Welcome to the third installment of the Weekly NewsDrop, covering VTuber news and updates for the week of September 25 to October 2022.
Comic Frontier in Indonesia has recently ended, with multiple Indonesian VTubers attending said event. We will have a separate feature story on this soon.
Over in the West, Ai Matsuri also ended last week, with Nijisanji member Pomu Rainpuff performing at the event and giving great answers to select fan questions.
Cosplay Mania 2022
Meanwhile, Cosplay Mania in the Philippines has concluded, with fans experiencing local Filipino VTubers mingling with the crowd (most of them, of course, prefer to be incognito). YashinLive and Kitsui Akira have performed on the Cosplay Mania EX stage.
In addition, fans can also expect the meet-and-greet session by several Hololive Indonesia VTubers Ayunda Risu and Kureiji Ollie, with Moona Hoshinova and Pavolia Reine performing at the JAM Concert.
We have photos to share with all of you readers soon.
Despite these positive event updates, we need to recognize as well the safety of VTubers in Japan, as well as those in the Caribbean and the East Coast of United States. Japan has recently experienced the wrath of Typhoon Talas, while Hurricane Ian has lashed out in the Caribbean, and is slowly making its way up the United States East Coast. This follows just days after Hurricane Fiona also made its way up to Canada.
We are also posting this newsletter with a gentle reminder of the numerous graduations and indefinite hiatuses within the VTuber community, with reasons related to dealing with finding more stable revenue channels and helping their respective families amidst the ongoing crisis.
Southeast Asia's business ecosystem has been performing weakly over the past few months, causing major economic restraints. A report from Tech In Asia notes a slew of startup layoffs within the SEA startup ecosystem, ranging from large brands like Shopee to mid-range companies consisting of the ed-tech, cryptocurrency, and grocer sectors.
We hope that those affected within the VTuber community find more stable opportunities outside of their streaming work.
Let's get started.
Twitch Launches Slew of Updates, Including 'Elevated Chat'
For this week's top story, we return to Twitch. The Amazon-owned streaming giant has announced a slew of announcements, including 'Elevated Chat', which resembles those of YouTube's 'Super Chat'.
In a Twitch blog, they stated that viewers in participating channels may make a one-time payment to elevate their message in chat. Viewers can also choose from 5 tiers of monetary support.
However, it is worth noting that Twitch's Elevated Chat is far more expensive than YouTube's Super Chat. Here's a comparison chart made by streamer Lowco:
But perhaps one of the major announcements--and another major blunder--for Twitch was its announcement of removing support for several internet browsers. According to their new support blog, Twitch has stated that it will only support the latest two versions of Google Chrome, the latest two versions of Mozilla Firefox, the most recent version of Microsoft Edge, and the most recent version of Apple Safari.
This update proved to be an issue, especially that Twitch access to desktop is now available only on the web version after it shut down its Twitch desktop app on April this year.
Following that, popular browser OperaGX showed off their support for their users in the most casual (and memefied) way possible:
Twitch later clarified that if users are experiencing an issue on a non-supported browser, please contact the appropriate browser’s support team for additional assistance, adding that while other browsers may work, they cannot guarantee that all features and functionality will operate correctly.
The Silent Battle for South Korea's Net Usage Fee Bill
For our next top story, we put our focus into South Korea. The East Asian country, which tops the APAC list for countries with the fastest internet, is recently introducing a controversial Internet-related bill, which could affect the larger South Korean content creator economy pay the price of 'being viral'.
We have mentioned in our second Weekly NewsDrop that a recent interview made by alternative media Asian Boss reveals the ongoing legislation for the hugely-controversial 'network usage fee' bill, which now imposes streaming platforms to pay the price for excessive Internet traffic caused by their 'viral' content. One of the recent platforms that received a similar government like the bill is Netflix, following the release and huge success of the South Korean series Squid Game. In October 2021, SK Broadband has sued Netflix in order to "pay for costs from increased network traffic and maintenance work".
According to the Asian Boss interview, Korea University law professor Kyung-sin Park said that internet service providers are looking to go back to the days of 'telephone rates' where they can charge based on traffic usage, and not per broadband plan use. For context, South Korea's ISP plans have been cheap since the 2000s in order to speed up digital literacy in the country.
So, what is currently happening? In line with the ongoing government legislation, Twitch has introduced limitations to its streaming quality, lowering the resolution from 1080p to 720p. According to their blog, the change was made in order to cope with 'rising costs' in operating in the country.
While Twitch is openly changing to please Korean regulators, rival video platform giant YouTube is fighting back. The company has expressed concern over the legislation, and has even said back in April that should the bill pass, they would slash down their investment in South Korea.
Who is talking about it, and why should we care? Numerous petitions have popped out to stop the legislation. OpenNet.kr has opened an English petition to stop the legislation, and a local one (shared by Korean VTuber Myoya) has also been released.
