Based on what the director has captured entirely in the world, it can be seen that the vast majority of users adopt avatars that resemble female anime characters with animal ears and/or tails. There are outliers like the 3D incarnation of Kermit the Frog or a Gremlin, but the vast majority select aesthetically imposing characters as vehicles to navigate this world.
From the beginning, the filmmaker clearly emphasizes the community aspect of VRChat. Of the handful of subjects he has chosen, Jenny is the poster child for the most selfless uses of this online realm. She spends her time as a version of herself teaching ASL to a whole class of virtual students who are not only learning to sign, but to do so with the mobility limitations of their digital incarnations. Similarly, DustBunny, another young woman, teaches belly dancing.
To further illustrate the depth of affection that can emerge between people here, Hunting follows DragonHeart and IsYourBoi, two users who, in real life, live thousands of miles apart but have fallen in love for a while. a year and a half of constant contact in VRChat.
These CG environments provide a place where all of these presumably young individuals can break free from the expectations that society places on their gender, sexual identity and body. Entering VRChat is a rebirth, an opportunity to start over without baggage and present visually in a more authentic way, even if it means becoming a voluptuous animated entity or a colorful anthropomorphic furry creature.
Their new form, detached from who they are behind the screen, allows for a purer mode of engagement between people, whether platonic or romantic, where gender, race and physical appearance become irrelevant. and individuals know each other solely on the basis of their personalities. But while the utopian possibilities of this futuristic take on interpersonal understanding are impressive, everything seems unrealistically ideal.
Hunting’s overly positive portrayal of these online communities never once mentions how the platform deals with bullying or conflict. And what’s even more frustrating is that the director chose not to provide any context on how this space works, the devices users need to connect to this alternate life, the time commitment or one of the potential negative side effects that this additional existence has. on the offline relationships of its participants. By announcing VRChat as a miraculous invention, he makes the film on edge.