What happened to Shoujobyou, Blasterhead and Orochi
Time ago, there was this obscure visual novel called ジサツのための１０１の方法; or, 101 ways to commit suicide (vndb), by the short-lived company Duke. Released in 2001 in Japan and written by Yamada Orochi, it had a niche but very obsessed following due its peculiar scenario, quirky art and extremely dark and twisted themes. It is well regarded by many as a classic cult utsuge and one of the few denpa games of its time.
Thanks to its cult following, a spiritual sucessor to the Suicide series was announced in 2003. Its name was 末期、少女病, Makki, Shoujobyou -Lyrical pop world’s end- (vndb). Sadly, shortly after this, the company Duke broke up and the release of Shoujobyou was indifinitely postponed, even though Yamada Orochi had already finished writing the script for it. The very dedicated fans were very disappointed but somehow managed to keep a small community alive.
A full year passes without much signs of progress, but then a soundtrack CD for the game is announced, planned to be released at the winter Comiket.
Three years later, and no progress can be seen. The website had been last updated in February 2013, the development blog is dead, Blasterhead’s Twitter account is dead and Yamada Orochi deleted his Twitter account (someone unrelated took his username now). So what happened here?
The beginning of a silent fiasco
Most information and trails about it have been deleted but happily some history can be found in old threads and matome articles. Let’s sum it up.
Well, it seems Blasterhead acquired the rights for the game in 2011 for the sum of ¥5,000,000, including its finished scenario, and got a loan from Visual Art’s for the development cost of ¥10,000,000. Yamada Orochi, being the writer, seemed visibly happy about it and made some corrections to the script for free. Some more development cost is then borrowed again from Visual Art’s.
But in 2012 any development had stopped due to lack of budget, and the colouring and backgrounds haven’t been finished. At this point Blasterhead tries raising funds by selling the soundtrack CDs at Comiket but he fails. It seems that at this point several people hadn’t been paid for their work or money loans, and Blasterhead kept ignoring their requests for paybacks. The website stops getting updated.
Amidst the development stagnation, Orochi still seemed very excited to finally see the release of the story he had written a decade ago; he tweeted a lot about it and wrote an extra scenario, also for free.
Fast forward to January 2013; at this point things started becoming public. Blasterhead said the development had been longer than expected because he wanted to include animation. He also said that the extra scenario Orochi wrote wasn’t that great and that he wouldn’t include it, which further angered fans.
Later, Blasterhead did a Nicolive stream where he explains the situation. It seems he had comissioned a work from an artist, and he had finished it “quicker than expected”, so he didn’t have the money to pay him. The artist asked for a late fee. January 29th, and Blasterhead receives a phone call but doesn’t answer it because “he was sleeping”. The following day the artist went to Blasterhead’s house. According to Blasterhead, he grabbed him by the collar and asked him to pay him, or at least, to answer the phone. He also said he forced him to give him all the money he had in his pockets, which he did in fear he would “put a knife or me or something”.
While Blasterhead was expecting to get some sympathy from the listeners after being attacked, the listeners actually got frustrated at him for being the main culprit and posted the story publicly.
After this, Yamada Orochi tweeted the following to Blasterhead:
@blasterhead Please call me. I’m seriously angry.
-おろちラブさん (@Orochi_love) 31 Jan 2013
Two days later:
@blasterhead Mr. Itou, I can’t get through to you by phone or mail so I’ll say it here. I saw your Nicolive stream. I understood the situation. I don’t have a problem with waiting more for my repayment. But at the very least I would like an apology. That’s my condition. Please call me back.
-おろちラブさん (@Orochi_love) 2 Feb 2013
Indeed things were serious; at this point Blasterhead hadn’t paid nor Orochi nor the aforementioned artist, and probably several others, and he wasn’t replying back.
After that, Blasterhead tweets that he had apologized to Orochi and that he would bring the issue with the artist to court. He later posts a public apology in the staff blog, and deletes most tweets related to the incident.
he asks Blasterhead to contact him regarding the situation.
At the same time, an acquaintance of Blasterhead (known as Aniki) publicly states in a mixi article (now deleted) that he had lent money to Blasterhead twice supposedly to cover his hospital costs, but he never got paid back, nor got any contact from him again. He also included some chat logs to prove it.
Finally, on March 2013 Blasterhead tweeted this:
I went today to the hospital and they gave me two weeks worth of sleeping pills. I wonder if I can die peacefully if I take them all at once. It’d be a bother to my parents and siblings but I wonder? By the way I attempted it once 10 years ago but I failed.
-ガンネイル シアター6 (@Blasterhead) 4 Mar 2013
That was his last tweet to date. We don’t know if he really committed suicide or if he ran away to avoid paying back the loans; especially the one from Visual Art’s. He also seemed to have problems with medical costs, if what he said is true.
Vava later stated that he would like to resume the development of Shoujobyou without Blasterhead but that was in 2013 and 3 years later nothing has been said about it ever again. The project seems forgotten and the community in 2ch ended up dying.
So there it is; the sad conclusion to Shoujobyou. Most likely we won’t ever see this visual novel come to life, which is unfortunate as the scenario had been completed for a decade, and the voices had already been recorded. Orochi probably won’t be coming back to eroge after this. Vava seems focused on other projects anyway, and looking at the situation at Key I don’t think he cares anymore.
Such a work in modern times would’ve been a great deal of fresh air for the VN industry. If Blasterhead really committed suicide, indeed he might’ve been suffering from Shoujobyou; surely a twisted but fitting end to this once promising project.