Photo by grape Japan | © KFP

[Report] Meet, shake hands and hug a Vtuber!? Robot technology is making dreams come true

Finally, the day when you can meet a Vtuber in person has come!

The dream-like event was named『けもV シマハイイロギツネ ジャパリパークから「ヒトの国」にきたよ!よろしくにぇ!ごあいさつ会』KemoV Shimahaiirogitsune Japaripāku kara Hitonokuni ni kitayo! Yoroshikunie! Goaisatsukai (Island Fox from KemoV came from Japari Park to the land of humans! Nyice to meet you! Meet & Greet).

The けものフレンズVぷろじぇくと (Kemono Friends V Project, KemoV for short) is a group of characters from Kemono Friends who have become Vtubers. Kemono Friends is a very popular media franchise featuring cute anthropomorphized animals (けもの kemono means animal) that includes mobile games, published media, and an anime.

Island Fox, (in Japanese, shimahaiirogitsune, nicknamed shimahai) is one of the most popular characters in the group, and she was the star of this event.

She came to the “real” world through the use of cutting-edge robot technology. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the event and interview her! In this article, I'll report on this exciting event with pictures and videos. At the end of the interview, Island Fox had a special message for grape Japan readers!

Fans interacted with a Vtuber in the real world!

The event was held in Shinjuku, Tokyo. I arrived at the venue around 25 minutes before the start time, but there were already so many Kemono Friends fans. All of them were looking forward to seeing Island Fox.

Of course, I was also looking forward to seeing her too. However, I still had one simple question:

How can a Vtuber, a “virtual” existence, meet and touch us? In the event promotion, they said “You can speak to her not through a monitor, but in person. This is a special event where you can touch a Vtuber.”

Finally, the event started and I learned the answer.

Island Fox came to our world like this!

Photo by grape Japan | © KFP

Wow! It was as they said. There was no monitor, and Island Fox was standing there!

Let’s take a closer look.

Photo by grape Japan | © KFP

They took the trouble of recreating not only the cute orange-colored costume but also her fluffy ears too. She also had a moving tail but it’s difficult to see in pictures because it was tucked behind her when she was not moving.

She could move her arms, hands, ears, tail, and eyes. Of course, she could talk with her fans. It wasn't a programmed automatic response. Rather, she communicated with people verbally and with expressive body language.

Maybe it’s hard to imagine just by reading text. Let’s see her movements and how she enjoyed communicating with humans in our video:

Island Fox’s amazing communication skills

When a woman came to see Island Fox, she cheerfully welcomed her with her trademark greeting phrase “Hi! Kon kon!” and moved her arms and fluffy ears and tail. She also said “Nigi nigi” (a cute onomatopoeia for handshaking) and shook her hand! Island Fox said she could feel her hand too.

The woman asked Island Fox, “What is your favorite color?” and she answered, “Hmmm...gray...I think.”

Next, Island Fox asked a question, “Where are you from? I’m from Japari Park”. Wow. She can ask questions back.

She was even able to give the woman a hug!

Island Fox showed her excellent communication skills during the meet and greet event.

For example, she remembered the names of her regular fans from her YouTube stream. She said their names and talked about their usual topics, Twitter posts, and so on. Fans could talk with her for 30 seconds, but they really enjoyed the limited time to the fullest.

Almost every fan took pictures with her and some of them brought their own fan items such as stuffed animals and drawings. There were some fans who came to Tokyo from other prefectures. For them, she talked about their prefectures instead of the typical questions.

Both the fans and Island Fox looked really happy. The event resembled an idol handshaking event. Usually, Vtuber fans have a good time just watching streams. However, they're usually limited to typing text. It’s fun, of course, but communicating with a Vtuber at this type of event is a totally different kind of enjoyment.

Interview with Island Fox

After the exciting greeting time with fans, Island Fox kindly offered us a special interview time!


grape Japan: “I saw you move your body parts a lot and know you can make many poses. Which one is your favorite pose? Could you kindly do it?”

Island Fox: “My favorite pose is called 威嚇のポーズ ikaku no pōzu. (ikaku means intimidation in Japanese.) I open my arms wide and straight like this!”

Photo by grape Japan | © KFP

Great! She responded so enthusiastically even though I asked her to come up with something on the spot.

grape Japan: “Thank you! My other question is about your best feature. Of course, I know you’re always cute as a Vtuber, but what is the best feature of your physical body here?”

Island Fox: “I usually have a twintail hairstyle on the side, but this time my braids are hanging down. Also, I'm usually wearing a beret, but today I have a hoodie. I really like it.”

grape Japan: “I see. Very cute! Finally, could you kindly say something to our readers and your fans overseas because our media is written in English?”

Island Fox: “Ohhhh! Okay! Hello, I'm Island Fox! Today’s event was held in Japan, but usually, I stream. People from countries all over the world come to see me, so if you learn about me from this article, please come and see me too. One of the other members of KemoV, Coyote, streams in English, so please go visit her too.”

Talking with her was unbelievably fun!

The virtual world and our real world are becoming more and more seamless. Through the event, I felt a new world of possibilities for Vtubers.

The members of KemoV

シマハイイロギツネ shimahaiirogitsune (Island Fox)

ダイアウルフ daia urufu (Dire Wolf)

She is a new member! Her debut stream will start at 7:00pm on March 19th (JST)!

コヨーテ koyōte (Coyote)

As Island Fox mentioned in her interview, Coyote streams in English!

She will be making her 3D model début on March 10th, 2022, so it’s the perfect time to check her channel!

ケープペンギン kēpu pengin (African Penguin)

フンボルトペンギン funboruto pengin (Humboldt Penguin)

By - Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki).