[9–2–2019 UPDATED]The Soul of Kizuna Ai is Getting Replaced

[9–2–2019 UPDATED]The Soul of Kizuna Ai is Getting Replaced

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The new contents are at the end of the story

Form: https://www.bilibili.com/read/cv3226164Author: ????

Here is some basic information about Kizuna Ai. (if you?re not interested, please don?t miss the last part)

Kizuna Ai is known as a virtual YouTuber under Upd8 (Japanese: ??????). The company was founded on May 31, 2018, and its parent company is Activ8, which supports multiple virtual YouTuber business projects.

There are five Kizuna Ai, the Original Ai, Black Ai, #2, #3 and the Chinese AI.

The Original Ai and Black Ai share the same voice actress (aka VA), while the others are substitutes.

In short: Now we are in a situation that the voice of original Ai may be rarely heard in the future, or even disappears.

Due to the company?s interests, the original Ai may slowly be replaced by #2 and #3 in her channels.

Company executives would like Kizuna Ai to be independent of its VA to expand the business of Kizuna Ai and to reduce future risk. The risk is such that once the contract canceled and/or the VA decides to quit, the project will be heavily damaged.

Here I no longer avoid the topic that Kizuna Ai?s VA is Japanese actress Kasuga Nozomi.

On May 25, 2019, in <??????4??????????????? #1>, Kizuna Ai started to propose the conception of what could happen if there are 4 copies of herself?

In the following videos, Kizuna Ai explored topics like possibilities of various Kizuna AI, different voices of Kizuna AI, what is Kizuna AI and so on, causing a wide discussion in fans. (Playlist)

On June 9th, 2019, <????2???????????????????????> was uploaded on A.I.Channel. For the first time, the clone AI(#2)was put on the show besides the Original one. Later in <????? VS ????? ???????8 DX?>, the same thing happened. Since then, the original Ai appears less and less often in videos before she finally vanished.

Meanwhile, 3# had taking more part of Kizuna Ai?s activities. Her first solo video on A.I.Games channel was uploaded on July 11 and the First advertisement filmed on July 25th.

First advertisement(3#)First advertisement(3#)

On June 25, 2019, the Bilibili handling group announced the officialization and renamed AIChannel Official

On June 30, 2019, the day of the birthday party, the operation only let the 4th Ai (Chinese Ai) meet Chinese fans, and the original Ai did not appear; let the 3rd Ai in the name of Ai to make a live without an official reminder in late July ? a series of incidents, which caused great controversy among fans. (Source[Chinese]: https://zh.moegirl.org/zh-hans/%E7%BB%8A%E7%88%B1)

There is one of the opinions says that the whole clone plan is meant to share the works of the original Ai, to let her rest for a while. And in the June 30?s birthday party, the original Ai also admitted that she approves the plan, but with a crying tone.

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Until July 26, things seem working alright. But on the night of 26, somebody finds a tweet belongs to Kasuga Nozomi(believed to be the VA of the original Ai. The reason will be mentioned below)that seems to complain about the working situation.

Kasuga Nozomi?s tweet made the whole plan confusing that the cloning plan may not have been the real intention of the original Ai.

Image for postTranslate: There?s so much! This is going to be difficult! I love Ramen! All you can do is work with what you?re given All you can do is stretch out your arms as far as you can But even so, I want to do my best, and it?s important to me, so whatever happens, I?ll keep going. I love ramen! Ramen! Ramen!Image for postTranslate: I don?t want to lose and be swept aside by idiots or nasty grownups. Nor do I want to stoop to their level. Trust in what you see and what you feel. You won?t always do the right thing, but as long as you tried, trust in the ties between people. I?m going to do my best to hold onto myself and my content. I can do it! Yeah! I?ll try the last one after I get into the office

These tweets were deleted soon. The tweet caused fans to worry that the whole clone plan may not as simple as it met the eye.

Image for postSome people questioned the second one and could verify it by themselves. It was surely released by Nozomi. (https://search.yahoo.co.jp/realtime/search?p=?????)

It turned out that July 26 was the day the clone Ai #3 made her first live with the first advertisement. It is suspicious enough for fans to worry that the original Ai may be forced to agree to the plan.

Image for postThe First Independent of 3# (Super Mario Creator 2)

It brings people?s minds back into April. At that time a crisis that shocked the entire Vtuber industry, known as the Game Club Issue:

Four VA of game club characters uncovered their dire working situation through twitter which shows that the company pressed and bullied them. (https://unlimited-ent.co.jp/56/)

Another clue was found in the lyrics of Kizuna Ai?s new song Sky High.

