Silvervale spoke with us for our second interview in our VShojo series
This interview is part of our series "So You Wanna Be An Anime Girl?"—a series of articles and interviews with the members of the VTuber agency VShojo. Each interview is accompanied by the VTubers' Top 30 Anime of All Time. You can see Silvervale's Top 30 Anime here!
We've known for a while now that VTubers have taken over the planet, but one of my favorite things about them is that every single stream you tune into is completely unique. Every stream gives you this very special blend of (what is usually) a high fantasy anime character and the genuine personality of a performer that you can't really get anywhere else. When you tune into a Silvervale stream, you immediately feel right at home. The pastel colors, laid-back and friendly atmosphere, and her soothing voice make a very relaxing and kind atmosphere you won't get anywhere else on Twitch.
We had the opportunity to talk with Silvervale about VTubing, how she got into anime and gaming, and how we can all slow down and appreciate the little things in life.
Crunchyroll: Hello! Could you please introduce yourself for any of our readers who may not be familiar with you?
Silvervale: Hello, I'm Silvervale. I'm a wolf sakura spirit VTuber. I stream mostly on Twitch. I have cozy vibes and I like to play games a lot and… oh God, I’m so nervous.
No, no, that's a great answer!
Silvervale: I focus on cozy vibes and encouraging people to appreciate the little things in life and just not be so serious about everything, I guess!
I really get that sense from your streams. They just feel like a good opportunity to sort of slow down and, like you said, appreciate the little things in life that you overlook because you get so caught up in stuff.
So what is a day in the life of an Okami Sakura hybrid spirit (who is also a gamer) like?
Silvervale: Hmm… Is it a day that I'm streaming or just a normal day?
Oh! Let's hear both. What's a normal day like?
Silvervale: Playing games all day.
Silvervale: Yes, in my pajamas cuddling my wolf.
That sounds great.
Silvervale: Yeah, and then let's see... For a stream day, I spend a lot of time prepping the stream and just figuring out what I want to do that day and what fun, cozy things we’ll do. And then I stream, hang out with my community and make friends and make people happy!
So this is like a sort of off the cuff question, but before this interview, I was looking at your entry on the VTuber Wiki...
Silvervale: Oh no...
And the first sentence in the section about your personality is “she is known for her bloodlust in video games.”
Silvervale: Yeah, I am a little bit yandere. I really enjoy killing people. But if I say that, it makes me sound like a crazy person. I really, really like violence! I don't know... I think it's really a lot of fun. It just... gets something going in me. It's so different from my normal cozy vibes, but I really, really like killing things! Maybe it's the wolf in me, I'm not sure, but I do like... a bloodlust giggle that freaks people out a lot, but it's really fun! So yeah, I really like... I like stabbing people.
Okay, so maybe this will make me sound insane too, but I totally get it.
I think there is something about, violent video games that really...
Silvervale: There’s something freeing about it.
Yeah! Like I think it satisfies the like monke part of the brain.
Silvervale: Exactly! Yeah, that primal urge.
Yes! Well, thank you for being so open about that. I think maybe some people are a little bit shy about liking violent stuff, but I think that it's totally fine.
Silvervale: It's like, people think you have to be cute and sweet and nice all the time, but you can like violent bloody things and go a little crazy. It's okay.
Yeah, I totally agree with that.
So, we've talked about how you are very much a Gamer Girl.
How did you get into gaming and/or anime in the first place?
Silvervale: I got into both of them t the same time from my brother. My brother is also a VTuber and he got me into games and anime. We would watch Adult Swim at night. We had separate rooms and we would message each other while we were watching anime secretly because we weren't supposed to be up that late. We would message each other about what was happening in the show. He also got me into Zelda and Fallout and all that stuff, so he's the one that opened my eyes to the world of gaming and anime! I don't want to know what kind of person I would be if I wasn't into that.
When you mentioned messaging your brother in another room, that unlocked neurons in my brain. I did exactly the same thing with my sister! We would be watching Inuyasha when I was 10 and we definitely shouldn’t have been up that late.
Silvervale: Yeah! Watching Inuyasha and FMA and just talking about it...
Exactly! That is like the quintessential anime kid experience, I think.
