What does that MEAN? Here’s the dictionary you needed for VTuber terms, lingo, and slang. Know all the VTuber memes, fan chat slang, and tech terms! You’ll know the Japanese / JP VTuber words too!
VTuber Terms, Slang, Memes, and More
Agency – VTuber agencies are virtual talent groups for VTubers, which are usually corporate and hold auditions for their characters. Corporate agencies include Nijisanji and Hololive. However, independent VTuber agencies such as VShojo have been cropping up to massive success.
Akasupa – Akasupa is a Japanese / JP VTuber word for a red superchat. (Aka = red, supa = superchat). This is the most expensive donation tier and it will show up in red at the top of chat and stay pinned the longest. See Supa / Superchat.
Ara Ara – VTubers say “ara ara” in to imitate provocative voice acting for anime characters. It’s simultaneously a meme and fanservice, sometimes held back by the VTuber from saying it unless some condition is met.
Art Tag – The tag to post your fanart of the VTuber on Twitter. Sometimes they’ll see it and retweet it. Some VTubers have NSFW tags as well that are separate from the clean one. Other VTubers or their agencies do not allow NSFW art of their character at all. Be sure to read and respect their rules. See Hashtags.
Assets – Digital goods used for live streaming, which can range from character models to backgrounds, outfits, scenery, objects, stream overlays, and more. See VTuber Assets and Stream Assets.
Auditions – Agencies hold auditions for characters. In some cases, agencies use auditions to recruit trainees for VTuber training academies to teach them how to stream and make content. VIRTUAL TALENT ACADEMY did this in 2021 to develop talent for Nijisanji and offer them chances to debut.
BGM – VTubers often commission or make their own BGM, or background music. These background tunes are composed for them whether from their agency or by their own commissions. Some have one tune, others have multiple. A general theme, an opening song, and a kazoo-level empty head tune are a few ideas. You can find a lot of composers who take commissions if you look around the VTuber community on Twitter. For instant music, try https://audiostock.net/
Boing Boing – Boing boing refers to motion tracking on an avatar that has especially bouncy physics. Boing boing is also used as VTuber slang for the bouncy tendencies of the streamer’s movement.
Bottom Left – Bottom Left is a playful term for a VTuber who is dumb and lewd. Bottom Left was born when the Hololive EN girls made an alignment chart to rank their purity and intelligence during a collab. On the chart, top = pure and bottom = impure, while right = smart, left = dumb. The Holovive member Kiara’s papa jokingly called her Bottom Left, and the rest is history.
Example: The origin of bottom left, timestamp 55:10:
Cardboard – Cardboard is a static drawing of themselves that they put on screen when their live model glitches out, stops tracking their movement, or has other technical difficulties.
Character Sheet (Ref Sheet) – An initial concept art of the original character / OC for the VTuber that shows their angles and facial expressions. It’s also called a reference sheet.
Clip – Both YouTube and Twitch allow viewers to “clip” sections of a VTuber’s stream for later viewing. Some viewers have YouTube channels dedicated to the best recent clips. Savvy VStreamers hire an editor to post highlights and clips to their own YouTube channels.
Commissions – The best place to find commissions for your own VTuber model is to check out the profiles of models you like and find out who their mama and papa are. You can also commission art of your character, chibis, stream assets such as stream overlays, stream alerts, and more. A popular website for getting character art is Skeb. If you’re looking for pre-made stream assets, try Booth, Etsy, or artist’s Gumroad and Ko-fi accounts.
Debut – A VTuber Debut is their first stream, usually after a fair amount of marketing. After so much hype by the agency or themselves, chats can’t wait for this introduction.
(P.S. If you want to debut and need a name, check our guide to VTuber streamer name ideas.)
Debut Voice – A VTuber’s voice or voice-acting style might change later, and thus you have a word just for their debut voice.
Dere – Deres are Japanese character tropes or archetypes that sometimes VTubers are cast as. But even if they have an archetype for their character, they’re normal people whose realistic personality traits come out. Some common deres are tsundere, kuundere, and yandere.
ENVTuber – English-speaking VTuber. Often used as a stream tag or as a Twitter hashtag.
EN Curse – The EN Curse is a VTuber meme term for Hololive English members (or EN VTubers in general) seeming to always have tech issues during their debut.
