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Her Name was Mano Aloe: A Fan Documentary of Hololive's Graduated Succubus
About a week from now, on October 28, the birthday of an idol who graduated 3 months ago will be coming up. For those of you who are new to this subreddit, in all likelihood you don’t know who this person is, which is understandable and I encourage you to keep reading. For those who do, I hope that day is one of celebration rather than sadness for all of you. With her birthday coming up, I wanted to give a documentary of the short, but impactful journey of the succubus of 5th gen to those who've fallen into the rabbit hole. And while she isn’t officially a part of the group as of today, for many she will always be remembered as the idol who was lost, but never forgotten. Today I’d like to share with you the story of Mano Aloe and her impact on Hololive.
*As a disclaimer, please do not go to any Hololive member streams to discuss this topic. In addition, please do not start arguing with any of the groups or people mentioned in this post.
The Beginning of HolofiveOn August 5th of 2020, five new members were announced and declared for the 5th generation of Hololive and would soon be given the nickname “Holofive,” not only because of their status as the 5th generation, but also because they happened to have five members (though most JP generations have that group layout, barring Hololive Gamers and Hololive Gen 0).
🎉Please Give a Warm Welcome to Hololive 5th Generation!🎉 : Hololive
They would subsequently all use Twitter in the days before their debuts, and many flocked to interact with them. It was an unprecedented amount of communication, not only with fans but with their senior coworkers as well. This became a major reason for their sudden boom in popularity before their debuts even started.
Aloe, unfortunately, was a special case. At the time, many remember Kageyama Shien, a member of the 3rd gen of Holostars, as having his Twitter profile locked out and banned for nearly a month the day after his debut, most likely due to the fact that he may have set his age to be 0. Aloe, on the other hand, had been locked out of Twitter the day of her announcement. Cover Corp came out with a statement about it, and Aloe was unfortunately restricted from using Twitter for a couple of days before eventually joining the rest of her crewmates in the festivities.
5th Gen Mano Aloe pulled a Shien on twitter : Hololive
A week later, their debuts would be broadcast every day of the week, with the lineup starting at Yukihana Lamy, followed by Momosuzu Nene, Shishiro Botan, Mano Aloe, and finally, Omaru Polka.
Mano Aloe, the 4th one to debut, is described as this in her bio:
“A headstrong, mischievous succubus-in-training who dreams of becoming the Diva of the Demonic Realm. Can dish it out, but can’t take it. After learning of Hololive from an acquaintance, she decided to come test out her charms in the human realm.”
She was 15 years old when she debuted on August 15, 2020, and was 150 cm. Her birthday is October 28, and she enjoyed watching horror movies, making bento boxes, and singing. She also enjoyed cleaning rooms (besides her own), and had a distaste for bugs of all sorts (including butterflies) as well as a hatred for riddles and studying. Here’s a translation of her slides during her debut.
I translated three slides from Aloe's debut stream : Hololive
On her debut, she sang Koshi Tantan(虎視眈々) as a bold opening that separated herself from the rest of her peers starting off. Many people will remember that she also brandished a vocoder when singing, providing that energetic, autotune-like vibe to the song that many found great to listen to. She also sang the song “Happy Synthesizer (ハッピーシンセサイザ),” as a finisher to her stream, defining herself as an idol who primarily wanted to see herself on the big stage singing for her fans.
One of the quirks of her character design was that one of her horns was smaller than the other; lorewise, it would grow as time went on and she became more mature, and it’s speculated that once she got to her 3d debut, it would be fully grown. Her model also had a position where her tail would hold up her mic like a mic stand, which was dubbed the “akumic,” (Which combines “akuma,” which means devil or demon, and “microphone,” which shortens to mic) and many fanarts made use of that little detail.
sadly we wont see her grow anymore : Hololive
#Holofive Mano Aloe ✨✨ #LustfulSubbubus - Hololive
Mano Aloe, by warayanuko : Hololive
Many might also remember that she was quite open about her clothing and body, going so far as to reveal the panties of her character model that her mother(illustrator) Guchico had drawn up for her on her Twitter (Due to Aloe's Twitter closing down, the tweet in question is unavailable. Since this is official art, I have decided not to post any links here in case this violates any rules, as it is not on the artist's official Twitter either. A quick search for it on Danbooru is the easiest way to find it.) Not only was this in character, but it led to speculation that her personality might have ended up being somewhat similar to Shion’s spoiled brat personality, known as a “kusogaki” by the older Hololive members.
[Kiryu Coco] After 3 months of 5th gen [Aki Rosenthal, Yuzuki Choco, Amane Kanata, Hololive Eng Sub]
After each of the 5th gen’s streams, all of the members who debuted would talk with each other afterwards to chat and interact with the others. Some may remember the cute songs that Momosuzu Nene would sing for each member once they debuted. (Lamy wa Fuwafuwa, La-Lion, Ma! Ma-Ma-Ma-Mano!, etc.) Holofive seemed to be a rousing success. Until disaster struck just a day later.
The Apology and the Beginning of SkepticismOn August 17, 2020, a stream popped up on Aloe’s YouTube channel titled “大事なお知らせ,” which roughly translated to “Important Announcement.” It is privated on her channel as of right now. Cover Corp nor Hololive issued any statement about the stream or anything pertaining to Aloe before it was made, so many were unaware of its contents beforehand, including Reddit:
Aloe important announcment in 15 minutes. : Hololive
The stream itself was around six minutes. In it, Aloe revealed to the audience that she had breached the terms of her contract with Cover Corp by accident. According to her, a Live 2D (L2D) broadcast of her testing her model out was dug up and found out by the public that happened during May of 2020. At the time, Aloe had requested permission from her manager to try out her model on a previously owned account, one that would later expose her private life to a startling degree.
The manager complied with her request and she most likely spent a while trying out the rigging of her model before finishing up. However, neither her nor her manager had actually ended that test, leaving a backdoor for people to find. It was password protected, but someone was able to find it and trace it back to her. This would lead to a multitude of doxxing attempts onto the talent. She would further go on to address rumors and the concerning amount of harassment around her.
