Fans of the VTuber group VOMS Project woke up to sad news today as founder GYARI announced that they would be suspending all of team member Jitomi Monoe’s activities due to a ‘serious breach of contract.’ While speculation is rife as to what this breach could have actually been, what this shows is the transience of this new form of online entertainment and virtual personalities.
This is hardly the first time that a VTuber has retired or had their activities suspended. Last year, the entire Hololive CN Chinese-language VTuber group was shut down one month after Akai Haato and Kiryu Coco ran in trouble with the Chinese government for showing YouTube analytics that listed Taiwan and China as separate countries. Mano Aloe also graduated two weeks after making her debut as part of Hololive’s fifth generation, saying that she was ‘not physically or mentally prepared to continue with her activities.’ There are countless other examples.
Even so, the speed at which Jitomi Monoe was scrubbed from the face of the internet was surprising, to say the least. She last streamed on 17 February and was supposed to stream the night before the suspension, but was forced to cancel last minute due to ‘circumstances.’ Looking back, this may have been our first warning sign that something was very wrong, but within hours of the official statement, all of Monoe’s videos were deleted from her channel. Her Twitter account remains open but inactive.
We’re not interested in getting into baseless speculation about what this breach of contract could have been, but what this teaches us is that this relatively new form of virtual entertainment is very fragile and can be lost forever. Unless a particularly dedicated fan has managed to put together an archive of Monoe’s old videos, then this important piece of VTuber history might not be properly remembered: the VOMS Project was notable for its independent approach and use of GYARI’s distinctive art, and now it has lost a little piece of its soul.
Our thoughts are particularly with Amano Pikamee and Hikasa Tomoshika, the remaining two members of the VOMS Project, at this time, who will no doubt be mourning the loss of their coworker. Both of them have released seperate videos on the issue.