Your Virtual Girlfriend

Discuss

163 Responses to “Your Virtual Girlfriend”

  1. pauldrye says:

    I think Feministing is concerned not because it’s abusing a totally fake woman, but that from there it’s such a short journey to Paris Hilton.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just think it’s strange. Everybody is reacting negatively to it because it acts human. It’s eliciting a response from an audience and getting sympathy, even though it’s imaginary or just imagery. The over-empathetic reactions I find far more interesting.

    Seeing as people have objects that can’t communicate how they’re being treated I’d like to see this in more practical applications. If they put the same tech. into a car to let you know how it felt what would it be telling you? Something tells me more cars would have an avatar crying in a corner then smiling with joy. When was the last time you changed your oil?

  3. Egypt Urnash says:

    To Western ears, it sounds like she is shrieking in horror. To Japanese-speaking ears, I dunno – 75% of every female character I’ve seen in untranslated Japanese cartoons talks like this. Which is no small part of why I can’t stand watching most Japanese cartoons; having characters who seem to ALWAYS be in extreme distress ALL the time is pretty wearing.

    As a technical demo, it’s kinda cool. I’ve played a little with some augmented reality demos; there’s something magical about seeing yourself in a webcam’s magic mirror, manipulating things that don’t actually exist. The framerate on it seems to be hideously bad, though – something like 8fps. Ugh.

    I am suspecting that whoever wrote the article for Gizmodo has seen a lot more Japanese animation than I’ve been willing to, and no longer reflexively registers that tone of voice as “child in distress”. So it becomes a cool tech toy.

    All that said, though, my visceral reaction to it on the first viewing was “this is a small girl being tortured, whose mood completely changes when she’s given a teddy bear”.

  4. noen says:

    It’s always the girl’s fault. You know that.

    I know. Can’t I rage, rage against the machine?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I liked.

    Cannot say I am aroused, but I would not be completely indifferent to ripping her clothes off (not the beating part, just not my thing, although more people than admit are into it).

    But then I can separate a videogame from reality…

    Basically, this whole hentai stuff does not really turn me on, but there’s something there – very subtle.

    And I am sure this is not abnormal, considering the huge market for Japanese kinky stuff.

    I have the feeling that *some* of the people here that said were disturbed by the video, were indeed uneasy about their sexual response towards this stuff.

    And I really pray for a true “real doll”, some VR indistinguishable from reality, to which I can do whatever my gf doesn’t like, and things I won’t admit to anyone – even gf – that turn me on.

  6. Antinous says:

    Wow, spend much time in the second grade?

    You think that only women with issues are feminists and you’re questioning my developmental level?

  7. mdh says:

    PROM77 – (Don’t know if this qualifies as porn, but it’s pretty twisted.)

    You don’t know? How is that possible?

  8. FoetusNail says:

    Mr. Bill in a thong, is that available at the App Store?

    IMO, the big problem is the character’s young age. Dismissing that, how many cool things could one use this for besides porn?

  9. noen says:

    AGF
    “[Your] argument reminds me of being in grade 12. A lady from some prolife group came in to give us a talk about why abortion and euthanasia were wrong. At the end of her (ridiculous /fearmongering) talk, she told us – “after all – the Roman civilization allowed euthanasia – and it fell! If we allow it our civilization will fall.” I say the same thing I did back then. Yes. The Romans had a civilization and it fell. We have a civilization so it will fall. You are alive so you will die. That’s how it works.
    I also really don’t think porn is necessarily degrading. It’s fun to watch people talk, eat, kiss, generally be happy – so why not have sex?”

    One, I was just asking the question and was hoping that someone had real evidence one way or another. Two, I agree that not all porn is degrading but I do think some is. You seem to have missed the point.

    As far as the lady who spoke to you in high school, you know, I can’t speak to that but I don’t accept your apparently blasé attitude. Yes I will die but I’d rather not, yes civilizations die but wouldn’t it be better if we knew why? Don’t you want a better life? I do. I would love to eat sugar and candy all day long but if I want a better life I won’t.

    Having a life worth living means making choices. Some of those choices involve not doing things that may feel ok for the moment but have negative consequences in the long run. Is that really such a radical idea? I was just asking the question. If I knew for certain that some kinds of porn (and I’d classify this as porn because it preys upon and reinforces sadistic behavior) actually decreased anti-social behavior I’d be all for it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well, that was more disturbing than i thought it would be.

  11. Daemon says:

    I poked around a bit, and found the actual homepage for it – http://www.geishatokyo.com/jp/ar-figure/figure.html

    No age is listed, but she was born on valentine’s day. Her various physical statistics – height, weight, etc. are all listed.

    She’s actually 2cm taller than the average adult Japanese female (in 2006). Can’t find an average weight statistic to compare it to. B/W/H measurements are 90/46/80. (For the one country in the world still using Imperial measurements for reasons that defy sanity – that’s 35.4/26.9/31.5)

    It’s pretty obvious she’s not intended to be a child… Though I’d be willing to bet that will be their next character.

    It also means that the user is, in effect, some kind of freakish giant. ;)

  12. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #44 posted by takeshi

    I agree with your statements (and your later comments) on the Japanese culture.

    I do not claim to understand it, but I spent a year on Okinawa in the mid 1980′s. I found an old discarded manga comic and when I saw a comic-book shop (the Japanese equivalent thereof), I went in and was amazed.

