The appointed day has come far quicker than anyone hoped: today is the day that everyone’s favourite foul-mouthed shitposting dragon graduates from Hololive.
Kiryu Coco’s final stream will take place on YouTube at midday BST today, July 1, 2021. You can watch it right here or over on YouTube; I suspect you will have a lot of company.
Kiryu Coco burst onto the scene in late 2019, with her first tweet appearing on December 25. Right from the start, her tweets were bilingual — a sign that she was both able to speak English and potentially interested in courting the then-fledgling overseas audience for VTubers.
In 2019, English VTubers were relatively rare, but there was already a proven market for them. The legendary Kizuna Ai, the VTuber who popularised the phenomenon worldwide, added non-Japanese subtitles to her YouTube videos from very early in her career, for example, and thus it was natural for overseas audiences to take an interest in Hololive, which had become immensely popular in its native Japan.
Something about Coco really resonated with audiences all across the world, because she gained subscribers at an impressive rate and became the number one earner of Super Chat donations in the world. At the time of writing, her subscriber count has been exceeded by popular Hololivers such as Usada Pekora and Inugami Korone — as well as the explosive growth of Hololive English’s Gawr Gura, who exceeded all expectations within a matter of weeks of her debut — but she remains one of the most well-known faces in the VTuber community.
Much of Coco’s popularity stems from her regular Reddit Shitpost Review series, during which she looks through a variety of Hololive-related memes, usually with another member of Hololive offering their own commentary. Coco quickly realised that visual memes provided a great means for Japanese and English speakers to be able to communicate with one another — and they also helped provide exposure to the people she had on as guests.
Coco has been popular not just with fans of VTubers, but with the VTubers themselves. She helped numerous members with alternatives to YouTube monetisation during periods where they had to stream for a month before being able to accept Super Chats and memberships, she has helped other members during their streams with technical issues — and she was one of the main people to push for a Hololive branch dedicated to English speakers. She even made a rather tongue-in-cheek commercial encouraging people to audition for Hololive English.
One of Coco’s propositions which never quite came to fruition but which is still an excellent idea was the “Holohouse”, a location where any of the Hololive girls would be able to live or simply drop by for support. Coco’s justification for this was that some of the girls live alone and might want real-life company, some might have family or roommates that make too much noise or put them at risk of revealing their real identities, some live in areas with a poor Internet connection and some simply might want more space for 3D streams and in-person collaborations.
Coco actually took this beyond a simple idea and started drawing up floorplans and contacting people about costings, but it never quite came to complete fruition. There is, however, apparently a building known as “Holohouse Lite”, which is a building near Hololive’s main offices that houses several of the girls on a permanent basis as well as providing a place for other members to stay over or rest after training.
Coco has always been one of the hardest working members of Hololive, with her popular satirical morning news stream AsaCoco often requiring eight hours of preparation. In her early days working with Hololive, she was also a corporate employee outside of the agency, so it’s likely she was giving up a significant amount of her free time to ensure that her streams were as interesting and entertaining as possible.
She also paid for an Ark server after sparking an obsession with the game among her fellow VTubers, despite the fact that her channel was not yet monetised at the time. In recognition of this, her fans showered her with Super Chats on her first fully monetised stream; there was an unbroken stream of Super Chats for just under fifteen full minutes.
Her viewers’ generosity didn’t end there, either; upon revealing that she slept on a futon and suffered from dreadful sleep deprivation, Coco received over nine thousand dollars’ worth of donations, which she spent on a luxurious bed that she found helped her sleep issues enormously.
It wasn’t all roses, of course; in April of 2020, YouTube suspended her for unknown reasons, leading to her fellow Hololiver Houshou Marine establishing a concept known as the “Kiryu Coco Line” — the absolute limit of what the girls are allowed to get away with during their streams before YouTube steps in and takes away their toys.
Her most notorious troubles came in September of 2020, when during a collaborative stream with Akai Haato, Coco not only revealed her confidential YouTube stats (a big no-no so far as Hololive’s management is concerned) but also drew attention to Taiwan being listed as an independent country. This sparked a significant amount of anger from Chinese VTuber fans, and kicked off an unending stream of harassment; while Coco hasn’t said so directly, this is likely the main reason for her stepping down.
As a result of this stream, she was initially suspended by Hololive’s parent company Cover Corporation for three weeks, and in November of 2020 she took a hiatus for a couple of weeks to protect herself. She was back by mid-December, though, clearly unwilling to let the situation get her down.
Since announcing her graduation earlier this month, Coco has been more active than ever, often hosting multiple streams a day, including several long-awaited collaborations with Hololive English members. She also revealed a new costume, released an original song (its title, Weather Hackers, intended to be an obvious bastardisation of her “Good morning, motherfuckers” catchphrase), interviewed Cover Corporation CEO Motoaki “YAGOO” Tanigo in inimitably chaotic fashion, and debuted a cover version of Honeyworks’ Fansa. It’s clear that there was plenty she wanted to get out of her system before her retirement.
Coco has denied rumours that she will be joining Hololive management — actually the role she originally applied for when she was encouraged to audition — but there is a considerable amount of speculation as to what she will be up to next.
YAGOO indicated that he would be open to the idea of Coco making a guest appearance on other Hololive members’ channels on special occasions, such as birthdays, even after her graduation — so it’s clear there’s no ill-will between Coco and Hololive. Supposedly Coco’s decision to graduate was entirely her own, and was taken a good three months before she announced it to the public. Likewise, for as long as Coco continues to live with Kanata, I suspect we haven’t seen the last of her on her channel, either.
There are also potentially things happening outside of Hololive too. It’s considered exceedingly bad form to speak explicitly of a VTuber’s “real” identity, so we’ll refrain from doing that right now. On the other hand, if YouTube’s notorious “algorithm” just happens to reveal something that fans of Coco might find interesting… well, there’s not a lot we can do about that, now, can we? Watch a few Coco videos while you’re logged in and you’ll likely see what I mean eventually, as many other fans already have.
For now, though, it’s time to say goodbye — and a genuine, heartfelt “thank you” to the one and only Kiryu Coco. She captured the hearts of people all over the world, helped cement VTubing as both a worthwhile creative medium and a viable career choice for many people — and most importantly, she made us all smile.
Wherever you end up next, dear dragon, know that your life as Kiryu Coco will never be forgotten.
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