It all started in a Discord message to a channel.
In May 17th 2023, a 2022 veteran who goes by the name Elcrin posted a pixel art set of mini Touhou girls in the art channel of the Touhou r/place discord. This is the fifth set of pixel art they did. Included in the set are Shinki, Yuuka, PC-98 Marisa and Reimu, and of course, Mima. It was received pretty well by the server, gaining 6 :cirnomini: reactions as you may be able to see below:
It was also posted to their Tumblr blog the same day, but with less reception (2 reblogs and 1 like as of writing). Mini Mima will remain obscure like her full-size counterpart in the games, until…
One of the Discord users who have noticed the mini Mima art is a guy who goes with the handle "pandakekok9". Like Elcrin, Panda is also one of many 2022 veterans who have stayed in the server. You might also know him as being one of the people who founded the 2022 bot branch. Panda is a huge Mima fan, and if you post art of the evil spirit in the server you’re pretty certain he’s gonna find it and give you a thumbs up or something, sometimes maybe even writing a message about how they love Mima and that she should come back in the Windows era of Touhou games. Of course, seeing the mini Mima pop up in his Discord immediately got him to smack the :cirnomini: reaction, and most importantly, download this mini Mima into his laptop. "This could be useful if r/place returns in 2027," he thought.
At the time the thought of r/place returning so soon is not really taken seriously. Sure, there was some data mining of the Reddit mobile app, revealing that for whatever reason, Reddit has been actively developing on r/place. But come on, there’s just no way that Reddit is just going to kill off what made r/place special, right?
Enter July 19th, 10:00PM UTC+8. Reddit admins announced that they are bringing back r/place just after a year the event was held. The video also confirmed that Reddit wanted to bring it back as early as April 20th but ran into what may have been development hell, forcing the resurrection to be delayed. This confirmed earlier rumors back in April, May, and June about Reddit reviving it for those months.
But why? Why would Reddit do this?
A very common explanation given by Redditors is that they’re bringing the canvas back to distract from the API controversy recently surrounding Reddit. Management really did an oopsies when they announced that they’re going to start charging for access to the API, with prices being outrageously unaffordable for third-party apps like Apollo and Reddit is Fun. It also didn’t help when Reddit’s CEO spez was flat out caught lying about Apollo’s dev threatening the site, which was immediately refuted with evidence by said developer. You can read all about it from this post by said developer.
Panda, with very little motivation after the API changes and wanting to spend their time building their Touhou forum in Raddle instead, almost didn’t participate. But the plan to animate Bad Apple on the canvas, formulated right after r/place 2022 ended, changed his mind, going even far as to edit an infamous copypasta when other people were discouraging the server from participating:
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