Nijisanji (nicknamed 2434) is a Virtual Youtuber group based in Japan, founded and operated by ANYCOLOR Inc. note Nijisanji members make Let's Play, free chat, and other variety content streams with Live2D-animated anime avatars on YouTube (the Chinese branch though primarily streams on Bilibili). Officially, Nijisanji members refer to themselves as "Virtual Livers", or "Livers" for short.
The group was founded by ANYCOLOR (then Ichikara) in early 2018 as a proof of concept for the Nijisanji app, after Kizuna Ai kickstarted the VTuber trend in 2016-2017. The app allows streaming with Live2D-animated anime avatars using the iPhone X facial motion capture technology, which is simpler and much less expensive than full-body 3D motion tracking equipment used with Kizuna Ai.
The debut group consisted of only 8 members, but they became unexpectedly popular in Japan, and ANYCOLOR soon expanded Nijisanji into a massive VTuber organization. As of 2 May 2022, Nijisanji has a total of 213 active talents, including members in foreign branches. An overview of Nijisanji's branches are as follows:
- Nijisanji: The main branch of Nijisanji. It currently has 140 active members and 32 former members (30 members who retired including the two from VOIZ, two members whose contracts were terminated).
- The main branch of Nijisanji formerly consisted of three wings: Nijisanji, Nijisanji Gamers, and Nijisanji SEEDs; these three wings were merged into a single one in December 2018. In 2022, the separate branches, Nijisanji KR and ID were also consolidated under the main branch.
- VOIZ was a male unit of 4 members, active from June-August 2018. Two of the members retired in June 2018 while the other two (Air Harusaki and Naru Naruse) subsequently joined SEEDs.
- NIJISANJI ID: The Indonesian branch, which began activities in June 2019 before merging with the main branch in 2022.
- NIJISANJI KR: The Korean branch, which began activities in January 2020 before also merging with the main branch in 2022. Includes Livers from the agency 541 E&C, which merged with KR when it was established.
- NIJISANJI IN: The Indian branch (temporarily the English branch NIJISANJI EN), which began activities in January 2020. Currently inactive, with 3 former members.
- NIJISANJI EN: The English branch, which began activities in May 2021. Currently has 26 active members.
- VirtuaReal: A Chinese "branch" (technically a separate project from Nijisanji, but close enough to Nijisanji that it is usually considered a branch) jointly operated between ANYCOLOR and Bilibili, launched in May 2019. Currently has 47 active members and 9 former members.
- VirtuaReal Star: A VirtuaReal branch that creates VTuber identities for established content creators and celebrities.
- VirtuaReal Link: A partnership program for independent VTubers similar to Nijisanji NetWORK.
- Defunct projects:
- Nijisanji Shanghai/Taipei: A branch operated in partnership with local companies that began activities in August 2018. At the end of March 2019 it was reorganised into VEgo and Ichikara ended its involvement. The last member of the group would retire in March 2020.
- Nijisanji NetWORK: A partnership program active from May-December 2019 that provides support to independent Virtual YouTubers. Two members (Tenkai Tsukasa and Fairys) came under the program, and they now operate as independent VTubers after the program's termination.
Nijisanji members produce a large variety of content, including Let's Plays, free talk streams, singing, voice acting, radio hosting, ASMR, and other streams or videos that don't fall into any category. The main Nijisanji channel also releases short animated videos of stream highlights, as well as regular multi-member projects such as radio talk shows and variety shows, and special projects such as gaming tournaments.
Nijisanji currently has a channel focused on English-language content, including translated clips and Puchisanji animations.
They have released original songs by members and music. They've currently released two albums of original songs: "にじさんじ Music MIX UP!!" and "SMASH The PAINT!!", and one Cover Album "Prismatic Colors", and in addition have contributed to the "Imagination" series of cover albums. All of the albums are available on online music streaming platforms like Spotify and iTunes.
Nijisanji also uses the "Niji3D" technology, which allows 3D motion tracking on the upper part of the body outside of a studio environment. It has seen regular use by some Nijisanji members.
