A Day in the Life of an ASMR Girl: Kamukamu from Aqua Alta
My brain is melting!!
Have you heard of ASMR? It stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and uses sound to give you comfort, good feelings, and the good kind of goosebumps.
Some ASMR creators not only provide these relaxing sounds and voices but also give them stories. Kamukamu created just such an ASMR voiceover group called Aqua Alta.
Aqua Alta’s mascots (Aqua on the left, Alta on the right)
Not Just a Character: Painting a Life
“Most of what you’ll find on YouTube and the like are like ear-scratching noises and the sounds of chewing. But what I do is a little different. Let’s see…With cosplay, for example, you can turn 2-D into 3-D. You could almost say it’s 2.5-D. What I do is similar. I take one 2-D illustration, give it a voice and sounds, and make it almost 3-D. That’s the kind of ASMR I do.”
That’s right. Kamukamu’s ASMR isn’t just sound, it’s got a life of its own.
Title: Watashi to Watashi wa Iyashitai (Translation: Me, Myself, and I Want to Soothe You)
“I think of scenarios in which the listener can get a sense of a story, like, for example, having an artist draw a girl character to represent the ear scratcher, and letting them wonder why she’s the main character, or how she ended up with the audience. To elaborate, I really try to deep dive into the development of the characters. That kind of day-to-day stuff is what’s really special about Aqua Alta.”
I see…so it’s not just about creating good feelings, but having the listener really get a feel for each and every production’s story and background. And because of that, it makes the videos even more soothing.
Project title: Tougentan ~Onsen~ (Translation: Tales of Earthly Paradise ~Onsen~)
First Encounters with ASMR
Why did you start to make ASMR productions?
“I myself was once a voice actor belonging to an agency. I started getting involved with ASMR six years ago. I’d toured ASMR recording studios, but I never got to be in an ASMR production…One day, a sound engineer I made friends with happened to ask me if I was interested in joining the production side of things.”
Production title: Kamoku na Kohai wa Dokushijutsusha ni Koi wo Suru (Translation: “My Quiet Kohai Fell in Love with a Mind Reader”)
And that is how Kamukamu began producing ASMR works. Currently, she works with two voice actors and one scenario writer, totaling four in the team, but for several years Kamukamu did the bulk of the work herself.
“Of course, I write scripts myself, and I even get to do sound engineering and direct the voice actors.”
How one of Aqua Alta’s voice actors, Ama Kasumi Ranufu, practices
Production title: Nekura na Watashi ni Dekiru Amai Koto (Translation: What Sweet Things My Dark Self Can Do)
A Character Life that Begins with Sight
Do you like creating fantasies? We definitely do, and it seems to be something Kamukamu is really good at.
“The scenarios we make at Aqua Alta don’t really have a set plot. Of course, if it’s commissioned by a company, it has a general idea, and then we work out a scenario for it, but our own productions are different. We just ask an artist to draw a specific kind of character, and then when I see them I begin to hear their voice in my head and the daily background of their life begins to play in my mind. It’s a complete fantasy (laughs). And then, one scenario is usually about 20,000 characters [about 8,000 English words], and takes me about three to four days to finish writing it.”
Wow…It’s kind of scary that you can write so many words without a plot. For reference, our Doujin World articles are usually about 2,000 Japanese characters or 800 English words. We’ve written over 100 articles; if we didn’t properly plan them out, they would get all mixed up. In terms of quantity, we’ve definitely lost!
Production title: Natsu, Iyashi Omoide (Translation: Summer, Soothing Memories)
High Praise Even from Across the Seas
Since the characters only speak Japanese, you would think Aqua Alta’s productions are only appreciated by Japanese fans…but you’d be wrong! They actually have a lot of customers from abroad, too.
“I’m so grateful. One of our most popular productions, Renkinjutsushi to Iyashi no Atorie [In a Soothing Workshop with an Alchemist], is available for sale overseas too. When we want to release stories for Korean and Chinese audiences, we first translate them, and then I invite voice actors from each country to record under my direction.”
The fact that there’s a demand for these productions in other languages must be a testament to the quality of Kamukamu’s stories.
By the way, Renkinjutsushi to Iyashi no Atorie is the first production to use slime as a sound-effect in ASMR.
Production title: Renkinjutsushi to Iyashi no Atorie (Translation: In a Soothing Workshop with an Alchemist)
The Perfect Thing to Soothe You
“Lately, there’s been a trend toward erotic ASRM, like ear licking instead of ear scratching. It’s great that there’s so much variety out there, but I really think ASMR is meant to be soothing, like helping people fall into a restful sleep, or helping to relieve stress after work. I’m so happy when I hear that some people are able to relax and fall asleep when they hear our productions. That’s why I’m going to be really focusing on the soothing aspect of it.”
Production title: Watashi Demo Anata wo Iyashite Ii Desu ka? (Translation: Would it be okay if I comforted you?)
In the modern world, which some call a “society of stress”, even our favorite otaku and doujin activities can’t keep the stress at bay. Luckily, when we start to feel irritated, we can use the productions of Kamukamu’s brainchild, Aqua Alta, to soothe it all away.
Aqua Alta Twitter：@Aqua__Alta
Production title: Sono, Iyakashiki Ryokan de (Translation: At that Soothing Inn)
Having started an advertising production company in 2010 whose main business partner is a mail order company, he specialises in direct response advertising.