At Crunchyroll Expo 2022, Anime Trending had the opportunity to interview CEO Motoaki “YAGOO” Tanigo from COVER Corp., the corporation behind the VTuber agency hololive production. Tanigo offered his thoughts on hololive English projects and what happens behind the scenes in virtual entertainment.
Anime Trending: HOLOSTARS English -TEMPUS- follows a unique RPG and guild-style presentation and there were short manga stories released for each talent via Twitter. Do we expect to see more lore related content in the future?
Tanigo: I can’t promise anything. The way we design our talent units is very story driven. We try to give everyone lore that suits them. We put a lot into it in order to make sure everyone’s story is unique. There might be more of that coming out in the future, but we can’t really promise anything. If it fits with the unit or group, then it is possible.
AT: You have spoken about your admiration for hololive English’s use of motion capture and VRChat as part of their anniversary and other collaborations. What should we expect from future hololive English collaborations, performances, and mixed media projects?
Tanigo: Due to the travel situation following COVID-19, we have not been able to have hololive English visit Japan. That being said, we would love the opportunity in the future where the Japanese studios are able to work with hololive English talents and create more motion capture content. We would love the chance for these teams to collaborate in the future.
AT: During Christmas of 2017, Tokino Sora had her stream recommended by Dennou Shojo Siro to her viewers, who had her stream interrupted due to technical difficulties. As a result, Sora’s channel gained a lot of new viewers and it became a major turning point. What was your reaction after that? Did it affect your vision of COVER Corp. and hololive production moving forward?
Tanigo: We were not well versed in streaming at the time. Back then, we were focusing on developing stable motion capture technology for live streaming purposes. Popular VTubers such as Siro and Kizuna Ai were still using Perception Neuron, which was not suitable for live streaming. Perception Neuron only offered 30 minutes of steady capture, and so their focus was on pre-recorded content.
Through our HTC Vive motion capture system, we were the ones who were able to host a stable stream. We were able to determine that we were using the right system and device because we had the capacity to livestream. Kizuna and Siro did not make their own system. We developed a system for our own purpose.
It was at that moment we realized what our live streaming capacities were. It was exciting. This confirmed that we were doing the right thing.
AT: There are 28 hololive production members attending Crunchyroll Expo through the hololive Meet program. How did COVER Corp.’s technology enable a feat like this to happen? What kind of technology do you think can enhance these events?
Tanigo: It relies on the technology we discussed earlier — the VR systems and smartphone AI facial capture. We were able to incorporate all of this technology in order to bring the hololive Meet program to Crunchyroll Expo. However, right now, we have only done so with 2D. We would love to bring the talents over in 3D capacity where the movements and everything are so much more real. That would be something we would love to do in the future.
AT: After Oozora Subaru gave you the name YAGOO, you were embraced as a meme by the hololive talents and the broader community. Since then, you have become a public-facing figure through Twitter and by modeling for official hololive production merchandise. There are attendees cosplaying as you at the event today! Recently, you have even “gone missing” as part of the hololive Summer 2022 teaser. How do you feel about taking part in this?
Tanigo: It is usually the talents who get the spotlight, it’s never the people who make the system. It’s never the people behind the scenes that get the chance to be in the forefront. Given this rare chance, I like to use the opportunity to say “Hey, this is how we do things” and get it right. I really want to give people a peek into the kinds of things we are doing behind the scenes. That is what I would really like to do.
AT: Lastly, how is MAGGING TIME?
Tanigo: This is MAGGING. [points at shirt] That’s Magni Desmond. He made this art and so I had this shirt made for myself.
AT: Any final comments to international fans of hololive production and COVER Corp.?
Tanigo: I’m looking forward to making a lot more content alongside our talents. I would like to continue making content that you can look forward to in the future.