In another case of “of course they did” we’ve heard reports by our weird friends from the Land of the Rising Sun that dudes are now marrying VR girls.
Don’t believe us? Go ahead, watch the video:
Your eyes are not deceiving you friends, you’re looking at the future right there.
Wait a Minute…
OK, to be fair this was basically a publicity stunt to promote the game Niizuma Lovely x Cation one of an utter tsunami of “dating simulator” games that are massively popular in Japan.
“Game” might be too generous a term for a lot of these products and to be fair they are generally referred to as “visual novels”. At least that’s what we’ve read, it’s not like we play any of these games (cough).
In the case of Niizuma, the story is that your protagonist gets it into his head that marriage is somehow a thing he should be striving for and sets of to seduce (sorry, romance) the women of the city that is now his new home.
The video is definitely a little hard to watch. Call it culture shock or just universal cringe, it’s a spectacle that certainly doesn’t just pass you by without leaving an impression. It is certainly a first as far as we can tell. It’s not meant to be taken seriously, but if you understand a little more about the social and cultural context of modern Japan the whole thing goes from being weird but funny to sort of dark and creepy.
It’s Happened Before
First of all, Japan has more than a few examples of guys “marrying” inanimate 2D female characters and not for a self-aware laugh either. There’s a trend of guys dating their anime body pillows and in 2009 a guy married a character from a Nintendo DS dating sim named Nene Anegasaki.
This all sounds sort of funny in a “Johnny Foreigner” kind of way, but Japan itself is in big trouble when it comes to the sexual preferences and attitudes of its people.
Nobody’s Doing It
Shocking as it may seem to the typical Westerner, about half of Japanese people are not having sex with other people. Japan is undergoing a major crisis with unprecedented drops in birthrates. The population of Japan is ageing on average and that’s one of the main drivers behind the development of robotics and automation in general. At some point there simply won’t be enough working age people to keep Japanese society going.
If you look at this VR “wedding” from that point of view, it suddenly doesn’t seem quite so funny. Especially since Japan might just be ahead of the curve when it comes to the effects of national wealth and advanced economic development.
Still, at least he can reboot her if he gets put in the doghouse!