- Netflix is joining the popular V-Tuber trend by introducing N-ko Mei Kurono, a cartoon avatar who will appear on Netflix Anime’s YouTube Channel to serve as a content ambassador.
- The virtual character will have her own weekly show, which debuts April 30, where she discusses and recommends anime programs available on Netflix.
- N-ko’s debut follows the streaming service’s promise to release 40 anime titles in 2021 as the genre gains popularity on the platform.
Netflix Introduces Anime Ambassador V-Tuber
Netflix is hopping onto the popular V-Tuber trend. This week, the streaming service debuted a V-Tuber who will serve as an Anime Ambassador for the platform.
Named N-ko Mei Kurono, the character is a sheep-human lifeform who shared her entire backstory in a video on Tuesday. N-ko is from Los Gatos, California; speaks both Japanese and English; loves anime, singing, dancing, and hanging out with friends; but hates horror. She is voiced by a Netflix employee and will appear in videos on Netflix Anime’s YouTube channel.
N-ko will host her own weekly show where she can connect with fans around the world and discuss anime content on Netflix. Titled “The N-ko Show,” the first episode will debut on April 30 at 10:00 A.M. JST. She is being promoted as both a friendly anime fan and a Netflix insider that can give viewers good recommendations and exclusive scoops.
“I am played by an employee who knows the contents very well. That’s why I can tell you the charm of our anime very thoroughly,” N-ko explained in her introduction video.
“To spark your interest in Netflix as a company, I’ll be telling you information that only employees know,” she later added.
Rob Pereyda, the Head of Anime, Editorial and Publishing at Netflix said the company created N-ko so it could have a hands-on way to interact with anime fans.
“A big part of being an anime fan is having a community to belong to where you can discuss favorite characters, recommend titles, and enjoy incredible stories together,” he said in a statement. “My team and I asked ourselves, how could we personally and directly be a part of this anime fan community? Enter N-ko.”
In addition to increasing fan engagement, N-ko hopes to venture outside of the anime world and collaborate with other V-Tubers, do song covers, and even gaming content. She is encouraging anime fans to interact with her on Twitter and YouTube using the hashtag #N_ko.
Netflix Capitalizes on Popularity of V-Tubers and Anime
By unveiling N-ko, Netflix is capitalizing on two popular genres of content: V-Tubers and anime. V-Tubers, short for virtual YouTubers, are creators who stream on Twitch and YouTube behind a cartoon avatar. Some of the most popular V-Tubers include Dream, who has 21.6 million subscribers on YouTube; and Corpse Husband, who boasts 7.4 million subscribers. Corpse Husband has used his platform to launch a music career as well, gaining 4.6 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
The growing popularity of the movement even prompted PewDiePie, one of the most influential creators on YouTube, to give his hand at V-Tubing.
Anime is obviously a much older artform than V-Tubing, but in recent years it has seen a similar explosion on Netflix. Last month, the service announced it would be launching 40 anime titles on the platform. According to Bloomberg, global viewing of anime has been rising about 50% a year, and half of Netflix’s 200 million subscribers have watched at least one anime show in recent months. By putting a heavy focus on the genre, Netflix can increase its popularity and gain audiences in international markets.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos touched on this in an earnings call last week.
“What we have seen in our Korean originals and our Japanese anime is that they play really well around the region as well as in-country and occasionally could be very, very global in their interest and desire,” he said. “And the fact that we can bring a global audience to those creators in each of the territories has been really attractive.”
Netflix hopes N-ko will help to cement that popularity.
“Through N-ko, our team is excited to join the exciting anime conversations already happening online and to be able to share all the great anime Netflix has ahead,” Pereyda said to Comic Book Resources. “Please join me in welcoming N-ko to the anime world!”
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Lil Nas X Starts Bail Project Fund After Releasing Prison-Set Video for “Industry Baby”
The singer said he is working to address “the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community.“
Lil Nas X Starts Bail X Fund
Following the release of his latest single “Industry Baby,” Lil Nas X launched a partnership with The Bail Project that aims to cover bail funds for people across the country.
The music video for the song took place in the fictional “Montero State Prison,” a reference to the title of his upcoming album and the singer’s real name. While Lil Nas X spent much of his time online promoting the video with memes, he put a pause on the jokes Saturday to announce the Bail X Fund and bring attention to issues regarding incarceration in the United States.
“On a serious note, I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family,” Lil Nas X tweeted. “And the disproportionate impact that cash bail has on the black community. That’s why I teamed up with @bailproject to create the Bail X Fund.”
The Bail Project aims to eliminate cash bail in the U.S. It has posted over $47 million in free bail for over 17,000 low-income people across the country. It also provides post-release support and services to those who need them.
“Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance,” Lil Nas X wrote in a statement on the fund’s website. “But I also know that true freedom requires real change in how the criminal justice system works. Starting with cash bail.”
The Fight to End Cash Bail
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, like many issues within the criminal justice system, cash bail disproportionately harms Black Americans. The group claims that Black and brown defendants are somewhere between 10% to 25% “more likely than white defendants to be detained pretrial or to have to pay money bail.” It also argues that Black men are 50% more likely to be detained pretrial than white defendants, and says Black and brown defendants generally “receive bail amounts that are twice as high as bail set for white defendants – and they are less likely to be able to afford it.”
Lil Nas X said he is “doing something” to address these issues and invited his fans to join him. He hopes that his efforts will encourage other artists to use their platforms to likewise speak about these injustices.
“Ending cash bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time,” he wrote. “Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home & let’s fight for freedom and equality.”
A donation tab was attached to the song’s music video, where it says nearly $44,000 has been raised for the Bail X Fund. The video has blown up on YouTube, racking up over 31 million views. It remains the number one trending video in music as of Monday morning.
The song has likewise found success on Spotify, where it debuted at number two and eventually reached the number one spot.
Fire at Home Reportedly Owned by Beyoncé and Jay-Z Under Arson Investigation
Officials said there were no injuries or evacuations during the fire, which was put out in around two hours.
Fire Breaks Out at Famed Couple’s Reported Residence
A Wednesday fire at a historic home in New Orleans, Louisiana believed to be owned by music titans Beyoncé and Jay-Z is being investigated as a possible arson.
On Thursday, a New Orleans Police Department spokesperson confirmed to multiple outlets that it had received a tip about a suspicious person in the area. Further details about the suspicious person and the cause of the fire have not been revealed.
Neighbors told local media that there is an unlocked gate on the property that outsiders sometimes use to gain entry.
Officials told The New York Post that it took 22 firefighters over two hours to extinguish the blaze, with no reported injuries or evacuations. The extent of the damage currently remains unclear, but a spokesperson told The Post that given the age of the residence, the situation could have been far more severe.
“If [the firefighters] didn’t get there when they did, it could have been much worse,” the spokesperson said. “It’s a historic home.”
About the Home
The building was first built in the Garden District neighborhood of the city in the 1920s as a church. It was later used as a ballet school and then became a high-end residence in 2000. Realtor.com says it is currently valued at $3 million.
The home was purchased in 2015 by Sugarcane Parkin LLC. According to The Washington Post, this company has the same registered address as other entities owned by Beyoncé. Sugarcane Parkin is also allegedly managed by Beyoncé’s mother, Celestine Lawson, better known as Tina Knowles.
Representatives for the “Lemonade” singer and her husband have not issued any public statements about the incident, nor have they confirmed that the home is owned by the couple.
In March of this year, storage units in Los Angeles belonging to Beyonce were burglarized. According to TMZ, over a million dollars of goods were stolen, including expensive dresses and handbags.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Post) (NOLA)
Cleveland’s Baseball Team Changes Name From Indians to Guardians
The move marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Name Change Announced
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team said Friday that it will change its name after the 2021 season from the Indians to the Guardians.
The team announced the name change with a just over two-minute video narrated by actor Tom Hanks.
“You see, there’s always been a Cleveland — that’s the best part of our name,” Hanks says in the clip. “And now it’s time to unite as one family, one community, to build the next era for this team and this city.”
This marks the team’s first name change since 1915, and it comes after decades of criticism from Native Americans.
Despite long-running calls to change racist and offensive team names — including the Washington Redskins — such campaigns did not gain significant momentum until the nationwide racial reckoning that followed the murder of George Floyd.
Officials behind the Cleveland team first pledged to change the name last year and previously removed the “Chief Wahoo” logo, a caricature of a Native American character, from its uniforms following the 2018 season.
It toyed with several options before ultimately landing on Guardians, which draws from Cleveland’s architectural history.
“We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland,” team owner and chairman Paul Dolan said in a news release.
“Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”
“‘Guardians’ reflects those attributes that define us while drawing on the iconic Guardians of Traffic just outside the ballpark on the Hope Memorial Bridge. It brings to life the pride Clevelanders take in our city and the way we fight together for all who choose to be part of the Cleveland baseball family. While ‘Indians’ will always be a part of our history, our new name will help unify our fans and city as we are all Cleveland Guardians.”
Guardians will be the fifth name in franchise history, joining Blues (1901), Bronchos (1902), Naps (1903-14), and Indians (1915-2021).