In the wee hours of April Fool’s Day 2023, the internet-famous Lofi girl and her cat suddenly disappeared from her quaint little bedroom, sending the internet into a frenzy.
Since arriving on YouTube in 2015 as ChilledCow, the 24/7 live radio station has built a huge online community of students and workers, streaming beats they can study/work or relax to. Although at first, her mysterious disappearance felt like a silly April Fool’s joke, speculation of it being something more began when the room remained empty well past midnight.
Then on April 10th, she returned to her desk with a cryptic message: “I’ve always wondered what’s behind that blue window… What do you think?”, referring to a window you could see inside the stream flashing a blue light. At the same time, viewers discovered another stream on the same channel, showing a dark room with a fish tank, a desk, a calendar, a guitar, and a countdown. The room had the same blue light, which made it pretty obvious that it was the same room we could see through the Lofi girl’s window. But what did it all mean? Was Lofi girl shifting houses?
Following the announcement, the stream repositioned Lofi Girl‘s desktop screen to face us, revealing a lofiworld.com loading screen that suggests she’d been working on the website this entire time. The following day she tweeted, “The download is finally complete! Should I click on the launch button?”, as the stream zoomed into the blue window to reveal the other bedroom, inhabited by a headphone-wearing boy listening to synthwave beats to chill/game too.
And that’s how we witnessed the birth of the synthwave boy. Not much is known about him yet, but the universe and its lore are still expanding, and there’s surely more where all this came from. The addition of synthwave boy to the Lofi canon finally answers the question of the blue light, which has been a fixture of Lofi girl’s stream for the past few months. According to Dazed, the blue light flashing on and off turned out to be Morse code, pointing to the creators’ new website. If you look closely, you can see a tiny shimmer across the window through the synthwave boy’s stream, hinting at the Lofi girl working tirelessly on perhaps more projects.
“Get ready to fully immerse yourselves in the new realm of retro-futuristic sounds and join us as we embark on a journey through time and space, exploring the wonders of synthwave and unravelling the mysteries of the Lofi universe!” read an accompanying announcement on Twitter. What’s in store for the future is still unclear, but the website promises an exciting world on the horizon. And viewers are on the edge of their seats wondering how this lore will develop.
Since the creator Dimitri, first started the 24/7 livestream more than 5 years ago, Lofi Girl’s viewership has grown to millions and it has turned into an integral part of pop culture.
Dimitri originally used the character Shizuku Tsukishima from the Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart (1995) as the face of the channel, with footage of her studying or writing used in the streams. When copyright claims ultimately flagged the channel down, Dimitri reinstated the channel with a different, original character, but still keeping the Studio Ghibli-esque aesthetic.
The infamous girl sitting in the bedroom is officially named Jade, but after pretty much everyone started referencing her as the Lofi Girl, the channel officially changed its name in March 2021.
Over time, an increasing number of users started using the channel’s live chat box to talk about the stress they’re going through, some even expressing suicidal thoughts, and it eventually shaped into a community of its own. Not just for the viewers, but it’s also helping artists, putting the spotlight on many up-and-coming beatmakers, animators and illustrators through collaborations. Now with the addition of synthwave boy, and hopefully more mystery characters on the way, we’re excited to see the community grow even further.