Popular VTuber Amano Pikamee announced her retirement a few weeks after sparking controversy for planning to stream Hogwarts Legacy.
The founder of the company that owns Pikamee's 2D likeness (like J-Pop idols, some VTubers are strictly managed by talent agencies), GYARI, said on a stream today (translated by a viewer) that they discussed her retirement for "a long time." And Pomu Rainpuff, another VTuber and friend of Pikamee, said she learned of her plans to retire before she went on break in mid-January, before Hogwarts Legacy's release.
Despite this confirmation that Pikamee wanted to graduate before she announced her plans to stream Hogwarts Legacy on February 6, many VTuber fans still believe the supposed harassment she received was what prompted her decision.
Streaming the game is seen by some as an endorsement of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling's many transphobic remarks over the years. Streamers like Girlfriend Reviews and VTuber Silvervale have all reportedly received harassment for playing the game, while others, like Hasan Piker, refused to stream it altogether to avoid criticism.
Pikamee deleted all her tweets about the game, but screenshots of them are still available. In one now-deleted tweet, she said, "Playing this game doesn't mean I'm supporting something specific. I just want to play the game, that's all."
Important Notice pic.twitter.com/oASH3igb6kMarch 1, 2023
The severity of the harassment Pikamee received is almost impossible to verify. As with other streamers who reportedly received harassment for playing the game, it's hard to know if it was a coordinated effort or part of a wave of responses on social media and in their chats. Twitter searches bring up screenshots of tweets that look like fairly tame criticism and disappointment in her decision, with some heated outliers, but with everything deleted it's difficult to know.
Last week, a popular clip of VTuber Silvervale explaining why she will continue to stream Hogwarts Legacy circulated on Twitter. In it, she said she doesn't "condone the ideals of this author," and that she will "not be bullied by a bunch of Twitter freaks." Now, VTuber fans on Twitter have adopted the term "Twitter freaks," to harass and threaten others, specifically trans people in some cases, in defense of streamers like Silvervale and Pikamee.
Pikamee hasn't directly addressed the controversy since making her announcement, but said she will continue to stream until her last day on March 31. When that happens, all of the videos and VODs from her two years of streaming will be deleted from her YouTube channel—which is common after company-owned VTubers retire.