New piggy bank/dating sim is almost too cute to be dumb


The Japanese have come up with some strange, high-tech and even violent means of saving money in nonsmashable personal containers; as the latter blog points out, men and kids are not the ones wielding the principal financial power in the average Japanese house--husbands get an allowance from their wives, whose job it's been to manage the family's money since, well, ever. That translates to lots of gentlemen who spend down to pockets o' change, perfect for piggy banks, which have evolved to meet the demand, beeps and booms and all.

But what about the ladies who might be less used to dumping hundred-yen coins into a little gadget on a regular basis? Toy maker and all-around pimp Bandai Corp. apparently asked itself that the other day, and because it's bigger than fifteen Gundams in a mud-wrestling pit, it could immediately answer, "A dating thingy!" And that's what they did, pink hearts and all: the Ikemen bank ("handsome men bank") has a little screen that displays one of five types of men, from the daddy figure to the shy jailbait schoolboy, selectable at the beginning of the "game." Hit the jump for why this device symbolizes the ultimate implosion of Japanese society.

The bank really is a miniature dating sim, because there's an object behind the money-saving stuff: put in 100 500-yen coins (almost $500 total) and answer questions as you feed your new monstrosity, leading up to either a big drama-queen breakup or a happy ending with your new inch-square lover. You have to be careful to keep it up, too; for example, if you pick the model and then neglect Captain Yaoiface (it's what I'd call him) for 5 days, he takes off in a huff and you have to start over. Bandai has the sense not to market this as your solution to having to find a Homo sapiens mate, but...

"We wanted to provide a 'flavor of life' to women in various generations," said Bandai's spokeswoman Kasumi Nakanishi.

"To help users experience the reality of having butterflies in their stomach, this time we sought advice from a 'love-life psychologist'," Nakanishi added.

After seeing so many of these robots and toys and other "Happy! Happy! HAPPY" accoutrements, I have to ask again: Why, exactly, are Japanese scientists the world's goddamn Batmen at simulating human emotion in cute little devices? Is it because their incredible diligence, drive, and dedication to their work, sitting in the family portrait next to fantastically low birthrates and an ever-growing bumper crop of old people, are steadily turning its citizens into zombies? Seriously. The Japanese certainly did not invent the first inane little gadgets designed to act as Band-Aids over the gaping wounds in people's souls - did they? - but damned if they haven't perfected them. (No, I'm not saying iPhones and drinking games are necessarily any better. One problem at a time, though.)

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Aoi   gamer profile

'Ello, luvs. I be a sometime editor o' Jtor, dependent on my school and work schedule. Thanks for reading! Remember, the first one's free. more + disclosures



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