end up subscribing only to never bother watching again. Nevertheless, it seems Meiro managed to turn some of the curious onlookers into long-lasting fans, as her new channel slowly grew until it reached the same numbers it had before its deletion. In the same month, she released her first R-18 audio work, which garnered over 500 purchases on DLSite alone.

If Projekt Melody introduced the concept of a VTuber that gets naked in front of a camera to the public consciousness, then Meiro showed that she wasn’t the only one, that there was a whole world of Japanese 18+ VTubers out there. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if many AVTuber fans outside of Japan (and forgive me for the overused expression) “fell into the rabbit hole” after seeing Asahina Meiro and Emoechi Productions.

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Needless to say, this wasn’t new at all, but the fact that someone made this post means that Meiro was likely their first AVTuber.

But Meiro’s story isn’t all positive, and some readers might have noticed a glaring issue. Earlier, I mentioned that she saw her subscribers increase by the tens of thousands due to a viral clip, a clip that had been posted in English and shared primarily in Western circles. So how many of these new viewers spoke, or even understood, Japanese? The answer is not many.

This scene has happened a great number of times in VTuber history; a popular clipper highlights a small Japanese streamer, or for some reason or another they go viral on the English side of Twitter, and soon their chat is full of non-Japanese speakers talking amongst themselves or being disrespectful. Thankfully, it is less common now— a mix of the VTuber boom slowing down, better moderation tools, and the fact that many fans have learned the proper etiquette when watching VTuber streams—but Asahina Meiro was perhaps one of the ones who had it worst. She was quite the small streamer beforehand, and suddenly being swamped with foreign viewers, many of which were only interested in spamming the chat, was overwhelming. It didn’t help that she was covered by several drama and bait Youtubers whose names are not worth mentioning, bringing even more trolls to her channel.

This is not an easy issue to tackle. After all, VTubers are also happy whenever people from other nationalities become fans, and I’m sure no one truly minds the occasional foreign comment. But to be streaming, scrolling down your chat, and seeing maybe a single line of text out of fifty that you can read is not a pleasant experience, and it was one Meiro had to deal with for weeks to months. In the end, though, things did calm down, and Meiro was able to enjoy her activities, both 18+ and otherwise, until her graduation in April of 2022. If you do end up finding an active VTuber that interests you from reading this article, please make sure to behave responsibly in their chat!

Unreal Night Girls

By the end of 2020, Emoechi and PinkPunkPro were still the two biggest players in the Japanese AVTubing sphere, almost like an 18+ version of the Hololive/Nijsanji duality. But, similarly to how .LIVE, who was once considered to be a competitor to both Niji and Holo has since mostly faded into obscurity when compared to these two,6 there was a 3rd AVTuber group that touched down in 2020 but whose name might be unknown to newer fans of the niche.

Unlike the previous two, Unreal Night Girls, or UNG, was much more of an indie project; their official Twitter was managed by only one person, who went by the nickname of Angelina, and it was clear there was no big company backing them up.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (17)

An early tweet by UNG’s management, in which they announce open auditions for a trio of R-18 VTubers.

Their first-generation members, Mako, Yogaru, and Kuguri, debuted in May of 2020, though a fourth, Kijou Aru, would join them not too long after. Alongside their YouTube activities, all four of them also often went live on the adult streaming platform FC2, frequently uploading the archives to Ci-en for paying followers. This would be the norm for all UNG members going forward.

The first of several dramas involving the agency happened in August when Kuguri was fired due to leaking inside information to the public. Despite this and a slow start, with the most popular talent, Mako, hovering around 2000 subscribers, the group kept doing their best. In October, they announced the debut of two more members, Chio and Aki, though Aki would end up leaving just a month later due to communication issues between her and management.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (18)

An official illustration of UNG’s members, used for a New Year’s event. From left to right: Yogaru, Mako, Aru, and Chio.

Meanwhile, Mako saw a surge in popularity, managing to achieve a surprising 20 thousand subscribers by the time December rolled around. Thanks to this, she became the bridge through which many fans found out about the rest of the girls in UNG, elevating the popularity of the group to the point where all of them ended up pummeling through that 20k milestone. So it was quite a shock when, in February 2021, Mako was suspended without any apparent reason.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (19)

Note the language here; they use the term 停止, suspension, instead of the usual 卒業, graduation.