So, I'm actually interested to hear your thoughts on what it is about anime and video games that connects with people so deeply. There are communities that get built up around them that are so different than any other sort of fandom.
Silvervale: I think it has a lot to do with escapism, and wanting to get away from the struggles of normal life. There's so many fantasy aspects and extravagant parts of it. You can kind of just focus everything into that game and meet people there that have the same ideals and passions as you. People who like the same things as you. Anime and video games just unlock serotonin in your brain and explore so many topics that make people happy or give themselves something else to focus on. I feel like a lot of it is that people just want to get away from the struggles of daily life and enjoy something different that helps them embrace the parts of themselves that they might not see normally.
I think that's totally true. It's really interesting because I think when people bring up escapism, it's usually in like… I guess a really—
Silvervale: Depressing way?
Yeah! Like a depressing or a negative way where it's like you're running away from everything important in your life. But I like your point that escapism can actually help you connect with people in a way you wouldn't be able to otherwise.
Silvervale: Yeah, it’s the same with a lot of people who play games. Many of us have met our closest friends online, and when you talk about that to a “normal” person, they think it’s super weird. It’s like that meme where someone said that they’ve talked to their best friend online and shared all their deepest, darkest secrets but they didn’t even know their friend had a dog. Really basic things like that. You just get so much more comfortable with yourself as a person online than you are in real life, because real life is clouded by all this superficial stuff like your job or how you look or your family or your voice, etc. Online, it’s just you as a person and your personality, and the things you are into. It’s a lot easier to relate to people and make friendships based on who you are as a person. I think that’s really important. People disregard the internet as a big terrible place, but it’s full of all these amazing people that bond over the things they love, and I think that’s really special.
Oh my gosh, you put that in such a beautiful way. Thank you.
Silvervale: I think about it a lot, because a lot of my closest friends are people I met on the internet and I'm so much closer to them than I would be to like... a normal person.
I totally get it. I think it’s really nice to connect with people without the… I guess you can call it the “normie pressure.” There’s such a weird pressure when you meet people under normal circumstances.
Silvervale: Yeah and you don't know what they're into... but if you meet someone in a Discord for a certain anime, you know they're going to be into that anime and you can talk about it instead of thinking, “well I have to see, are they wearing a shirt that has something gamer related?” It's so much easier to start a conversation.
So, what is it about VTubing got you excited to to try it out in the first place?
Silvervale: Honestly, I didn't know VTubing was a thing when I first started. I just saw that I could be a cute anime girl on Twitch and I did it! I used something called Face Rig, which was really scuffed back in the day. I just saw that it was a program and you could use it and replace your face on a webcam with whatever you want. I thought, “I really want to be a cute anime girl on Twitch. I think that would be really different and cool” and so I tried it! Then I met one of my friends who introduced me to VTubing and the community and I learned there was the whole world out there full of other really cool anime people! I just, really, really like it. I think you can embrace your creativity—every person's design is so different and it’s almost their personality put on paper. You can see so much about them just based on their character and what they look like and their whole design aspect. I think it’s really, really neat and it's so different from normal streams.
Yeah! Every time I tune into a VTuber stream who I’ve never watched before, I never get this sense of, “been here, done that.” It’s always something really unique, which is something I love about VTubing.
Silvervale: Yeah! It’s all so different. People can be a lot more comfortable and just be themselves. The VShojo girls and I would probably never say or do the things we do as VTubers if we were just normal. When you’re self conscious and feel a lot of pressure and you’re always worrying, it’s hard to put yourself out there. But as a cute anime girl, you will always be a cute anime girl and you can do all the weird shit you want to do! You feel free and like you can just be yourself. It’s really, really special.
It sounds so liberating!
Silvervale: It really is! And I know there are some streamers that have taken up VTubing and they say it's their favorite thing! They feel so comfortable and they want to do it more, and I think that's really cool.
Yeah, I know whenever I am being perceived, I'm always like,”what should I do with my hands?” I understand how liberating it probably is to not have to worry about that. There's this really cute anime girl who's taking away that sort of pressure, but it also isn't like a disguise, it's still you.