According to her, many people had used the private information dug up to start harassing a male acquainted with her; it was speculated that the man was her boyfriend, or something of that status, but she addressed that she and him had no current relationship at the time the video was made and had went their separate ways before her debut.
There were also many cases of doxxing and harassment from people. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, doxxing is defined as the action of “search[ing] for and publish[ing] private or identifying information about (a particular individual) on the Internet, typically with malicious intent,” according to Oxford Dictionary. The reason why the L2D leak was extremely serious was that it led to her private accounts being found out and spread across the internet.
A video on twitcast of an utaite with an almost identical voice to Aloe’s was found and posted to other websites, and contained information that many Japanese fans considered sensitive and foreboding of Aloe’s ability to ruin Hololive as a company. As a result, information such as her private twitter account, old niconico account, and even landline address were found out. She received many messages from random strangers to her own household from that. It is unknown what was said in these messages or if she even listened to all of them, but the fact of the matter stood that people knew sensitive information, perhaps even up to where she lived. These private details were not brought up in the apology video in question, but it became one of the biggest points of contention surrounding her. If you’d like more information about the twitcast video in question, I created a post on VirtualYoutubers trying to debunk the allegations against her when the surge of hatred started to pile up. I will not link it in case it violates the rule against leaking information about past lives. It's on my profile though if you're interested.
After this video, Aloe would be suspended from streaming activities for an entire two weeks, and would not be allowed to communicate with any of her fans, nor her fellow Gen 5 members publicly.
The community was immediately embroiled in discussion and speculation. Many were concerned about her stunted growth as a result of the two week ban from streaming; After all, Gen 5 had been growing at an unparalleled rate, so seeing her having two weeks of streaming denied after her debut was extremely detrimental. Many also threw shade at Cover Corp, Hololive’s parent company, as well as Hololive, and Yagoo, Cover Corp’s CEO.
For context, Hololive had been in a series of unfortunate circumstances regarding their talents that led to public opinions about their ineptitude in handling problems, both internally and externally. Some of them include:
Yozora Mel being harassed and stalked:
Yozora Mel just tweeted this. I do not understand Japanese, any idea on what happened? : Hololive
People hearing a male voice during Tokoyami Towa’s livestream after forgetting to mute her mic:
Cover's statement on towa's incident : VirtualYoutubers
The deletion/privating of many Hololive videos:
Hololive current situation megathread/summary : Hololive
Mio taking a break from streaming due to copyright:
Mio is taking an indefinite break from streaming : Hololive
The concern about Aloe being harassed and doxxed by random strangers led to a growing concern about how Hololive would handle the situation, and contributed to the negativity surrounding the entire incident. This would, unfortunately, lead to one of the darkest times in Hololive history.
The Two Week Ban and the DivideWhat followed was a massive divide between fans, primarily between Japanese and overseas fans. As a result of the language barrier, overseas fans were not able to deal with the situation as quickly as Japanese fans. The lack of translations led to fans taking it into their own hands to try and assess the situation, leading to a lack of understanding of the entire situation. Many of the translations were misleading or flat out wrong too; For example, a lot of users were very confused about her situation since some translations painted the L2D leak as the same incident as the private twitcast video, which was blatantly false. Many who gave out translations were also very opinionated and lacked the entire picture of why Japanese fans were outraged. Some Japanese comments flooded Reddit, with the idea that overseas fans had no idea about the circumstances surrounding Aloe’s incident and implied an idea of unequal standing between Japanese fans and overseas fans. These were, of course, received poorly, and many were quick to realize that these statements were copied and pasted as if coordinated to offend overseas fans or set a precedent. And they were.
It should be noted that many of the people against Aloe fell under the term “anti.” While it’s a universal term, people who are considered antis deliberately take actions against another person or talent with the end goal of ruining, hurting, slandering, or harassing their target, whether it be through death threats, doxxing, or spamming them with negative comments. Their goal in this endeavor was to disguise themselves as “fans” of Hololive and spread disorder and distrust amongst the community. They’d pose as concerned fans who wanted Cover Corp to succeed, and for Aloe to be fired for the “greater good” of the company and the safety of its talents. This would lead to actual fans sharing the same or similar sentiments to this idea, leading to much more backlash against her compared to previous incidents. After all, the idea of an idol leaking the sensitive information of other talents didn't seem too far-fetched. It was a fear that many, unfortunately, fell victim to.
The initial problem that overseas fans gleamed from Japanese comments was that she had been hiding evidence pertaining to having a boyfriend previously, and that the tweets she had put out on her private account were sexual in nature. Two main tweets were discussed:
- She had tweeted and joked about a “sashimi dildo," which was accompanied by a picture of said object.
- Largely paraphrased, but she tweeted out that “Is it true that if you become an utaite, it's easy to get laid?,” or something of that extent.
This led some Redditors to blame the idol culture in Japan quite heavily, and Japanese fans were generalized to fit this perspective. While this may have been the case for some, it definitely was not the case for all. In fact, the majority of Japanese people criticizing Aloe were fixated more on the twitcast video, which I will talk about shortly. Even then, most Japanese fans wished for her return and for her to simply reflect on her mistake. Many on Reddit felt the need to lash out at Japanese fans and their culture in general, to the extent that some comments started becoming borderline racist.
[Aloe] please don't use current situation as an attempt to generalise JPN fans or sow division : Hololive
The second, and much more serious problem, stemmed from a certain part of the twitcast video (Note: This was made in mid-October of 2019, nearly 10 months before her debut). In this video, the girl revealed sensitive information from a talent of another company, specifically addressing the reason for her retirement. She claimed to be an acquaintance of (or acquaintanced with) this person, and stated that they left due to private information being found out and exposed to the public. The problem is that this statement could not be identified as completely true by fans. Many who were familiar with this company and this person remarked that the circumstances surrounding her retirement were quite different from the statement the girl issued, and people began to believe that her statement was likened to a rumor, which many found extremely offensive. They thought that her statement tarnished the name of the character that retired, and that it brought about rumors that were unnecessary in nature. Unfortunately, this sentiment would be lost on the overseas fanbase for a while after the initial news. Even then, many were of the opinion that doxxing and harassing her over such a statement was unjustified. This was the main issue dividing the community: Some fans thought the punishment and treatment from fans were too harsh; Others thought her punishment wasn’t severe enough. And of course, this was exacerbated by the lack of direct communication between both sides. Until she came back, the Hololive community would have to form their own opinions about how to handle the situation.
