More YouTube channels to watch during the quarantine (part 2)

When I wrote the first part of this post series 16 months ago, I didn’t imagine we’d still be in this shitpile by September 2021. Yet here we are, still in the midst of it. Everything is technically open where I live, but fuck that shit. I have the good fortune to be able to work from home anyway, which not everyone does obviously. (And here’s another reminder that America doesn’t give its teachers nearly enough credit or compensation. They’ll have to hope for that in the afterlife, because hell if they’ll find it on Earth.)

So here’s another post about good YouTube channels to check out if you need extra time to pass while at home. I hope this is helpful, and not just another excuse for me to write a fairly low-effort post because every day after work this week I only had the energy to watch a screen with flashing colors on it.

I’ll break these channels down into four categories again, though different ones this time, starting with:

1) Informative/documentary/etc.

First, a few channels I somehow missed last time that I want to add to this category:

CGP Grey — This guy has been around YouTube for a long time, and I’d say he’s a must-watch if you’re into history or political science at all. CGP Grey’s videos somehow manage to be both in-depth and concise, a trick I could never pull off myself. I’d recommend anything he’s put out, but his discussions of efficiency in voting systems are great (and not at all dry like they might sound — Grey also manages to always be entertaining.) They’re not all about history and politics, however: I found this one informative, though I’ve been following its instructions for about 20 years now without realizing it.

Periodic Videos — I got a lousy grade in chemistry class in high school, partly because I was being a complete no-effort shit at the time (and as a result getting a figurative but still massive ass-kicking and sorting myself out just in time to get a respectable four-year average and to get into a respectable university, but that’s another story.) I found actually studying that stuff from the textbooks and doing labs miserable, but I’ve come around, and now I follow Periodic Videos, a channel run by a group at the University of Nottingham. This channel mostly contains videos focusing on specific elements from the periodic table as their name suggests, featuring interesting background and experiments that sometimes include explosions or super-frozen objects.

Really, I get the impression this group might just like exploding, freezing, and melting objects, which I can understand. It does make the videos a little more exciting wondering how large a mess they can create with these chemicals in a safe and controlled environment.

I’ll also throw Solar Sands in this category. This guy creates interesting videos on art criticism and related subjects.

His “Let’s Build an Anime Girl” video is also pretty thought-provoking. Though I don’t agree with his conclusion that drowning in theoretical immersive fictional worlds at the expense of “real life” is a bad thing, because it’s honestly all I’m looking forward to in my own life. If anything really, I’m sad that I’ll probably be dead before we have that kind of technology. Fuck you, theoretical future people.

2) Music

I’d like to tell you the name of the first channel I’m featuring in this category, but it doesn’t have one. I’d also like to tell you the names of the songs the artist releases on this channel, but the songs don’t have names either, and neither does the artist really (though they go by x0o0x_ on Twitter.) So I’ll just post one of their recent songs:

So ”     ” is really good. But be sure to check out ”     ” as well:

These and the rest of their songs are just god damn good, not much else to say about them. I like the dark feel of them combined with their energy, and the illustrations by stdio_nameraka match the songs perfectly. Not sure why the maker(s), including the singer, have decided to remain anonymous otherwise, but that’s their deal.

If you like solo piano as much as I do, you might also be interested in Pan Piano. This channel features another anonymous musician who plays covers, largely of anime and game music.

Her playing is obviously the only reason I’m subscribed to this channel. Why else would I be?

Well, yeah, Pan’s cosplay is obviously part of the appeal of her videos, and I suspect she wouldn’t have quite so many fans without it. But she is a fine pianist on top of that — I’d like to be this good one day, or at least close to it once I brush up again. Also, she recently put out what I consider the best video on YouTube so far:

And if you’re looking for a guy who talks about music theory, why some music might sound good to your ear while other music doesn’t, and how good or shitty various music-making software is, check out Tantacrul. This channel might fit just as well in the first category above, but it’s all about music, so I’m putting it here. I especially liked this video about how modern TV producers use stock music to try to manipulate viewers’ feelings as opposed to letting the viewers’ feelings result naturally from what they’re watching.

