During AniManGaki 2022, THE MAGIC RAIN had the opportunity to speak with Emirichu, a well-known internet celebrity, who makes story time videos as a living. She also started her Virtual YouTubing (VTubing) career earlier this year, where she streams herself drawing and playing various different games to entertain her audience.
Keep reading to learn more about her experiences in creating art for a living, as well as her personal interest!
Disclaimer: Answers may be edited for clarity of reading comprehension.
About Content Creation (Art & YouTube)
How was the process of transitioning from studying education to YouTube?
I didn’t hate the idea of elementary education. It’s not like I was like “oh God, I don’t want to be a teacher”. I think it’s more like “will I be happy if this is what I do for the rest of my life”. And I realised, it’s not really it. And I think deep down I always knew I wanted to draw.
When I was working with kids as an elementary school teacher, and y’know, when there’s staff and there’s one artsy one, the kids would be like “Miss Emily, can you draw this”, and I’d be like, “yeah, sure”. I realised I was having more fun drawing than sitting down and helping them with math problems. But I didn’t make the transition of “okay, I’m going to become an art YouTuber”, because I didn’t know that was an option or that it was even viable that the time. So, honestly I was kind of lost after graduating. I was like, “I guess I’m going to get my credentials and be a teacher”. And then it was kind of a happy accident that during one summer trip I started posting on YouTube for fun. Then, it took off and I found out that I could make a living off of it.
The final transition — I think the real high point was that when I was doing YouTube, I was still at my part-time job. I was like, I don’t know, maybe I still want to teach. I think at that point I had 200k subscribers. I was talking to my supervisor, who knew I did YouTube. He was like, “You have 200k”, and I was like, ‘yeah’. I told him about sponsors I got and the perks, and he was like, “why are you still working here? Just go”. I also had family and friends who would say “you should just do this, you really enjoy it, just do that”. And I was like “okay!” So once I was done with that job, I was like, okay, I’ll do YouTube.
Why did you become a story time YouTuber specifically? Have you ever considered venturing into the other categories of content creation?
One of my dreams when I was a kid, was like “I wanna make a manga”. Like every little kid, every little artist has that dream of, like, “I wanna make a manga”. I kind of still want to make a manga, but now I know it’s a ton of work and it’ll take a ton of time. So it’s still on the bucket list. I don’t know when I’ll be able to start it, but I think I would like to maybe explore more of the artistic world because I know YouTube’s not forever. People always ask, like “what if YouTube were to blow up tomorrow, what would you do”, and I have no idea. I’m just kind of winging it and figuring it out as I go along.
How long does it take for you to make a video?
It depends. If I’m really no-lifing it, it’ll be two weeks. But if I’m trying to live a normal life while also working, it’ll be three, four weeks.
When you create a content or video, what is the part that you struggle the most with?
Probably the storyboarding part, because it takes me so much mental energy. I’ll go “urgh, I have to do this part”. Because the way I make my videos is I record the audio, then storyboard the drawings I want to use, then I’ll line them, colour them if I feel so compelled. The sketch part is the most tedious part for me because I have to be like “what do I want to do”. At the same time, because it’s the sketch part, it feels like you aren’t making any progress on the video. Because that’s not gonna be what it actually looks like in the end. The lining part is fine, because you have the sketch lines, and you just turn your brain off, put on a video and just go, but yeah, I definitely feel the most tired during the sketching part.
What were your inspirations?
When I was younger, my inspirations were shoujo manga, especially Arina Tanemura, obviously because Fruits Basket, and Tokyo Mew Mew, masterpiece. Takeshi Obata, who did the art for Death Note – I love his art style, I wouldn’t even want to say he inspired me, because nothing I draw looks like his, but just that level of skill, I was just like, oh my god, what an inspiration. Definitely manga and anime were a huge part of my inspiration when I was younger and still are to this day.
What’s your proudest achievement so far, in your career or personal life?
I guess the obvious would be that I did YouTube and it went pretty far! If I had to pick a specific moment, where I was like “whoa, I made it!” I guess it would be when I first got the email inviting me to VidCon in 2019. I was just super excited because it just wasn’t something I was expecting. At that time, getting invited to VidCon felt super prestigious, like “oh, you were handpicked to be featured in this huge YouTuber convention”.