Support and the Formation of M.A.S.S.So what did the fans do while they waited for Aloe to return? They showed their support. They made sure to let Aloe know that she had fans who were there to greet her when she came back. They got to work on preparing for her return and spreading positivity throughout the community. Through this ban period, a resurgence of artists shared their reinvigoration for their hobbies as they tried to find a way to show their support for Aloe. People who had editing skills,people who drew, even people who simply wanted to send their thoughts to Aloe flooded the subreddit with heartfelt messages, memes, drawings and other forms of media. People found motivation to pick up old hobbies to show their love for Aloe despite her very short time in Hololive. The entire subreddit, her YouTube channel, and her Twitter account buzzed with life.
Mano Aloe and Fans are waiting... : Hololive
Mano Aloe Minimalist Wallpaper while for Aloe's return~ : Hololive
Mano Aloe, by @hr_x9_ : Hololive
Daily shitpost to show my support to Mano Aloe until she comes back DAY 3 : Hololive
A simple support message for the poor Mano Aloe : Hololive
We miss you : Hololive
From this wave of support for Aloe, a group known as the Mano Aloe Support Squad was formed, a discord server with the goal of showing fan appreciation for Mano Aloe (It would later be renamed the Manotomo Alliance Support Squad). Multiple messages would be posted onto the Hololive subreddit asking people to join their cause, and for the most part it was well-received by the community:
Please help support Mano Aloe! : Hololive
The Mano Aloe Support Squad needs you help! : Hololive
M.A.S.S. had a multitude of goals, but the main idea was to show fan support for Aloe during her two week suspension as to make sure she knew people were waiting for her return. The main form of support was through a group effort to use Aloe’s hashtags to send kind messages and fanart on certain days of the week. This project would be divided based on the timezones of different countries and initiated every day based on the JST timezone. The template usually revolved around sending in a picture of the country you were from, some interesting facts about it, and a kind message to show support for her. Using #魔乃アロエ and ＃魔の友, Aloe’s Twitter was flooded with warm, caring comments from all around the world in an attempt to show the appreciation fans had for her.
In addition to this, multiple collaborations would be made for when she would return: Small games were made with themes centered around Aloe and her Manotomo’s, the name of which she’d call her fans. Pages and pages of fanart were filled with support for Aloe. Thousands of comments wished the best for her, and that they were waiting for her to come back. Someone even made an entire website dedicated to storing all of these little projects, so I suggest you check it out if you have the time!
Of course, the public support for her wasn’t always a positive influence. It contributed to some of the negatives as well. A couple of days into the ban week, it should be noted that harassment attempts against Aloe had decreased a little. Antis are known to move from target to target once their efforts on one end start becoming fruitless, tiring, or boring, and after a few days of radio silence on her end there didn’t seem to be much going on. There are two notable events, however, that seemed to reignite their efforts to harass Aloe.
The first event was their discovery of the M.A.S.S. server. Through one means or another, they were able to find information about the existence of a group solely dedicated to showing support for Aloe, the exact target they wanted to harass. Whether one had joined the server previously as some sort of insider or through chance, it became clear to them that there was an active overseas group who wanted Aloe back; and that only made their efforts harsher. Once more, they took to Twitter and YouTube to flood Aloe with negative comments and spam, determined to destroy the efforts of those showing support in addition to harassing her.
The second event was the direct confrontation of fans with antis on 5ch and 2ch (Japanese message boards that are very similar to our version of 4chan). Unfortunately, some overseas fans had gone over to their threads to spam them with angry comments and similar messages on their own turf, which was a terrible idea in hindsight. The point is that fans provoked the hornet’s nest, which led to more and more backlash against Aloe as the week progressed.
While both of these events are debatable in terms of influencing her final outcome, it is a fact that the major outspoken support for Aloe resulted in an equal opposition of hatred and harassment on the opposite side. And unfortunately, as the day of her suspension being lifted got closer and closer, nobody would be able to predict what was about to happen.
Retirement, and LossOn Monday, August 30, 2020, right when she was about to come out of her two week ban, a statement came out from Cover Corp concerning Aloe’s situation. Due to personal reasons, she would be graduating from Hololive after everything that had happened through a mutual agreement with the company, one that she herself decided upon. She’d later graduate the day after, and her page on the Vtuber wikipedia would eventually be put in the “former members” section:
Important Announcement Regarding Mano Aloe : Hololive
Soon after the news hit, Shishiro Botan, one of the members of 5th gen, came out with an impromptu stream a few minutes after the announcement was made, along with the rest of her genmates. This suggested that this news came as a surprise even to them. All of them reacted differently, but it was clear that all of them were deeply hurt by the news; Lamy and Nene can be heard crying toward the end of their portions of the video. Polka’s serious and deeper voice only added to the gravity of the situation, and Botan took on the role of leading them through the entire stream with a somber tone to her voice. Everything felt like a punch to the gut. The video can be found below. It also has official English subtitles for those who don’t understand Japanese:
Meanwhile, antis were celebrating Aloe’s graduation. On Botan’s announcement stream, there were a few Japanese comments that said things like “SHE’S FINALLY GONE!” and “Stop crying, we know those are fake tears,” amongst other insensitive stuff. Originally, there were Reddit posts that screenshotted these comments, but they should be on Botan’s stream if you’re willing to find them unless they’ve been removed and reported. Many reported that the threads full of antis on 2chan and 5chan were vibrant and ecstatic to see that they managed to get one of Hololive’s idols to graduate. But for the Hololive community, many were heartbroken to witness a new idol, one with so much promise and potential, being harassed out of her dream job.