Our take: Legislation like this favor conglomerates and large companies, undermining the success brough by the very core of their success: the content creator company. For many years, we have seen multiple internet regulations like USA's SOPA and the European Union's Article 13, undermining the diversity of the Internet.
As Dan Bull's "Robocopyright" diss track for EU's Article 13 points out simply: "I'd rather my router wasn't changed to a rate meter".
Banner Photo via Unsplash (Daniel Bernard)
Nijisanji's Mysta Rias Under Fire by Genshin Fandom
Just a week following a controversy revolving around Luxiem's 'Retro Roman' merch, one of its talents Mysta Rias is now under fire, this time within the Genshin Impact fandom.
Several weeks ago, Mysta played Genshin Impact, following the 3.0 update. Midway through the stream (timestamp at 2:20:20), he notes about how the fandom hates 'everything', including the names being given to new characters in new updates.
However, this hasn't stopped some members of the Genshin Impact community criticizing Mysta and take his 'supposed' making fun of Tighnari's name. In a now-deleted Twitter thread by @omoballs (archived by VTuber Cringe's Kuri Rinji), the user has taken a clip of Mysta mispronouncing Tighnari's name and accusing the VTuber of being 'racist'.
The problem has become so bad that one Twitter user even attempted to doxx Mysta's real identity, only to delete it a few hours later after fellow Twitter users pointed out that he/she can be served with a case by Nijisanji's parent company ANYCOLOR over attacks against their livers.
Tighnari is a playable Dendro character in the game, and according to her profile, she is a Forest Watcher on profile. The name is most likely having an Arabic origin, derived from Arab botanist, traveler, physician, and poet al-Tighnari.
So far, the issue has moved on with Mysta continuously doing streaming content, and @omoball's Twitter has been seemingly deleted or set to private.
Banner Image via Mysta Rias' Q&A stream
In Other Nijisanji News...
In a last minute announcement, Nijisanji has pulled out its Indonesian and Korean livers, as well as from VirtuaReal and NIJISANJI EN from participating in the upcoming NIJISANJI Fes 2022. This was not the first time the agency has canceled events, the most recent was its Nijisanji Fantasia event in January, canceled due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Japan.
Despite the aforementioned event cancelation, we have some great Nijisanji updates and their involvement in recent promotions:
- Nijisanji’s Ryushen will perform at the AuDee CONNECT radio program by Japan FM Network Company (JFNC).
- The manga for Nijisanji’s Lie:Verse Liars will be released in November at Kadokawa’s Monthly Comic Alive. The manga is written by Sanpei Komachi.
- Luxiem is part of a brand collaboration with Taiwanese cafe KIRABASE.
- Hyakumantenbara Salome appears in a promo for the upcoming anime Bibliophile Princess.
- A recent exclusive interview by MoguraVR with Takato Suzuki, an executive producer at Nijisanji, reveals the agency’s plans for them to stay on the top of their game against their rivals. These include future plans to allow their local overseas talents to develop locally in the future. This coincides with their recent financial disclosure, putting overseas expansion at the heart of its business.
Other News Stories You Need to Know
- Wanna ace your next demo video when you apply to a VTuber agency? Zenith has posted a very helpful thread to learn the basics of an audition video.
- We’ve got some merch update: You can now buy merchandise related to Minato Aqua’s recent live concert. The release was made after the official release of the concert’s Blu-Ray. In addition, a pop-up figure for Oozaru Subaru is now up for reservation, as well as merch for Hololive Myth’s 2nd year anniversary.
- Mobile game Vanguard ZERO has announced a collaboration with Hololive, featuring members Sakura Miko and Hoshimachi Suisei.
- Popular fan-made game HoloCure has warned players that the ‘mobile version’ of the game being uploaded on Google Play Store is not from theirs.
- Professional Japanese illustrator/VTuber Yaki Mayuru has teamed up with Kadokawa to release a drawing guidebook.
- We learn through this very wholesome clip about how Inugami Korone reacted when she finally met with Ayunda Risu. In addition, we also see a very heart-warming clip of Airani Iofiteen recalling how she used sign language in her 3D live, the very first Hololive member to do so.
- The 3v3 competitive game Omega Strikers has announced that 24 VTubers will compete for a US$50,000 prize pool. Among those participating is independent VTuber Vienna.
- Non-profit organization PancONE Network is inviting VTubers to join their charity event called VSYNC. The organization aims to disrupt the status quo in pancreatic cancer by bridging multiple sectors, innovations and novel methods.
- Philippine apparel store Kanpai is in hot water after selling a supposed ‘exclusive’ shirt that rips off an original Hololive shirt design by Hoshimachi Suisei. The next day after it gets tweeted, the merch shop announced that some items may not be available "due to event policy".
- Check out this outdoor advertising by Bushiroad Music to promote Minato Aqua’s live concert Blu-ray release.
- APAC-wide VTuber music contest Team Comfy has announced the judges for Noizu Con's V-Idol contest, namely VTubers Elmer Draco, Kabedon Dere, Asukapyon, and Project Solaria's Tsukimi Lune.