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The Bilibili AIchannel official removed Sky High?s subtitles very soon.

Fans who love the original Ai started to take action, and they expressed their concerns on Bilibili, Twitter, and Youtube.

As fans begin to worry, Kasuga Nozomi sent two tweets, which are believed to be comforting fans. She seems to have an approach, which temporarily eased the restlessness of fans.

Image for postTranslate: Everybody looks upset, Kasuga as working, I?m working hard like always. (Link: https://twitter.com/nozomi__kasuga/status/1155793267549601792?s=20)

Then Nozomi released the second tweet.

Image for postTranslate: I will still be active for many years, wait for me!

There are some fans ask me how do you know the VA of Original Ai is Kasuga Nozomi?

I would make an explanation here. The sounds heard quite similar,? ?h?e?r? ?b?i?r?t?h?d?a?y? ?i?s? ?J?u?n?e? ?3?0?t?h? ?t?h?e? ?s?a?m?e? ?a?s? ?K?i?z?u?n?a? ?A?i?.

But these still don?t reveal the truth.

Image for postThe first sample comes from Kizuna Ai?s video and the second source is from Nozomi?s twitter.Image for postVideo of the second source (https://twitter.com/nozomi__kasuga/status/1152796097099603968?s=20)

They can be inferred to come from the same person through the energy distribution of different frequencies. To make it more convincing, I choose two parts of natural laughing which are more unchangeable in a person.

Although the second segment is very noisy, it can be inferred to come from the same person

PS: Please point it out if I?m wrong.

Image for postKasuga Nozomi tweeted again on July 27. This time she was with friends to celebrate her birthday(Her birthday is on 6 30 but she was unavailable that day so they finally did the celebration on 7 29). The tweet is with a picture and the image under mosaics looks like Kizuna Ai. ( https://twitter.com/nozomi__kasuga/status/1155019939020808192?s=20)Image for postFans retweeted to support Nozomi, so she sent another tweet to express her gratitude. It contains ?thank you? written in 5 languages. Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, and Filipino. Those were the fans who supported Kizuna Ai in her early carrier. (https://twitter.com/nozomi__kasuga/status/1155660106236715008?s=20)Image for postTranslate: As we know that a newcomer shouldn?t have international fans. What kind of status does these ?thanks? she push to send? I guess you have known.

On July 28, people found a Facebook post by Yuichi Soejima, who is the executive producer of Active8, and suspected to be the mastermind behind the cloning plan. It immediately made the fans being resentful.

At that time, It was considered to refer to Kizuna Ai. However, the sharer explained that Facebook content had nothing to do with Kizuna Ai. He warned everyone to be rational.

Whether he was the mastermind behind it was also need to be verified, don?t take a light conclusion. However, something is certain that many staff of upd8 had quit after he assumed office.

It turned out not to be aimed at Kizuna Ai.

Image for postTranslate: The view of responsibility in dealing with things is so different that we can?t say one thing at a time. Although the other party is working very hard in the scope of their responsibilities, but do not want to work overtime weekends and do not want to pay more than ordinary people want authority, but too high requirements are easy to be dissatisfied with the determination of return, do not want to take risks, but also said that they will take responsibility, so they want to be in charge. This is not the way to blame people. This kind of person has a high appraisal of himself. He always feels very smart. There are too many examples. Although it?s a headache to ignore, the person in charge is at risk. If you want a salary at the same level, it?s better for the working class. (https://www.facebook.com/yuichi.soejima.1/posts/2366715640077114)Image for postHis working experience(Yuichi Soejima)(Maybe it?s too often to switch the job)Image for postTranslate: Yesterday, a Facebook about Yuichi Soejima on the Internet triggered a big uproar. I don?t discuss whether Yuichi is garbage. Last night, I also said that I had a little hope, although I was very excited. I also left a message in the comments section ? part of what I knew was not in line with the uncertainty. I don?t want you to be misled again. This clarifies that the content of Yuichi?s Facebook has nothing to do with Ai-chan. Please help forward

Then there?s a big event happened recently. On July 26th, #3 held a live for the first time. At this time, there was someone directly abuse her.

In fact, before Nozomi?s tweet, on July 26 live by Ai #3, somebody has already got angry and insulted the liver badly, accused her of occupied the original Ai?s channel since she had been solo on the channel for 2 weeks.