    For all I had heard and seen of Japanese culture was thrown out the window. Here, I saw stacks and stacks of pulpy manga comics depicting yes, Sailor Moon for the school kids (and they were there, reading them while wearing their school uniforms), but also grown men (some women) reading the most graphic and violent comics I have ever seen in my life. They were salarymen, wearing suits and standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the kids, each ignoring the other, all utterly unembarrassed about their choice of reading material.

    The comics, as you know, depicted the most brutal rapes, sex-torture-based murder, and so on. In cases where a male’s body would obscure the reader’s view of the females genitalia, the artist frequently rendered the male’s body ‘invisible’ at that point, essentially giving the reader x-ray vision.

    I also found an incredible fascination with all things military in manga – comics devoted to the collecting of the most realistic plastic guns, gear, and other accoutrement of US military kit. Not so much Japanese military, but mostly WWII-era US.

    I noticed that shop-owners were visibly upset with me being in their manga shops – it was the one thing that seemed to disturb their cool. Shoppers ignored me, but store employees clearly wanted me to leave.

    It was only recently, when I attended an anime/cosplay convention here in the US, that I started thinking back to those times. Anime, hentai, all of it started from manga, originated in Japan, and has since morphed into something else entirely.

    And yet, if you look closely at the anime culture in the US (not the hentai fans but the general TV-watching anime folks), you may see that it does not entirely resemble a simple rebop of the older ‘Star Trek’ fans – there is an element of the goth/lolita and innocent/sexual thing going on, clearly understood at a base level if not voiced consciously.

    I clearly do not understand entirely what is going on, or how the japanese manga-as-torture-porn thing morphed into the high-school-otaku-as-sexual-yet-innocent thing in the USA, but it appears to be a fairly direct connection from the former to the latter.

    As to the original point of the video, it makes me realize that Westerners clearly do not grok Japanese culture, and that there are still parts of Japanese culture that are not considered by the Japanese as something they wish widely known about themselves.

    Like all cultures, the Japanese culture is complex, and mystifying – at least to me.

  13. Xeno says:

    Ok gotta agree. If they didn’t make her so cute, I could be for this. Make her more ‘hooker-bot’ like and I’ll climb aboard. Have to tip the scales on the ‘whore-virgin’ scale when you want to go down the path of virtual fembot as plaything.

    Portraying her/it as being shy, intimidated and vulnerable portrays you as the badguy which can either enforce good habits or bad ones.

    I’d say it’s easier to portray a one-dimensional character to a male audience (which this is OBVIOUSLY for) and avoid moral decisions or dilemnas that may come up.

  14. FoetusNail says:

    Beasts Nouveau

    Our Modern Age
    Our fragile cage

    Animals with art
    Beasts at heart

    Hump and dump
    Cheat on chumps

    One new condition
    Willing submission

    Don’t rape me
    Please take me

    Don’t love me
    Just fuck me

    Over a chair
    Handfuls of hair

    Freely tied
    Whipped with pride

    Hot wax drips
    Timeless trips

    Take a chance
    Sex in a trance

    Plenty of time
    For candles and wine

    Love will wait
    Take the bait

  15. AGF says:

    Definitely disturbing. Reminds me of the robo lizard murder thing. It’s not the the thing being tortured is not real – it’s that the torturer is real.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The first thing I thought of when I saw this was how easy it would be to make a duplicate cube out of foam board, but one cubic FOOT as opposed to one cubic inch.

    But why stop there? build a giant cube in a parking lot, film it from a building, and it would look like she is attacking downtown!

  17. Takuan says:

    far future aliens deducing the totality of American culture from an old Disney cartoon.

  18. PoisonedV says:

    Jesus christ, guys. Get over yourselves, get off your moral high ground- or just get off. Yeah, this thing is ‘quirky’ and ‘deviant’ just like anything else released it Japan, but this only get complaints? It’s not a real girl, unlike porn out there that has stuff twice as bad, and there hasn’t even been indications that there is sexual content in it. Stop taking everything personally, guys, especially if its a virtual, anime styled 3D model overlayed on a local webcam feed that you can interact with in very limited ways.

  19. Darren Garrison says:

    Wigwam Jones–

    The extreme manga conjecture of mine– every fad/meme/series, given a long enough run, becomes a parody of itself. Each generation of new manga artists tries to out-extreme the generation before. Believe it or not, much of the stuff you saw may have been intended to be funny– the very extremeness a parody of the genre. (And then again, a lot of it is just Some Really Creepy Shit).

    It is the way any memeset works– you start of getting a sample of some idea and find it interesting, you look more into it, research it, find people with similar interests, get deeper into the idea (whatever it is) with the company of people who have the same interest– each small step forward seems reasonable. But after a while, you have moved so far off a tangent from the “mainstream” that you look crazy and/or creepy to everyone not “into it”. I’m not “into” the extreme manga you mention (but I am familiar with it) but I don’t judge it because I have my own hobbies, interests, and collecting that fall on a tangent from the mainstream and those who don’t get it, don’t get it. (And everyone else can say the same thing).

    “Not sure what you intend to say here. I’ve not said anything about the nature of anime, except that it descends from manga as an art form, and as its nature has changed as it moved from Japanese to American popularity, it has retained an odd (to me) sort of goth/lolita childish (as in related to children) sexuality that is, on some level, disturbing. Cosplayers, as they call themselves are clearly unlike the previous generation of ‘Trekkies’ in that sense, at least to my sensibilities.”

