Hololive virtual YouTubers Sakura Miko and Houshou Marine are in hot water over a controversy surrounding their usage of a BL (boys’ love) doujinshi during a livestream, prompting a response from the original creator. This raises many questions about the responsibilities of virtual talents, and the sort of rights that ought to be afforded to doujin creators.
The livestreams where Sakura Miko and Houshou Marine discuss the BL doujinshi have since been deleted, presumably because of the controversy or an intervention by management. Regardless, this was part of a two-day sleepover off collab conducted over the weekend, where the pair planned to play various pranks on each other. One such prank was putting a BL doujinshi in the refrigerator with the drinks: this happened on the second day, during a playthrough of Tokimeki Memorial 2. Afterwards, they read some of it.
What’s wrong with this? Well, first of all, neither Sakura Miko nor Houshou Marine asked the original creator if they could read their doujinshi aloud, presenting problems of permission. Making matters even worse was the fact that the stream was monetized, with plenty of money donated through Super Chats. According to Playboard, at least £1400 was made. The two personalities didn’t even present the doujin in a particularly positive way, instead making fun of it and misrepresenting the pairing (Char x Amuro from Mobile Suit Gundam) the wrong way round.
Above all else, this is what prompted a response from the original creator: on Twitter, they said ‘I searched my own name and found that one of my old doujinshi was sort of being made fun of by a famous VTuber…’ They have since successfully gotten Sakura Miko to take the video down from her channel.
All of this is unfortunate, and doesn’t reflect well at all on the creators or their parent company, Hololive. It’s especially surprising to see Houshou Marine involved in a controversy such as this: she’s well versed in the doujinshi scene, and should really know better. In lieu of an official apology, it’s good that the video has been taken down, but it needs to be said: doujinshi artists are artists too, and deserve to be respected.
Big thanks to Loserbait for the news tip.