- Looks like we are seeing a hilarious trend of viewers using YouTube’s superchat to call the attention of someone they know watching the same stream as them. Check out this hilarious super-chat plea on Mysta Rias’ stream, or how Hakos Baelz was amused by a hilarious superchat by a viewer.
- Twitter seemingly has its own fair share of unclear updates: geolocking NSFW content. Terumi Koizumi has pointed this out, stating that she can only view NSFW art of her by using a VPN set to either Hong Kong or the USA.
- We have some privacy-related news in the Philippines: The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered local telcos to deactivate clickable links in text messages amid the recent surge in scam and spam texts, according to a report by CNN Philippines. Following the NTC order, Globe has complied with the order and blocked messages with clickable links while Smart has decided to forego for the meantime.
- Congratulations to Filian for hitting the 1,000,000 subscriber milestone on YouTube!
- The music video for ‘Astrogirl’, the only original song by former Hololive English member Tsukumo Sana, has officially reached 1,000,000 streams on YouTube. As the agency puts it: “Sana is eternal!”
- Happy birthday as well to ShirayuriPro’s Nyaru!
- Following the debut of her new model and revealing her real voice, Japanese illustrator/VTuber Iida Pochi has reached 220,000 YouTube subscribers.
- We also welcome back Maddie from YashinLive, and you can check out her return stream here.
- Congratulations to indie VTuber Reiny for hitting the 30,000-subscriber milestone!
- Popular news/commentator VTuber FalseEyeD has reached the 90,000-subscriber milestone!
- Last but not the least, the twin VTubers Yuki and Yuna celebrate their sixth monthsary of VTubing activities!
VTuber Debuts and New Reveals
- Popular Twitch streamer Tectone has announced that he is debuting a VTuber model—of course, it's an egg.
- Indonesian VTuber group Project:Livium has announced the debut of its Chapter:01 generation. They consist of talents Dina Mostarterra, Indira Naylarissa, Ymelia Meiru, Yuura Yozakura, and Silvia Valleria.
- Japan-based VTuber agency WACTOR has announced three new talents of its WACTOR Boys unit.
- A new Indonesian VTuber project has been announced: Councils! Virtual. They are composed of VTubers Amarynn, Ichika Yumi, Misty Wintermelon, Amesha Illuvia, Niels Honjo, and Kamine "Astral" Hiruki.
- Project Solaria welcomes independent VTuber Verudemi as part of their VTuber lineup, alongside Tsukimi Lune.
- Filipino local anime and VTuber-themed apparel store Kanpai Co. has announced its partner VTuber Nanasu Anone.
- We’ve got a new indie idol VTuber debuting: let us all welcome Alioth!
- Popular Indonesian indie VTuber Mythia Batford has recently unveiled a new character look, and we must say we really dig the schoolgirl aesthetic.
- Kawa Entertainment’s Senniursa is teasing an upcoming outfit reveal.
- Nijisanji’s Maria Marionette will be making a debut on the popular Chinese streaming platform Bilibili.
- Production Kawaii’s Reina Sun has revealed her idol outfit.
- Shylily has teased her new outfit in a very cute three-minute lore video.
- VOMS Project’s Pikamee has revealed a new model.
VTuber Hiatuses and Graduations
- Hololive’s Yukihana Lamy is currently on a break until October 5 after complaining of a throat infection.
- Project Kavvaii’s Airi Gwynevere is on a health-related hiatus after experiencing tonsillitis.
- There are multiple indefinite hiatuses within the VTubing community namely Ruru Roppu and Kanna Tamachi.
- Re:ACT’s Kazami Mikan is set to graduate on October 10, with the agency apologizing for the sudden announcement and thanking fans for their support.
- WACTOR’s Pal Sumeragi will graduate by the end of October.
- Mito Entertainment’s Malik Jugo Luntian is graduating following ‘unprecedented personal matters and health concerns.’
- Crescent Link Productions has released a lengthy statement following the termination of one of its talents Nephilim on the grounds of insubordination, leaking agency information, and defamation.
- We have several indie VTubers graduating namely Orochi Sua and LexParte.
- Here’s a different type of farewell: Filipino indie VTuber Nemusagi bids farewell to her old model in favor of a new one. In her announcement stream, she thanks the significance her old model has helped her in her VTuber journey. She later announced in a separate stream that she is taking a hiatus this October.
- COVER Corp. is opening its recruitment for new graduates in Japan, slated for 2024. The business positions include engineering, design, business management, studio technology, among others.
- WACTOR opens up auditions for its first generation of Spanish-speaking VTubers.
- MAHA5 in Indonesia is on the look for graphic designer interns.
- YFU BABY is looking for temporary and permanent mods, community managers, as well as potential producers and songwriters.
We cap off this Weekly NewsDrop with a tribute to VTuber fans Katsuie and Mira, who have sadly passed away. Their works and efforts to support their favorite VTubers are well-appreciated and will be remembered.
To everyone reading this, keep safe at all times. Until the next round-up.
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