Aru would follow Mako just a day later, leaving suddenly and on very bad terms after a discussion with management about her contract. UNG felt the need to explain the situation in detail and made a post on their official website, which Aru took issue with. Soon after, she uploaded a video on her personal account, discussing the circ*mstances of her suspension, accusing Angelina of misinterpreting the situation and lying to the fans, and denoting several issues in the management of UNG, including a repeated failure to pay their talents on time.7 At this point, lawyers became involved, and we don’t know how or if the situation ended up being resolved.

As you might have predicted already, this event led to many starting to see Unreal Night Girls as a “black company”, especially as Yogaru and Chio proceed to graduate as well, in June and July respectively. It didn’t help that all ex-members, except for Chio, had both their YouTube and Twitter deleted. While I personally can’t say what the internal situation at UNG was like, the truth is that plenty of its former talents went on to keep working as AVTubers under different identities, which meant there had to have been some reason why they didn’t wish to stay with this agency.

In just half a year, UNG had been left with a single member: Chris Hina, who’d debuted in April. Still, the company wasn’t dead; Hina was quite popular among AVTubers, and her SFW videos were just as well-received as the NSFW ones, which is very much not a guarantee for the business she was in.

This goes for most of UNG’s members but, with Hina’s channel no longer existing, we have only clips to look back on.

In September, a new sister group by the name of Unreal Night Office Lady (UNOL) was created. It was not too dissimilar from UNG, the main difference being that its members were lewd mature office ladies. UNOL was home to two VTubers: Akane, who debuted in November, and Rin, who did so in February 2022.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (20)

Rin and Akane, respectively.

At the beginning of 2022, UNG announced auditions for its 3rd generation, which was to be composed of 5 girls. At this point though, it was clear there were issues inside the company. Tweets from management became sporadic and eventually stopped altogether at the start of 2023. The third generation only got to see two members; Shigure Milk, who debuted in September 2022 and was active for only about a month before graduating due to health issues, and Kousaka Hairi, who debuted in May of the same year. With Chris Hina leaving at the end of June, Hairi was the last remaining VTuber under UNG, staying active on both YouTube and FC2 until April 2023. After her graduation, Unreal Night Girls was left without any Unreal Night Girls, and considering there have been no signs of life from management until the publishing of this article, it seems things will stay that way.Unreal Night Office Lady suffered a similar fate; by mid-2022 Akane had graduated, and Rin has been suspended indefinitely for so long that at this point it’s hard to believe she’ll come back. Bad management or not, it is quite sad to see an agency that did have some popular streamers completely disappear like this.Love your oshis, because the (A)VTubing world is ruthless.

As I mentioned earlier, it wasn’t just corporations and agencies that got into the business of AVTubing in 2020. However, there were far too many indie debuts during this year. Even if I were to focus only on the most popular ones, this piece would easily double in length. Not to mention finding exactly who were the most popular ones would be a difficult task in itself, given how common it is to have your social media deleted in this industry. As such, with the obvious exception of Melody, I’ve elected only to mention the biggest groups that formed this year. This makes the article less expansive than I hoped, but hopefully, it is still useful and entertaining for you.

If you’ve gotten this far, thank you so much for reading. Not many are willing to sit through a 4500+ word essay on lewd anime girls. I’m not sure if there will be a part 3, considering how many hours these take and how little I know of the AVTuber world post-2020. Regardless, I hope you’ll stick around for whatever I do next.

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Tips & Donations

My new VTuber clips channel

1

I talked more about this in my A Short History of Early English VTubing article, but the biggest English VTubers at this time (pre-Hololive EN) were Natsumi Moe, who also had a fairly large Japanese fanbase, and Miya, who had a subscriber count that was pretty inflated in comparison to her actual viewers due to her usage of ads to gain popularity early on.

2

That was her lore/backstory at first, but she later abandoned it and started referring to herself as Moamoka, a cosplayer who cosplays as the succubus Arum.

3

Unless I’m mistaken, the indie VTuber Hukami Anko was the first one to do 18+ VTubing with a loli-like model, but she never got more than a few thousand followers.

4

Technically, Masquerade is a subsidiary of PinkPunkPro, but if you go on their website, PPP’s talents are separated from Masquerade’s and Sekirara’s. Sekirara, or Sekirara demo ii, is another group by the same company, which I don’t mention in the main article since it was formed in 2021.

5

This isn’t the exact clip that went viral, but the tweet has been deleted, so I just cut out a similar part from the original stream.

6

Don’t get me wrong, I love .LIVE and I wish more people knew about it, especially on the English-speaking side. But it is true they sadly didn’t manage to keep the popularity and hype they once had. Maybe I should write about that someday…

7

Mako also posted a video airing her grievances with UNG, but it has now been privated.

The History of 18+ VTubers: Part 2 (2024)
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