The rise of the VTuber community has allowed streamers to present themselves visually however they’d like. However, the streamer’s voice — if different from the persona — could cause a rather jarring disconnect.
Now, with real-time voice changers like Voicemod, VTubers and streamers have the opportunity to better and more authentically engage with their viewers. Today, we’re happy to chat with Otohime Saki, a variety VTuber who uses Voicemod and is a rising member of the VTuber community.
InvenCulture: Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little about yourself.
Otohime Saki: So, last name first, I am Otohime Saki. I am a variety VTuber based in the Philippines. In my case, I enjoy doing first-person shooter streams and RPG streams, mostly of the player versus player variant and some adventuring variant like Fallout 4. Right now my favorite competitive games are Apex Legends and Rainbow 6: Siege.
For those who don’t know, fill us in on how a VTuber, in general, would interact with their community?
It's pretty much like the same way a regular streamer; see the chat on your screen, you talk to your stream. It's just that we — virtual YouTubers, virtual streamers — don't necessarily have to show our face to be ourselves. We just envision ourselves on what we want to look like. But we provide similar content.
Not everyone gets to choose what they look like. So, for you, what goes into picking what you look like and how you present yourself?
I used to play Final Fantasy 14, I still love the game, and most of my clothing style is actually based off of the Red Mage class. But, I also love playing the Paladin class and I also love firearms. So, I have a sword similar to the Curtana from the Paladin class and my preferred firearm is the KAR98k because of my previous love for Call of Duty Modern Warfare.
So, being able to present yourself and your interests visually, do you feel that you're presenting a more true version of yourself through this avatar? Or do you feel that you're presenting more of a character?
First it was the latter. But as time went by, I realized the character I am showing myself as is actually expressing who I really am. It's helped me. Like, to reference Persona 5, it helps me show my true form.
I think that everyone can relate to having a desire to really show who they are. And being able to discover that through VTubing is something special. When you were kind of discovering yourself through this, what sort of ways did having this “persona” help you find yourself?
Well, at first — based on my character lore — I am actually two souls in one body. Right now, I am Saki, the main host of the body and the majority of my personality is through Saki. With the help of Voicemod I was able to mask my actual voice, but also at the same time share the other side of myself. Like the singer self, Oto, which is part of my surname and also means “sound” in Japanese.
(at this point Saki turns off the Voicemod filter to share their Oto voice)
This is how I actually sound as Oto, as my other self, a part of our true self.
(at this point we return to Saki)
At first, I wanted to start VTubing again with just a normal voice, as Oto. But certain things happened. I had to protect my privacy. I was almost exposed early on the project. So I had to scrap the original idea before this avatar came in.
I wanted to see myself more as a woman, than as a guy that I am in real life. With the help of VTubing and Voicemod, I became more comfortable with myself; seeing myself as a woman. Everyone knows me in the community as, like, their big sister.
That's a great role to have!
More and more I began to realize that Otohime Saki is not just a character. That Saki and myself, the person behind the avatar, are the same person.
I'm so glad that you have that opportunity. I feel like there are so many people out there who are really trying to find their identity and to find their voice in a way. The fact that there's this piece of technology that allows you to have that—I'm glad that you can be safe and secure. Identity is so scary on the internet now.
Yeah, it's been amazing. It also helped me, in a way, to pursue my dream to VTubing. I decided to keep the voice. I may, someday in the far future, I might show my community how I really sound like, as a person behind the VTuber. I am still comfortable with this, how I sound right now, even though I might get complaints from it. I tell them that it's for my safety and eventually they understand.
When did you first start using the Voicemod; when did you discover it?
For Voicemod, it started way, way back. Before I was a VTuber, I was a regular streamer. I tried to find programs that had the ability to gather a collection of soundboards from my computer without having the hassle of playing them individually through either my media player or Winamp, which I had dedicated for streaming music.
That’s when I found out about Voicemod. It's not only because of the soundboard capabilities, I also noticed that there were various sound presets that were great, especially the Cave preset. It helps me get confidence to sing even as a VTuber right now. That is like the one part where I am comfortable with my real voice; while singing. Because I sound completely different when I sing with the cave because reverb and all that.
I think everyone loves a little bit of reverb on their voice; that singing in the shower sort of experience.
So, when you started playing around with Voicemod, when did you first start thinking, "Okay, I can apply this into my VTuber idea?"
During that time, I was already having struggles with how could I continue VTubing without being exposed again early on. So before having Voicemod Pro, I was exploring the idea of purchasing Voicemod for good; then when I found out about Voice Labs, where you can create your own voice to be the ideal voice for you. That's what got me interested.
At first, I tried other products that had similar features. But the problem with them was the delay. There was a delay between the microphone and OBS, it caused a lot of problems for me. So I decided that when I compared how it works, how the timing differs from Voicemod to the other apps, Voicemod was real-time. This convinced me to buy it.
So when you were able to make your own voice, what was important to you in that voice?
I realized my voice was actually too deep, and so Voicemod—you can definitely hear it—there is that sort of static, but I was okay with it. I then eventually started to imagine, "Okay, given how I look like with the avatar, I want to present myself like who I was before, the one person they can look up to."
So I decided to have that big sister voice. So when people listen to me, despite how I sound over the static, they can see someone sisterly; they can reach out to someone, even. Not only on stream but also outside the streams.
They can have a friend to talk to anytime. I'm always a Discord message away from my community. If they want to talk about something really heavy, that is okay. I am here for them. And that's why this voice that's why I have like, "Onee-sama’s here for you."
In the VTuber community, have you met a lot of other people that also use voice modulation?
Well, I do know some people that are also using Voicemod. One of my friends that I really look up to is Kira Omori. She also uses it primarily for soundboards and for the reverb because she sounds very lovely. Like she doesn't even need to change her voice. And I like how she sounds the way she is.
She also does like Live 2D tutorials on how to rig your avatar by yourself and she's been nothing but amazing, and I always look up to her. She is one of those creators that also uses the VoiceMod Pro version like myself.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do the interview, but it’s time to wrap now. Is there anything else that you'd like to share that maybe I haven't touched on?
I want to say if there are any want-to-be VTubers listening or watching this interview; if you want to be a VTuber, there is no limit. You don't have to be afraid to join our community, we will be more than happy to welcome you with open arms, we do have various resources.
If you want to be a VTuber without spending too much; yes, we have resources for that. If you have a certain budget; yes, we can tell you to people who can create your avatars for a good price and a very amazing rig as well. And if you want to join us because you're scared of that you're not gonna go far as a regular person; no, don't ever think like that!
Here we welcome you no matter what walk of life you come from. We are here for you with wide open arms, we will welcome you and we will support you in any way possible. You will love it here. You will love our community here. It is one big family for you.
It sounds like the VTuber community is just absolutely amazing. I’m sure that we send people to you and you’ll have a bunch of new younger siblings to look out for.