    No, what you said was:

    “I clearly do not understand entirely what is going on, or how the japanese manga-as-torture-porn thing morphed into the high-school-otaku-as-sexual-yet-innocent thing in the USA, but it appears to be a fairly direct connection from the former to the latter”

    Saying that “manga-as-torture-porn” morphed into American otaku cosplay makes as much sense as saying (to use your example) that dressing up at Star Trek conventions morphed from Tijuana Bibles– you are doing exactly what you said you weren’t– lumping all manga/anime under the umbrella of “torture-porn”. Gothic Lolita is just one contemporary fad subculture in Japan that has been imported to the US, and it’s origin had NOTHING to do with hentai manga.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_Lolita

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita_fashion

    http://images.google.com/images?gbv=2&&hl=en&safe=off&q=%E3%82%B4%E3%82%B9%E3%83%AD%E3%83%AA%E2%80%94&&sa=N&start=0&ndsp=20

    Just appreciate that the ‘ganguro” fashion hasn’t caught on here:

    http://images.google.com/images?num=100&hl=en&safe=off&q=Ganguro&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

    http://images.google.com/images?gbv=2&hl=en&safe=off&q=%E3%82%AC%E3%83%B3%E3%82%B0%E3%83%AD&btnG=Search+Images

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganguro

    One more term and link related to your observations:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolicon

  20. IronyElemental says:

    “But how is it any different than the interactions with sex workers in the GTA series.”

    Not that I approve of GTA, but it does have a layer of abstraction that this girlfriend thing does not (i.e. it’s Niko Bellic punching prostitutes, not me). Admittedly a subtle difference.

  21. AGF says:

    Noen – I don’t feel blasé about life. I really love it and want to live the best life I can and help as many people as I can be happy and loved. I totally agree that some porn is bad. I don’t like this add either. I just don’t think all porn is degrading. So ok – we agree.

    My problem with the civilization argument is that the logic flawed. Civilizations fall. Porn isn’t going to change that. Change is the only constant. Time passes, civilizations fall (no matter their sexual habits) and people die. And honestly – no matter how good of a life you live – you will die. That is what makes us alive – the certainty of death.

  22. Doran says:

    If they substituted an model of Bush or Cheney, I’d be less offended by this.

  23. AGF says:

    @a_user – it is interesting/sad that violence against men is taken way less seriously and even seen as funny. ‘Chicago’ or ‘Earl has to die’ dixie chick song – pop culture examples.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Cruel Virtual World ‘-(

  25. AGF says:

    Oh! Grand theft auto – here I was wondering what I’d missed about prostitutes in the Greater Toronto Area.

  26. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #133 posted by Takuan

    far future aliens deducing the totality of American culture from an old Disney cartoon.

    Even if that is all these aliens had to go on, it’s not the worst thing they could do. Disney cartoons do represent aspects of American culture, including notions of humor (obviously), fair play, sarcasm, deference to and rejection of authority figures, duty, reward-based-on-good-deeds, support for the plucky underdog, and other concepts that are normative in the American culture. They also include extreme variants, such as the acceptability of certain levels of violence, that could lead to distorted results.

    However, I think it would still be fair to say that our cartoons do fairly represent portions of American culture, and combined with other aspects, would present a reasonable picture of who we are and what we value.

  27. EeyoreX says:

    @Daemon
    “It also means that the user is, in effect, some kind of freakish giant”

    Nah. There is obiously some alternate dimension thingie going on here that messes with her height. 90/46/80 are her measurements for whenever she is in her home, not when she’s magicked through time and space into our reality to perform for webcams.

    Haven’t you read The Indian in the Cupboard or at least seen the movie?
    This is exactly the same thing going on here. Except for the disrobing part.

  28. desiredusername says:

    I think this thread is petering out but I wanted to link to the artist Toshio Saeki. This artist fulfills the descriptions of Wigwam Jones.

    His art was included in Last Gasp’s “Best Erotic Comics 2008″, a book that was being sold in Good Vibrations to some mild controversy.

    I don’t have quality links but a few exemplary links are below.

    Link 1

    Link 2

    At first I was sickened but now I am fascinated. It’s like in video games where being depicted as dying or experiencing pain (virtually) brings a sense of relaxation (in reality). I considered exploring the artists work more by owning the book. Still I know that if a female friend that doesn’t make that virtual/real transition smoothly, perhaps due to personal experiences of violence, were to find the book it could be serious disturbing for her and actually hurt her well-being. Perhaps therein is the knowledge about the castration video fascination as well, and a 360 view of this entire dilemma.

  29. Lauren O says:

    Even if we ignore the really really disturbing fact that people are supposed to buy this to enjoy hearing a woman shriek and tell them to stop undressing her and pushing her around, how can someone who is comforted by a teddy bear be a “virtual girlfriend”? If someone crying in the fetal position can be made to feel better by a teddy bear, that person is a child. And children should not be put in the same category as girlfriends, virtual or otherwise.

    As AGF said, “It’s not the the thing being tortured is not real – it’s that the torturer is real.” And as Caroline said (sarcastically), “yeah, because it totally doesn’t show anything about how people think about real women whatsoever.”

  30. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #141 Darren Garrison

    The thing some seem to confuse is that manga isn’t a genre– it is a medium. Judging manga in general based on the violent or sexual stuff makes no more sense than judging all novels based on Harlequin romances or all movies based on Debbie Does Dallas.

    I don’t think I misunderstood the nature of manga. I mentioned that I saw ‘Sailor Moon’ and such sold side-by-side with the darker manga I saw. I understand that television sets can display Sesame Street or Behind the Green Door – television is a medium, and so is manga.

