Kizuna Ai isn’t a real person, but she’s really going to be providing the voice for a different anime character.

When promoting upcoming anime, trumpeting the involvement of a popular voice actress is just as important as spreading the word about the stars of a live-action film or TV series. So it was with great fanfare that the official Twitter account of Magical Girl Site, the anime adaptation of the manga of the same name, announced that it’s landed Kizuna Ai to voice one of its characters.

Though this is Ai’s first anime voice-acting role, she already has a sizeable fanbase that’s very accustomed to the sound of her voice. But Ai doesn’t come from the worlds of live-action acting, music, or even radio. She’s a virtual YouTuber, and her casting in Magical Girl Site is an industry first.

▼ Kizuna Ai shares the news with the same pure-hearted enthusiasm that’s earned her over 1.6 million YouTube subscribers.

To clarify, Ai won’t appear “on-camera” in the anime. She’ll only be lending her voice, and the character she portrays, named Okame, won’t really look anything like her, as shown in the video clip above.

▼ Okame’s head pasted onto Ai’s body

What makes this especially novel is that unlike Vocaloid virtual idols, such as Hatsune Miku, Ai’s voice isn’t purely computer-generated. The human creators behind Japan’s anime-style virtual YouTubers are usually shrouded in mystery (though some have accidentally revealed themselves), but there’s someone who’s speaking for Ai in her videos, either a woman whose voice actually sounds like that or a performer, possibly a man, whose voice is recorded and then altered digitally to produce Ai’s girlish tones.

However, it won’t be the actual human component of Ai’s voice who’s credited in Magical Girl Site, but Ai herself, making her the first virtual YouTuber with an official anime credit.

In the video above, Ai happily tells her fans:

I’m usually a YouTuber, making videos, but I received a job offer to be a voice actress in Magical Girl Site!

I usually watch anime, but this time I get to help make the anime, and I’m really looking forward to it! I’ll do my best to help make it a great show.

I play the role of a manager who has a mask over her face. I haven’t recorded my lines yet, but I’m really excited!

Magical Girl Site is scheduled to premiere on April 6, though it’s unknown in which episode Ai’s character will appear. When she does, though, you can be sure that producers will be watching fan reactions closely, and if the response is positive enough, we might be seeing more virtual YouTubers working in the anime industry in the future.

Source: Twitter/@MGSanime via Jin
Images: Twitter/@MGSanime

Follow Casey on Twitter, where it looks like virtual idols and YouTubers keep their Japanese family/given name word order even when people are talking about them in English.