But then COVID happened, so then it was postponed to 2021. I was like “okay, that’s fine”. But then it got postponed again. And then it was 2022, this year, and I finally got to attend in July. It was, uh, the internet culture has changed, so now it’s more like a TikTok convention and I felt really out of place. I still had a great time, granted I did get COVID so I’m a little salty about that, but yeah. I think in 2019 when I first got that email, I was super excited, and now I’ve finally fulfilled that this year, but it was… okay. (laughs)
You have a specific comic-like shoujo style, how did you get to this style?
I would say every art style is an amalgamation of other art styles that inspired me, and I think that goes for every artist, it’s just more like what is pleasing to my eye when I draw this. When I see some feature that someone uses that I like, like the way they draw highlights, I want to draw like that too. It is sort of like a little mismash, and even then, my art style is not at a place that I am happy with. It’s something I want to keep working on. Yeah, I think the root of all art style is inspiration.
Adding on to that, do you have any suggestions or advice for beginners that are trying to find their art styles?
There is one piece of advice that I had gotten from a friend, where they said, if you like the way a certain style looks, try and replicate it as fast as you can on a piece of paper. Don’t like painstakingly trying to capture every single detail, see what part of it stuck out and are more pronounced for you. I think that is a good way to practice. When I was younger, I really liked the way that hands looked in shoujo manga, so for a while, I would just look for a panel or like a certain hand pose, and just draw that over and over again. I guess repetition and practice is the key.
Do you have someone you ask for advice on your content?
Not really, I just kind of do it and hope people find it funny. The one time I’ll ask for advice is if I’m stuck on a certain part of my script and I’m like “I need ideas, what to put for this, give me ideas.” But yeah, no, when it comes to drawing storyboards I’m just like “yeah, I’ll do this.” Usually I’ll ask my friends, I’ll just pop into Discord and they’ll be like “you should do this” and I’ll be like “yeah, I’ll do that.” I’m very much a, like, I value speed over the actual “is this perfect” because I know a lot of people who are perfectionists will be like “if this isn’t the perfect joke, I don’t want to put it in”. But I’ll be like, “I guess it’s funny, anyways, moving onto the next picture”. So I’m more like, I just want to fill it with something.
What do you think about AI generated art? How will it affect content creators, especially artists?
I think it seems like a pretty cool concept, but at the same time, I don’t like the idea. I have seen some that say that “we can replicate the style of this artist with this AI”, and I really don’t like that, because that artist spent a lot of time, effort and worked really hard to do that. And they just said “oh let’s make an AI to replicate this style, here you go”. I feel like it’s cool in a gimmicky way, but I feel like it would do more harm to content creators, especially artists, although I don’t really know enough about it to have a solid opinion.
What inspired you to try VTubing?
It was a really spontaneous decision. Back when the VTuber boom first started happening, I started just admiring from afar. I was just looking at all these cute avatars coming out, (thinking it was) so cool, but I was – streaming was just something I was always curious about, but was never gung-ho, like, “I wanna stream”. But I thought the concept of, like, getting to stream as a cute 2D character was cool.
Then one day, my favourite artist opened up model commissions, and it was an extremely spontaneous decision. She was like “hey, I have some slots open for VTuber models, who wants it”. And I was like “Me. Give me”. If I could have a model to be drawn by anyone, I’d want it to be drawn by her, because I’ve admired her art for a long time. And I remember she was like “okay, yeah, what design do you want? Do you have any references”. And I was like “I really have no idea, I just decided to do this now”. So I spent like a week trying to figure out a concept. And yeah, that’s how I started streaming, just for fun. I’ve been keeping it just as a fun little hobby on the side. But yeah, it was an extremely spontaneous decision on my part
How did you come to choose your theme for your model?
A lot of people have asked “why don’t you use your black-and-white model for your VTuber design”. Because that’s what most people are familiar with, it would have been good for branding. But VTuber models are expensive, and I was like “I’m not gonna pay that much for them to draw me in a black and white striped sweater and a skirt”. Especially since there’s so many amazing, cool designs that I’ve been seeing with lore, and I also didn’t want to make a whole new character that was disconnected from myself.
