Twitch has a new rising star, one that’s quickly surpassed the platform’s highest performers like Hasanabi and xQc in some respects. Her name is Ironmouse, and she’s a virtual pink-haired anime VTuber that’s been doing an uncapped subathon for going on 18 days now. She has also broken a bunch of livestreaming records to become Twitch’s top female broadcaster with over 100,000 active subscribers, which makes sense when you watch her lowkey streams.
Ironmouse isn’t a new streamer. She started in August 2017 as an indie content creator playing horror games like 7 Days to Die and Alien: Isolation on YouTube before joining VTuber agency VShojo in November 2020. It took a while longer for her livestreaming career to really take off, with things picking up for Ironmouse in May 2021 when she hit 500,000 followers. She’s seen a steady rise in popularity ever since. Now, nearly a year later, Ironmouse has not only become Twitch’s top female streamer, but she has also surpassed the platform’s biggest VTuber, AdmiralBahroo.
But what are her streams like? They’re actually pretty lowkey. Typically, there’s some music in the background—like lofi chillhop or thumping dance music—as Ironmouse plays something like It Takes Two or Pokémon Heart Gold. If she’s not gaming, she’s reacting to content (like videos from YouTuber Dhar Mann) or chatting with other streamers about Pokémon. She also loves to sing, so you may catch her singing some Japanese rock. All in all, hanging out with Ironmouse on stream is a pretty carefree time.
It’s mostly thanks to an ongoing subathon Ironmouse has been hosting that’s catapulted her to Twitch stardom. A portmanteau of “marathon” and “subscriber,” a subathon is an event held by a streamer with the intention of maintaining a massive influx of subscribers for one long stream. Ironmouse has been live for a total of 18 days now and accrued over 100,000 active subscribers in that time, with each new subscriber adding 15 additional seconds to her stream. At the time of this writing, Ironmouse is expected to remain live on Twitch for another two hours and 40 minutes.
The subathon has helped Ironmouse break all kinds of Twitch records. In addition to surpassing over 100,000 active subscribers, Ironmouse has become the top female streamer worldwide for hours watched in February, has hit one million followers, and has gone on to become the first female streamer with the most subscribers ever, among other impressive statistics.
It’s a surprising accomplishment, considering Twitch’s previous big female stars were Amouranth and Pokimane. According to TwitchTracker, Ironmouse has more active and paid subscribers than both streamers combined. This is an important distinction. Following an account is a free way to support a channel, as well as the main method for keeping up with a streamer’s content. Subscribing, on the other hand, is how you financially keep a channel afloat. So Ironmouse having more active and paid subscribers is a big deal. It’s unclear what this means for Ironmouse’s earnings, as it doesn’t account for sponsorships or other revenue sources. VTubers also have external costs for things like talent agencies and updated models. There were leaks from October 2021 revealing that Amouranth pulled in some $93,000, while Pokimane reportedly saw a payout to the tune of $38,000 (and has since negotiated another multi-year exclusivity deal.)
Ironmouse told Kotaku via email that her “amazing and supportive community” empowered her to go on this weeks-long subathon.
“I honestly did not expect any of this to happen and thought it would only last two days,” Ironmouse said. “I also never expected to ever hit any of these milestones in my lifetime, but it’s awesome to see my awesome fans come together to make it a reality. Behind every great stream is a great community.”
It’ll be curious to see whether Ironmouse’s popularity continues its current trajectory. VTubers have become increasingly popular on Twitch, with the company adding a VTuber tag in May 2021 for more discoverability. Maybe the top performer will be a VTuber in just a few short years. Who knows?
Updated: 02/23/2022, 2:55 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include comments from Ironmouse.