3) Bizarre/unsettling horror

I’m generally not a fan of horror. When it’s done well, it can be a good time (though certainly taxing, but I guess that’s part of the point) but most of what I’ve seen is more of the eye-rolling sort, if it doesn’t manage to go all the way over to that “so bad it’s funny” territory. Some filmmakers seem to think it’s enough to just have a spooky ghost haunting, an alien invasion, or a demon possession in their story for me to give a shit about it.

But no. I don’t have any problem with ghosts or aliens or demons, but I need a little more than just these elements to care about horror. Thankfully, there are a few interesting and creative independent projects on YouTube that I think get the genre down pretty well, certainly better than most Hollywood films today do. And the best channel I’ve seen so far in this regard is Gemini Home Entertainment.

Gemini is a running project by one Remy Abode, who creates these 80s/90s instructional VHS-style videos that start pretty normal and pleasant but always end up running off the rails into bizarre and uncanny horror. Though it’s not clear at first, all of the videos up until the most recent as of this writing tell a cohesive story, and one that’s pretty damn terrifying once you really understand it. If you’re a fan of slow-building psychological horror, I’d recommend Gemini. No dumb jumpscares here, but what it offers is way more effective in my opinion. I especially found the video “DEEP ROOT DISEASE” genuinely upsetting in exactly the way I think it was going for.

And if that was too taxing for you, try taking some Thalasin! It’s a new drug that’s supposed to improve your emotions. Or turn you into a character from a Junji Ito manga. I didn’t know what to expect watching this one and might have pissed myself as a result. I didn’t, just to be clear, but I can understand why someone would.

And if you’re not familiar with Junji Ito, look him up before watching the Thalasin video, and if you don’t like what you see of his work, probably don’t click that link. Without giving the twist away, it’s really not to be taken lightly — and now you can’t complain that I didn’t warn you beforehand. That Gooseworx is a creative one in any case.

4) VTubers

And finally, of course here’s an update on those virtual YouTubers we all love so much. Since first writing about them back in December, the world of English-language VTubers has expanded quite a bit. Hololive English has recently had additions to its lineup, including “Hololive Council” or EN Gen 2 as I’ve heard most people call it, even though apparently we’re not supposed to call it that. It’s good stuff, with plenty of interesting and varied personalities to suit just about anyone’s tastes.

My personal favorite in the bunch is Ouro Kronii, the “Warden of Time” who wears a giant floating clock over her head that resembles a helicopter’s blades. And of course that’s the only remarkable thing about her design. Always looking respectfully, of course.

She also provides good life advice:

Kronii’s streams have a nice chilled-out feel that I like. Even though I can’t really catch much of any of them because holy shit, I have too damn much work to do and how am I supposed to follow all these VTubers? I really hope that afterlife I was talking about has all these VODs in stock so I’ll have something to pass eternity with.

On top of all that, the other major VTuber agency Nijisanji started its own English-language branch this year, with two generations already pretty well established. I’ve already talked them up a bit in end-of-month posts, but all six VTubers in the group so far are a good time to watch, and they have great chemistry together. I’m partial to Pomu Rainpuff — she’s a strange one, very entertaining and certainly dedicated, practicing one song for nine hours straight. Her Google Earth tour of Akihabara was also interesting. Pomu really likes maid cafés I guess, can’t blame her.

But my favorite in this particular group is probably Finana Ryugu. She’s streamed both Nekopara and VA-11 Hall-A — truly a mermaid of culture. Her “safe for work” narrations of the 18+ scenes in the Nekopara games alone are enough to put her in the eternal hall of fame.

Also, credit to Rosemi for playing Age of Empires II. Still a great game worth the attention after 20 years, though she earned her reputation as ruiner of all France in that stream.

That’s it for now. If we spend still another 16 months in this hell, I’ll be sure to write a part 3 in this series. Until then (but hopefully not.)

