Meet Reiko, Virtual Youtuber and…….. Victim of Domestic Abuse?

CONTENT WARNING:

This post will be dealing with serious topics such as depression and domestic abuse. If you have issues with reading about content such as this, you have been fairly warned.

Wandering randomly on the interwebs, I found a rather strange new virtual youtuber. Now, her content in of itself is “harmless”. It revolves around a woman named Reiko. Her content consist of her answering questions from her fans, talking about her hobbies, and retweeting pictures of cats on her Twitter page.

Seems harmless enough, right?

Have a watch.

As you can see, she looks…….. not great. Out of morbid curiosity, I watched the very first video she put out. I am not kidding when I say the first 30 seconds of that video was the most upsetting 30 seconds of my week.

This first video is genuinely upsetting. I do not know who the voice actor is, but she sounds…..broken. It’s actually really upsetting to watch this. She doesn’t SAY anything about her injuries or home life, she mostly just does small talk awkwardly then the video just ends.
Watching the rest of the subtitled videos, most of them simply involve her awkwardly talking about her interests while simultaneously saying that she must be such a boring person and apologizing for it.

Now, my true fascination with this character is that there’s a following. Not a BIG following, but a bigger following for such a controversial concept than I expected.
Her Twitter is pretty harmless, but again, there’s this underlying subtext of something not quite right.

The replies to this tweet kind of show more about her personality. For example, this twitter user (who I will censor despite the username being in moon speak to protect their privacy) showed concern for her obvious injuries.

Instead of answering his question, Reiko simply replied:

Reiko was more concerned about whether or not posting the picture was a good idea or not.

The twitter user then replied:

At this point, the user backpedals and claims he was only worried about her.

Reiko appreciates the concern in this reply:

Following the rest of her feed, interactions like these are common (if the tweets aren’t about cats, which are a nice respite) throughout. She posts a lot of “selfies” i.e. pictures drawn by the artist while tweeting in-character.

It’s very hard to distinguish what is her being reflective of her own personality, or what she’s learned living with her husband.

After a certain point, Reiko’s followers that show concern were overshadowed by people simply praising her. In a weird way, all of the followers are supportive and somehow avoid the topic of domestic violence altogether in favor of keeping her company. Reiko’s characterization can start to border on the uncomfortable. Her voice actress lends an authenticity to the role of “lonely housewife with mysterious injuries” a little bit too well. She’s subdued and can show excitement, but whenever any emotion starts getting too strong, she dials herself back to a neutral monotone.

It’s fascinating to me not just because of Reiko, but the following around the character. What do her followers get out of following this strange roleplay?

Is it some weird social experiment? To give people online some sense of “good” by being supportive of a clearly suffering fictional character? Is there a level of fetishization going on and some people like being the “comforting” guy to a sad lady online?

Reiko’s personality and home life is revealed to us only through little snippets. Her Twitter paints us a picture of her loneliness. Reiko tends to tweet about cats, but from what I’ve gathered, she doesn’t even have one in her house.

With how new the character is, I simply can’t gather more without digging through some more tweets. I am not sure of the intent of the creator, but I do know that for some people in her fandom, Reiko’s present condition is exactly what draws them in. The character is fictional, but the creator went out of their way to create a terms and agreements for the use of her image.

There’s a clear level of weirdness here that I am only beginning to unfold, but I still think it’s an interesting find.

Check it out for yourself over at:

Youtube

Twitter

Until next time!

5 thoughts on “Meet Reiko, Virtual Youtuber and…….. Victim of Domestic Abuse?

  1. I wonder about the intent about this social experiment. From what I see, I was very disturbed regardless of the context or intent of the Reiko character. I’m not against someone using controversial subjects, but this got too realistic. The thing is I’ve dealt with self-harm in my past and I still struggle with bouts of self-hate and internalized hurt to this day. I still have a bad habit of apologizing when I don’t have to which I unintentionally found relatable. I seriously hope this person or people responsible for the Reiko character are doing this for the right reasons, or I’d be very concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. The character isn’t shallowly played enough to be insensitive and is actually a rather realistic portrayal of a victim of abuse. At the same time, the creator shares fanart of said character while still being in-character.

      It’s a slippery slope.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is actually a really fascinating find. There’s no reason why someone shouldn’t do this with a virtual YouTuber — after all, part of the reason they exist is to parody (not necessarily in a comedic manner) the way real YouTubers are, and there are certainly people who talk about this sort of stuff on there.

    I’ll have to check this out. I’m intrigued.

    Liked by 2 people

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