Silvervale: Yeah, you just don't have to worry about “oh, am I making a weird face?” or whatever—you're always a cute anime girl, you know? It’s really nice. But as far as branding and recognizability goes—your character is your brand and you ARE that anime character. People will recognize you. It’s the same with any anime character from any anime. They recognize that character. So instead of your logo or whatever, you ARE your character. It's a lot easier to relate to.
Was there anything that was super hard to get used to when you began VTubing, or something that was more challenging than you thought it would be when you were first starting out?
Silvervale: The tech. People don't realize how complicated and frustrating it is. They think it's just, “okay, press the button, bam you're an anime girl!” But it's so complicated and there's so many different facets to it. 2D rigs are easier, but I was 3D for most of my streaming career. People don't realize I had to strap really heavy VRChat pucks to my head and my arms, and I had to run three different programs and I couldn't have anything reflective in my room! It was a big, stressful struggle. It’s the same with just setting up our models with different accessories or setting things up for holiday outfits. People don't realize how much goes into it. When you're a VTuber, you have to know a decent bit about technology and things like that, and it's not as easy as people think it is!
Yeah, I can imagine. By the way, your 3D and 2D models have a very specific charm in both versions.
Silvervale: Aww, thank you!
I think it's so fascinating because sometimes when I'm watching, I don't know that much about VTubing, but I think about everything you’re doing: one: you're entertaining an audience and interacting with chat; two: you might be playing a video game; three: you have to cycle between expressions, sometimes;four: you have to set your background music, so on and so on. There’s so much going on!
Silvervale: And then if a tech issue comes up, your arms float away or whatever and you have to try and wing it and make it entertaining without giving into stress! The changing expressions thing is kind of funny because you do have realistic face tracking, but you still press expression keys for the bigger emotion changes. It’s just muscle memory for me now when I do it… Actually, if I’m in Discord talking to my friends casually and something happens that makes me happy, my muscle memory kicks in and makes me press the “happy expression” key, and then I feel dumb for a few seconds! It’s just so ingrained that when I feel something, I press a certain key, which is sort of cool at the same time.
Yeah, it's like you almost have a soul bond with the experience.
Silvervale: Yeah, that's really, that's a good way to put it. That's really cute.
That's what it feels like though!! People who haven't really watched a lot of VTubers write off VTubing, but it really is this connection... both between you and the act of VTubing, but also between you and the audience.
Silvervale: It's magical, kind of.
Yeah, yeah, it really is! That actually leads me into another question: are there any misconceptions about VTubing you wish people got right, or aspects of VTubing you wish people knew about?
Silvervale: A lot of people think that VTubing is just a way to hide ourselves because we're unattractive or we because hate ourselves... or that we all use a fake voice and things like that. It's so stupid and I hate it and I hate all the misconceptions about it. It’s really just a way for us to be more comfortable. Especially with all the issues around doxxing and things like that that are becoming more prevalent… oh my god, being a VTuber is the best thing ever! We can still share ourselves with our community and make friends and connect with people, but we don’t have to constantly worry that we’re going to get swatted or that everyone knows what we look like and they’ll be able to find us… things like that that can make you feel really paranoid. We as VTubers can just be comfortable and have our streams while maintaining safety and anonymity while still engaging with our community, and I think that’s really important. As for the voice thing… for a lot of people, that’s just their voice! Lots of us aren’t faking a voice, it’s really just people who—like a cute anime girl—have a naturally high pitched voice. People need to stop obsessing over it. VTubing lets us be ourselves and we aren’t hiding anything—it’s just that we relate more to the cute anime girl on screen and it lets us become something different and special.
That’s so cool. And yeah! It’s so weird to me how many people are like, “you’re using a voice changer!”
Silvervale: Yeah, it’s weird! It’s happened a lot lately. We’ve been playing that crab game a lot and we’ll be on other big streams… and the chat goes nuts talking about our voices. What’s the difference between a VTuber and just another girl streamer on Twitch? We just happen to look like an anime character. That’s it. I don’t know why people get so weird about it! I hope in the future, VTubing will be more acceptable. It’s becoming more and more apparent how big a concern safety and security is for streamers…keeping your anonymity is really important.
I think it's been proven that if you are someone online with a following, there's probably going to be people who are trying to find out stuff you don't want found out.