The news was a massive blow to everyone, and in the following weeks fans were overcome with grief and anguish. Morale on the subreddit dropped. Some climbed out of the Hololive rabbit hole from the sheer shock of Aloe retiring. Some became disappointed in Cover for failing to protect Aloe from the harassment. Others took a break from Hololive in general just to get their thoughts in order. A couple tried to stay positive and tough it out, warning people to never forget this incident. It became one of the darkest eras that Hololive has ever gone through.
HER NAME WAS MANO ALOE : VirtualYoutubers
I still can't believe it : Hololive
"Please witness it! Please!" : Hololive
it was truly fun : Hololive
I was hoping for an epic comeback but got sad instead. Goodbye Aloe... : Hololive
There are no more great days, just days : Hololive
The Worst loss in 2020.... Depression is Back...goodluck Mano Aloe❤️😭 : Hololive
Mano Aloe a lovely gal gone, but not forgotten : Hololive
《Garden of Aloe》posted again to hololive on reddit. Best wishes for Mano Aloe. : Hololive
Goodbye Aloe... : Hololive
You've tried really hard : Hololive
I don't feel so good:) Artist : https://www.facebook.com/monster7320 : Hololive (This one in particular hurts.)
Understandably, many posts were made discussing the entire situation. As soon as the news hit, the new tab was flooded with posts about Aloe's graduation, and it cluttered the subreddit. It got to the point that any discussion posts outside the announcement thread needed to be deleted to keep the subreddit from devolving into utter chaos. Some fanarts stayed up, but nearly all posts about Aloe with the "Discussion" flair were removed for quite a while after the announcement, and people were asked to relocate to the megathread regarding her graduation for discussion. It should be noted that many were unaware of the grander picture, and only saw the moderators deleting posts related to Aloe, leading many to believe that they were forcefully trying to stifle any attempts at discussing Aloe's graduation. This was remedied quickly, but for the first couple of days many were angry to see Hololive deleting the individual discussion threads for seemingly no reason.
mods deleted my tribute video. it's just getting worse : Hololive
Not only that, but people began to criticize Cover Corp for their inability to protect her from the harassment. As stated, after the slew of mismanagement problems behind the scenes, this became the breaking point for a lot of fans. Cover Corp criticism and hatred spiked immensely, with some people berating and feeling disappointed for how Cover Corp handled the situation.
Cover Corp failed Aloe : VirtualYoutubers
About the Cover Corp hate : Hololive
I do, however, want to enlighten some people as to the possible reasons for their actions during this time, since this is very important as to how things were handled. I won’t try to defend or attack their actions, but I do want to make sense of some of the aspects happening during the entire incident.
- It is important to note that at the same time as Aloe’s suspension, another vtuber was going through a similar rough patch named Sio Kusunoki. While I am unfamiliar with the reason as to why the drama came about in the first place, there was quite a lot of negativity surrounding the incident. The main point is that in response to the hate she was receiving, she decided to continue streaming as usual and did not address the rumors in any capacity. Unfortunately, what resulted was a surge of doxxing, harassment, and vicious comments being left on anything related to her. The problem was that because she had decided to ignore the problem at large, those who took offense with it were immediately able to voice their dissatisfaction with her, and that led to a surge of dislikes on her videos and spamming in her chat. This is most likely the reason for the suspension on Aloe’s part. The idea behind the suspension was not only to visibly appear to be punishing Aloe to any antis, but also to make sure that she wasn’t targeted by waves of hate from the start. And as stated, it started to die down after a few days of inactivity, which was also seen with Lamy, Botan, and Polka’s Minecraft incident.
- During this time, it’s been said that Cover Corp was understaffed for many of their controversies. As many of you know from experience, Hololive has grown immensely overseas due to a multitude of factors including Covid, YouTube recommendations, and translations becoming popular, such as Fubuki’s Im Scatman video, Matsuri’s Band-aid video, Miko’s GTA N-word video, etc. At the time, Hololive had a sturdy fanbase that was exponentially growing. With the advent of Holofive, it was insane to believe that a vtuber could gain more than 100k subscribers less than a week before they debuted without even posting a video to YouTube, but Shishiro Botan managed to accomplish that easily. According to a comment by one of the staff members, Hololive had around 80 people working for their company, including CEO’s and talent managers. Take into account that during this time, the official company account had around 400k subs, not to mention the growing popularity of streamers like Pekora, Fubuki, and Korone, as well as the rest of Hololive. Their community was growing way more than their own staff were, which would most likely result in the slew of poor management decisions during the 2019-2020 year.
- Correct me if I’m wrong, but even now, Japanese law dictates that doxxing and online harassment is not illegal as long as it does not lead to physical altercations. So, technically, if you were to post someone’s address or private information online, as long as nothing physically happens to that person, that’s fair game. And that’s where the problem begins. The law literally states that doxxing, an action with the ability to ruin someone’s life, cannot be prosecuted under Japanese law. This was eventually taken more seriously after an incident of an idol being stabbed by an overzealous fan made headlines, but you can still dox someone with a relatively good chance of escaping without consequence.
Aki Rosenthal also came out rather quickly with a singing stream with another vtuber named ASHINO, who played the guitar alongside her.
【3D歌枠】25万人記念配信！Acoustic Session Live 1st 【ホロライブ/アキロゼ】
Aloe’s fellow genmates were also quick to show their support for her. Momosuzu Nene in particular was very vocal about her support for Aloe. At the time, there were major concerns with Aloe being depicted in official art or banners tied to Holofive; on the Hololive channel, Aloe’s avatar was no longer shown with the other four members, and the Aloe flair on the Hololive subreddit was legitimately considered for being removed. Nene, however, made her own choice, and decided to remember Aloe in her own special way. If you go onto her Twitter, her banner is a drawing of all the Holofive members, including Aloe. Even during the initial fallout, Nene was insistent on Aloe remaining a member of Holofive, regardless of what happened.