    My surprise was based on just how uber-sexually-violent some of the manga were, and how casually they were regarded by the adult men who were standing around reading them. Adult bookstores in the US, despite occasional attempts to mainstream them, have remained somewhat confined to small windowless buildings near truck stops off of major interstate highways and less-reputable parts of major cities.

    An analogy might be a TV in the window of a local shop showing ‘Behind the Green Door’ and men gathered around watching it, without the slightest embarrassment, as people all around them went about their daily business, and kids watched “Dragonball Z” on a nearby TV screen. That is the level of surprise I registered.

    Comics in the US do not seem to have as broad a target audience as manga in Japan (most US comics seem to be targeted at two groups– adolescent males and adult males) but the medium of manga has genres for almost any demographic group– and is read much more widely than comics in the US. Just because all genres are sold at the same store is no more reason to be weirded out than the fact that E. B. White and Laurell K. Hamilton are sold in the same store. Just because both authors write words on paper does not mean that their books are the same, does not mean that they have the same audiences, and does not mean that everything written in words on paper should be lumped together into one category.

    Again, my being “weirded out” was limited to the juxtaposition of the outre alongside the mundane, as well as the seeming casualness of the overall atmosphere. This *is* unlike the US and unlike a bookstore where Henry Miller and Anais Nin are sold alongside Doctor Seuss. Neither Henry Miller nor Charles Bukowski (nor XXXenophile, for that matter) ever depicted scenes of women being rape/murdered with gigantic machine screws that entered their genitals and exited their mouths that I am aware of. This I did witness, and many scenes like it, in manga found in comic shops in Okinawa in the mid 1980′s. I have never seen such ultra-violent sexualized images in my life, and although I have not seen it all or done it all, I spent decades of my life living in a somewhat less family-friendly atmosphere than this, let’s just say. I’ve seen degradation, I’ve seen exploitation of the worst kind, and the sort of manga I described is among the worst I’ve ever seen.

    I am not condemning all manga, nor the Japanese men who read it. I reflect back to the point of the post and consider that as strange as a virtual girlfriend you can beat might seem to Western eyes, there may be other facets that we Westerners do not grok when it comes to Japanese culture. I do not claim to have the answer, I am only stating that I perhaps see the question.

    So if you are trying compare the range of manga to the range of literature in general or the range of ‘American’ comics books, I would disagree – the range is not at all alike.

    The same things that can be said about manga can be said about anime– animation is a medium for telling a story, not a genre of story. Dora the Explorer and South Park do not have the same target audiences any more than do (fill in a child’s anime and an adult anime of your choice here).

    Not sure what you intend to say here. I’ve not said anything about the nature of anime, except that it descends from manga as an art form, and as its nature has changed as it moved from Japanese to American popularity, it has retained an odd (to me) sort of goth/lolita childish (as in related to children) sexuality that is, on some level, disturbing. Cosplayers, as they call themselves are clearly unlike the previous generation of ‘Trekkies’ in that sense, at least to my sensibilities.

  31. a_user says:

    If they substituted a model of Bush or Cheney, I’d buy it.

    Dennou Figure ARis $125.00

    Cheney hopping with childlike ecstasy when you present him with a maid costume – priceless.

  32. Gaudeamus says:

    Whew that was a lot of comments to read through! I’m an awful person because I thought “Wow I could get one of these and then whenever I get mad at someone I can abuse a virtual chick with an impossibly perfect body!” And boy did I feel better after thinking that. I wasn’t turned on by it (I assume this is because it’s for turning guys on) but it seemed like it might be fun to play with.

    I can see both sides of the issue. Yeah it could reinforce negative attitudes but I don’t see it as being a huge cause or perpetuator of violence or bad attitudes against women. If anything it is a symptom.

    (Being a girl who can’t stand real human relations, I’d like to say to whoever it was up there that I wish there WERE a market for virtual boyfriends. I’d be all over that.)

    In conclusion, it’s just a toy and like any other media can be ignored/not purchased/what-have-you. I’ve seen worse things than that and I’ve seen things that aren’t as bad. I agree with the person who said most of the “torture” seemed to come from her screaming and whinging, which also led me to wonder if it was cut to show off her vocal range (very narrow if that’s all she can do) while displaying behaviors that are not necessarily accompanied by those vocal effects. I think if we really wanted to tackle problems regarding degradation of women first we’d ask ourselves “Why is it that so many women don’t see themselves as being degraded when so many others DO see them that way?” and go from there. I don’t know the answer to that but I bet somewhere in the middle lies a starting point.

  33. baronvond says:

    with all due respect, fok cultural relativism.

    back in the day, i imagine we could have defended anti-miscegenation laws as “part of our culture”.

    the constitution is my civic deity, so this is allowed w.r.t. the 1st amendment. i LIKE my violent video games. while there tends to be lots of blood (hey fallout 3,how you doin?), i never get the sense these virtual people are suffering. one minute mr. bad guy is shooting at me, the next, he’s in little pieces all over the floor.

    the principal action of this product (as far as i can tell) is to make a virtual person suffer for one’s enjoyment. in contrast to movies depicting torture, i think the interactive component here serves to fetishize this empathetic ignorance.

    thought experiment: how would you feel if the virtual girl seemed to enjoy this stuff? for me, not 1/10 as disturbing.

    also, fok bipartisanship.

  34. AGF says:

    @95 Sweet – and then call Mothra! Any furries out there?

  35. Gaudeamus says:

    I love Second Life! It’s like a fashion show!