Image for postBoth videos on AIChannel are 2# and 3#

?A?i? ?#?2? ?a?n?d? ?A?i? ?#?3? ?h?a?d? ?a?d?o?p?t?e?d? ?n?e?w? ?3?D? ?m?o?d?e?l?s? ?i?n? ?s?o?m?e? ?v?i?d?e?o?s?,? ?w?h?i?l?e? ?i?n? ?t?h?o?s?e? ?w?i?t?h? ?O?G? ?A?i?,? ?t?h?e?y? ?d?i?d? ?n?o?t?.? ?(?H?e?r?e? ?I? ?h?a?v?e? ?n?o?t? ?m?o?r?e? ?i?n?f?o?r?m?a?t?i?o?n? ?a?b?o?u?t? ?n?e?w? ?m?o?d?e?l?s?)?

?T?h?i?s? ?b?r?i?n?g?s? ?t?h?e? ?i?d?e?a? ?t?h?a?t? ?m?a?y?b?e? ?a?l?l? ?t?h?e? ?v?i?d?e?o?s? ?w?i?t?h? ?O?G? ?A?i? ?a?f?t?e?r? ?3?#? ?h?a?d? ?h?e?r? ?f?i?r?s?t? ?s?o?l?o? ?w?e?r?e? ?r?e?c?o?r?d?e?d?.? ?I?t? ?m?e?a?n?s? ?t?h?e? ?O?G? ?A?i? ?m?a?y? ?h?a?v?e? ?n?o?t? ?a?n?t?i?c?i?p?a?t?e?d? ?i?n? ?a?n?y? ?v?i?d?e?o? ?s?h?o?t? ?s?i?n?c?e? ?J?u?l?y? ?1?1?.?

What worse? The famous ending that had been played for over a year did not show up in the video on July 30 and 31.

Image for postA.I.Games is basically assumed by #3, and the original AI occasionally plays as a guest role.

Recently, these videos that the original Kizuna Ai appeared in were also inventories. The original Ai did not appear recently, which may also be related to Kasuga Nozomi for she?s on vacation. Most of the official videos on Bilibili are old videos that have been published in the past half a month or a month on Youtube when the original Ai was still there. At present, Bilibili official has not released a video completely without the original Ai. (They finally did)

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Even though, Ai #3 made her second live on July 31. This time a number of fans attack her with real-time comments, calling her ?fake?, most of the attackers are from China.

Some of them supported the official, some people supported the original Ai, some people scolded at Ai #3, some people scolded at the operation, some people thought that Ai #2, Ai #3 were innocent, some people think that Ai #2, Ai #3 should bear the weight of the Pyopyo(the Headwear) when wearing it(Chinese: ????????????. Sorry but its quite hard to translate it into English).

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It may have some effect since Ai #3 said something about the original Ai during the live:

Image for postSome people are worried about my origin, like ?will she never come back??. No that won?t happen, please calm down.Image for postI have been listening to everyone, they want me to change color or something, sorry but I can?t do that since we all like pink.Image for postEverybody?s voice I listen to well, for example, they hope that I can change the color.Image for postSome worry about the lyrics like what does ?the prototype will fall asleep? and they may be upset.Image for postDon?t worry, I won?t let her fall asleep.Image for postAnd I won?t disappear either, so I hope you all can love me too.Image for postWell, it?s hard to accept change. It must be scary.Image for postSure enough, it will be hard to accept that something you are familiar with is slowly changing.

This is the outline of the whole incident, I will continue to follow. If any part of this article against the fact, please point it out at the comment, Also any new clues are welcome. Thanks for reading.

I hope that there are fans who know the inside story can let me know the real situation of this matter. You can edit and spread this article freely. While doing so, please make sure that any material you use is base on the fact.

The following part is my opinion on this event.

First of all, I hope more people know about this matter. Because the people who pay close attention to it now are mostly Chinese.

Secondly, I do not make comments about the behavior of many fans directly cursing. Personally, I don?t like to hear any cursing words. However, I can understand their moods as a fan of Kizuna Ai.

In fact, I am afraid that I can?t hear the voice of the original Ai one day, can?t see the original Ai?s video, because what I love is this whole part(Kasuga Nozomi + Ai=Original Ai).

What makes me more vulnerable is that AI #2 and AI #3 look exactly the same as the original Ai, but they can not do some of the details as the original Ai. Watching their video, I always think it unacceptable. I am very supportive of the idea that changing the model.

You can see that Chinese Ai is also a replica, but her model is changed. So it?s more acceptable, and feel less uncomfortable.

From the company?s point of view, weaken the original Ai is indeed what they want to do, in case something happens on the voice actor the company really can not afford. Also, the original Ai will one day fade out of our sight. What I want to see is that people know the original Ai rather than others in her glorious time.

From my point of view, I started to focus on her at first because of her stupid action. I gradually like the original Ai who grows up by eating cute.