[Vtuber / Hololive] A message of departure from Shishiro Botan to Mano Aloe [Eng Sub]
【Hololive/Eng sub】Nene hopes everyone will not forget Mano Aloe
Lamy drew Aloe on her stream today : Hololive
The weeks following her retirement, the subreddit was often filled with bittersweet memes and discussion posts about people’s feelings for Aloe and her graduation. Some people were even so distraught that just looking at the rest of Holofive brought back memories of Aloe. Though since then, her fans have gotten better. Every so often, fanarts of her make their way on this subreddit, and while many were, and are still sad about her retirement, many have also come to terms with it and enjoy the occasional fanarts of her. To us, the Manotomos, she has left her mark on Hololive, even though she is long gone.
One last Comfy with Aloe : Hololive
Mano Aloe, by @0_71_Rain : Hololive
Mano Aloe : VirtualYoutubers
The Aftermath and Her LegacySo what has changed since her retirement? What’s become of Hololive’s 5th generation? What has Hololive done now that they’ve lost one of their idols? The simple answer is that while there are some problems, for the most part they are still going strong. One of the biggest changes that has come from Aloe’s incident is the formation of company measures against doxxing and harassment against their talents, not only from Cover Corp, but Ichikara (Nijisanji’s parent company) as well:
A Statement Regarding Measures Against the Harassment of Hololive Production Talents : Hololive
Ichikara (Nijisanji parent company) has established a team dedicated to "Fighting Libel, Abuse, Defamation, and Offensive Acts against Our Talents" : VirtualYoutubers
Before Aloe’s retirement, both of these companies did not contain any public statements regarding the protection of their talents that were heavily enforced, or seemed to be publicly. However, shortly after Aloe’s retirement, Ichikara came out with their statement seemingly out of nowhere. It’s been speculated that this had been in the works for a while now considering Nijisanji also faced similar harassment months prior to Aloe’s case, but it had been rushed forward in response to Aloe’s situation. Not too far afterwards, Hololive came out with their statement as well, and actually kept their promise; they’ve gone through with multiple C&D’s on channels leaking information from 4chan to YouTube:
"Anti V-Tuber" channels seem to be getting obliterated by Hololive
Hololive just DESTROYED "Anti V-Tuber" YouTube channel by sending Yagoo's Special Forces
Well what about the fanbase? Have they forgotten about Aloe after Hololive EN and everything that’s happened? Well I exist, and this post exists, so there’s that. But in all seriousness, many have not forgotten about Aloe, and continue to remember her to this day. Many continue to wear their Aloe flairs proudly, and others continue to remember Aloe’s influence in Hololive. Many have even used their experience with Aloe’s situation to make the most of Coco and Haachama’s situation by combating antis through reporting and laying low to wait for their idols to come back with great success. I’m typing this in advance, but I assume that her birthday is filled with warm posts from her fans. Hopefully, you’ll be able to send her your best wishes as well if you’d like.
Closing RemarksThis is where her story ends for now. But, the very short memories of her live on in those who were there to witness it. Perhaps in the future, those of us still in Hololive will smile when we remember the succubus that could have been. I hope that once her birthday comes around, you'll be able to join me in wishing her a happy birthday. Whether you were a fan of hers, or are new to Hololive, or just happened to stumble onto this post, I hope I was able to tell her story well.
Her name was Mano Aloe, and don’t you dare forget it.
Edit: Happy Birthday Aloe.
[Video Games] The reboot that got rebooted: The rise and fall of DmC: Devil May Cry
What is Devil May Cry?Devil May Cry is an action series developed and published by Japanese company Capcom, beginning with Devil May Cry 1 in 2001 for the Playstation 2 (Here's an advert showing it as part of Sony's holiday lineup that included landmark gaming titles such as Final Fantasy X, Grand Theft Auto 3, Metal Gear Solid 2 and... Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance). The game series began as a prototype build for Resident Evil 4 that had more of an overt action focus than the acclaimed horror franchise was known for. Rather than scrap the build, Capcom saw potential in the idea of a stylish action game, and gave director Hideki Kamiya permission to make it a full title.
Kamiya would involuntarily leave the series after DMC 1 as Capcom didn't ask him to work on DMC 2. Instead, a still-to-this-day unknown phantom director was put in charge of the game and he ran it into the ground. With less than half a year before DMC 2's 2003 release, Capcom brought in a new director to course-correct and get the game out for release: Hideaki Itsuno. In less than six months, Itsuno would rally the team, basically make the entire game, and create several features that would go on to become series staples, and while DMC 2 sold well, it was critically panned for being a very boring game. Itsuno, not wanting his reputation to be sullied, came back in 2005 with Devil May Cry 3, generally considered one of the greatest action games of all time. From here several core traits are instilled: chief among which being style meters that track the player's skill with combos and Dante having a style system that lets him use different movesets.
And it's in 2008 with the release of Devil May Cry 4, marking the series going multiplatform for the first time as it came out on the PS3 and Xbox 360, that this story really begins:
The build up to 2010With DMC 4's release in 2008, Capcom set the sales expectation that the game would sell 1.8 million units by the end of the fiscal year. DMC 4 would sell two million units in under a month, but Capcom were a bit unimpressed. They were hoping that now that DMC was on a wider range of platforms that the sales would correspondingly go up, but instead the game just saw a modest increase over DMC 3. The cost of game development had also shot up in the new console generation, making Capcom more concerned about DMC4's sales just being fine, especially coming off of huge sales juggarnauts from 2007 such as Halo 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Bioshock. (It doesn't help that DMC 4 had a very rushed development leading to the now infamous case of Dante's playable chapters just being Nero's but backwards)
Japan at the time was also in a weird place when it came to gaming. The mobile phone gaming market was about to take off, and the playerbase in Japan was already smaller than the worldwide market for obvious reasons. In the home regions, it was safer to look into handheld gaming, and while Capcom had dallied with the idea of a DMC game on the Playstation Portable (at one point considering a remake of the first game that reached in-game screenshots and box art that was quietly shelved for unknown reasons, alongside a prequel focusing on Dante's father Sparda), these ideas never left the ground. Seeing how Western markets were more traditionally concerned with console gaming at this time (and the success of the God of War franchise proved Action was a genre people wanted), Capcom's idea was simple:
Give their IPs to Western studios and let them take a crack at it, with the idea being their knowledge of what the West wants would let the games sell better. The results were mixed. The Bionic Commando reboot is nowadays more known for the twist of YOUR WIFE IS THE ROBOT ARM and only sold 27,000 units in a month, but Dead Rising did fairly well under a Capcom Vancouver branch until Dead Rising 4 happened and uh... kinda killed the series because it was awful.