    I still don’t think this toy is harmful. I’m pretty sure it’s for adults. Before anyone says “Kids will get their hands on it” we know. Kids always do, but that’s the fault of crappy parenting, not the company that makes/sells it.

    If an adult person plays with this in the privacy of his/her own home and then gets up the next day and goes to work and does a productive job, and doesn’t beat up any women or poke them with a stick then what’s the problem? So it is a representation of a tiny little woman with a screechy little-kid voice (seriously you have to watch some anime because every Japanese female character sounds like that except the villains, who are women who kind of sound like they’re pretending to be men) which sounds like she’s in pain but really that’s the default voice for % of animated female characters in Japan. Probably most people who play with this aren’t going to put as much thought as we have into the process. This whole thing about sanctioning abuse of women and stuff seems to be stretching.

    Okay it makes you feel weird and creeped-out. Fine. Okay you don’t like it and you think it’s wrong. Fine. But really, saying that this is helping people think poorly of women or something is kind of silly. I’m a woman, I’d play it, and I happen to think very highly of my gender. Will we next say that playing with those pop-eye stress squeeze balls is going to cause us to abuse pop-eyed people?

  36. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #146 robin_hood

    Obv you people have never wandered around Second Life

    I have been befriended (for reasons I’m not clear on) by a ‘ponygirl’ in Second Life. I have never played Second Life. I have a friend who is deeply into WoW, and I don’t quite get that attraction, either. But to each, their own.

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  37. Anonymous says:

    It seems like a lot of people are failing to realize that it’s not meant to be a proxy for a relationship, or even come close to one, it’s a means of expressing a sexual fantasy.

    @Teapunk- The thing is, it’s not that simple. Japanese culture produces men who feel inadequate, even though women may find them perfectly fine. You’re right about it being a power thing, but a lot of sexuality is about power and dominance.

    Sexuality and social interaction are two completely different things. What gets me off and how I treat real women are far removed from each other, so much so, in fact, that I can’t stand porn with real people, only animation.

  38. a_user says:

    @33
    If the character were male, would you defend it so vehemently?

  39. RyanMcFitz says:

    I don’t think Cortana would let someone treat her like that.

  40. MonkeyRobo says:

    Dick Cheney in a maid’s costume? NOW I need the mind bleach.

  41. Red Leatherman says:

    I am amazed at how that toy is perceived to be real by so many people.
    I remember as a child I played with toys, I loved cars, sometimes I imagined owning a spread all fenced off with lincoln logs and several matchbox cars in the driveway. my imaginary self would drive the matchbox cars around the living room, up and down sofa mountain and frequently off counter top cliff ending in violent scenes of destruction. fences houses and entire towns wiped out from reckless driving.
    Now, 45 years later I don’t feel like smashing my car when I drive.
    I think the idea of a virtual girlfriend is a little silly, and I wouldn’t spend a penny on it, but if I had it for 5 minutes, I’d make it scream or whatever else I could make it do before tossing it in the trash. If not for any other reason than I want to see what it does and I would know the difference between it and reality.
    I recall some extremely vicious man to man combat involving those plastic army men as well as stick to stick with the kids from the other block too.
    what is it I am missing that makes that particular toy real

  42. Drew from Zhrodague says:

    How long would it take to put together a flash-based waterboard’em game, where you can pick your favorite political traitor, and torture away?

    C’mon, you guys remember the frog-in-a-blender game that was around a while ago. The one where you can push the buttons on the blender to make it go different speeds.

    Either that, or someone’s already done this, and I should get back to writing buildscripts…

  43. Caroline says:

    A_User and ADF, it might be because men are generally not targeted for violence just because they’re men. There’s not a fairly large industry of objectified, sexualized male body parts (and if you give me the dildo argument, you’re being willfully obtuse). Men are not served up as items for women’s consumption everywhere, every day. There’s a market for a virtual girlfriend; there would be no market for a similar virtual boyfriend, evidenced by the fact that no one has marketed such a thing, but tons of people have marketed virtual girlfriends of various kinds.

    Think about what that says about how men and women are regarded.

  44. mdh says:

    The dinosaur truly was a built in unicorn chaser.

  45. buddy66 says:

    To think that civilizations die because of untrammeled sexuality and unrestricted pornography is amusing.

    ”Man, every time I come back to Rome I hardly recognize it. It must be bigger than Babylon ever was!

    ”Oh, yeah, the Babylonians were great for their time. but — you know the story — they fucked themselves to death.”

    ”Right. Just like the Sumerians before them, a bunch of perverts and orgiastic freaks.”

    ”So, how goes it, Marcellus? How’s everything in Pompeii? Still doing mosaic work for that big sign company?”

  46. Takuan says:

    foreigners always understand what you are saying if you speak loudly and slowly.

  47. Darren Garrison says:

    I think it is a bad idea. Sure, it looks like simple fun. But what’s going to happen when these guys meet a REAL 3-inch high girl? It sets up unrealistic expectations.

  48. takeshi says:

    @ noen:

    “I thought I was restrained, compassionate even, towards someone who is ‘shocked! shocked I tell you!!’ that Japanese women might reject their asshole men. Good for them.”

    Again with the sarcasm. This assumes that all Japanese men who are rejected are “assholes.” Bad faith argument. He was clearly speaking of the general methods of rejection that women in Japan resort to. Not everyone who plays video games, or is into Hentai, or watches pornography, is an asshole.

    Anyway, it was nothing personal. You just seemed to be overly sarcastic, when a “sorry, but I disagree with you for [x], [y], and [z] reasons” would have sufficed, and possibly even raised the bar a little.

    “I don’t have a lot of patience for the kind of male privilege that implies.”

    Nor do I. More bad faith.

    “But let me get this straight, I have a bit of a laugh at a male’s expense, in a thread about a sadistic role playing game.”

    I’m with you so far.

    “Where the men are making all kinds of excuses as to why this is ok… and I’m the bad person here?”

    Hey, this is no exercise in “us against them” ostracization, which is more than I can say for your methods. I am not one of the men defending the implicit (and explicit) misogyny of this video game, but rather its legal right to exist. Furthermore, I would be most interested to know what makes you any kind of moral authority, but it’s obviously not a prerequisite to having an opinion.

    “Don’t think so. Laughing at the ruling idiocracy is how I have survived the last eight years.”

    The real question is: do you suppose that they’ve been laughing any harder at you? Look, I appreciate that you think video games such as these are real-world demonstrations of sexual inequality. I agree with you there. But when someone makes an innocuous comment about how relationships are different in another part of the world, only to be met with glib derision and mostly insubstantial sarcasm, yes, I have a problem with it.

    “Well, like DUH – people in other parts of the world have differences! I’m SHOCKED that we on the other, more reasonable, side of the planet can’t see it your effed up way.”

    Frankly, I’m not sure your reasoning holds much water. Take a look at spousal abuse rates in Tacoma sometime. At any given moment, there are seven to ten unidentified serial killers loose in Chicago. Get real. Scaring a virtual girlfriend with a dinosaur is nothing compared to the very real horrors perpetrated on women everyday, so at best your snide observations are misdirected. At worst you’re just someone who likes to make others feel bad for being morally inferior to you, which is unprovable, and possibly not altogether justified.

    For your sake, I hope it’s the former.

  49. Rick says:

    The level of piousness in these comments is even more thought provoking than the prurient product being discussed. How is it morally different from the endless carnage and sadism in commonly available video games? Making people suffer deliberately or incidentally is so common both within our society and in foreign countries at the whim of our government, our military, and our business world as to be utterly banal.

    Don’t play dumb. Most of us are not so noble that we would stop it if we were making enough money out of it or if our own lives or security depended on it. Let’s just hope we are never really put to the test as individuals. The results would very likely be deeply disconcerting. Better to indulge in private with a goofy little anime doll than to do it in real life.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I am just curious, echoing a comment or two above, why the same concern wasn’t shown at the castration page. Is it because men, as traditional holders of the power in society (I say that without smugness – feminists think so, too), are not at risk to be as marginalized and affected by attitudes taught in video games/movies?

    I mean, focusing on displays of misogyny and what it means for women’s rights is not, in my mind, hypocrisy. By having a “feminist” blog you are not implying that abuse of men is okay. I get that. But does isolation of the issue create positive attention and change? Or, as South Park said in their “hate crimes” episode, does it highlight the inherent “otherness” of the group being marginalized, thereby making things worse?

    I sound like a douche. :(

  51. Bloodboiler says:

    Paddling (if that’s a word) a tiny AR anime character is considered twisted torture?

    While it doesn’t sound like good hobby for a well adjusted person, thats NOTHING. Someone tell these feminists to google words “real doll”. That’ll put this in proper perspective (and make feminists want to exterminate all males just to be sure).

  52. Darren Garrison says:

    # 153

    Actually, that’s pretty mild as such stuff goes. THIS is more like what Wigwam mentioned: (Not Safe For Anywhere):

    http://www.bobpitch.com/anon/goronchev_manga.jpg

  53. frankiez says:

    I tried this software during the Tokyo Games Show and, still being buggy (and resurce hungry), is a really cool software managed to sold out on first release day in Japan (even tough being produced by a small company I think they produced ca 3-4.000 pieces only for the first run).

    @ Red Leatherman : You are right.

    I’m always puzzled why in the west we consider OK to play with violent videogames with realistic war situations where you kill 100 people in one minute and than consider immoral a digital manga toy like this…

    It’s interesting that on a geek blog like this with over 100 comments for a simulator that in Japan has been barely noticed but no one talked about “augmented reality” technology…

    Anyway, I think the immoral/perverts are the people who think that if you got a toy like this you will torture the virtual character:

    why can’t you live in peace and harmony with you virtual girlfriend?!

    If you do something bad it’s your fault not the virtual character nor the programmers who just coded reactions to reproduce as many possible situations they could.

  54. markfrei says:

    I think this illustrates an interesting set of counter arguments.

    One argument is that play violence leads to real violence and is a sort of “thought crime.”

    The opposing argument is that violence can have social and anti social outlets and by allowing certain impulses out in a harmless way – for example in sports, bdsm play or video games – you allow people a harmless safety valve.

    I tend to believe that the people who are unable to recognize that certain things just are bad or wrong to do in reality are already too challenged to be helped by our banning media that others use as an acceptable outlet. If they are that messed up in the head, then cutting off their porn and video games won’t make a real difference.

    Having had friends in real abusive relationships, I’m fairly certain that their situations were not caused or even encouraged the mass media.

    I think a better use of energy would be in creating resources that target real world abuse and violence. That may be harder to do, but it’s also a far more worthy cause.

    • Antinous says:

      One argument is that play violence leads to real violence and is a sort of “thought crime.” The opposing argument is that violence can have social and anti social outlets and by allowing certain impulses out in a harmless way

      But…abusing a tiny little victim is really different than playing war games. One aspect of the cathartic effect of violent games is that the player assumes some of the (fantasy) risk. Without that, it seems much more psychopathic.

