How Not To Summon A Demon Lord made waves when its second episode featured what appeared to be a background character based on VTuber Usada Pekora. However, despite the positive buzz, the studio apologized for the easter egg and said they would be removing the character from future broadcasts of the episode.
In a statement on the Japanese Demon Lord Twitter, the production team explained that they’d been in contact with Cover Corporation, the parent company of Hololive and Vtubers like Pekora regarding what to do next. Though they never explained the process, ultimately they decided they would be removing the background character in future rebroadcasts of the anime, as well as checking to make sure said character would not be appearing in any more episodes going forward.
This might seem like an especially odd move, since fan reception to the cameo was generally positive. Pekora herself reacted to the cameo in one of her streams with a general sense of excitement, joking about an official anime debut in future. However, in that same stream she was also very quick to mention that the appearance wasn’t any kind of collaboration with Cover Corporation.
This isn’t the first time Vtuber-themed easter eggs have been removed despite popular fan reception. Last year Doom Eternal’s DLC included a reference to Vtuber Inugami Korone, whereby mashing the chainsaw button would get the logo text changed to say “DOOG ETERNAL”. No explanation was given for that change either.
Considering that Japanese companies are quite strict about protecting their IPs, it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to promote unauthorized use of their talents likeness, especially since allowing it in one anime without explicit permission would mean having to allow it for any anime. While it’s not a fun answer to give, this isn’t too out of line from fan creation guidelines from other series, where even harmless fan work are really only allowed to exist at the IP holder’s discretion.