La+ Darknesss, VTuber Birthdays, and the Ultimate Kayfabe


May 25, is the birthday of VTuber La+ Darknesss, and that means a variety of ways to mark the occasion, as per usual. There are the special streams, the general well wishes from fans and peers alike, and of course, the merch. As La+ is one of my absolute favorites (and her group holoX just a generally great Hololive generation), I (and my wallet) will also be partaking in the celebration. But one thing I find so funny about VTuber birthdays is that they’re the ultimate kayfabe—a crucial area where everyone suspends their disbelief.

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Nearly all virtual youtubers have two important dates to celebrate every year: their debut anniversaries and their birthdays. The former are near-immutable facts; they did their first YouTube streams on X Day, and that remains into perpetuity (unless a re-debut is somehow given precedent). The latter are completely arbitrary. 

VTuber birthdays aren’t based on when their designs are first created or when they’re first hired—that’s an unknown and (presumably) long process. It’s clearly never the same as the actual person’s birthday—that’d just invite trouble by accidentally leaking personal info. Instead, the VTuber birthday is this made-up thing that gives an excuse to put the spotlight on an individual streamer while they get to promote their projects and new goods for fans to purchase. Everyone plays along as if this is the real deal.

It’s actually great. 

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I feel like everyone is on the same page in this situation, because what it really does is focus all the love and attention onto a particular period of time, giving meaning to the actions of the VTubers and their followers alike. It’s also the only part of a VTuber’s lore that holds firm no matter what. Character personalities can change. VTubers can play into their original lore or abandon most of it to be something closer to who they are behind the screen. Fans can popularize theories, and the performers themselves can choose whether to incorporate aspects of it. Entire designs can even change significantly. However, the birthday remains.

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So Happy Birthday, La+ Darknesss! It’s going to be great getting to see you get all the attention you’ve earned. It’s good to see you bounce back from COVID as well (ironic that I say this while just getting my own first bout of COVID.)

An important final note: La+ has mentioned that she’s recovering from a stress fracture due to COVID-19, so there might not be a concert stream. In the meantime, two different delayed birthday concerts are happening this week: One is for the original Hololive, Tokino Sora, on May 26 (her birthday is May 15). The other is for 1st-Generation member Aki Rosenthal on May 27 (whose original concert in February had to be postponed due to some unknown difficulties). So while we might not get to see the Founder’s sweet dance moves again, we do get to see two of the best performers around.

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