This group provides examples of:
- Arc Symbol: Rainbow
- April Fools' Day: A decent chunk of the livers run their own gags (mostly Twitter-based), some of which are recurring.
- Mito started off with a stream done by her hairpins in 2018. This was followed up by the infamous "Nazono Mito" stream in 2019, with the series continuing into subsequent years.
- Other recurring gags include streams by Touya Kenmochi's genderbent version Touko, and Kaede's trumpet valve taking over her accounts.
- Kai Mayuzumi prefers to use April Fools' Day for expanding his lore instead.
- Ambiguously Bi: Alongside Ambiguously Gay; the members of Nijisanji EN's Luxiem and Noctyx waves (save Shu, Luca, and Yugo note ) tend to freely flirt with each other and encourage fans to ship them together.
- Augmented Reality: ANYCOLOR has developed its own inhouse AR tech for use in various events. First demonstrated at Nijisanji Anniversary Festival 2021, the tech has seen use in events such as Ibrahim's 3D debut stream, in which he was shown playing a real-life pachinko machine, and the AR live concert "LIGHT UP TONES".
- Cast of Snowflakes: Every character design of Nijisanji members is unique and can be distinguished from each other, despite having over 200 active members, to make each Liver stand out during collaborations. Characters have their own designs and backstories and can be a variety from Ordinary High-School Student to Talking Animal.
- Cast Herd: As the number of members increases, this is unavoidable. Since collaborations within Nijisanji are frequent, members who often collaborate together are given names and become subunits. For example: evergreen nerd note , Loli gumi note , and SKB club note are only a few of the subunits. Although they split into groups, they still can choose to collaborate with anyone outside those groups, but usually, they stick to the group that they are in regularly.
- Nijisanji is also split into musical units for their albums. The groups also often stream collaborations with each other.
- Petit Fleurs was a musical unit that contains two members; Otogibara Era and Morinaka Kazaki. Their group was signed under the record label NBCUniversal Entertainment Japan. Due to Otogibara Era's retirement, they are more or less considered disbanded (Kazaki is continuing as a solo artist).
- Rain Drops are a Nijisanji universal unit that has six members: Ryushen, Elu, Warabeda Meiji, Joe Rikiichi, Saegusa Akina and Suzuki Masaru. This is signed under the label Virgin Records (Universal Music Group).
- Dokuzuhonsha is treated as both a musical unit and a collaboration unit with four members: Kuzuha, Honma Himawari, Dola, and Yashiro Kizuku. When streaming, they treat each other like a family note .
- JK Gumi is another group that is treated as both a musical unit and a collaboration unit. The members are Tsukino Mito, Higuchi Kaede, and Shizuka Rin. All three members were among the first eight original members of Nijisanji.
- ▽▲TRiNITY▲▽ is a musical unit consisting of Rion Takamiya, Fuyuki Hakase and Furen E Lustario. On February 28, 2021 at the closing ceremony of the Nijisanji Anniversary Festival it was announced that they had signed with NBC Universal.
- Other groups who are both collaboration groups and musical units include SanBaka note , made up of Lize Helesta, Ange Katrina, and Inui Toko, ChroNoiR, a duo of Kuzuha and Kanae, le jouet, made up of Ryushen, Kagami Hayato, and Yumeoi Kakeru, and VALZ (Officially spelled as VΔLZ), a trio made up of Nagao Kei, Genzuki Tojiro, and Kaida Haru.
