Weekly NewsDrop #11—Week 47

Despite this week being a ‘sleeper’, we just can’t ignore the large amount of VTuber news we have recorded this week.

The Israel-based VTuber agency Idol Corp recently debuted their ‘E-Sekai’ generation, the agency’s first foray into full English-speaking talents. They are composed of Yuko Yurei, Juna Unagi, Rin Penrose, Pochi Wanmaru, Fuyo Cloverfield.

  • As part of their marketing effort, they offered sponsorship opportunities to several VTubers such as Khyo and Punkalopi to promote the said generation.
  • In the days after their debut, its E-Sekai talents have reached substantial subscriber milestones, ranging from 12,000 to 18,000, almost double than their prior idol HE generation.
  • The ripple effect has reached VTuber-centric YouTubers such as Koefficient to take notice of said generation. We look forward to what the new generation brings into the ENVTuber scene.
  • Following this, Idol Corp has set up its official subreddit.

We also have a slew of media reports to uncover for this week, related to the VTubing industry.

  • On the plus side, Cover Corp and its CEO Motoaki Tanigo has been recognized at the Forbes Japan’s 2023 Japanese Entrepreneur Rankings. It should be recalled that YAGOO was previously selected as one of Japan's Top 20 Entrepreneurs for its January 2022 issue.

Following the release of the report Harassment in the Metaverse by VTuber researchers Liudmila Bredikhina and Virtual Girl Nem, several Japanese publications have published their survey angled to a more ‘overblown’ manner.

  • Nem took to Twitter her concerns, calling out Livedoor and Yomiuri Shimbun for their reporting that ‘fanned’ too much on the prominence of sexual harassment in the metaverse.
  • As of this writing, both publications have taken down their own versions of the article. More recently, Nem also appeared on an evening program with Abema News to discuss the statistics.

We've got several top stories for you in this edition, so read on!

The Latest on NewsDrop

  • Here is Jay’s guide to the social media platform Hive, the Twitter-like platform where most VTubers are migrating now. Jay will be back there to see if there's traction.
  • Attended Anime Festival Asia 2022 in Singapore? Congratulations—you have seen a lot of VTuber content! We'll have a post-event special coming this week with reports and photos from our good friends went there.
  • The popular Japanese virtual boy band Strawberry Prince is finally making its first overseas debut since their founding in 2016. Here’s our pre-event report on their international debut at AFA.
  • Elle and Booster just recently published the 20th edition of their Necro News series–including discussion on the Bethesda controversy involving Mick Gordon–as well as a guide to the hottest Steam sales this month.

Inside Kawa Entertainment

  • Kawa is looking for an audio mixer who can be hired regularly for projects.
  • Pastaroni Ravioli gets another Kawa merch drop collab from November 25 to December 19. Skulls Nightshade also gets her own merch drop with Kawa from November 21 to December 15.
  • Kawa Klash is coming soon, and we'd love to have your answers to our questions.
  • The first Kawa Game Awards—which will coincide with the The Game Awards 2022—happens on December 8! This will also mark the Elle and Booster's official NewsDrop debut!

Is BondEN off to a Rocky Start?

The Japanese VTuber agency BondEN recently ventured into the English-speaking VTuber scene. But are they off to a good start?

  • A couple of days ago, VTuber talents Duroppu Charming, Starry Yozzy, and Nijiiro Miyu have announced separately that they will be leaving the agency to pursue an independent VTubing career. Out of their generation, only Bajiru will be the one left.
  • The graduation of Duroppu and Miyu comes as a shock, as they only joined the agency in September this year.
  • The graduation announcements were made on top of BondEN’s debut of their new generation LunaCattus.
  • Mass departures like this have been a common occurrence in the English VTubing scene. Examples include Tsunderia and Aetheria's predecessor CyberLive.

Screencaps: Starry Yozzy, Duroppu Charming and Nijiiro Miyu on YouTube

“Interdimensional” VTuber Sexual Harassment

In a news report by SETN in Taiwan, VTuber Leina Thalassa of AuroraLive Production (which is not to be confused with China's AuroraLiveVR 极光社) had a bad encounter with a fan during a local event.

  • The fan repeatedly interrupted her interaction with fans, put his hand on Leina's chest, took a photo, and then showed it to her in front of the camera. This offended Thalassa and ordered the fan to leave the venue.

In response to the incident, legislator Lai Pin-yu (regarded as the youngest member of parliament—and also a cosplayer) said that the person did may be in violation of Article 2 of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Law, which took effect in June this year.

  • Said law notes that “[...] if texts, pictures, voices, images or other objects are used to inundate or intimidate; or if languages and behaviors of discrimination, and insults or other methods are adopted, [...]”
  • This means that perpetrators who engage in acts of harassment, whether physically or virtually, can “be penalized with imprisonment of up to one year, detention, or, in lieu thereof or in addition thereto, a fine of up to NT$100,00.”
  • Matters about interdimensional sexual harassment have been of concern over the recent years. In an article published in the global legal publication Lexology, the author notes that online sexual harassment can make a person feel threatened, exploited, coerced, humiliated, upset, sexualized, or discriminated against–with the effects almost on par with what people experience in the real world.

Leina posted an update following the stressful incident, hoping that the person reflects on what he did, reminds everyone to treat each other with kindness, and thanked the SETN and the legislator for their attention.

