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We Attended Virtual Singer YuNi’s First Live VR Concert And Were Blown Away [Video]

Virtual Singer YuNi

Virtual YouTuber and singer YuNi, whom we had the pleasure of interviewing last year, has seen her channel steadily climbing the ranks, now in 8th place for video views at over 29.3 million plays and in 12th place for popularity with over 213,000 fans at time of writing. In addition to her nearly weekly updates of cover songs, she has collaborated with other VTubers, made appearances on Japanese television and branched out as an original artist, launching her private label yunion.wave in late October. Her first single, "Toumei Seisai" 透明声彩 (“Transparent Voice”), written and composed by YUC'e, reached #3 on iTunes, and #1 on the iTunes Electronic charts, and she gave her fans an amazing Christmas present at her first live VR concert on Dec. 24th, when she gave the world premiere of her second single, Winter Berry, also written and composed by YUC'e.

The Best Xmas Present: YuNi 1st VR LIVE! 〜VeRy Merry X'mas〜

Fans were already excited when YuNi announced that she would be having her very first VR live concert. As you may remember from our previous article, the first round of tickets sold out in a mere seven minutes, and many fans purchased the Oculus Go VR headset for the express purpose of attending the event.

Concert Report

We had our apprehensions at first when it came to attending a concert in virtual reality. Would it just be a gimmick? Would it bring anything more than just a bigger screen and no distractions? Would it really bring anything extra to the experience of interacting with YuNi?

Our grape Japan staff who reported on the event had those questions and more in his mind as he put on his Oculus Go headset and entered the VARK app. He had already purchased 99 VARK coins to use for the various actions (see below) during the concert and now it was just a matter of clicking on the event panel.

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A few moments later, he was in the very front row of a virtual concert arena, a coveted position fans of real-world artists can normally only dream of. But in this virtual environment, every single participant can enjoy "front row seats." The silhouette of other participants surrounded him left and right, light sticks in hand, as claps and cheers echoed through the speakers of the Oculus Go. Meanwhile, excited fans were already trying out the action features, throwing virtual flower bouquets onto the stage, making virtual fireworks explode on the back screen, launching shooting stars with streamers from virtual cannons, making virtual kusudama confetti balls pop open on stage with the Japanese phrase 大好き daisuki (I love you), and making comments such as 楽しい! tanoshii! (this is fun!) or other phrases selected from a list of preset options in the VARK menu appear along with the participant's name for everyone to see.

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At 8 PM, YuNi appeared on the stage, releasing another frenzied round of applause, cheers, gifts and messages. It was already turning out to be a special experience, and she hadn't even begun to sing her first song.

After warming up the crowd with some emceeing which showed off her endearing personality her fans have come to love, she kicked off the concert with her first original song, 透明声彩 Toumei Seisai (Transparent Voice), to the delight of the crowd. The next songs were エイリアンエイリアン Alien Alien and 星間飛行 Seikan Hikou (Interstellar Flight)

The combination of her performance on the virtual stage, her singing and dance moves in perfect sync, and the visuals (both the flat screens providing zoom in views and the three-dimensional effects created by the fans' participation) made it an amazing, immersive experience. The doubts our reporter had about the advantages of a virtual concert were quickly fading away as the thrill of the experience became clearer.

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At moments, YuNi suddenly seemed to teleport from center stage to a position just a few feet away. At others, she floated above the stage and disappeared as the background changed.

True to the Christmas theme, YuNi treated her fans to Silent Night, which included a beautiful sequence featuring a private audience with the virtual singer in a circular room decorated with windows revealing a snowy night sky. In a startlingly intimate moment, she approached, smiled and even extended her hand to the viewer, before the scene transitioned once again to the concert arena.

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And then, in another treat for YuNi's fans, she instantly changed into a very cute Santa costume, which was the perfect segue into the world premiere of her second original song, Winter Berry, with lyrics and composition by YUC'e. The cute choreography perfectly matched the mood of this upbeat track.

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After Winter Berry, it was the "end" of the concert, although in YuNi's emceeing and a message displayed on the stage, the audience was cued to use the "encore" comment in the text presets to bring her back on stage. Of course, her encore was the fan favorite Charles. And then it was really time for her to leave.

Here's a lightning overview video of the event:

Just like a real concert, fans were left cheering and applauding. A message appeared on the stage indicating the show had ended.

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Removing the Oculus Go and returning to the serenity of his living room, our reporter had a grin wider than the Grinch on his face as he contemplated what he had just experienced.

For a budding fan such as himself, it was surely the best Christmas present imaginable. That night, as he was nestled and snug in his bed, visions of winter berries danced in his head...

Actions in VARK

Let's take a quick look at the actions participants can engage in within the current iteration of the VARK application:

Preset comments menu / flower bouquet

You can choose from a variety of preset comments such as "cute," "I love you," "LOL" "What?" etc. (you cannot make original text comments at the present time).

This screen also shows flower bouquets thrown onto the stage

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Light sticks action

The Oculus Go controller makes your light stick go up and down or side to side as you wish. Colors vary according to a predetermined pattern when you move the light stick.

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At one point in her emceeing, YuNi asked the crowd to all stop waving the light sticks and then start in unison, thus highlighting the interactive potential of the action.

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Pressing the trigger button on the controller makes you clap, so you can change the speed and timing as you wish. By changing your hand position when you clap, you can also create a more customized effect.

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Pressing on the touch control surface creates a cheering sound which lasts about a second, as manga-style focus lines appear on the screen to reinforce the action.

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Shooting star cannon

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Kusudama confetti ball

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Buying items

Just like a real-world concert, you can buy goods available exclusively during the event. For example, during this concert, there were exclusive Christmas-themed YuNi goods such as T-shirts, parkas and tote bags.

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Updates planned

According to VARK's most recent blog entry, here are some of the updates planned:

  • Video archive: So you can view events if you weren't able to attend live. (Tentative. Under consideration)
  • Compatibility with other devices: Compatibility with the upcoming Oculus Quest and other HR devices. (Under consideration)
  • Lottery system for tickets: Some fans expressed displeasure with the current first-come-first-serve system. (Under consideration)
  • Oculus Go overheating and causing forced exits: Solution currently in the works.
  • Comment lag: During the concert, especially in the latter half, there was a considerable time lag between the moment users selected a comment and the comment appearing on the screen: Solution currently in the works.
  • Upgrade to 60 frames per second: So fans can see the virtual performer moving more fluidly and naturally (Under consideration)

About YuNi

About VARK

By - Ben K.