Gachikoi – A fan who is in love with a character or virtual personality.
Generation – A VTuber generation is a term for a virtual group that debuts together. It’s used to differentiate VTuber groups from the same agency based on their purpose, content, and debut year.
Grill Voice – A male VTuber’s grill voice is his impression of a girl’s voice. The Nijisanji member Luca Kaneshiro has a grill voice that is famously convincing. It’s even called “Lucy.” See Ikebo for the reverse of this.
Guerilla Stream – A Guerilla stream is an unplanned stream that happens when a VTuber just feels like going live. Surprise! (Can you figure out which creators are meme-ing when they misspell this VTuber term as “gorilla stream”?)
Graduate / Graduation – Graduation is VTuber retirement, at least from that character or role. Just like a debut, a graduation stream will be a special occasion.
Hololive – Hololive Production is one of the foremost VTuber agencies, and a major competitor to Nijisanji. One of their most famous and successful VTubers is Gawr Gura, the ENVTuber who reached 3 million YouTube subscribers in July 2021. Another record-breaking Hololive talent was Uruha Rushia, who the company infamously retired (graduated) early, to much controversy.
Idol – Idol culture in Japan influenced the early concept of VTuber Groups and the entertainment they provide. Therefore, the two worlds can have overlapping culture and terminology.
Ikemen – In Japanese, ikemen means a handsome guy. So if someone refers to an ikemen they could be talking about a talent’s look or style. See the following definition for
Ikebo – Ikemen voice, or imitating the voice of a handsome guy. Usually done by female streamers. See Grill Voice for word to describe the reverse.
JP Bros – JP Bros is a term some English-speaking fans use to refer to their VTuber’s Japanese audiences.
Kizuna Ai – Before live VTubers, Kizuna AI rose to prominence as a massively successful and world-recognized Virtual YouTuber. However, her content followed conventional YouTube formats. Though entertaining, the character was not a live-streaming VTuber or liver. Included here for the significance of the culture moving to live-streaming.
Kusa – In Japanese internet slang, the kanji for kusa (草) is like “lol” or “lmao.” The small w means laughter (since w stands for warau, to laugh). So a row of them (wwwww) looks like grass!
Kuso – A japanese simple expletive that explains a lot of words you’ll hear during VTuber lives, like kusoge (stupid game) or calling each other names in good fun (including EN language streamers).
Let’s Play – A YouTube or stream format where a content creator does a game playthrough. This can also be a segment of a VTuber’s show.
Lewdtuber – A lewdtuber is a VTuber who is specifically lewd or NSFW in their content – not your average creator who might make the occasional lewd or degenerate joke. An example of a talent you could call a lewdtuber is ProjektMelody.
Live2D (L2D) – Software to make, and technique of creating and using, 2D VTuber models. Created by Tetsuya Nakajo. Most VTubers use Live2D models, but other methods are popular, like VRoid. NIJISANJI is credited with making Live2d models the standard.
Liver – Another way of saying streamer, specific to VTubers. The first virtual personalities such as Kizuna Ai did pre-recorded YouTube videos instead of livestreams, so the distinction was made.
Loading Screen – The loading screen is an intro video that usually loops until the streamer appears on screen. It’s one example of a stream asset like starting, break scenes, and outro videos.
Lore – A VTuber’s lore is their background story, which can range from convoluted to absurdly simple. After all, the VTuber model is a character, and thus they have a background story. As for VTuber groups who debut together, their lore may overlap and complement one another’s.
So even if you tune in to find them doing seemingly mundane things like karaoke / utawaku, don’t forget that they’re still a powerful dragon/spirit/supercomputer/detective!
Mama (see also: Papa) – Usually the artist, while the papa is the rigger. However, some VTubers choose to use mama and papa to the gender of the person. They can also call both people as papa or mama. If someone says their real mom they’ll add a word, the way Silvervale refers to her mom as Mama Vale. In Japanese, this VTuber term is written ママ.
Marshmallow – Q&A website for Twitter users to receive and answer questions but also that is used for Question and Answer segments as a part of a VTuber’s broadcast.
Member / Membership – A member on a VTuber’s YouTube is a paying supporter of the channel. This is a YouTube Live feature similar to Twitch for subscribers.
