Waifu Wednesday: Ninomae Ina’nis

Since we’re moving on to Atelier Totori: The Adventurer of Arland next in the Atelier MegaFeature, I was all set to celebrate Atelier’s twelfth main heroine today, but then I checked the recent top searches, just out of curiosity.

It seems that multiple people have been dropping by with an interest in seeing something about Ninomae Ina’nis from the Hololive English crew here on MoeGamer. And who am I not to give the people what they want?

All right, all right, I like Ina a lot too. So what better reason to celebrate her and all the fanart of her by all the talented people out there? There is none. None. So let’s do just that!

Fanart by Umemaro. Support the artist on Twitter.

If you don’t follow the YouTube scene, Ninomae Ina’nis (or “Ina” for short) is one of the five Hololive English members. If you’ve never come across Hololive, it’s an agency that recruits and promotes “virtual YouTuber” or “vTuber” talent, meaning that the talent in question never shows their real face and is instead represented by a Live2D avatar — a piece of 2D art that animates in quasi-3D according to a “real” person’s movements and facial expressions. Hololive English is their first division specifically marketed towards Western English speakers — though other parts of the company (including the Japanese section) have previously featured English-speaking vTubers.

Hololive has an element of role-playing about it, given that, officially speaking, each of the vTubers are a character rather than a real person, though over time most of them tend to let a little (or a lot!) of their real personality and background shine through, depending on how comfortable and confident they feel doing so. For many vTuber fans, though, that element of mystery and distance between the talent and the audience makes them an attractive prospect, however; it allows their work to be much more of an escape from reality than more down-to-earth streamers and YouTubers — particularly as most Hololive streams tend to be quite high-energy and filled with positivity rather than focusing on negativity and cynicism.

Fanart by Mochiyuki. Support the artist on Twitter.

Ina is a good example of all this. Her concept is that she is a human priestess who has somehow become fused with some betentacled horror from beyond time and space, giving her the power to summon and manipulate a mass of slimy tentacles at will. As a rather gentle young woman, however, she is supposedly more interested in dressing up her tentacles and making them look pretty rather than doing anything untoward with them — and they’re also eminently practical, too, as seen any time she breaks into song and brings out a convenient tentacle to hold her mic.

It didn’t take long for the person behind Ina to start showing where her real passions lie. One of her first streams showed her talent at character art and illustration, and a significant part of her audience noted that her enthusiasm for art had inspired them to get the pencils, brushes and/or graphics tablets out for the first time in a long while.

Fanart by Shibainu. Support the artist on Pixiv.

Ina has deliberately fostered a “comfy” feeling in her streams from the very beginning, speaking with a gentle tone and never raising her voice, even when frustrated. There’s an amusing element to this, given that her design is, in some ways, one of the most “horrific” (and I use that term exceedingly mildly here) of the Hololive English girls, but you know what they say about wise things hiding fangs. Or perhaps it’s just a cool design and the person behind the vTuber is pretty chill!

At the time of writing, we’ve seen Ina play through a couple of episodes of the thematically appropriate Call of Cthulhu game by Cyanide, which has been a great watch; her commentary has been thoroughly pleasant, particularly her gentle admonishment of protagonist “Mr Pierce” whenever he’s incapable of doing something she thinks he should be able to do. Like, you know, jump.

Fanart by Kusojack. Support the artist on Twitter.

She’s also collaborated with her polar opposite in Hololive English, the energetic trilingual phoenix Takanashi Kiara, on a stream ranking all the Arknights waifus, as well as spending a good 20 minutes slurping Korean “fire noodles” down her microphone (which, surprisingly, didn’t trigger my own misophonia as “eating sounds” normally do) before spending over an hour and a half individually thanking everyone who threw money at her via YouTube’s SuperChat donation system. 10Q.

To date, she’s had a less packed schedule than some of her peers, but it’s clear that she’s committed to the “comfy” persona she quickly established for herself, is more than happy to work alongside her counterparts elsewhere in Hololive English on collaborations, and is genuinely grateful for the support the community has shown her and her friends so far. She comes across as a very kind, caring and genuine person; whether or not that is “all an act” doesn’t really matter — with a form of entertainment like this, all that really matters is that it has the desired impact on the audience. And early signs in that regard are good.

Fanart by Totatokeke. Support the artist on Twitter.

Hololive English has shown beyond a doubt that there absolutely is a market for entertainment that is pure, simple positivity; an escape from the chaos and darkness that has been encroaching on our lives more and more as the 21st century has continued to relentlessly advance. How strange and wonderful that it is that this particular take on beings typically associated with darkness and evil has actually turned out to be one of the most comforting online presences out there; a source of happiness, joy and much-needed relaxation for many, and a sign that 2020 hasn’t quite managed to extinguish our collective light of hope just yet.

Watching a vTuber play a video game or draw her friends might not be something with the same sort of cultural cachet as a night at the opera or reading great literature. But sometimes you just want to spend some time in the presence of something inherently comforting without having to think too hard. And that’s exactly what Ina and her friends are doing for all of us right now — and I know I for one am very grateful for it.

If you enjoyed the fanart in this post, be sure to click on the links in the captions and go show the artists some love!

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3 thoughts on “Waifu Wednesday: Ninomae Ina’nis”

  1. The streams I managed to catch of Ina’s have been very nice. She has that calm vibe that I can appreciate.

    I know a lot of people consider the Vtuber phenomenon to be strange. But as you say, the positivity they provide is helpful now, especially here where I live in the last few days.


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