Sometimes, she can be angry, afraid or happy. Sometimes she has a roast about something. She is always positive and likable. I slowly can?t live without her video, as her speaking, movement, voice and subtle expressions can always heal me. It seems inevitable that this will happen because she becomes much more well-known.

As for the recent videos that don?t appear original Ai, I think a lot of the reason is that Kasuga Nozomi is on vacation, which she deserves. She?s really tired, for she sings, dances and plays games and recorded as videos.

However, the key is whether the original Ai has been crowded out and forced to do her unwilling things. If she wants to work as hard as she used to be Ai, but the company doesn?t allow, that?s the only thing we are unwilling to see.

Finally, I would like to say that no matter you are angry, optimistic or sad. All of these are from our love, love for Kizuna Ai. I hope you can keep in mind this starting point.

Don?t forget that we do it all because of Ai(?).

[Tweet link added] The recent information, this twitter is from Nozomi?s friend.

Image for postSaid to Nozomi ?How about giving up if you feel so bad?? She said this ?Even so, I want to continue because it?s very important.? She?s working so hard. Let?s all support her! A Brief Description of Hiroaki Satou(????). He is the curator of a special cinema for the disabled. Nozomi went to Tokyo to donate money when she came to Tokyo. (She is a really kind girl, she deserves better treatment) ( https://twitter.com/p_latanus/status/1157102428791029762?s=20)

More and more people realize that something is wrong, so please make your voice for your beloved ai. Maybe we are small, but as long as we work together, we can always change something. No matter where you come from China, the United States, Japan, Philippines or anywhere, please join us and let your beloved AI hear your voice.

Image for postImage for post?ahegao? (???) showed by the left one

[8?9?2019 UPDATED] On August 6. Two videos called ??????????????????????????????? and ????????????????????????????????Super Bunny Man? were uploaded to the A.I.Channel and A.I.Games respectively. In these videos, a kind of emotion ?ahegao?( ???) appeared, which has meanings of sex suggestiveness. A lot of fans put ?dislike? and considered it as irreverence and provoke. (Snapshots attached at the left)

Image for postSome viewers try to use ?8 or some symbols to avoid being filtered. (Snapshot containing some aggressive words)

[2019.8.12 UPDATED] It seems that both channels have added ?a8? into blocked words. Comments containing ?a8?, which mostly convey unsatisfactory about the recent situation, can?t be visible to other viewers.

[8?14?2019 UPDATED] The number of subscribers of AIChannel in Bilibili has dramatically decreased from 998k to 898k in less than 10 days.

Image for postHere?s the line chart of the quantity change of subscriber. The green represents the number of subscribers and the blue represents the increment per hour.

[8?15?2019 UPDATED] A live broadcast in Ponpoko?s Channel(?????????), ?????????????24???? #????24 vol.3 ???, mentioned about the Kizuna Ai issue. As Guests, Minoru Hirota(???), and Tyanyone(????) comment:

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Hirota: From Dec. 2016, Kizuna Ai starting her business, to now, it?s quite unimaginable to see this new development. It?s a great challenge for the company which has been on its way can?t do this in usual. However, they?ve made a step forward after considering what can a Vtuber do.

Moreover, doing this by the top of the top is indeed convincing.

Only the top can show that there was another way to go.

The change of the VA has been a problem in the industry for a long time, but Kizuna Ai shows that ?Kizuna Ai can only be Kizuna Ai; no VA behind?, builds a culture and set an example.

Peanut-kun: Why people think that Kizuna Ai split up?

Hitora: Itsn?t the 4th Ai Chinese one? they want to expand the oversea market. Kizuna Ai is quite busy.

Peanut-kun: Someone comments ?becoming cold about her?. Love her for the combination of the appearance and the voice, but now the VA changed, love faded.

Tyanyone: It?s impossible for the same person to go on.

Hitora: As a character, it can be last for decades.

Sato Holmes: In fact what people love is the personality of the VA.

Hitora: I don?t think so. I very like the Game Club(Another Vtuber band), which hardly shows the characteristic. I?m still addicted to it. Form the statistic it is still the top of the Vtuber industry, although the issue happened. What I?m interested in is why people still so care about the VA.

(If there?s any translation error, please contact me)

It seems that in their?s view, Kizuna Ai is just an earning tool, and Nozomi(or somebody else) is just a voice actor.

As ?the boss? of the Vtuber industry, once the Kizuna Ai?s VA gets replaced successfully by this way, it set an example and other company will imitate to make the profit greater. At that time a lot of Vtubers will become a shell since their VA may suffer the same things in the future.

