August 8, 2023
By Samantha Low
Food might be a passion for many but few have taken the route Onigiri has by becoming one of the world’s first VTubers to combine cooking with virtual streaming. Originally hailing from Canada, Giri (as she’s affectionately known within her community) has now crash-landed in Tokyo, following an amazing opportunity with a local talent agency, GeeXPlus. Metropolis sits down with the demon lord-turned-online chef to better understand the world of VTubing and what Japan has to offer her in building her career.
From five to six days a week, viewers can tune into Giri’s Twitch stream where a blend of virtual and reality combine, with delicious results. A purple-haired, gold-horned live 2D avatar moves, speaks and reacts to the Twitch chat, while physically gloved hands and a body hidden behind a blue screen and a blue suit prepare the actual recipe for the day. When it comes to streaming, most creators either opt to show their face (also called “face cam”) while some utilize a VTuber persona in the form of PNG art, 2D and 3D avatars. Giri’s blend of content combines the two, allowing herself to showcase her feats in the kitchen, without showing her face.
“I never thought streaming would be a thing for me. I’m introverted and shy, but that’s where VTubing comes in. I see my avatar as a way to channel my personality into a stream without having to worry about social anxiety and being self-conscious about my appearance,”
In the early days of streaming, Giri made recipes that she was well-versed in to showcase the technique of cooking. However she now uses her cooking streams to explore new cuisines and dishes from around the world, alongside her community.
“I’ve made cheese from scratch, live on stream. We also made moussaka once, a Greek dish that I’ve never had prior to making it. I like sharing these new experiences with my Twitch chat. Even if I end up making mistakes, they understand that we’re all learning together.”
On the backend, her setup is fine-tuned, she has a studio specifically for cooking. Some of the preparation she does includes researching recipes and grocery shopping or ordering ingredients, especially if they’re rare. The day before a stream, Giri will practice via ‘shadow cooking’ to estimate how many bowls, knives and cutting boards she might need as well as any additional appliances. This prep might seem simple but it all contributes towards ensuring a seamless live experience for the audience.
Moving to Japan is something Giri has always thought of. Her trip at the end of 2022 cemented the decision and she cites the amazing people, scenery and abundance of events and festivals as some of the things she loves most about Japan. With an anime-inspired avatar plus the general demographic of Twitch, it’s easy to see how the Onimart (the name of Giri’s community) too, would fall in love with IRL livestreams that feature Japan’s sweeping landscapes.
“There’s so much opportunity here for me to create content and take my viewers on a tour of the country through my own eyes,”
As the country where VTubing originated in, the move just makes sense. Giri is now more embedded in a community of content creators, talents and other VTubers that just ‘get’ what she does. She’s still cooking with chat, grinding hours on games like Jump King and going on IRL fishing trips with her VTuber friends. But there are lots in the pipeline for Onigiri in Japan, and she promises more collaborations with friends (both the flesh and virtual kind) as well as ‘one of the largest things she’s ever hosted’. She’s hush on the details for now, but she was sure about one thing.
“Summer will be a big season for Onigiri.”