- Other members are easily recognized by their debut groups such as Beni Zuwaigani (Saegusa Akina, Aizono Manami), SMC (Yorumi Rena, Kagami Hayato, Hakase Fuyuki), Blues (Mayuzumi Kai, Ars Armal, Aiba Uiha), Posanke (Amamiya Kokoro, Ratna Petit, Eli Conifer), The Red Organization (Matsukai Mao, Luis Cammy, Emma August), Orihimeboshi (Hoshikawa Sara, Fumi, Yamagami Karuta), Tulip Gumi (Sukoya Kana, Shellin Burgendy, Hayase Sou), Night Kingdom (Fuwa Minato, Shirayuki Tomoe, Gwelu Os Gar), Mananatsu (Mashiro, Naraka, Kurusu Natsume), Meifu (Furen E Lustario, Melissa Kinrenka, Ibrahim), and the Sereine Girls' Academy group AKA the Selejo Girls (Asahina Akane, Suo Sango, Todo Kohaku, Kitakoji Hisui, Nishizono Chigusa).
- Nijisanji is also split into musical units for their albums. The groups also often stream collaborations with each other.
- Child of Two Worlds: Most members of Nijisanji EN are multilingual and have explained that the reason for this is because they grew up in a family/environment where they speak another language besides English. The languages and communities represented beyond English include Japanese, French, Hmong, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Tagalog, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Korean, and Vietnamese.
- Developer's Foresight: A non-gaming example: the home version of Nijisanji's 3D model tracking actively prevents people from Flipping the Bird. Nobody knew this feature existed for several months, until Lize tried to do exactly that on a whim wondering why her model's fingers were acting weird.
- Digital Avatar: They use the Nijisanji App to allow streaming through digital avatars by using iPhone X facial motion capture to control Live2D models. This is cheaper than some alternatives, but movement and animation are limited. They also have Niji3D which allows members to use full-motion tracker outside the studio. Niji3D is limited to the upper body, and there are a few people who mainly use Niji3D when streaming such as Ange.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Due to the Cast of Snowflakes and having over 200 talents, this is to be expected to keep every design unique. Characters' designs range from high school students and middle-aged otaku, to things like vampires, knights, witches, elves, angels, animals in human form, talking animals, demons, devils, dragons, and youkai.
- "Freaky Friday" Flip: Sometimes shows up as a gimmick for 3D collabs, such as when Chaika and Yuika switched bodies during Rena's 3D debut stream, and the Ange/Mikoto collaboration stream in which both of them had to do various athletic tasks with switched bodies.
- Game Show: The monthly "Niji Quiz" series, which as the name suggests is a quiz show featuring the livers. This is done in collaboration with the quiz site QuizKnock. Since June 2021 "Niji Quiz" also has a series of specials based on other quiz shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and Panel Quiz Attack 25.
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: The English branch started out with an Improbably Female Cast for the first three waves, but the debuts of Luxiem and Noctyx brought the total to an even ratio of girls and guys. The first mixed-gender wave, ILUNA, maintains this balance while being an example in and of itself.
- Goroawase Number:
- 2434 for Nijisanji itself is practically an Arc Number.
- A few of the livers' Twitter accounts also use this, such as Kizuku Yashiro (@846kizuQ) and Chigusa Nishizono (@Chigusa_24zono).
- Goroawase numbers for other livers show up occasionally in streams or as donation amounts, such as 310 for Mito and 108 for Touya.
- Idol Singer:
- Though operated primarily as a streamer group (and not an "idol" group like hololive), Nijisanji has many members who are talented in singing, and they have released 4 albums of songs so far. They planned to perform in a 6-show national music concert tour called "Nijisanji JAPAN TOUR 2020 Shout in the Rainbow!" starting in February 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Tokyo show was cancelled and the second Zepp Namba show was exclusively streamed online. A "Tokyo Revenge" show was subsequently held at the Nijisanji Anniversary Festival in February 2021 alongside several other performances.
- There are a handful of members who are stated to be idols in their profiles, including Uiha and Rena.
- Mito is also heading in this direction in her solo musical performances, especially since she has a dedicated "idol" outfit (whereas Kaede's direction as a solo singer isn't really of the idol type).
- Kayfabe: Downplayed. In comparison to most hololive talents, who tend to play up the fictional streamer aspect of their channels, the more prominent Nijisanji livers are more relaxed and give off a streamer with a virtual avatar feel. Though their true identities are never discussed, they have no issue discussing their personal lives, what they did before joining Nijisanji, and so on.
