If you’ve ever tried to relax to lo-fi music as an aesthetic choice on YouTube, chances are you’ve come across the widely-popular channels playing the ‘lo-fi hip-hop radio - beats to relax/study to’ tracks. And if you have, chances are you’re already familiar with the ‘anime study girl’ — an infinite loop of a worn-out anime girl in a Miyazaki-esque room, scribbling notes on her diary or simply staring out of a window on a lonely day.
There are several of these channels, the most popular of which is, of course, belonging to an anonymous figure named ChilledCow. The rise of ChilledCow’s study girl as the face of lo-fi music on YouTube is itself a phenomenon, captured well in publications, in that she owes her model to Studio Ghibli.
The girl, which has garnered her own super-popular fanbase, has now received an Indian twist on Reddit.
A Redditor going by the username u/animesh_sensei has reimagined the ‘Lo-Fi study girl’ in an Indian context, complete with a lemon-and-chilli thread, a Nataraj pencil, and a cup of cutting chai as a presumable final touch.
The artwork also has other nostalgic references thrown, like a ‘Mirchi’ poster and an R.D. Sharma entrance exam study material, atop a more contemporary shelf stacked with Masashi Kishimoto’s ‘Naruto’ mangas and PS4 video-game classics. If you squint hard enough, you’ll also notice an Apsara eraser on the table!
Although some admitted they would have preferred more nostalgia for good measure — like an ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ collection perhaps instead of the mangas, most acknowledged that this really would set the ‘chill vibe’ in a homegrown setting.
“Love the attention to details! Especially all her Indian stationary,” a user noted.
The original ‘anime study girl’ art is, of course, known among a very millennial breed of listeners appreciating her simmering downtempo vibes that goes very well with the imperfect (an aesthetically deliberate choice) record of lo-fi music.
On those days when Xanax isn’t cutting it, sometimes all that a few exasperated people can perhaps do is trust the taste of an anonymous YouTube channel, muffling the highs of the day with elliptical vocal sample sourced from self-help tapes, ancient cartoons, and nocturnal synth beats. Now, Indians can appreciate the desi twist to that tale as well.
Check out the other tributes from fans as well, reimagining their beloved character in different countries from around the world.