Virtual Hero: Spanish YouTuber gets anime-inspired TV series
With over 28 million subscribers and 6.4 billion views, Rubén “El Rubius” Doblas Gundersen is Spain’s most popular YouTuber. After years of goofing on video games and making skits, he’s now set to hit the world of animation with Virtual Hero, which shares the title of a comic book line he launched in 2015 with illustrator Lolita Aldea – though the animated incarnation will tell a different story.
The series was highlighted as part of MIPTV’s Next Gen showcase earlier this week in Cannes. There, Gundersen described the series as a parody of Sword Art Online, mixing in elements of Ready Player One with the heart and camaraderie found in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. The series will see El Rubius put on a mysterious virtual reality headset and travel into a game world to free the 100 best players kidnapped by Trollmask, the vengeful Master of the Game Worlds who wants to end them all. Through his journeys in recognizable game environments, Rubius will partner up with the warrior Sakura, undead super fan Zombirella, the polite spirit Slimmer, and G4TO, their feline aide.
Gundersen, who has no plans on ditching his YouTube channel, admits the show is his life’s dream, having grown up on Japanese properties like Doraemon and Dragon Ball. He wants the series to tackle issues present day audiences experience online, both the negative and positive.
Virtual Hero is produced by Zeppelin TV (the Iberian branch of Endemol), Motion Pictures de Barcelona and Planeta Group with animation by the South Korean studio Jaruryi. The series will consist of twelve 22-minute episodes and will launch on Spanish pay-TV operator Movistar+ later this summer. Alexis Barroso Gascó is on board as director, and is also serving as a screenwriter for the series alongside comic contributor El Torres.
At MIPTV, Ismael Calleja Baldominos, Head of Production and Business Affairs at Movistar España, stated that the company was already close to finalizing international deals for the series. Gundersen added that while the show features Spanish humour, “it’s easier to globalize with animation because it’s easier to drop the language barrier.”
At this show’s announcement last fall, Gascó teased that while nothing is confirmed, the crew are already thinking about a second season.