- Let's Play: A popular category of content. Game choices will depend on the liver but can cover trending games, hard games such as Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, horror games such as Outlast, or just those games that interest them. Mito in particular gained much of her early popularity from her playthroughs of Europe Kikaku games and similar strange web games.
- Location Theme Naming: All the August 2020 Nijisanji debuts (Akane Asahina, Sango Suo, Koharu Todo, Hisui Kitakoji, and Chigusa Nishizono) have names with characters corresponding to a cardinal direction/location. Asahina (朝日南) is South, Suo (周央) is center, Todo (東堂) is East, Kitakoji (北小路) is North, and Nishozono (西園) is West.
- Multinational Team:
- Nijisanji has operations in Japan (the agency's home country), Korea, Indonesia, China note , and within the Anglosphere; they also had an Indian branch that is currently inactive. The English branch alone has members residing in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, Sweden, and Japan. Meanwhile, the main Japanese branch would absorb the Indonesian and Korean branches.
- The third Palette single "Virtual Strike" is themed around this, with five different language versions (Japanese, English, Indonesian, Korean, Chinese), each sung by representatives from the corresponding branch. The fourth Palette single "Trial and Error" also has the same.
- Similar Squad: The Nijisanji EN waves that share the same number of members, LazuLight/OBSYDIA and Luxiem/Noctyx, share a strong parallel in their themes.
- For LazuLight and Obsydia:
- Elira and Selen are the most obvious, being that both are dragons.
- Pomu and Rosemi are themed after nature, one a fairy, the other a rose maiden.
- Finana and Petra are both aquatic. Finana's a mermaid and Petra's a penguin.
- For Luxiem and Noctyx:
- Their concepts are opposite to each other, with Luxiem being brought from the past and Noctyx from the future.
- Mysta for Luxiem and Sonny for Noctyx are crime-solvers while Luxiem's Luca and Noctyx's Alban are criminal characters. They also reverse the other's colors: orange (Mysta and Alban) and yellow (Luca and Sonny). The yellow pair both work at the heads of organizations, while the orange pair both work alone.
- Vox and Fulgur for Luxiem and Noctyx respectively are an inhuman character and use red.
- Shu and Uki both have supernatural powers and have purple as their colors.
- Ike and Yugo both deal with some other form of entertainment: books for Ike and music for Yugo. They also mainly use blue.
- For LazuLight and Obsydia:
- Spell My Name with an S: While official English spellings are provided on the website, this doesn't extend to unit names. In particular, the unit consisting of Akina Saegusa, Minato Fuwa and Kai Mayuzumi has been spelt "Meshers", "Meschers", "Mesherz" and more by fan translators. When they had a hand lotion collaboration the name was written as "Mesher's". Incidentally, the name originates from the highlights in the members' hair, the Japanese term for which comes from the French word mèche.
- Tournament Arc: Nijisanji hosts tournaments for members to participate and go against each other from time to time. They've hosted many different types of tournaments, from typing tournaments to games tournaments like Splatoon 2, Mahjong and Tetris 99, and even a RockPaperScissors tournament with a 1,000,000 yen prize (provided by Kai Mayuzumi). These tournaments are usually hosted by either one of the members for smaller events, or by a staff member at the main channel for larger events.
- The largest of these tournaments is the annual Mario Kart 8 tournament originally organised by Touya Kenmochi. For the 3rd iteration in 2020, 77 members participated, or nearly three-quarters of the Japanese branch.
- The Nijisanji Koshien in 2020 was a tournament played in Live Powerful Pro Baseball, involving six teams with characters based on Nijisanji livers. The final holds the record for the Nijisanji stream with the most concurrent viewers at over 190,000. The Koshien was run again in 2021, this time with eight teams and some of the international branches added to the draft pool, and a third time in 2022.
- Wizarding School: ILUNA, the sixth EN wave, consists of six students who attend the "ILUNA Institute of the Mystics."