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VTubers have exploded as a form of online entertainment in the past couple of years and it makes sense why. On a corporate and professional level, they have tapped into the appeal of mainstream idol cultures. This has given birth to various forms of media, from music to animations and even manga. holoX MEETing! focuses on La+ Darknesss, Takane Lui, Hakui Koyori, Kazama Iroha, and Sakamata Chloe of the sixth-generation idols from the popular VTuber agency, Hololive. This type of media shows how malleable the industry is with its talents.

While holoX MEETing! is chock-full of references and callbacks to the specific talents featured in this manga, it’s also a self-contained origin story about how La+ Darknesss got this group of misfits together, with crazy antics ensuing. There is no complicated overarching narrative, just a setup and a series of events that allow the characters to bounce off each other.

I mentioned that the volume is full of references, but it doesn’t rely on them to pad out its runtime. While I wasn’t that familiar with most of the idols featured in this volume, I could understand everything just fine. After finishing this volume, I only noted some references when I did some additional research. If I could enjoy the wacky antics and excitable character interactions, I can only imagine how a dedicated holoX fan would feel reading this. Some references are more overt than others, with scenes directly referring to on-stream events, and the volume seems to go for a middle ground between appealing to general audiences and long-time VTuber fans. However, there is a sense of validating charm here that I do not think will go underappreciated.

It helps that the main appeal of the book is its comedy through character interactions. A lot of VTubers need to be able to be entertaining on their own during streams and major events, but it always feels special when you get a bunch of them together to interact. The comedic antics are one of the strongest selling points of this volume. Everyone in holoX has solid character traits, from La+’s gremlin energy to Kazama’s introversion. Framing the story from Sakamata’s perspective was a smart choice since she has the most “every man” disposition, making it easier for readers to project onto her as she adjusts to this new group. But even her personality traits and desires mesh well with the cast.

The series has a certain “don’t overthink it” quality indicative of a gag manga, but the humor doesn’t come off as too childish or overbearing. If anything, it’s a good balance between being wholesome and nonsensical. There are plenty of moments where the characters quietly sit down and talk about trying to make things better for each other. It doesn’t take long to feel the strong camaraderie between all the characters and how they feel drawn to their leader, La+. They all have their specific idiosyncrasies, but as a group, it’s easy to see how much they can accomplish when working together, and I finished this volume feeling satisfied.

The artwork contributed to carrying over those antics in an appealing fashion. All talents’ designs translated well from 3D to print with stellar facial expressions to sell the comedy. Everyone gets moments of exaggeration that work without being jarring. I particularly like how Anmitsu Okada sometimes drew La+ with her almost evil disposition. The paneling is also fast-paced, albeit occasionally a bit cluttered. The volume would have benefited more from cramming a little bit less onto the page. It works when Okada tries to show how disheveled their headquarters is, but things get very cramped when the story moves to the outdoors. I think slowing down in those cases would’ve accomplished a lot more.

Still, for a book that can be boiled down to a piece of promotional material for online virtual idols, it certainly didn’t feel that way. If Hololive is known for helping VTuber entertainment be synonymous with idol culture, then holoX MEETing! has done an excellent job translating those talents into a fast-paced comedy manga. This is probably a must-buy for holoX fans. However, I think it also functions perfectly well on its own. If you want a fast-paced, cute comedy, then I don’t think you can do wrong with picking this up to pass the time.

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holoX MEETing! Volume 1 Manga Review – Review