Capcom eventually set their sights on giving the West a crack at DMC, leading to them eyeballing several studios. This worked out well for them in that Itsuno was also burnt out. After having spent five straight years on DMC and having redeemed its image after DMC 2, Itsuno was ready to take a break and make his dream game: Dragon's Dogma, a dark fantasy game that is very fun. It got a Netflix anime adaptation recently that is... not as fun. But while Itsuno was making Dragon's Dogma, Capcom had some time to spitball handing the series off. They eventually settled on Ninja Theory, an up and coming British team best known for Heavenly Sword (a very pretty game with mediocre action combat and a priority on storytelling), and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (a modernisation of Journey to the West that was very pretty but priotizied story over gameplay). Rumors began to circulate in early 2010 that Ninja Theory had acquired the license and would be making a prequel focusing on Dante's early days, but it would only become clear at Tokyo Games Show that year when DmC: Devil May Cry* was formally announced.
And the fanbase collectively hated it.
(* Yes that does technically mean this reboot's name is Devil may Cry: Devil May Cry. I'm going to call it DmC from here to differentiate it from the core series)
The TGS TrailerFor those unaware of DMC, I should stress that by 2010, it had a reputation for a certain flair and theatics. Dante was known to be a goofball in cutscenes, taunting enemy demons and making a mockery of them. He has an entire cutscene in DMC 4 where he acts like he's on the stage of a theatre with how grandious he is. People liked Dante for this reason, he was a breath of fresh air in a time when most protagonists were stotic, gritty jerks who only talked in curse words and gravelly shouts. And his flowing white hair was also certainly iconic.
So here comes the new take on Dante, the West giving him a go and oh... hoo boy. There's no charisma, there's no panache. The trailer has no gameplay. Dante doesn't look like a trash talker, he looks like a meth addict. He's smoking, something the DMC 1 design documents said Dante would never do as (per Kamiya) smoking is uncool. His hair isn't even white!
Now let me be clear: I am not opposed to a new take on Dante. Certainly, the idea presented in the reveal trailer that Dante is imaging the demons he fights as an acute case of psychosis is an interesting idea, as it raises the question of whether or not the demons are real or if he's senselessly killing random people. But the execution would have had to be perfect, and opening with just a fancy trailer that had no signs of gameplay for an action franchise was not the right foot to start on.
What doesn't help was that the entire Western Capcom initiative was one pushed by a very controversial figure in gaming called Keiji Inafune, who would leave Capcom right after DmC's announcement in 2010. Inafune was the one most strongly advocating for the western development approach (Something Capcom were quick to stress in 2010 after his departure), but with his departure the movement had less steam. Inafune would go on to make Mighty Number 9, a Kickstarter that went miserably wrong on every turn and is usually seen as one of the most disappointing games of the 2010s.
I should also point out here: Dante's radically different design from the norm of the series was a mandate imposed by Capcom. Ninja Theory's original concept art for Dante was much more closer to his traditional design- white hair, red coat and all. But Capcom, and Itsuno especially, were adament that if Ninja Theory were going to be doing something new with the franchise, that they needed to go off the cuff- in Capcom's own words, "Go crazy."
The developmentSo Dante got a new color palette, a darker jacket and black hair. But at the time (this news only came out two years after the redesign was revealed), people didn't know about Capcom explicitly telling NT to go off the rails, and what they saw... was Ninja Theory going off the rails in the wrong way.
So from the word go, fans aren't happy. Fans are usually never happy but I mean they were unhappy. Chief Creative director for Ninja Theory Tameen Antionades said after the reveal: “The vitriol was immediate, aggressive and relentless for the next two years. Without a second of gameplay being shown, it had been written off as a disaster in the making.” Tameen would become the ball and chain around DmC's marketing, which is quite apparent in how Ninja Theory would dial back on his appearances as we get closer to the game's release. The backlash to the launch clearly surprised Ninja Theory and caught them off guard, with Tameen publically lashing out at the original fanbase for writing the game off or being unhappy at Dante's visual redesign. This would go on to dominiate the discussions about DmC for its pre-release cycle, as it became less about the game and more about the community and whether or not the response was justified (alongside in typical internet fashion, a few death threats being tossed around which apparently included a full metal song). No matter which side of it you lean on though, Tameen had habit of putting his foot in his mouth in regards to PR:
- When asked by Venturebeat how he felt about the fan reaction to the TGS trailer, Tameen (and I am quoting them word for word here) “took a drag of his cigarette and without blinking or pausing to exhale the smoke from his mouth, said: ‘I don’t care.’”
- Tameen went on to insult Dante's original costume in a later interview when saying that what was and wasn’t cool had changed in the years since DMC1: “If Dante, dressed as he was, walked into any bar outside of Tokyo, he’d get laughed out.”
- Finally, he disparaged the original series for its depiction of women, particularly the demon hunters Trish and Lady, saying: "I've nothing against big tits - I'd rather have my head resting on a pair right now - but if you're going to try and stimulate someone on different levels, there's better ways to do it... We did that in Enslaved with Trip. People loved her, not because she had big breasts and high heels, but because she felt like someone who could be your girlfriend. That to me is more attractive than a prostitute walking around with a big gun." The idea that Tameen was dismissing Lady and Trish (Lady especially has basically the largest character arc in DMC3 and it's as much her story as Dante's) irked the fanbase.
