The characters faceless content creators play

YouTube's Gawr Gura is bringing a new meaning to the label

YouTube’s Gawr Gura is bringing a new meaning to the label “Content Creator.”

These past few years have seen a rise in content creators who have chosen to maintain their anonymity, with some of them rising into the ranks of the most famous on their respective platforms. 

This past year alone saw the rise of some of the biggest content creators currently out there. Two of these creators are Minecraft YouTuber and Twitch streamer Dream, and virtual YouTuber Gawr Gura. Both of these creators have grown exponentially in popularity in the past year with Gura going from not having an account in the beginning of the year to a subscriber count that as of April rests at around two and a half million, and Dream growing from single digit millions to double digits for his subscriber count.

Outside of their popularity, these two are connected because they have both maintained most of their anonymity, with Gura’s identity being completely unknown to all her viewers, and Dream only having revealed his first name, Clay.

What makes these two special is that they have turned their anonymity into a tool to use to bolster their popularity. Their anonymity takes away the experience of interacting with an actual person that most viewers enjoy.

However, both of these creators have managed to fix this problem and provide a viewing experience above that of listening to a disembodied voice.

Taking a look at Gura’s channel reveals that the role of her face has been filled in by a virtual avatar to represent her.

It is a drawn character that moves along with her actions, giving the illusion of the character on the screen being real. 

This gives her a shield to hide her appearance behind, while still giving her community a means to portray her, keeping the door to community-made content like fanart open.

It also provides a method to portray herself as a character that is favorable to audiences, as every detail ranging from her name “Gawr Gura” and her appearance can be designed to appeal to viewers.

A peek into her livestreams quickly reveals how effective this character is at appealing to an audience, with every wink and laugh inciting a wave of messages of adoration.

Even secondhand content like clips from the aforementioned livestreams draw in millions of views, with a one-minute clip consisting solely of her saying the letter “a” a single time getting three million views.

This isn’t to say that she brings nothing to the table outside of her character, as there are more reasons to her popularity than just marketability. Anyone who covers “Ride On Time” by Tatsuro Yamashita and gets two and a half million views from a secondhand upload clearly has talent.

Dream also uses this same tactic of playing a character, but in a different manner. His character was developed with a basis in his skillset; his series “Minecraft Manhunt” directly led to his characterization as a skillful, strategic and quick-witted hunter. This was quickly picked up by his audience, who now frequently depict him as such in their fan works.

This hunter characterization and depiction has become the most prominent one amongst fans and is usually how people perceive Dream.

He also does actual acting in the form of roleplay within a server he owns known as the Dream SMP, and very heavily plays into a sort of mastermind type character, which meshes well with his aforementioned strategic and quick-witted characterization.

There is no lack of fanmade content showcasing just how skillful and highly strategic Dream is, with some claiming his IQ to be in the quadruple digits. This is an exaggeration but it goes to show just how captivated his fanbase is with his character.

While their style of content and brand differ, both Dream and Gura clearly share a similarity; they are both playing characters. This is made easy by the fact that their identities are completely masked, allowing for the viewer to associate them more with the act they put on then a person.

However, it must be noted that the person behind the mask is real; they are a normal person just like everyone else no matter what they act like. While this normally doesn’t come up much, the humanity of these people always manages to emerge. 

Prominent examples of this are their responses to reaching specific milestones. Dream took to Twitter to publicly announce his reaction to reaching 10 million subscribers. “Tears are being dropped tonight,” which was sent the day of this milestone being reached.

Gawr Gura, ever the professional, stayed in character for her appreciation tweet. “Thank you. I am an overwhelmed, but very happy shark,” she posted. “From my big shark heart, thank you.”

These messages of appreciation show that these people are not in it only for fame; they care about the content they make and the people who watch them.