Fans Share Their Meet & Greet Experiences with ILUNA at Anime Impulse Bay Area

Photo Credit: Anime Impulse

As NIJISANJI EN continues to grow, NIJISANJI EN sixth wave VTuber group ILUNA reached their first anniversary this past July. Just in time, Anime Impulse held a convention in the Bay Area in July featuring a panel with ILUNA and opportunities for fans to meet the individual five members: Maria Marionette, Kyo Kaneko, Aia Amare, Aster Arcadia, Scarle Yonaguni, and Ren Zotto. And by meet, ticket holders had a one-on-one chat with each member displayed on a vertical screen for a one-minute session in a curtained off private area. APA talked with fans about what ILUNA means to them and their meet & greet experiences.

“Iluna is my favorite wave. Ever. I love them with all of my heart and I get so much cuteness aggression when I see them. I want squeeze them and melt them into my bones!” shared a fan, Cactus. “I love how they are extremely comfortable with each other and always seem to hop in to each other’s streams, which always is a lot of fun for a viewer to watch!” ILUNA also introduced a new group format to NIJISANJI EN, becoming the branch’s first co-ed VTuber group. Valentina said, “I loved the change— Iluna was like a breath of fresh air and I’m so proud to see how far they’ve come.” 

A one-minute meet & greet can feel like both a lot of and little time simultaneously to spend with your oshi, which means “bias” or favorite person/character in Japanese. Even though the VTubers are speaking through a screen during these sessions, like they regularly do on stream, Chas shared the experience is different from a stream: “When I put the headphones and spoke in front of Scarle with the microphone, she warmly greeted me, and it was a strange feeling for me.” She continued, “Scarle kept saying how much she appreciated me for meeting with her, and I was too stunned to immediately respond back to her kind words. I tried my best to say how much I appreciate her creative streams and make sure she’s doing well too.”

Some fans like Joanne kicked off her session with a silly joke, pretending she walked into a McDonalds, and Aster decided to play along. She even came back for a second session to hit him with a pickup line: “Do you believe in love at first sight or was it good that I came back a second time?”

For Amechan, who has met over 20 NIJISANJI EN members in separate sessions, it made perfect sense to perform a violin rendition of “Virtual to Live,” as ILUNA released their own cover in commemoration of their first year anniversary. During her session with Ren, who has released a number of his own original songs, she focused her conversation on music and what other instruments he’d like to learn and possibly play on stream in the future. When Sakkumi came to meet Ren, they came decked out in full cosplay of Ren himself, complete with horns and all. While entering the booth, Sakkumi’s horns hit the top of the booth curtain and fell off, which had the session starting on a comedic note and turning it into an unforgettable memory.

Sakkumi posing with Ren (@sakkumicosplay on Twitter)

Valentina picked Maria as one of her oshis because she admired her passion and efforts to push the boundaries of VTubing through her musical endeavors: “I had a really fulfilling session with Maria and told her how proud I was of her. She also gave me ideas on what art I should commission for her and other NIJI EN members!” Joanne enjoyed bonding with Aia over their shared Vietnamese heritage, as Aia has often talked about Vietnamese culture on stream and taught other VTubers some Vietnamese words.

Some fans pointed to the “gap moe” or charming gap between Kyo’s cute model design with bright multi-colored hair, often represented as a printer, and his tendency to bluntly roast everything as to how he became their favorite. Yue, a fan artist, mentioned that although they were incredibly nervous to the point of almost breaking the mic stand, Kyo was very accomodating and even said he had their art saved, which had them floored for a moment at the recognition. Meanwhile, Cactus was prepared with props for the meet & greet far in advance: “Honestly, I’ve had the printer hat thing since ILUNA’s 6th month anniversary, and I have been desperately waiting for Anime Impulse to have ILUNA meet & greets just to sho Kyo the printer!” Because she had heard nobody has proposed to Kyo yet during a meet & greet and that he might consider saying yes if someone offered him bread, she decided she wanted to be the first with a handmade engagement ring of wire and a bread charm in place of a diamond. “I wanted to make sure he knew it was a joke (no parasocial!), so I specified it was a platonic one-day-lasting business marriage.” Thanks to her foolproof plan, he naturally said yes.

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For those unfamiliar with ILUNA or VTubers in general, Yue suggests giving them a try. “Ever since getting into VTubers, I’ve been happier and the most motivated I’ve ever been. I’ve met the coolest people I know, both liver and community-wise.” They continued, “I’d encourage everyone to find a VTuber that fits their taste. It’s a good rabbit hole to fall into, though my wallet says otherwise.”

Mai Nguyen

Editor-in-Chief at Asia Pacific Arts.
Feel free to send me a note on Twitter to @hellomailee.

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