Finally, we can release the anime girl that lives within us all.

Virtual YouTubers or “VTubers” have become an increasingly popular trend. This is where a regular person is overlaid with the image of an anime style girl and hosts a YouTube video. This is great for both the most painfully shy and least photogenic among us, allowing anyone’s true character to shine through the vessel of a doe-eyed moe girl.

Kizuna Ai is probably the most well-known of this breed of YouTuber

But, becoming a virtual YouTuber required a bit of know-how in acquiring the right system and software to accomplish it. It’s probably not the hardest thing in the world, but still enough to keep it from being accessible to everyone…until now.

New apps have just hit the scene that promise to make you into an instant VTuber with a touch of your smartphone. Puppemoji (puppet and emoji) is one such app that was released on 5 April. It utilizes the iPhoneX face-mapping camera to give your anime avatar a high degree of realness.

▼ Peep my kawaii tuft of chest hair

I gave it a try myself and found it very easy to get into. Within seconds my face was plastered with a blue-haired girl. There’s a lot of options to change the background, add or remove bodies, and also use some non-anime faces.

There’s also an option to distort your voice making it high-pitched, like an anime girl’s ought to be, but it didn’t seem to work at the time of my testing. There also seem to be some functions to make the avatar’s arms move, but I couldn’t get those to work either.

Nevertheless, the core animation was working pretty smoothly. However, since I have no inclination to become a YouTuber, virtual or otherwise, I didn’t really know what to do with it. So instead, I mimed the “watch monologue” from Pulp Fiction, using my face and Christopher Walken’s actual voice in the background.

▼ Me as an anime girl as Christopher Walken as Captain Koons in Pulp Fiction

The expressions were quite good and the camera tracking was fast and smooth, allowing me to zoom in and out quickly and turn my head in any direction. That being said, the anime girl’s facial expressions were rather limited. It was extremely difficult to get her to look angry, and despite tracking my eyeballs and eyelids rather well, they were unable to wink or cock an eyebrow.

Also, in order to make the girl’s mouth move in the above video, I had to open my mouth in a really exaggerated fashion. That was okay for the purpose I used it, but if I was actually speaking, her mouth would barely open sometimes.

I did another trial with the blue-haired girl as Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men. However this time the app crashed partway through. It was the only time that happened though.

▼ Me as an anime girl as Jack Nicholson as Col. Jessep in A Few Good Men (and me again cursing out the app at the end)

Overall, it’s got its bugs, but it’s also brand new. With the proper tweaking, this has the potential be a really cool app to play around with. Perhaps its biggest flaw, however, is that it’s only available for the iPhoneX.

If you’re among most people in the world who don’t use an iPhoneX, fear not because there are alternatives such as HoloLive. This app can work on all modern iPhone and Android devices and has really good face mapping. Although it doesn’t give the user quite the free range of movement that Puppemoji does, the mouth animation was more sensitive and the avatars could wink.

HoloLive’s interface is also more simple to use, with a limited but decent range of color, background, and character options. One downside is that it doesn’t have a built-in video recorder, meaning you would have to use a separate one. I couldn’t be bothered to do that myself, so here’s someone else’s demo.

In the end, HoloLive is the go-to VTuber app, simply for its much wider availability and ease to use. However, if Puppemoji could create a dumbed-down version compatible with more devices, its ability to record and post straight from the app and wider range of options would make it the superior choice by far. But they’re both good apps, as long as they don’t reveal me to be the sad balding middle-aged man I really am.

Source: Puppemoji (iTunes), HoloLive (iTunes, Google Play), Hachima Kiko
Images: SoraNews24