Model – The VTuber’s model is their character on-screen that is rigged to move with their animations. It might be a 2D model or a 3D model. Both require rigging. see also Reveal for Model Reveal
Mute – A mute is a VTuber, streamer, or VR Chat player who does not talk as a rule. Not once in a while, but as a fundamental preference.
Nijisanji / NIJISANJI – Nijisanji is a VTuber agency most famous for debuting successful English-speaking virtual groups, and for proving there is a market for all-male groups. Nijisanji first announced English-speaking character auditions in December 2020, and debuted them in 2021. Its first all-male wave, Luxiem, began in December 2021 to massive success.
It has other branches for other languages as well. It’s sometimes represented by the numbers 2434 (read as nijisanji in Japanese), which leads to Japanese audience superchats being sent in that amount.
NicoNicoDouga / Nico Nico – A Japanese video upload site like YouTube, where a lot of virtual talent rose in popularity.
OC / Original Character – A lot of artists have their own original characters, and so do streamers who use their characters for virtual Youtubing or streaming.
Oshi – An Oshi VTuber is a fan’s favorite, used to refer to the ones they supports the most. It comes from the Japanese for to push forward. So a fan likes to promote and uplift their oshi. Example: “My oshi is doing a collab so I’ll be there to support them!”
Overlays – VTuber overlays are a type of stream asset used in OBS to create gaming scenes, chatting scenes, and much more. You can get overlays custom-made or pre-made, with both paid and free options.
Papa – A Vtuber’s Papa is the person who rigged their character model. Meanwhile, the artist who drew and layered the model is the Mama. But this isn’t always standard. Some VTubers call their creators Mama or Papa based on gender, not skillset. And don’t forget that sometimes the artist and rigger are the same person! In Japanese, this VTuber term is written パパ. See also Mama.
Physics – A character model’s physics are the way their rigging reacts to gravity and movement. See Boing Boing.
Pixiv – Pixiv is a Japanese website where talented artists show their work. You might find some VTuber fanart here. Since Pixiv is connected to Booth, you can also buy goods from the artists featured on the site.
PNG Tuber – A PNG Tuber / PNGTuber is the ultra simplified version of a VTuber in that they are meticulously animated. Instead, they’re just kind of a .png file or a flat image with a blank background. That said, some PNG Tubers have done the bare minimum to make the mouth and eyes have an animation frame.
Redebut – Sometimes serious debut of a new character model, rather than VTuber, other times just a gag for laughs. If serious, it can enhance or continue the lore of the character’s story. Very popular with indie VTubers.
Reveal – VTubers often set benchmarks for followers to “unlock” previews of their new model until they get to see the whole thing, finally getting to see the whole thing in a VTuber model reveal. This is usually done on Twitter and based on likes, follows, or other metrics. See Model Reveal.
Rig / Rigger / Rigging – A VTuber’s rigger is the technician who configures a VTuber’s avatar to animate fluidly with their tracked movements. For Live2d avatars, they first receive separated layers from the VTuber artist. They then painstakingly set each feature to move perfectly in a time-consuming process. Rigging VTuber models, just as art, is justifiably costly for the work and level of skill involved. Of course, rigging can also be done for 3D models and other files and software.
Seiso – A meme word that basically means “wholesome.” English-speaking VTubers (aka ENVTubers) often use this word to mean not to “lewd” them, aka don’t talk sexually or draw sexy images of their character. Sometimes seiso is used to mean the opposite, like ironically calling someone pure when they’re being anything but. It comes from the Japanese for to shine or sweep something clean.
Scene – A scene is any layout in OBS where the VTuber might appear. A streamer might use different scenes each for gaming, chatting, or collabs. Some scenes use stream assets like bedroom backgrounds, karaoke microphones, and overlay graphic designs.
Segment – Since VStreamers have long streams to fill with content, they might divide a show into planned segments. With creativity and planning, it’s a great way to make interesting shows and hype viewers.
Self-Introduction / Jikoshoukai – The popular self-introduction meme for VTubers is a call-and-response song with questions sung that the VTuber answers, then uploads a video of it online.
Shipping / Ship – Shipping is usually harmlessly imagining fictional characters in a romance, but is frowned upon in the VTuber world. No Shipping is a common VTuber rule. It can cause awkwardness and intrude on the private lives of people who are just entertainers.