While Capcom Japan kept a close eye on Ninja Theory’s work on DmC’s characters, story and world, its greatest focus was, naturally, on the game’s combat. Itsuno and other key personnel would visit the studio in Cambridge every few months to check in on its progress, Ninja Theory staff would often make the trip out to Japan, and in between those times there would be regular video conferences and daily email updates. All that communication helped to unify the two companies, despite a fundamental split between their approaches to game development: Ninja Theory liked to start with the visual design, and Capcom with the mechanics. Modestly, Itsuno admits he learned a lot from the collaboration; Tucker believes she picked up an awful lot more. “I learnt so much,” she says. “Itsuno would speak philosophically about how he approaches combat and enemy design. They build most of the player’s set of actions first, and then think about the things they can build to allow players to exploit particular elements of the system they’ve designed. They really put the emphasis of the baddie design back onto the player’s actions. It’s kind of obvious, but just the way that he spoke about it was inspiring, and it made a lot of sense to me.”The damage however, was long done. Even with the post-TGS revisions, DmC was facing an uphill battle from the community, with a minority waiting to give it a try themselves before casting judgement, but the majority either being apathetic or downright hostile to the game, not helped by Tameen's attitude creating the idea that Ninja Theory inherently hated what made Devil May Cry good (again, keep in mind most players wouldn't learn that Capcom were pushing for the radical Dante changes until years post-release). Ultimately though, Capcom themselves are to blame for the choices that impacted DmC: Ninja Theory were only doing their jobs to the best of their abilities and for the most part many of the staff clearly loved getting to work on such a popular franchise and boosting their studio's name. It came down an unfortunate blend of Capcom misreading what people wanted from future projects, an attempt to appeal to a Western market that fell on its face, and a director unprepared for the mass backlash his product got.
Either way, the game finally came out in early 2013.
The game itselfEh, it was OK.
DmC launched in March 2013 and got decent reviews on all platforms, getting a consistent 8/10 on all platforms on Metacritic. The PC port was especially praised for its sheer variety of features including an uncapped framerate. Critics quite liked it, praising the story and art direction, feeling it was a necessary step for the series to make the games somewhat easier to let newcomers in without facing as daunting a challenge as the games could be (I'm pretty sure learning how to fly a plane is easier than mastering Dante in Devil May Cry 4). Old Dante's most famous voice actor, Reuben Langdon, spoke on a podcast about the game and admitted that while he wasn't fond of the new Dante's characterisation, he applauded Ninja Theory's craftsmenship.
The fanbase were colder, even with the pre-release biases set aside (this wasn't helped by Platinum, helmed by several ex-DMC 1 developers including Kamiya, releasing Metal Gear Rising Revengeance also in 2013. Metal Gear Rising is a very good game that involves flipping giant robots and fighting a very actractive Brazillian man with a gun-sheath sword). The game's framerate on consoles was capped at 30FPS for technical reasons when all prior games ran at 60FPS. Dante had lost a lot of his mechanical complexity (including DMC 3 and 4's style system which offered Dante special abilities he could switch between such as more sword and gun combos, blocking and dodging) in favour of a more universal moveset. The Devil Trigger super mode was pretty lame and automatically knocked all enemies into the air, which people didn't like as it made most encounters too easy. Building up style was too easy and the game had no systems to stop you spamming the same combos over and over. The game's weapon system of angel/demon themed weapons included color-coded enemies that forced you to use the right gear or you'd be punished. There was no Turbo Mode, a feature in most games that automatically boosted the game's speed by 20% on average.
Ninja Theory still made a good action game, albeit one that needed a bit more refinement to reach its true potential. But the lack of several core features (or worse, poorly implemented iterations of said features) led to the fanbase adopting a term:
"It's a good game, but it's not a good Devil May Cry."The fanbase were willing to concede to the good aspects of the game- especially in audiovisual aspects. Enemies now got a subtitle during their first appearance, weapons getting a slight glint when the player pauses to let them know they can launch a pause combo attack, the soundtrack was now dynamic and evolved up the higher your style rank got, alongside the killing blow at the end of a fight getting a cinematic camera angle. Ninja Theory's sense of style itself was something that impressed the Capcom team, as all of these aspects were modified and adopted into the mainline games come 2019. The game was also very beautiful in places, leaving the Gothic archetecture of the main games for a more European feel in Limbo City. Madrid in Spain and Genoa in Italy are clear influences on the archetecture, and the design team adapt them well in making Limbo a city that is itself a weapon trying to kill Dante through compressing alleyways, closing off paths or mocking him through writing on the walls, Splinter Cell Conviction style. Combichrist and Noisia's collaberations for the soundtrack were also praised between their licensed work and new music composed just for the game, especially the songs Never Surrender and Throat Full of Glass.
But for all the praise, reluctant or otherwise, that game got mechanically, the story that the critics had acclaimed as mature and a right step forward had few supporters among the playerbase. There's been a lot written and said about DmC's story so I'll cap off the highlights here:
- Dante, even after the TGS revisions, was still far too crass and unlikeable. A scene early on in the game was also seen as a potshot at fans of the old games as a response to the TGS backlash where a mop falls on Dante's head, making him look like his older self, before he snarks "Not in a million years" and throws the mop aside. Fans quickly took to several creative nicknames to refer to this new iteration of the character, with the most popular being DINO (Dante In Name Only) or Donte. Fans hated Donte's personality so much that they began unironically championing the Spanish dub of the game due to his dub actor having more fun in the role, leading to people making mods to highlight the misadventures of Donté, el exterminador de demonios. Dante being changed from a half-human half-demon to half-angel half-demon also led to mocking jokes comparing Dante to the Adam Sandler film Little Nicky.
- The game relied far too heavily on swearing, with the exchange between Dante and Succubus becoming infamous for the lines "Fuck you!" "Fuck you!" "FUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUU." A scene with Dante and Vergil where the two engage in brotherly banter only for Vergil to end the argument with "And I've got a bigger dick" also went viral for all the wrong reasons.
