ZUN Resigns! The NicoNico Boom and What in the World is Yukkuri? And the Touhou Police…
If you’re already doing a lot of stuff outside of work, then you don’t really need to go to work, right?
I still believed at that time that working both on my games and in the company was a good idea. Resigning would mean I would have to survive on these games, and I deeply believed it would impact my games.
You mean, you’d see your works as not something you love but something to sell?
And I also saw it as a risky decision to take to live and work on these games forever.
And yet, you did resign from the company in 2007? What happened?
The workload expected of me had increased. The longer I was in the company, the more work I had to do. If I ever became a game director, I wouldn’t be able to do whatever I wished.
And that’s why you thought it might be better to get out before things started ramping up?
A year before I turned in my resignation, I kept thinking how I was gonna quit once this project was done.
There was talk about a video game coming out on multiple platforms and plans were drafted to make me the director in charge of ports. I heard the proposal that morning and while drinking with my coworkers at night, I muttered “I’m thinking of quitting the job.” Everyone said, “That’s what we thought.”
They actually said that?
Everyone knew I was making Touhou games. The fact I was still in Taito had become one of the Seven Mysteries of Taito, haha. My superior who approached me for that project even asked me if I’d ever consider getting Taito to publish my games. It was pretty much common knowledge.
Offering a job like that to someone they already know is making his own games seems…
It felt like I had to choose between my job or Touhou. That’s why when I declared my resignation, I felt free.
The Touhou Boom Arrives at Nico Nico Douga
A little bit after you resigned from Taito and focused your energies into your doujin circle, Nico Nico Douga entered into a Touhou boom. Videos like “Marisa Stole the Precious Things*” (April 2007) and “Night of Nights**” (September 2008) came around shortly after.
*Marisa Stole the Precious Things
A vocal arrangement of two tracks from Perfect Cherry Blossom, “Dollmaker of Bucharest” and “Doll Judgement ~ The Girl Who Played with People’s Shapes”. Its Flash music video garnered wide acclaim and made Touhou arrange music an iconic feature of the internet landscape. The group behind the song, IOSYS, also made other legendary tracks, including “Cirno’s Perfect Math Class”.
While I was pleased to see these videos get a lot of attention on Nico, there were also people within the fandom who began to get disgruntled about what was happening.
Huh, what’s the reason?
There were many people who had never played the original games entering the Touhou community.
And that’s an issue?
It’s only an issue because of the Touhou police, heh.
These fans prefer derivative works to stay faithful to the original Touhou games and not have any changes, hence the policing nuance.
Touhou cops, ha. But if you said that you got into Touhou from the shoot em’ up games, people would be extremely confused.
That’s because they rarely advertise the original works, haha. And there’s a barrier stopping the original works from getting popular anyway. What did break the barrier was Nico Nico Douga. Ever since that service opened up shop, videos featuring gameplay became really popular. But it might not be the gameplay itself that drew people in. It’s likely how easy it is to capture footage from the game that made it so popular.
Column 1: On the Touhou Guidelines
Column 2: The Touhou Fandom and the Cops
The Yukkuri ASCII Art and the Flame Wars that Ensued
Now for something related to hiroyuki: in 2008, 2channel gots a famous ASCII art copypasta* that read “take it easy!”
I sure remember that. But at that time, there weren’t that many people that connected Yukkuri and Touhou together.
I knew what was going on, haha. When that was first pasted on the boards, everything went up in flames. Whenever threads start to get out of control and I’ll see “take it easy!”, I knew this was getting spammed alright.
2channel hated Touhou at that time. The game board banned any discussions on it.
Since Touhou was becoming a popular subject, it felt like netizens were going “oh, not another Touhou thing”. Touhou was virtually banned on all the boards there. That’s why fans didn’t hang out at 2channel but Shirataba* instead.
Shirataba is a textboard, much like 2channel (5channel today), and is usually populated by refugees banned from 2channel for whatever reason.
Even at the very beginning, “taking it easy” signaled some chaos. It suggested that this thread’s in trouble, so Touhou is coming to hijack it. That’s why I don’t have a good impression of 2channel, haha.
To be continued in Part 9…
Interviewer: Saitou Daichi
Writer: Seinosuke Itou
Photographer: Fukuoka Ryouji (GEKKO)
ZUN Resigns! The NicoNico Boom and What in the World is Yukkuri? And the Touhou Police… End