So I was like, what if I made the concept that streaming is my part-time job, so this is my YouTube persona’s part-time job, so then I had the idea that it would be at a café, ‘cause I love cafes, and, y’know, I think maid cafes are really fun. So I thought, “okay, maid cafes can be a thing”. But I also love strawberries. It’s not super obvious in my YouTube branding, but strawberries are my favourite motif in games. So I was like, ‘okay, got it, it’s gonna be a strawberry waitress in a strawberry themed maid café’. So yeah, it’s like things I like and tied in with the whole “this is what I’m doing as my part-time job when I’m not making videos”.
Who is your favourite VTuber?
I really like Ollie. I like her concept, I like her concept and she’s super nice, very cute. Besides Ollie, I really like Korone, the dog – she’s so cute! And on the EN side, I like Ironmouse.
If given the chance to collaborate with Ollie, what kind of content would you do?
I know she really likes Apex Legends, so maybe I’ll have her help me play the game because I’m really bad at it. It’ll be like a mentor mentee type of stream, I think that’ll be cute.
Any plans of introducing art or the story time world to her?
I don’t know if it would interest her. Maybe I can hit her up.
About Life in Japan
What are the things that you would do differently in Japan as compared to the US?
I feel like I definitely feel more compelled to consider it, because I noticed people are a lot more quiet. In Japan, I could be on a fully packed train during rush hour, and it will be quiet. This is a little weird to me because if it was in America it would be very loud. Also, when I’m walking on the street and talking to a friend, I feel compelled to lower my voice and talk really quietly, because other people will be walking without saying a word, they are really quiet. That is definitely one big change that I noticed, that Japanese are a lot quieter in public. Besides, there is also the way they sort trash in Japan, it’s very specific. In the States, it’s like this is for recycling and this is the dumpster. But in Japan, if you wanted to throw away your water bottle, you would have to take off the plastic components and put that into the plastic category, and you put the actual bottle in the bottle category. It’s a lot more thoughtful.
Do you see yourself living in Japan for a long-term? Or would you rather go back to the US?
I know Japan is not my forever home, I’m just there for work, but I don’t know when I’ll move back to the States. I’m just there for however long the Japanese government would have me, and however long Geek+ would have me.
During Big Cons, do you play any video games while you’re traveling?
No. I used to bring my switch with me, like just in case I wanna play something, but I don’t bring it anymore just because I never end up playing any games. Yeah, I don’t think I’m the gaming while traveling type, I think I prefer to play at home on the computer, not much of a hand-held person.
Which is better, PC gaming or console gaming?
The boring answer would be it depends. But for me personally, what I enjoy more is PC gaming.
Which prize did you cherish the most among the ones you won in the crane game video with CDawg?
I don’t know the name of the character, but that long cat plush that I got, I like that one. It’s just really funny to me, it’s like a super long cat. I also like the Kiwi birds, I still have that sitting on my couch.
Who are some YouTube content creators that you enjoy watching right now?
There’s a creator named Sultan Sketches who I really admire because he – it’s like, he has these videos where if you pause at any moment, it looks like it could be a wallpaper. Like he puts so much blood, sweat and tears in every single time – I don’t know why, because it – it’s too much work. I don’t have the patience for it. I also like illymation who’s also in the story time community. I really like Jaiden, I know she’s gone into gaming content, but she enjoys it more, so I’m happy about that. She’s super funny. I guess Daidus, I guess (laughs). Those are the first four that came to mind.
What is your earliest memory of a fandom? It doesn’t have to be anime?
Tokyo Mew Mew, I remember I was just like “I. Like. This”. That was before I could even figure out that it was anime, I just knew I like that style where it’s really colourful, has big eyes and is very detailed. I think that was like my very first anime obsession.
How did you come across the series?
4Kids, as much as they butchered Tokyo Mew Mew, I do have to appreciate them for bringing the series to 8-year-old Emily’s life, who then discovered the original Tokyo Mew Mew. But yeah, it was just like Saturday morning TV and I remember I was like not interested in the western looking cartoons, and to the ones which had a more anime-style, I was like “yes, this pleases my eyes”.
Do you still like the fandom a lot till this day?
Yeah, I’d say so.
We’d like to thank Emirichu once again for amazing session, as well as AniManGaki for chance to interview her in person! If you’d like to see more of Emirichu’s content, be sure to check out her socials below: