Japanese Man ‘Marries’ Anime Video Game Character
So the latest WTF JAPAN news is that a young man who wisely goes by the pseudonym Sal9000 has just married the love of his life, Nene Anegasaki.
Nene Anegasaki is a fictional anime-style video game character from a Nintendo DS game called "Love Plus."
To reiterate, she is not a real person. She is a video game character. What this guy did was pretty much the same as announcing to the world that you are marrying Princess Peach. And then throwing a ceremony with a real priest. And then taking her (e.g. a Nintendo DS) on a honeymoon in Guam.
Boing Boing is pretty non-judgmental about the whole thing, waxing rhapsodic about how this is all a "highly imaginative, multimedia project orchestrated by a guy determined to officiate his devotion to his video game, and to pay homage to the otaku subculture that nurtures this type of creativity." And I'd like to believe that. I really would. But I spend a lot of time on the internet, and I am intimately familiar with exactly how extreme the fringes of nerd subcultures can get, so let's just say that I don't entirely disbelieve this.
And then there's this whole interview with him that includes quotes like:
Some people have expressed doubts about my actions, but at the end of the day, this is really just about us as husband and wife. As long as the two of us can go on to create a happy household, I'm sure any misgivings about us will be resolved.
As for what's next, we still haven't gone to see my parents, so we will be going home together on New Years to officially announce our marriage.
Again, this would be great as performance art, I'm just not sure how you can partly think that this is all a symbolic gesture expressing your affection for a genre or subculture, and partly believe that you've just formed a sincere, lifelong covenant with a fictional person who lives inside your Nintendo DS and subsequently introduce the screen to your parents as your spouse.
I'm not suggesting that he should be roundly mocked instead, although that's surely what he has signed up for, but if this is on any level genuine, I think it's worth recognizing that there's something deeply sad and tragic about it, and its implications for this young man and his ability to form attachments with actual human beings.
While I don't know how whether video game characters would fit in the same framework, I can't help but be reminded of "Strange Love: I Married the Eiffel Tower," an incredible and sympathetic documentary about "objectum sexuals," or people who fall in romantic love with objects like buildings, amusement park rides, archery bows, and yes, the Eiffel Tower. If you haven't seen it, make the time.