Silvervale: They’re bored and they want something to do.
Silvervale playing Minecwaf (Minecraft)
On a more positive note: I am curious what it is about VTubing that you think connects with people so deeply? We talked about how video games and anime do that, but I'm interested to hear your perspective on how VTubing does that.
Silvervale: Hmm, maybe just because it seems more accessible... You watch anime all your life and you see these anime characters and you just fall in love with them. You think they're so neat, and I feel like a lot of that is tied to VTubing because we are people, but we're also anime characters. I think it's easier to relate to us and feel the type of bond that feels less weird than like, “oh my God, I really love Amouranth and I think she's so great.” But saying, “I really love this anime character,” you know, it feels less strange I guess. And I just think it's really special and I forgot what the question was.
Silvervale: I’m really nervous!
No, you’re doing so well. That was a great answer!
Silvervale: Thank you. I get so anxious and ramble a lot.
Oh my gosh, same. I don't know if it's helpful to hear but before any interviews, I'm always like “oh man, I feel like my stomach's gonna fall out of my butt I'm so nervous.”
Yeah, but I totally agree with you. I think there's something really special about growing up with anime and then seeing an anime girl who’s streaming.
Silvervale: It’s like you get to interact with a real life anime character. It’s really special, because you can tell that anime girl about your day and learn things about her. It's like an interactive anime that's different every day, and I think that's really, really, really cool.
Yeah it really is!
Okay, my next question is: do you have any advice for people who are thinking about trying out VTubing?
Silvervale: Just do it. Don't let your dreams be dreams. It's so fun! Streaming itself is fun, but streaming as a VTuber is honestly a magical experience. I don’t want to sound stupid, but it is! It’s so magical and so freeing, and there’s just something so amazing about it. So just do it! Figure out what you want your design to be and just have fun with it. And do your research! There’s a lot more tools and applications for VTubing than there were back when I started. It’s a lot easier to get into. You can make a VRoid pretty easily and just try it out! Just figure out what you think is fun and do it, because it’s wonderful and the community is really, really nice.
Yeah, I've definitely seen how supportive and cool the community is.
Silvervale: Yeah! We all get each other, you know? We all like anime, we all like video games, and we just want people to be happy. We support eachother and want to encourage people to follow their dreams. I feel like that makes it a really special community.
Definitely. All right, last question. Is there anything else you want to say to everyone before we say goodbye?
Silvervale: Hmm… just don’t take things so seriously. I stress this a lot in my streams and it’s the reason why I wanted to be a sakura spirit—besides them being really cute and pretty, they sort of encompass the ethereal feeling of life being fleeting since they only bloom for a short time. They’re so beautiful and then they’re just gone. I think it’s really important to focus on the little things. If you’re playing a game, just take a while and enjoy the environment and the music or the sound design. It’s the same with your life—take a moment to appreciate the people that are surrounding you and the people that love you. Your friends and your community, and—I’m definitely not about to cry—and just take a moment to enjoy the little things and don’t take life so seriously.
Yeah, [voice cracking] I wasn't crying either.
Silvervale: I get very emotional very easily.
Yeah, well, I mean, same. I mean that was like a really beautiful sentiment.
Silvervale: Thank you!
I think it’s really special that you’re able to share this part of yourself with people.
Silvervale: I feel very lucky. I never thought I would be here, but it's really, really cool that I am.
Well thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself with people and I really do think they're learning to value those little things in life.
Silvervale: Aww, thank you. I feel really lucky. My mom is a big part of my community and my streams, and she loves it so much. It’s really special that I get to share that with her because she’s a mom living her mom life, going to work, coming home, making dinner, and then do it all again. She gets to sort of live vicariously through me and look at all this cool fanart and watch these cute anime girl streams and it’s really special. It’s crazy seeing how our streams affect peoples lives all over the world, I’m glad I can give her that experience.
That’s so great. Well, I think that’s it!
Silvervale: Yay, we did it! Woo!
Thanks so much for talking with us, Silvervale.
Silvervale: Thank you, too!
Other articles in this series:
Cayla Coats is the Editor-in-Chief of Crunchyroll News EN. She tweets @ceicocat.