  55. Darren Garrison says:

    When I first saw the video clip (and complaints about it) it reminded me of a really creepy set of images I ran across several months back. Lots and lots of googling finally found them again. If you think that video is creepy and misogynistic, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

    Turns out there is a wikipedia entry for the concept:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koonago

    The web site is in Japanese, but the drawings are pretty self-explanitory:

    http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~kobatan03/

    I originally found it by a link directly to the directory of drawings:

    http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~kobatan03/jpeg/

  56. Kayin says:

    Virtual girlfriend, huh ? My imaginary girlfriend wouldn’t like that.

  57. takeshi says:

    @ avraamov:

    There are already games where rape (or arguably non-consensual sex) is an option. In Japan, this most commonly utilizes hentai characters, although I have seen a few reviewed that apparently strive for some kind of realism.

    Adding countless “virtual girlfriend” games from around the world, text-based mobile games, web-based avatar games, etc., I’m not sure that the precedent doesn’t already exist. Although, as a believer in freedom of expression, I don’t see how depictions of rape in a video game should be treated any differently than a depiction of rape in a novel, TV show, or film. There are no laws that I know of that prohibit the raping of a character in a video game.

    The graphic element is disturbing, yes, and plenty of places have anti-pornography laws that would certainly apply to video games. Personally, I find the whole thing degrading to women, but I don’t believe that it should be outlawed. With all the extant material available, video games where helpless women scream in pain as they are sexually molested, this seems quite tame by comparison.

    At least, I can understand that these kinds of expressions are not exclusively (or even chiefly) Japanese. Take the United States, for instance. How does a film-length orgy of sadism—I Spit on Your Grave, Last House on the Left, or any of the Friday the 13th franchise—compare to frightening a scantily clad avatar with a dinosaur? Sex sells, and humiliation, for some people, is part of sex. Outlawing such material at the national level is a slippery slope.

    I do find it distasteful that some video games have unedited sex scenes with (virtual) full penetration, but frankly I’d rather some Japanese kid get his rocks off staring at an avatar than searching out child pornography, or, God forbid, actually committing a sex crime. And frankly, the sort of people who would be drawn to playing such games probably shouldn’t be hanging out with real women in the first place.

    The girls in these games are often made to appear young, but so are women in porn. It’s all about provocation. One day soon we may see video games where sex criminals are brutally punished for their crimes. And come to think of it, I’m pretty shocked that we haven’t seen much in the way of graphic serial killer themed games, as opposed to Grand Theft Auto, a series of mass murder games.

  58. tyger11 says:

    The technology is pretty interesting, though, and could make for some interesting games. If the software was smart enough to figure out the picture from the camera and use the real surfaces of the desk (or whatever) as a game field, you could use controls to move your character throughout a real world playfield. That would be pretty fun, especially if you have interaction from other people.

  59. Red Leatherman says:

    Okay that’s totally depraved and whoever heard of a woman that likes being spanked?
    Well okay if being depraved and spanking women sounds like you too ……
    A few years ago I found this thing someone made with Blender. A 3d executable that lets you move this 3d model of a cartoon like nurse around with click and drag then you can spank it using the space bar to the best of my recollection. good for a few laughs before archiving to one of the dusty disc I have around here. I just past 50 last week and so far I haven’t gone psycho or bitten off any chicken heads since my indulgence. So if the powers that be on Boing Boing permit, I’ll upload the deviant toy to something like rapidshare and post the link.

  60. AGF says:

    Caroline – First, I am a girl. Second I am disturbed how men are treated regarding violence against men. It’s a bigger problem than you might think and there is a huge amount of stigma and silence attached to it. Not saying violence against women isn’t a huge deal and a bigger problem – just saying I don’t like our cultures reaction to violence against men.

  61. mdh says:

    My discomfort lays in the notion of having a virtual child you can sexually assault.

    It’s a bit Ogrish.

  62. Bobdotcom says:

    My first thought: “of course it’s an anime character.”

    Then: WTF?

    This whole thing leaves me feeling a bit uneasy.

  63. Ed Bear says:

    Japanese people have sex less frequently than every other nationality…They have substituted fetish for sex.

    How could it be then that Japanese symbolism-sublimation would be so popular amongst the net denizen demographic? Oh, wait…

  64. raya says:

    @66 JG: Everyone says that Japanese men openly read porn on trains. I’ve heard it from reliable sources and I believe them, but I never once got to see it happen. Was I just riding the wrong trains?

    —-

    I thought about this product for a bit. I can see why people are disgusted and/or offended, but I’ve decided that it’s a-okay in my book. Sometimes I enjoy fantasy scenarios that I would never, ever wish on a real person. It does not, I think, make me a bad person. It certainly has not impaired my ability to have healthy, loving relationships with real people. Similarly, my penchant for setting my Sims on fire has not made me a bad pet-owner or babysitter. I honestly don’t think there’s any harm in letting your inner sadist have some fun as long as you’re not actually hurting anyone.

  65. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #152 Darren Garrison

    Saying that “manga-as-torture-porn” morphed into American otaku cosplay makes as much sense as saying (to use your example) that dressing up at Star Trek conventions morphed from Tijuana Bibles– you are doing exactly what you said you weren’t– lumping all manga/anime under the umbrella of “torture-porn”. Gothic Lolita is just one contemporary fad subculture in Japan that has been imported to the US, and it’s origin had NOTHING to do with hentai manga.

    OK, I see you view my comments as something I did not intend. If I wrote in a way that makes you believe that I *do* believe all manga is torture-porn, I apologize; I surely do not believe that.

