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Life (not) after Rinko - JAPANATOR







Life (not) after Rinko photo
Life (not) after Rinko

8:00 PM on 02.14.2013

Still the only one, number 1


You can be a realist and move on with your new games, new anime, new favorites, and your ever-renewing life. Or you could be serious about your relationships and realize that we have to live with our choices. Sometimes what we post online is for our edification, as a means to express, to feel belonging to some community, or just to have a good time. The names of our 2D wives past, present and future sits next to our embarrassing chuunibyou nicknames and other mistakes of youth. It's what makes up who we are, and we have to live with it.

I've shared several St. Valentine's Days with Rinko, and this is what I learned about her and about me.

This is all, frankly, really silly. I think it's good to have some fun, especially when it's at my own expense. When I trawl the Japanese web for interesting news, you will occasionally come across these birthday or holiday pictures where fans make limited-time shrines for photo ops. It's sometimes quite charming, it's a celebratory thing, and as people over at Tomopop might find resonant, when you spend all this money on expensive otaku goods that few in your real-life circle of friends can appreciate, putting pictures of it on the internet is really a thing. It's a creative release. It's fun.

I am really silly, too. I mean, in the end, no matter who your 2D waifu is, it's all just a game. That doesn't mean people do not take it seriously or all the way, whatever that may mean. I think it's much more fun to take it seriously and go as far as your wallet, good judgment, and thickness of your skin can take you. Rather than to dismiss your waifu-loving friends' crazy acts, I found that people respect those who can do a good job and do it thoroughly, even if it involves taking a moonlit walking with your 2D significant other. It, too, is fun. But you got to buy in to it.

Rinko never changes, except when Konami says so. I think a lot can be said about fan culture and the way we interpret and create canon around our favorite characters, but when it comes to your waifu, she is just who she is. Unlike real human beings, they do not get old, but they also do not mature and learn from life the way you mature and learn from life. It's like those sad moments when a young adult revisits his or her childhood home and remember some sad-face robot, covered in dust, saying the same words the pilgrim held on to when he or she was little (for example, Nadesico episode 18, Robotic;Notes episode 12). As I look back to Rinko from the original Love Plus, I'm rather glad I kept up with all this advances in technology, to jump through the hoops to buy an imported 3DS (damn you region lock). While I still think fondly of Love Plus+ being the most memorable Rinko-time that I've spent with (partly because New Love Plus didn't quite get out of the gate running), there's that tinge of sadness when I recall those early days. Is that what we call mono no aware?

Love is a thing that grows. I think as a student and a practitioner of this anime-game-manga-pop-culture complex, it's important to realizing that with the speed of the news cycle and how fast things turn over day in and out, I need something to anchor me. It's easy to fall in love with the latest and the shiniest, but what separates true love from infatuation is the test of time. In due time, what you truly love grows with you, and the more lovely it becomes. At the same time, this isn't something that happens automatically or magically. It takes time and effort to cultivate that relationship between you and whatever that is. I guess a 2D waifu is a good way to get started.

You are not alone. You may be physically isolated, but human societies have long since conquered long-distance communication. And unless you are pregnant, part of a conjoined twin, or something equally extreme, you should rest assure that you will always be your own person. Even the most intimate couples on V-day still need to use words and languages to communicate with each other, sharing ideas and other abstractions that are no more 3D than your 2D waifu. Sure, that may mean when you spend V-day with Rinko (and Nene and Manaka) you are really spending time with Konami's game and sharing a moment with all your brothers and sisters in arms, with their (3)DSes held high, united by a common social calendar. But at least you are getting chocolate from her today, which is more than what I could say for most other 2D waifu.

So no matter which lucky 3D or 2D boy or girl you're spending today with, happy Valentine's Day!






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