As mentioned above, It?s reasonable for companies to isolate the vtuber character from the VA, but it?s a huge disrespect to fans and it may also hurt the industry in return, because of the heavy dependence on fans in the idol industry.

[8?16?2019 UPDATED] On August 16, Activ8 make an official announcement. It seems that it?s only announced in China since most of the fans opposite to these actions come from China.

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Main text translation:

Recently, some untrustworthy information and conjecture is spreading on the Internet.

On our view, It would bring anxiety to everyone who supports Kizuna Ai if we still are indifferent. To protect Kizuna Ai and release fans from anxiety, here we make a declare.

Kizuna Ai comes from a project called ?Project A.I?.

What we want is to give everyone hope to the future by being given birth in technology. If a digital being that is living and would live forever is accepted and comprehended by people, a new way to entertain people that won?t be limited by time and can be welcomed by people in the future will be discovered. That?s the idea of ?Project A.I.?

From then on, as a producer, Takeshi Osaka(CEO) started this project.

On September 5, 2016, to make the project go further, Takeshi Osaka founded the company Activ8 and commissioned production to Character Design, 3D Art Direction and 3D Modeling, and then meet the voice model, With support from helpers, Kizuna Ai was given birth and uploaded the first video.

The idea ?Doppelganger? met by chance on Dec. 8, 2015, is an indispensable keyword when talking about Kizuna Ai.

The idea ?self?, is that derived from ?others?. Nothing can be called ?self? in fact. Whether ?the self getting in touch with children? or ?moderate self?, all of these come from ?self?, and that?s the idea of ?doppelganger?.

The one having the desire ?want to communicate with everyone in China?, becomes the 4th Kizuna Ai born in May, the one who can speak Chinese.

We have a principle when making scripts, that is, to make each content has a special theme.

The themes we give to Kizuna Ai is ?What is self stand for??, ?What?s the meaning of actual presence??, and ?Is that ?ghost? exist in the world??

To around the theme and reach the goal ?Connect with everyone?, Our staff will bring more excitement and happiness to everyone.

Then we will explain the lower show frequency of the first voice model.

Based on our company?s guidelines, to let people know the Kizuna Ai with a new voice model, We uploaded videos around the new Kizuna Ai, the first voice model Kizuna Ai upload music videos mainly.

We know that the guidelines may be controversial. We will heartily accept everyone?s opinion and do our best to create and convey new things to win supports.

In conclusion, Kizuna Ai with the first voice model will not stop activities.

Now there?s a lot of conjecture and unreliable information spreading on the Internet. we hope the fans calm down and give supports to Kizuna Ai as before.

Please do give us guidances.

It completely shows the intention of the official: They wang to make the character Kizuna Ai independent of the first voice actor. Actually, they are doing now.

As mentioned before, a similar incident, The Game Club issue, has happened and the VA changed. Although it makes a lot of dispute, the company successfully make the character independent and got 4 ?earning tools?.Now the same thing happened again. Once it succeeds, it will greatly impact the industry.

[ADDED] The idea ?doppelganger? is formed on Dec. 8, 2019, but until recently it was applied. That?s another strange thing in the announcement.

On Aug. 16, 2019, An urgent live was held in A.I.Channel. The first voice actor was present and explain things happened recently. Some consider that as a sign of returning and others think it as a measure the official used to appease the fans.

[8?17?2019 UPDATED] A Japanese news website, j-cast.com, published an article about the Kizuna Ai issue(JAP https://www.j-cast.com/2019/08/17365209.html?p=all).

Here I don? t want to show my opinion, and I shouldn?t. However, It can?t be denied that what people love is the whole Kizuna Ai, not just the appearance. Even if the original Kizuna Ai wants to quit, It should follow the routine as Kizuna Ai is an idol to some extent. Normally, significant events triggered by an idol should be announced, clarified by the official at first. But from a series of measures by Activ8, Not only don?t they follow the routine but it seems that the official is trying to hide something behind Kizuna Ai.

[8?20?2019 UPDATED]On August 19, 2019, the number of the subscriber of A.I.Channel jump up by 3000 approximately and then keep going down. It?s said that at that time Kizuna Ai was interviewed by reporter form TV Tokyo, and the working condition was mentioned in that press conference

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[8?24?2019 UPDATED]New channel ?A.I.Channel China? was created by the official and added to the A.I.Channel?s recommendation.

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[9?2?2019 UPDATED] On the live broadcast from Aug. 31 night to Sept. 1 early morning, the story told by Himehina seems to allude to the Kizuna Ai Issue. (https://youtu.be/3Cd8RnbOW7g , At 3:43:58, Japanese)

[9?6?2019 UPDATED] Corrected something wrong and changed the title.

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