Skeb – Skeb is a popular website where VTubers can commission artists for artwork of their original character. Since artists can take commissions with minimal micromanaging from bad clients, it attracts highly talented creators to provide commissions there. Of course, you can commission more than just art on Skeb, including soundbites, tunes, and voice message requests. See commissions. Visit Skeb here.
Smol – Specifically to VTubers, smol refers not to the net slang for small but to fan gifs of a popular VTubers made by Waflie. The GIF would be called Smol (VTuber Name).
Stream Assets – Stream assets can be anything from a stream intro, room background, a gaming overlay, stinger transition, or VTuber assets. VTuber assets usually include objects, accessories, or entire models.
Get stream assets like overlays, badges, and more here:
Supa – Supa is short for a Superchat, which is a type of tip or donation on YouTube streams. Supa is the Japanese way of shortening it from Supacha. It’s like a dono or bits during a Twitch stream, but YouTube-specific and very common with VTubers there. See Akasupa for the most expensive tier.
SupaCha – Supacha is one of several Japanese ways of pronouncing Superchat, which is a paid tip/donation with a message on a YouTube livestream.
Sussy – From the slang sus which refers to something suspicious, VTubers use sussy to mean the atmosphere is testing the limit of what’s acceptable, especially if the conversation is getting too lewd.
Talent – Cast members of a VTuber Group or agency can also be referred to as the agency’s talents.
Tracking – Tracking refers to the motion capture tools that transfer their facial expressions and body movements to their avatar. Also motion tracking or motion capture, although motion capture typically refers to full-body motion captures suits or studios that are more complex.
Tsundere – Tsundere is a character trope from anime for a character who is reserved and cold, but secretly feels affection for another character.
Twitcasting – Twitcasting is a popular Japanese live streaming site that connects to Twitter and features many VTubers. You’ll find all-Japanese streamers and chats here, and very little English. Visit Twitcasting here.
TSKR – TSKR means the VTuber did something endearing, and viewers type it in it chat in response. It’s shortened from the Japanese word taskaru (助かる), to be saved, as if to say the viewer needed that. Similar to the English internet slang, “bless,” in that it blessed the recipient.
Unarchived – The VOD / live will not be watchable later due to copyright issues or some other reason. You just had to be there.
Utaite – Utaite (歌い手）means singer in Japanese, and in virtual streamers it refers to virtual singers. Some EN utaite call themselves VSingers.
Utawaku – Utawaku (歌枠) refers to a singing or karaoke segment of a JP VTuber’s stream. An EN streamer would probably just call it a karaoke segment.
Vocaloid – Vocaloid is a software that lets producers use virtual voice packs to “sing” using a synthesizer. The word vocaloid can refer to the software or the the style of music as a genre. (Link)
Voice Transformer – A tool to change a streamer’s voice in pitch or quality.
Virtual Group – A cast of VTubers who are debuted together by an agency. Some VTubers form their own groups as an indie effort rather than a corporate arrangement.
VRoid Studio – VRoid Studio is software for creating anime-style 3D models, which can be used with motion tracking apps for live streaming. (Link)
VShojo – VShojo is a US-based VTuber company that has joined indie content creators and allows them to do what they want. Unlike traditional agencies, VShojo creators own the intellectual property to their characters. Famous VShojo talents include Ironmouse, Silvervale, Nyanners, and other successful personalities. See them here.
VSinger – A VSinger uses their virtual avatar to pursue their music career or hobby. That doesn’t mean that they use vocaloid, though some might. The famous VSinger (name) is so famous for her powerful vocal style she was featured in Vogue Japan with images of her avatar. (VSinger is also the name of a company of virtual singers, but this definition is for the general job description.) See also Utaite.
VTweeter – VTweeter is a derogatory word for someone who announces their VTuber debut then only posts on Twitter. Their debut date will remain TBD, to be determined.
Yandere – A character trope in which a fictional character can become overly possessive and lovesick to the point of dangerous obession.
Zatsudan – Zatsudan (雑談) means Just Chatting in Japanese, specifically the type of livestream or stream segment.
VTuber Terms Dictionary Summary
If you enjoy this list of VTuber words, check out our list of Twitch slang here!
Get stream assets like overlays, badges, and more here: