The year 2022 brought a lot of developments in the VTuber community. We've had major agency moves, talent terminations, new technologies, and debuts in more ways than one.
- User Local announced last November that 20,000 VTubers have registered to be listed in their website's rankings.
- Community-powered database VTuber.asia has listed around 2,000 personalities in Southeast Asia.
As a new website launched this year, NewsDrop shared news that the VTuber community needs to know every week. To mark the end of the year, the Weekly NewsDrop will have this special double-feature.
We asked several VTuber personalities outside Japan—VTuber-adjacent content creators and reporters—what are the biggest VTuber news stories they've seen this year.
Syahrian Naufal Alfarizy
As we recall the biggest stories of the year, he shared the ones he remembers the most:
Definitely everything about Hololive mishap[s are] always a huge news in every corner of the fanbase. Especially when other agencies are trying to be just like Hololive.
But you see, any agency could make a mistake, including Hololive. So it could be a lesson for us, [so we] take [notes] and avoid similar things happening in the future.
He also raised matters involving YouTube, the platform in which the term "Virtual YouTubers" have originated.
Porn bots [are also] one of the issues I've looked up closely. YouTube doesn't take good countermeasures for this, sadly. Hope they could fix this thing soon.
Even though [YouTube] bans any ASMR, in the end, there would be some VTuber who's gonna break the rule. [In other words,] making lewd ASMR content for the public, and not for member/private audience. It is happening in Indonesia, and several times alluded to in a number of VTuber conversations.
Bhromor covered VTuber news for The Game Crater last year, including an interview with a former talent of a group who disbanded as their leader was missing in action.
Even though the website is on hiatus and he's more focused on being a second year (2L) law student at University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, we still keep in touch with the times—and we see he's not mincing any words either:
I'd say the biggest news, if it counts as such, is that little spat between Ironmouse and Quin69.
Quin ranted about VTubers, claiming they just hide behind an avatar, act like minors with a cringe voice and create parasocial relationships (paraphrasing his words).
Following the clip, Ironmouse got hate messages on stream. While he was not directly mentioned, she told her viewers "I think somebody ranted about VTubers on stream and said a lot of negative stuff, so now because of that we're getting an influx of people being mean in my chat."
Days after, Quin—showing his 3D polygon self—clarified that the clip made its way to r/LivestreamFails, wasn't meant to be taken seriously, and his fans would've recognized that. We checked the thread, and it seems to be the case.
I know for a fact that Ironmouse has struggled with a chronic disability her entire life and is bedridden as a result.
We don't know what the VTubers themselves are struggling with in their life and it would be shortsighted to hate on VTubers for essentially working as full-time entertainers.
They don't get to choose their fans and they have to work with the tools they're given in a competitive industry.
FalseEyeD of Things VTubers Say
FalseEyeD is the host of Things VTubers Say, a major news outlet for the biggest stories in VTubing. Together with his co-hosts Lae-Dee, Co-Dee and Hai-Dee, they serve 111,000 YouTube subscribers, 23,000 Twitch followers and a 3,600-strong Discord community.
As one of the biggest sources of VTuber news—with stories shared by the TVS community all-day on Discord—his analysis shows us that agencies should take notes from the lessons of others:
Major VTuber agencies in 2022 experienced terminations, graduations, and everything in-between, arguably taking away from their prior luster and status of being seen as the "stable" part of the VTuber scene.
Add to the fact that a number of independent VTubers found success to rival that of Agency VTubers, and suddenly the appeal of Agencies has been put into question.
This year alone, we've had several talent terminations coming from agencies:
- Hololive terminated Uruha Rushia February 24 for "leaking information that she acquired from the company as well as communication over SNS,"
- Nijisanji EN have removed Yugo Asuma from its roster as "many aspects of his activities and behavior as a Liver could not be accepted as a company" (December 14)
- The contract of Riot Music's Saki Ashizawa was terminated in a detailed announcement which documents the severed relationship between the talent and the agency over the course of around 3 months (November 17)
- Production Kawaii terminated Neena Makurano due to multiple violations resulting to reputational damage and financial loss (June 3), and
- WACTOR exposed the identity of its former talent Shino Laila as it seeks charges against her for engaging in VTuber activities outside the company (March 2).
- The discovery of a talent who works for two different VTuber groups in Indonesia shows VTubers why they should not bite what they cannot chew.
Several agency VTubers have also graduated due to creative differences, such as Mayuzumi Kai (July 28) and Axia Krone (November 30). Hololive English's Tsukumo Sana graduated on agreed terms (July 31).
One of the bigger YouTube channels reacting to Nijisanji and Hololive is Velo City, run by brothers Shabir and Aasif.
Their spotlight streams on Hololive, Nijisanji and other VTuber talents gather thousands of viewers into their channel. They recall the major agency collaborations which happened this year:
With hololive and NIJISANJI being huge household names in the VTuber sphere, we think the recent collaborations between their EN branches was a significant milestone.
The JP and ID sides were already hard at work at making these cross-corporation collabs happen so it's great to see EN added to the mix. It's clear that the talents and fans both are hungry for more, so we're excited to see what else is in store!
Petrit Baillet of Anime Trending
VTuber Trending is a hub for VTuber clips and news stories, an additional asset to the industry-recognized Anime Trending platform.
Just recently, they partnered with the Thanatos Invitational Valorant tournament to bring important highlights on Twitter.
One of its writers, Petrit Baillet, focuses on the website's VTuber coverage. He echoes Velo City's sentiments, in detail:
It has been exciting to see the boundaries between hololive English and NIJISANJI EN be relaxed. Cross-agency collaborations are a huge win for fans of both groups, especially at a time where collabs are starting to feel more important than ever.
It feels like Alban [Knox] and [Regis] Altare made history with their humble Terraria collab.
Seeing ANYCOLOR and Cover Corporation enter a cooperative effort to combat deformation and protect their talents is also a big step in the right direction. This has shown us how agencies are able to evolve as the VTuber space continues to grow.
Andrew "Ducky" Amos
Ducky, as he is popularly known, has written several feature stories on VTubers and streaming in general for UK-based Dexerto.
Not to mention, he's one of the most active VTuber reporters we've met online, running a lot of news stories and interviews. His drive for stories that touch the pulse of the community led him to create moments that he won't forget:
There [are] two elements to this question. On a personal level, the feature article with Silvervale, Konzetsu, and Mamavale will always have a place in my heart. All three of them were amazing to talk to, and their story was so unique and heartwarming to tell.
On an 'influence' level, my feature article with more than a dozen trans VTubers, outlining their individual journeys with gender identity, affirmation, and the VTubing space was incredibly important reportage in the space.
These stories often get lost among the waves of big agency announcements, but the more human element of journalism has always interested me. Whenever I get the chance to tell those stories, no matter how big or small the creator, that's what makes me happy.
Now that we've heard memorable moments from the personalities we talked to, we look forward to their outlook for 2023. That will be released on the next feature, so stay tuned. Happy Holidays!