3 thoughts on “More YouTube channels to watch during the quarantine (part 2)

  1. Another great post, Ak.

    I agree with your comments on NijiEN. I’ve loved them all, and I love Finana (truly the most cultured V-tuber) and Pomu so much (as you know if you read my tales on her being my waifu)! Rosemi is funny and cute. Elira is always funny. Selen is addictive. They all have such great chemistry. It’s really worth it when you can watch a group that truly seem to have so much fun with one another. I have never enjoyed Apex until I started watching Selen, especially when she protected Pomu. I felt like I was watching myself play a game with my son. I get so lost in those FPS games. Haha “What people?! I don’t see any people!!!” Haha, it was great.

    NijiEN is just filled with a ton of talent, and enjoyably funny and musically gifted talent.

    But I haven’t really enjoyed any of the second wave of HoloEN. It just came over like “meh” to me. All the personalities seem “meh.” I am not sure why.

    And the council lore? Um…. um… urgh… I better stop here. Maybe I’m too picky.

    I also thought they were great with HoloMyth and there are so many legends and myths out there they could have built on that and kept it fun and interesting, but went in a strange direction that I find boring and a bit… pretentious? Oddly religious? Oddly spiritual? It just all got strange and maybe that’s just me. I’d love your take on that.

    I am still enjoying Holo JP and the music is non-stop with originals by Watame, Suisei, and the 5th Gen. I’m actually finding new love with the Hololive JP side and even some of the ID branch.

    Anyway I love your posts. You always have a good grasp on the ways of YouTube.

    • Sure, I can give my thoughts for what they’re worth. Regarding Hololive Council, while I do really like Kronii’s chilled out vibe and her dynamic with chat, it’s true that aside from hers, I’ve barely watched any of their streams. That’s partly because I just don’t have the time, but while there are things I can appreciate about the others, maybe they didn’t grab me in the same way as Myth did (though that might also be the novelty wearing off? Not sure.) I understand Fauna is good at ASMR, so if I want some of that I guess I’ll check her out, but I’m extremely particular about that sort of thing and don’t really understand the appeal of a lot of the standard ASMR practices. Aside from the “cute girl right up in your ear” aspect, honestly I guess I don’t get it. The only one who really does it for me is Okayu, even though I can only understand about a quarter of what she says. Must be that silky voice she’s got.

      As far as the Council lore goes, that honestly didn’t bother me so much, but I can see what you mean about it being clunky. Maybe simpler is just better in these cases. For example, with Myth — I can understand concepts like “shark girl” and even “grim reaper’s apprentice”; those are fine. But a character who’s the embodiment of civilization or the embodiment of space? Yeah, it is a bit weird. I pretty much try to ignore all the lore stuff though; the streamers themselves usually seem to set it aside for the most part anyway.

      And as for Nijisanji EN, I totally agree with you. I like their chemistry the best out of any of the above groups; it feels really natural. It also helps that Anycolor seems to have given the Niji girls quite a bit more freedom in their choice of games/streaming subjects than Cover gives the Holo girls — Finana even outlewds Marine (though I still love Senchou of course.) Pomu is also great, yeah — I did see your post on her, and I can see the appeal completely. And while I didn’t bring up Selen, she’s really grown on me as well. I especially liked that “trying not to laugh” stream she did; certainly didn’t expect her to spend it reading public domain 17th-19th century literature and nursery rhymes.

      And thanks for the kind words! I find YouTube interesting because of the independent and outside-the-mainstream aspects of it. Though all the drama it produces is annoying to hear about (and come to think of it, there’s even a lot of drama around VTubers, though not through any fault of their own.) I like your takes on VTubers as well, and I look forward to reading more of them you might be planning in the future.

      • Thank you for the take. I didn’t expect it but truly appreciated it.

        I missed the Selen trying not to laugh stream. I have so much catching up to do. I’ve been working my way through Finana’s GTA. I did watch Pomu’s FairyOke. I love her voice.

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