NIJISANJI EN’s Ethyria Uninvited From OffKai Amid “Strange” Guesting Accusations

NIJISANJI's Reimu Endou, Enna Alouette and Millie Parfait will no longer be attending OffKai Expo 2024 amid allegations of the convention's "strange" guest approval process.

NIJISANJI EN has had a presence at western VTuber convention OffKai Expo during its first two editions. However special guests Reimu Endou, Enna Alouette and Millie Parfait have since been uninvited from 2024’s edition as of March 4.

The circumstances of Ethyria’s withdrawal have also come among scrutiny of OffKai’s selection process for guests, with accusations of “strange” decisions being made around who received an invite.

VTuber NewsDrop has spoken to an OffKai Expo executive to explain the process, with them denying allegations of favoritism towards the embattled agency.

A brief timeline of OffKai’s guest relations process

Ethyria’s withdrawal confirmed days earlier

Reimu Endou, Enna Alouette and Millie Parfait’s appearance at OffKai Expo 2024 was originally confirmed on December 21 last year.

According to sources, discussions of reversing and canceling the trio’s invite started in the aftermath of Selen Tatsuki’s February 5 termination. Internal discussions between OffKai’s executives started almost immediately after, before reaching an internal conclusion around two weeks before the announcement. General staff were notified later.

OffKai stated they reached out to NIJISANJI EN parent company ANYCOLOR Inc. before the end of February to inform them of their decision and negotiate the terms of Ethyria's removal from their guest list for 2024. 

The executive cited “it was a tough decision to go back on this collaboration” due to NIJISANJI’s involvement in the convention’s first two editions.

An announcement was originally meant to be made on the morning of March 4 at 9AM Pacific Time (PT), but staff were reportedly waiting on approval from ANYCOLOR to post.

“Strange guest rejections” claim

Before the announcement could be made though, FalseEyeD of Things VTubers Say issued a callout for prospective guests and vendors who were rejected from appearing at the convention. 

“Hearing of strange VTuber guest & vendor rejections from OffKai Expo 2024,” he tweeted at 6:02AM PT. “DMs are open. Reach out if you wish to share, even if as anonymous.”

In his tweet, FalseEyeD posted a screenshot of OffKai’s Guests page, which featured Ethyria at the top, before inserting a spliced image of a rejection email subject line.

OffKai management responded to False’s tweet at 7:44AM PT, denying any favoritism towards ANYCOLOR implied in the screenshot and in the original tweet’s replies.

“We're deeply concerned to see there's talks of strange guest [and] vendor rejections and would like to assure people that NIJISANJI has not [influenced] our guest or vendor hall decisions at any point in time.”

There was reportedly internal discontent at the choice of image used by False in the tweet.

OffKai expanded on their guest selection process in conversations with NewsDrop. Most guest decisions were made before Selen Tatsuki’s termination, according to an OffKai executive. Staff also claimed they were trying to ensure a diversity of guests at the convention.

“There is no minimum size, there is no agency requirement, as evidenced by the many indies we have already signed,” the executive said.

“We really aim to shine a light on the full spectrum of the VTubing community. That is why, in the end, we had to reject people who are certainly "guest material" ⁠— even had been guests prior ⁠— not because of lack of merit but simply because we can not say yes to everyone and chose someone else instead.

“For example, we received a very big amount of applications by people wanting to perform musical content but obviously we can't stuff 20 karaoke sessions into one weekend.

“We also try to strike a balance when re-inviting previous guests. With our limited capacity, we want to give new people a chance to shine as well.”

A number of previous vendors spoke out in support of OffKai’s management following the claims.

“OffKai Expo has been my favorite con since they accepted me year one,” x3Dustco tweeted, who had an artist alley booth at both OffKai Expo 1 and 2. “The staff has been nothing but great, attentive and hardworking to make an event for this fan base.”

This experience was echoed by many vendors. Some previous guests, however, tweeted discontent at not being invited for 2024, mostly due to a lack of reasoning from OffKai in their rejection notices.

“I am sorry to my audience that was looking forward to a meet and greet and my panel,” Pastaroni Ravioli tweeted. “I know I went last year, not really sure [why] I am not a guest this year.”

Firozera showed the contents of the rejection letter to the public, saying she appreciates receiving the well-worded email, as it is common to never hear back after signing up.

OffKai stated a majority of those rejected thanked them for the rejection notice “as this is not even a standard among conventions.”

NewsDrop has not been able to independently verify claims of guest relations mishandling.

OffKai also confirmed to NewsDrop approximately 300 guest applications were received this year. The success rate of them was around 10%. Overall though, OffKai reduced the guest count for 2024 to combat 2023’s tech and other logistics issues, where some panels were delayed by upwards of three hours including Ironmouse’s concert.

There were approximately 50 panelist applications and 250 vendor applications.

Ethyria announcement released in return

OffKai eventually got permission to post an announcement regarding Ethyria at 6PM PT, doing so at 6:17PM.

“After thoughtful consideration, OffKai Expo believes that recent events have resulted in an environment where Ethyria appearance would not be conducive to a positive convention experience for ANYCOLOR’s Livers or our attendees,” they said.

“As such, Enna Alouette, Millie Parfait and Reimu Endou will not be appearing at OffKai Expo 2024.”

Said OffKai executive reiterated to NewsDrop this announcement meant to go out on March 4 or as close to that date as possible, pending NIJISANJI's approval of the outgoing statement. This is regardless of what False have tweeted. They also denied unreasonably delaying the announcement given Ethyria’s withdrawal was evident days earlier. 

However they admitted False’s tweet made their statement seem “reactionary” and “undid the thought and planning we put into it.”

While OffKai had reportedly finished offering guest slots, with Ethyria’s withdrawal, the convention is exploring how to fill the void: "The removal of Ethyria's programming time has afforded us room to fit others."

What about NIJISANJI cosplayers, artists, or fans attending OffKai?

With Ethyria’s withdrawal confirmed, OffKai is offering refunds for fans who were attending to see the NIJISANJI trio up until April 30 by visiting their registration website.

However for those who still plan on attending the event, OffKai assured NewsDrop their security team will be reviewing their plans to ensure NIJISANJI cosplayers, artists, and fans can have a safe and enjoyable experience. No specifics were provided at the time this story was posted.

NewsDrop is open for guest and vendor applicants to share their story either on record or anonymously via Twitter DMs or email at [email protected]