Animation YouTuber Daidus was unemployed for two years after college. He was making videos but faced ongoing pressure from his mother to finally get a “real” job. Daidus remembers asking her for one more chance to make a final YouTube video. If it didn’t perform well, he would follow her wishes and give up. The video in question, “My Very Awkward First Time Drawing Models In Art Class (Animation)” ended up going viral on Reddit, which catapulted his YouTube Channel into the spotlight. Daidus now has close to 1.7 million subscribers, and that success meant he was given the opportunity to move to Japan.

“A lot of content creators came before me and created this genre mostly known as ‘storytime.’ If I had to describe my channel, it’s an animated diary where I share stories about a portion of my life,” says Daidus.

YouTuber Daidus

How Daidus Got Started

While not as common these days, storytime YouTube was a huge trend around seven years ago when Daidus first started his channel. Having drawn for most of his life, he also holds a Bachelor’s degree in 3D animation, although his passion for 2D art was much stronger. He draws with a blue outline because it is his favorite color, but also to stand out from other YouTube artists. And in many of his videos, you can see the influence Japanese anime and manga had on his specific style. 

Growing up, Daidus watched several mainstream anime television shows, such as Sailor Moon, Ranma ½ and Dragonball Z. These were accessible to him at the time, but as his interest grew, he found himself looking for anime online. However, when asked about his time at art college, Daidus says drawing in a Japanese anime or manga style wasn’t really accepted back then.

“I was fine with that,” he says. “I’d draw the way they wanted me to at school, and then draw anime stuff at home. I was in college to learn, whether that was classic techniques or real anatomy. Fighting to only draw what I wanted wouldn’t be right. It is disappointing when your school isn’t supportive of your medium, though. One teacher told me ‘I think you should stop doing anime, you draw cartoons better.’ And all I could think of was, ‘give me a chance, I’ll get better.’” 

To produce a storytime animated video, at least the way Daidus does it, requires lots of work. There’s coming up with the concept and scripting, plus drawing all the scenes that are needed. Music is also often needed to give the video more depth. In some scenarios, voice acting is required, which Daidus does himself. He also works with other voice actors. In these situations, he plays the role of a voice director as he needs to ensure that they’re conveying the lines as per his vision.


One of his proudest pieces of work is the video “Daidusronpa,” which has close to 1 million views on YouTube. Inspired by the cult hit video games Danganronpa and Ace Attorney, Daidus created a 10-minute parody of a trial between himself and his housemates with a plot about stolen underwear. The video took two and a half months to complete and saw Daidus utilizing every skill he had picked up along the way.

“I had so much fun making it,” he recalls. “I used everything that I had, leveraging on my 3D animation background to create the courtroom sequence. All the sprites were drawn by me. I used Adobe After Effects for the text and animation. And for the voice-over work, I did that myself along with the help of some friends who voiced the other characters.”

Even after seven years on YouTube, Daidus still prefers to do everything himself. Although he’s now part of GeeXPlus, the Tokyo-based talent management company which brought him to Japan, he still runs his channel mostly solo. He says he doesn’t want to have a team where their livelihoods depend on him. But with the many roles he has to fulfill to maintain his channel, it can be a recipe for burn out. In these last few months, he’s been recovering from it and planning out a new project about traditional art.

“I recently went to a Death Note manga exhibition, and it blew my mind,” he states. “You could see the individual pages that Takeshi Obata drew, and the stencil tones he used to make shadows on white space. Even his corrections were visible, right down to the eraser marks. I’ve been a digital artist for almost my whole life. Seeing art that is so raw and also knowing that there’s only one copy of that to ever exist, was very exciting to me.” 

Exploring Traditional Art

The plan is to start a new YouTube channel, dedicated to his exploration of traditional art. For this, he’s been collaborating with fellow art YouTuber Emirichu on producing an art show that will document their journey. In a world that’s currently rife with AI art controversy, this feels like a refreshing change but also a return to the roots of what it means to be an artist.

“I remember drawing a lot in first grade. I’d tell my classmates that if they gave me a penny, I would draw them something,” shares Daidus. “I was a C- average student at school and was always sleeping in class. Art was the only thing I was good at, so I decided to keep at it. Mentally, I guess if you believe there’s only one thing you can do, you put your all into it as a means to survive.”

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