Tying a Virtual Knot: Japanese Guys Can Marry Anime Girls in VR
Video game plans mixed-reality wedding ceremony between players and characters.
In cyberpunk legend William Gibson’s 1996 novel, Idoru, a major plot point is an underground rock star’s plan to marry a virtual girl, the titular Idoru. At the time, this was something that Gibson saw only happening in the distant future.
But now, in 2017—just over 20 years after that book was written—the option to actually marry an anime girlfriend has arrived.
If, that is, you live in Japan.
Your virtual girl in a real ceremony
As part of a special promotion for Hibiki Works’s new romance/erotic game, LovelyxCation, male players can go to a Tokyo wedding chapel where, through virtual reality, they can marry their choice of one of the three cute anime girls in the game.
SoraNews24 points out that the wedding is a unique form of publicizing LovelyxCation, as it is just one in an already packed market of sex and dating sims—otherwise known as relationship role-playing games.
In LovelyxCation, players have to flirt and woo one of the three girls, eventually leading to tying the knot—and then enjoying all the benefits of nuptial bliss: i.e. have game sex with the character.
Saying a VR “I do”
While the game has yet to be released, so we don’t know whether it’s actually any good, it’s at least clear that Hibiki Works is going all out where it comes to offering their players marriage to their virtual idol. Not only will participants be able to use virtual reality gear to see their chosen anime girl as the minister pronounces them man and wife, but the groom will be provided with a real tuxedo to wear.
The ceremony is set for June 30, with the game itself becoming available on April 28. If you are interested and read Japanese, you can apply to be considered for virtual marriage by visiting the Hibiki Works site.
More than likely the Japanese government will not seriously consider marrying a character from LovelyxCation a legal union—though they haven’t expressly said it isn’t. So far, at least.
I pronounce you man and gynoid
Wedding what is basically a piece of software might seem the stuff of science fiction—or just a clever piece of PR for a video game—but it also is a clear demonstration that society is in the process of redefining what desire, love, and marriage are all about.
In 2015, a 28-year-old, unnamed Chinese man, facing death from cancer and yet not wanting to die unmarried, or leave behind a window, married what has been called a lifelike sex doll. Others, such as Davecat—who has become a kind of spokesman for having both physical as well as emotional connections with gynoids—have become more outspoken with their choice of preferring artificial partners.
Right now, many people like Davecat, including those willing to marry a video game character, have been viewed as eccentric—perhaps unfairly.
The future of weddings
But it’s clear, especially as robot technology, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence become more and more sophisticated, that we’ll see more people choosing to not just spent time with artificial creations but become emotionally connected to them—even marrying them.
The next question comes when the level of sophistication becomes so great that things like gynoids will be able to pass the Turing Test: the measure of whether or not a computer program is pretty much indistinguishable from a human being, by being able to convince someone that it is, in fact, not a piece of software.
It’s looking like sooner, rather than later, actually legally marrying either a gynoid or a game character will go from dating sim promotion and science fiction to picking out the cake, choosing a honeymoon destination—and the seating plan for both sides of the family at the reception.