Photo: Leina Thalassa on YouTube

Much-Awaited IRyS 2.0 Finally Debuts 

After several weeks of not streaming on YouTube due to other commitments, Hololive’s IRyS is finally back...

  • ...with a 2.0 model! She has returned from a "Black Friday sale at the Heavenly Department Store," scoring a great make-up deal. Along the way, the heavens blessed her with shorter horns for being a good girl.
  • IRyS' papa Redjuice did his best for the remodel and tweeted his satisfaction: "New IRyS soooooo cute!"  He did say that IRyS 2.0's character reference sheet will be posted on a later date.
IRyS 2.0 has shortened horns, less skin exposure and a cuter face with less shadows. / Screencap from YouTube
  • In the days leading up to her welcome back stream, a music video for her single ‘Gravity’ was also released. She also released a new single titled ‘Moment of my Life’.
  • New merchandise (including an acrylic stand) is now available on the official Hololive shop.

Photo: IRyS on YouTube

In Other News...

  • Nijisanji’s Ethyria unit (Reimu Endou, Millie Parfait, Enna Alouette, and Nina Kosaka) are receiving their new outfits.
  • The upcoming December issue of the VTuber Style magazine features Nijisanji’s Nornis unit (Machita Chima, Inui Toko, and Asahina Akane).
  • Well, here’s a first at Takanashi Kiara’s HoloTalk: she interviews…herself! As the chibi Kiara interviews the 3D version of Kiara, they announce that with HoloTalk’s 2nd anniversary, limited merchandise will be also released.
  • Wixoss announces an upcoming product collaboration with Nijisanji, set for release on December 24 this year.
  • Comic Alive interviews Kanae as part of the Lie:verse Liars multimedia project for its latest issue.
  • Hololive’s sandbox project Holoearth has announced that the beta version for its lobby room has been released for public testing. An English version of the app is also in the works.
  • Another Hololive-themed game has been teased titled HoloTrials: Case Covered, which is a visual novel game.
  • Online game Caravan Stories holds a collaboration event with Yukihana Lamy.
  • Production Kawaii has released separate statements about postponing the cardboard cutout auction at Anime NYC, as well as a warning to malicious spammers who are using the name of their talents for slander. Moreover, their talent Oceane Otoishi has learned about ‘trauma dumping’ and has considered carefully which ‘mallow’ entries she will read next.
  • Sony Music Entertainment Japan has opened an official online shop for their VTuber group VEE.
  • Kizuna Ai Inc. is set to appear at the NEWVIEW ULTRA XR LIVE event from from December 23-25.
  • After a clip of Kson went viral on Twitter, the VShojo Japan talent responded to the criticisms made by numerous users, saying that ‘she doesn’t care’ about them and is thankful of the community still supporting her.
  • AmaLee has announced that she is the English voice for Liten in the Sword Art Online The Movie -Progressive- Scherzo of Deep Night movie.
  • Merryweather was a guest at the recently-held China International Cartoon and Animation Festival.
  • Indie VTuber Aspen Frost has warned that a 4Chan thread has targeted Jackbox streams with low view counts. Aside from VTubers, other targets include those who are in the autism spectrum and are members of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Check out this Japanese VTuber/racing enthusiast who recently did a video where she tested racing around a course without several car parts (trust us, nothing bad happens here).
  • The VTuber.Asia database by our good friend Valentino Ringo has finally opened entries for Singapore-based VTubers. As of this writing, there are 125 VTubers registered under that category.
  • Idol Corp opens up their official Reddit page.
  • YouTuber Depressed Nousagi has recently done a ‘graduation stream’, stating that he will stop doing YouTube as he focuses on his health. The YouTuber was previously exposed for hiding other VTubers' information under a paywall.
  • The fan-made VTuber platform Holodex has announced another service called Musicdex, which allows fans to check out music from their favorite VTubers.

Milestones and Events

Debuts, Hiatuses, Graduations, and Other Business

  • Popular streamer LilyPichu from OfflineTV has officially debuted her VTuber model on her birthday, joining other popular internet personalities such as voice actress AmaLee and pro-player Rpr having debuted their own VTuber models.
  • Phase Invaders' Amaris Yuri debuts with a new model—now with teeth!
  • Cottontail debuts a new 2D model Sunday PST/EST.
  • Nana Asteria has announced that she will be having a break for the whole month of December as she will be going on holiday and taking care of personal matters.
  • Hololive’s Shishiro Botan took a four-day break, citing other work matters.
  • Minato Aqua debuts new models in her recent live stream.
  • Filipino VTuber group S-Class has announced that Mire Minakiyama will be departing from the group to pursue a more independent route.
  • Nijisanji's Miyu Ottavia is set to graduate today.
  • Indie VTuber Uzu Sora has graduated from her VTubing activities.
  • WACTOR is announcing that they are opening their first-ever auditions for their upcoming Chinese-speaking generation.
  • AuroraLiveVR 极光社's Suzu Puyotori debuts, with someone donating 200 gift subs during the said stream.
  • VShojo is celebrating their 2nd year anniversary.
  • Zentreya celebrated her 5th year streaming anniversary with a new 3D model.

We close this week's edition with a cover of JVKE's Golden Hour from Serafina of AuroraLiveVR 极光社. Have a great week ahead!

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This edition was edited following some corrections raised by BondEN members in our Twitter. We apologize for the oversight.