- Dante's brother Vergil in the core series is a man of MOTIVATION who would sooner cut his throat than admit to anything being stronger than him, alongside someone who hates firearms. Entire essays have been written about how amazing Vergil is in Devil May Cry 3 and in some communities, his name has become synonymous with the rival archetype. Here, he's presented as a thinly veiled analogue to the Anonymous movement (you can carbon date this game to early 2010s in general with the Anonymous analouges and WAKE UP SHEEPLE energy), openly admits to Dante that "I'm powerless to stop you" from just leaving his goal to stop the demons, and in the most infamous scene of the game, uses a sniper rifle to shoot a pregnant woman in the chest, blowing out her entire stomach, before headshotting her. To make things even worse for the reputation of this version of Vergil (who had been mockingly named Vergin), the launch version of DmC had him wearing a fedora. In 2013. I don't think I need to add anything to that if you remember what became of the fedora around 2013.
- Despite Tameen's comments about women in video games and "prostitutes with guns," DmC was reviled for how deeply mysoginistic the game truly was. Kat (the one heroic female character in the game and the only female character to survive the game), had several far more revealing costumes planned in concept art (Alongside the idea that Kat fought with a violin weapon pre-Lindsay Sterling which was pretty cool). Here's one of the better pieces of art where Kat was planned to be a biker chick with platinum blonde hair. Kat is ultimately a vehicle for Dante's character development as he softens up around her, only for her to be kidnapped and brutalized by the police. Dante and Vergil then kidnap the mistress of Mundus (the main antagonist) who is pregnant with his child, and trade the two women off like Pokemon cards (the camera in the trade scene, linked above in the Vergin section includes several disturbing shots that linger on Kat trying to get up after being shoved to the ground), leading back to the Sniper Rifle Abortion. The fanbase got very creative with memes relating to that part of the game. Kat's main involvement in the final act of the game is just to give Dante a map of the building she was tortured in, then hide behind a dumpster when Dante and Vergil come to blows over whether or not they should rule humanity. And in the re-release of the game, the final cutscene is modfied so the last shot of the game is Dante copping a feel of Kat's ass.
Some post-launch support would follow, including DLC costumes based on concept art for Dante and several alt skins based on his DMC 1 and 3 appearances, Bloody Palace (basically a time trial gauntlet run) and a campaign focusing on Vergil that sets up a sequel hook which never gets followed up on.
Some Ninja Theory staffers didn't take the news well, especially as they knew that their reputation was going to take a large hit after DmC. Art director Alessandro Taini gave a GDC talk where he went on a weird rant involving editing DMC 4 Dante into stills from... Brokeback Mountain and Batman and Robin, while also saying reboot Dante was based on... Tyler Durden from Fight Club (for those who don't know Fight Club, you're not meant to agree with Tyler or find him a role model). Keep in mind that this is Taini basically shit-talking character designs he had no hand in making. In a hilaripus twist of irony, Dante would later in the series get a cowboy hat as a weapon. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Capcom up to this point had been going back and forth on what DmC even was- was it a prequel, a reboot, an alternate universe? They seemed to change the answer every month. But after the game's failure to meet expectations commercially, they quietly settled on it being based on an alternate universe, as was confirmed in of all things, Donte appearing as a DLC alt skin for Dante in Marvel vs Capcom Infinite.
(While I'm on the topic of weird fighting game trivia, Donte actually also got a full fighting game appearance in the "classic," Playstation All Stars Battle Royale as an attempt to market DmC ahead of its release. Yes, Donte technically didn't even debut in his own game. This story is so weird to me! In the trailer he even fights the protagonist of previous Ninja Theory game Heavenly Sword)In 2015, Capcom re-released the game for the new consoles as DmC: Devil May Cry: Definitive Edition. This was largely helmed by the Capcom team in Japan who modified the game to make it more in line with DMC's series standards of gameplay. And you know what? It's really good! Genuinely, it actually makes the game and takes it from "A good attempt" to "one of the best Western attempts at action games period." 60FPS on consoles, all DLC included, Turbo Mode was back, a new mode called Must Style where you have to get an S Rank in combos before your attacks do damage, all alongside an insanely detailed changelog penned by Rahni Tucker. The one downside? It never got released on PC for unsaid reasons, presumably that most of the new gameplay additions... were based on mods made by the PC fanbase. Mods you can no longer find as the site storing them has gone down.
However even with this, DmC would get sand in its eye one more time. In the same year, Capcom released a similar re-release of DMC 4 called Special Edition. It was far more bare bones than DmC: DE, only adding three new playable characters in Lady, Trish and MOTIVATION Man himself, Vergil. Despite the game only getting a physical release in Japan and being digital only here in the West (whereas DmC: DE got a full release), Capcom eventually said that DMC 4 SE obliterated the DE in sales, with Capcom specifically saying that 4SE's digital sales led to a better quarter in 2015 than they were anticipating. As of 2020 (due to Capcom counting their re-releases of games separately than the original release when it comes to sales), we know that DMC4SE has sold 1.5 million units, while DmC: DE sold 1.1 million.
However, ultimately, I'm very joyful to admit that everyone got a happy ending! No, literally, everyone came out of this for the better. Ninja Theory in 2017 would release Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, a critical and commerical darling made on a self-styled "AA" budget that was praised for its handling of mental health through the lens of its MC Senua. It made its budget back easily, they're now owned by Microsoft and they're currently working on a sequel called Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2. Capcom would bounce back from their slump in the Early 2010s, beginning in 2017 with the releases of Resident Evil 7, Monster Hunter World and a certain title I'll mention in a minute. They've been releasing hit after hit for the last four years and they have more on the horizon. And Itsuno, now having made Dragon's Dogma, came back raring to go with more Devil May Cry. Though there are some rumors by Dante's voice actor that he had to threaten to leave Capcom to get it, at E3 2018 as part of the Microsoft panel, Itsuno took to the stage and announced:
"DMC IS BACK!!!"
(Watching people react to this trailer and freaking out when they see it's DMC gives me so much serotonin)
Thanks for reading this... long disaster of a post. Have a good one, and remember to keep this party crazy. Let's rock. :)
Additional reading if you'd like more words on this reboot: