Mugi Ienaga remembers to tell viewers bye, forgets to shut off the microphone.

Virtual YouTubers aren’t real, in the sense that they’re fictional characters represented by CG avatars. At the same time, they are real, because there’s an actual human being doing the Virtual YouTuber’s voice, and often movements, many times performing live as software renders the character’s visuals on the fly.

That makes virtual YouTubers sort of like costumed characters at Disneyland. The act depends on them keeping their mask on at all times when in front of their audience, and should it slip off, fans might get their hearts broken. Earlier this year, a popular anime girl virtual YouTuber was discovered to actually be a middle-aged man due to a camera snafu, and now another anime girl YouTuber, Mugi Ienaga, has given viewers an unexpected peek, or actually an earful, of her associated human’s real-world life.

For the first moments of the above clip, captured by YouTube user Puni Puni, nothing seems out of the ordinary. Mugi thanks her fans for watching, and signs off with a cheery “Bye bye!” at 10-second mark. Then, strangly, there’s about 30 seconds of almost complete silence, save for some occasional keyboard and mouse clicking. Then, finally, this happens:

A phone rings, and we hear Mugi, in a less staged and cutesy voice, saying she’ll call whoever’s on the other end back. Apparently the other party is impatient, and Mugi coquettishly asks “Why? What is it?” It’s only then that she realizes she can hear her voice coming through her speakers, because she’s still broadcasting to her audience, which causes her to burst out in nervous laughter:

“Is it OK to talk?” asks the person on the other end of the phone, a man with a slightly shy tone to his voice. As he goes on trying to speak, Mugi quickly shifts back to her stage voice, talking over him to tell her viewers “This is Mugi, and I’m so, so nervous! Please hang on just a second.” Then comes more groaning and giggling, followed by “I’m sorry! So sorry! Please erase your memories of this. OK? Ah, I’m so sorry! I’ve got to get it together…OK? Sorry.”

The sudden dropping of character, and quick jump back into the role, prompted comments such as:

“It’s like watching a girl who just got caught cheating on her boyfriend try to talk her way out of it.”
“Hey, Mugi’s avatar just sways back and forth, no matter what’s going on.”
“Wondering how many otaku fans are trying to delude themselves by saying ‘That’s not her boyfriend. It’s just a production staff member.’”
“Their conversation sounds way too ‘friendly’ to be just chat between her and her staff.”

In regards to the last two comments, odds are Mugi, with 61,000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, hasn’t yet reached the point in her career where she employs a staff. She’s likely handling the production all by herself, like most YouTubers do while first trying to build a name for themselves, and having to juggle so many tasks means that sometimes she’s going to drop the ball on one of them, such as shutting down her broadcast before slipping out of character.

▼ Mugi’s newest video

Hopefully her fans will take that into consideration, as well as remember that even virtual YouTubers are produced by real people with their own lives outside the character.

Related: Mugi Ienaga YouTube channel
Source: YouTube/ぷに ぷに via Jin

Top image: YouTube/ぷに ぷに

Follow Casey on Twitter, where his current mask is three-days worth of unshaven stubble.