Waifu Wednesday: Takanashi Kiara

Since their debut in September of 2020, the girls of Hololive English have well and truly settled into their roles as virtual entertainers, bringing joy to hundreds of thousands of people every day.

Back when HoloEN first launched, we took a specific look at Amelia Watson and Ninomae Ina’nis, but there are still several three more delightful characters in the lineup well worth celebrating. And with the unfortunate (and apparently accidental) banning of Takanashi Kiara’s channel earlier today — a mistake which YouTube-kun has since rectified after implied murderous threats from a certain rapping reaper — I figured it was well worth giving everyone’s favourite phoenix a bit of time in the spotlight.

You can’t keep a good phoenix down, after all — although Final Fantasy might have you believe otherwise — so get your bargain bucket ready and let’s give that bird some love. That came out with potentially filthy implications, but they honestly weren’t intentional. Please disregard.

Fanart by feintoduck. Support the artist on Twitter.

Kiara debuted on 12 September 2020 as part of a two-day event that introduced all five of the Hololive English (or “HoloMyth”) girls. During her debut, she revealed herself to be a natural entertainer thanks to her cheerful, honest personality and willingness to engage directly with her fans — as well as a good singer, too. Indeed, at the time of writing, she’s recently released her first single Hinotori, following Calliope Mori in making her music as much a part of her online presence as her livestreaming work.

In her early days on YouTube, Kiara seemed to be enjoying her work but her social media presence suggested that she was both a little uneasy with her new-found fame, as well as feeling somewhat worried about her performance compared to some of her peers. This led her to become somewhat emotional on several of her early streams, particularly once her channel became monetised and the Super Chats came rolling in. (For those unfamiliar with YouTube parlance, a Super Chat is when a viewer provides a monetary “tip” to the streamer they are watching, which allows them to highlight their message in a colour that corresponds to the amount they donated as well as temporarily “pinning” it to the top of a channel’s chatbox. Many popular streamers, including the Hololive girls, hold dedicated streams to read all their Super Chat messages and thank all their paying fans by name.)

Fanart by Hikosan. Support the artist on Twitter.

On one particular occasion, Kiara seemed genuinely hurt by a critical comment attached to a Super Chat; the viewer in question apparently disliked the fact that Kiara had been making an effort since her debut to provide bilingual streams in both English and Japanese, complaining that it “killed the flow” of her work. Thankfully, the community rallied around her and encouraged her to continue this inclusivity; this particular aspect of her streams, among other things, made her a good gateway for Japanese Hololive fans to get involved with Hololive English. This had been working the other way for quite some time, after all; popular Japanese Hololive talents such as Kiryu Coco and Inugami Korone had been attracting plenty of overseas fans with streams that were at least partially in English, after all.

Thankfully, since those early days, Kiara seems much more settled and confident in her own abilities, helped along enormously by her supportive and friendly fanbase. Part of Kiara’s character concept is that she is an “idol who wants to run a fast food shop”, so her fans have very much run with this concept, referring to her as “Tenchou” (“manager”) and collectively considering themselves “employees” — some even going so far as to assign themselves positions in her company. The affectionate use of “Tenchou” mirrors similar nicknames that fans have given to other Hololivers over time; Kiryu Coco is referred to as “Kaichou” (“chairman”) to reflect her love for the Yakuza series, while wannabe pirate Houshou Marine being referred to as “Senchou” (“captain”) likely needs little explanation.

Fanart by Noto. Support the artist on Twitter.

Kiara’s distinctive and colourful design is the work of illustrator huke, whose best-known work is Black Rock Shooter and the Steins;Gate series. Indeed, a lot of huke’s distinctive style can be seen in how Kiara looks, particularly her hypnotic eyes. She also had one of the more expressive Live2D rigs from the very start, being capable of a variety of different facial expressions, though her model got an upgrade without her knowledge during a stream in November of 2020. Kiara only noticed when she realised she was suddenly capable of making a surprised face.

Kiara claims to speak four languages — her native German, English, Japanese and “bird”, but later revealed that the reference to her being able to speak “bird” was actually a Japanese pun that didn’t really work in English. Japanese for “trilingual” is “トリリンガル” (“toriringaru“), and “tori” is Japanese for “bird”. Since debuting, she has hosted some German learning streams for her paying channel members, and several of the exclusive emotes that those members are able to use in chat relate to various German words, including “scheisse” (“shit”), “danke” (“thank you”) and “nein” (“no”). Her main public streams remain primarily in English and Japanese, however.

Fanart by Nanaba. Support the artist on Pixiv.

Perhaps most importantly for our purposes here at MoeGamer, Kiara cites the Atelier series as one of her favourites alongside Tales, Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda. To date on her channel, she’s played a variety of games, including the inevitable Minecraft streams it appears all Hololivers are obliged to do at one point or another, as well as Super Mario Sunshine, Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. She’s also collaborated with several other Hololive members from both the English and Japanese side of things, and outside of unfortunate happenings such as that which occurred today, she seems to be having a good time.

If you’re yet to enjoy a Kiara stream, stop by her newly resurrected channel and check out some of her past shows; it’s hard to come away from one of her videos without a big smile on your face. And heaven knows we all need a bit of cheering up as this wretched year finally draws to a close!

Header art by huke; official Takanashi Kiara art. Original here.

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3 thoughts on “Waifu Wednesday: Takanashi Kiara”

  1. HoloEN (and most Western VTubers) aren’t my thing, but it’s pretty amazing that Kiara exists and is pretty popular not just in the West. If someone would have told me last year that there’s going to be a German VTuber, who’s part of a huge Japanese VTuber company, designed by huke and who’s very popular in many parts of the world and is a link between the English and Japanese sides, collaborating often with both, I would have thought that this person is out of their mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve officially been down this rabbit hole for months ago, and the enthusiasm of Kiara and VTubers like her are a big part of the reason for that. She seems to have a can’t quit attitude that I like. I also liked her reading of Cinderella in the original German — turns out the original Grimm story was a lot more bloody and retributive than the Disney cleaned up version, what a surprise.

    Didn’t know Kiara was a fan of Atelier, but that’s a big plus as well. I hope we get to see her play an Atelier game on stream, provided the legal issues are sorted out (also hoping that Calliope/Cover’s lawyers can convince Atlus to let her play Persona 3.)

    Liked by 1 person

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