    I *do* believe that the manga is the root of anime, anime the root of hentai, and from that basis we get here. That is saying that humans came from lemurs – but not saying that nothing else came from lemurs. Perhaps I am just not saying it in a way you wish to hear, but I don’t think we’re really disagreeing. However, it seems you have a hot button with regard to this topic; I’ll gladly leave it be.

  66. takeshi says:

    Whoops.

    I should mention: I realize that the seeking out of child pornography is a sex crime, but otherwise my point stands. Violent sex offenders may play video games such as these, but I’m sure that most feminists would agree that real-world instances of violence against women are infinitely worse than demeaning a virtual sex slave for titillation.

    I understand also that this reflects real-world feelings about women, just as The Sopranos reflects prejudiced real-world sentiments regarding Italian-Americans. The question is: are any of these improper feelings exacerbated by exposure? I would think the effect is very slight.

  67. AGF says:

    Frankiez, The ad is where the torture comes in. You are right – you could feed her and play with her like a little pokiman, but that’s not what they show.

  68. AGF says:

    I am fascinated (and not at all offended) by real dolls. I also think bdsm is totally cool. I still don’t like this add.

  69. js7a says:

    Hold on, was she being tortured or given orgasms while standing up? It’s not like she fell over while she was being poked, which to my naive mind would seem to be a requirement for torture.

    I mean, I’ve seen Japanese porn, and a lot of times the women will sound a lot like that when they are having sex; including standing up.

    (re-watches video)

    Okay, it’s pretty clear: She says, “orgaz-u” when she is “curled up into a fetal position.” She was only tripped twice and caught herself. All the other pokes were to erogenous zones.

    Someone please explain, in simple terms that I can understand, why that is misogynistic?

  70. KatieJones says:

    I’m a daily reader of feministing and thought the comments were particularly interesting on that post. There was a debate on Japanese culture, sparked by a few somewhat racist (or at least generalizing) comments about Japanese men and Japanese culture. Also, one commenter translated what the virtual girl says while the paddle was hitting her as, “That’s awful! Stop! What are you doing to to me! Is the the way to treat your girlfriend?”

    Another translated the beginning part as: “Hello, my name is Eris. Pleased to meet you. Oh, is this your room? Ah! No, that’s no good! Ah! Scary! Ah! This is bad, I don’t want a part of this! Oh, is that a present? Oh, cute! I got a good thing! Ah, don’t come in! Phew, that’s dangerous.”

    I don’t speak Japanese, so I don’t know the validity of these translations, but I thought that were good to know.

    @markfrei: I think your assessment of the debate over whether games of this sort are “bad,” in that they make people think violence against (in this case) women is acceptable, or “good,” in that people who might do something violent (sexual or otherwise) against someone else can now find an outlet. I agree with you that I don’t think these things should necessarily be outlawed (freedom of speech!) and I don’t fall on either side of the debate on way or another. I’m just kind of troubled by the fact that people have made and purchased these games (especially the more disturbing ones, like RapeLay) and that people would find these entertaining, rather than disturbing. Or, even if they find them entertaining or sexually gratifying, that they wouldn’t be aware of/shrug off the inherent misogyny.

  71. Darren Garrison says:

    “I *do* believe that the manga is the root of anime, anime the root of hentai, and from that basis we get here.”

    Hentai is a bit older than anime:

    http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2008/05/09/ancient-erotic-manga/

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/Hellscroll.jpg

  72. FoetusNail says:

    To understand the Japanese, remember the high art of kinbaku, known as shibari in the U.S. The Japanese rope bondage art has a long history and is very complex, beautiful, and when done properly is extremely pleasurable for the submissive. The Japanese are the masters of bondage art. So this is in keeping with both their proclivity for BDSM and their dress up schoolgirl fantasies.

    As far as the age of the character goes, it is important that her body measurements are those of an adult, but her doe eyes, dress, and demeanor are childlike. This childlike personality is the problem. And don’t think, well many people pretend to be children, even babies, when enacting their fantasies. This character is not acting, but provides a child in an adult body, for other adults to engage with sexually. The nature of this play, cannot be compared to a normal adult relationship, which is what many seem to be saying. Spanking in and of it self is acceptable, spanking this childlike character or having any sexual interaction with her just seems strange, even unsettling to many adults.

  73. Frank W says:

    It’s just a Tinkerbell for a Peter Pan who will never grow up to get laid. Like the caption for Earth in the Hitch-hiker’s Guide: mostly harmless.

    Sheesh. Go watch thirty minutes of television and then come back.

  74. BastardNamban says:

    This can’t be real.

    If it is, I’ll buy one for the novelty.

    That said, to those who are all like, “WTF????”

    This kind of interaction is what many Japanese men do INDEED fantasize about. The maid outfit is a very common fetish here, and the “goshujinsama” she says literally means “honored husband”, but it is more of a very formal greeting for real maids to their masters, so it fits.

    Think about it- this has nothing to do with being JAPANESE, AMERICAN, OR ANYTHING ELSE- if you had one of these, poking it is how you interact, and you’d probably be a bit of a perv and peek underneath, and you’d mess with it just to see what happens. That doesn’t necessarily reflect that YOU are perverse, or evil, it just means you are interacting. Granted, some take it too far, and I’d argue they have a problem..

    Japanese men dream about submissive women in fetishised costumes BECAUSE their women often scare them. The men who LIKE this often have a hard time around women- the women here can be unbelievably CRUEL to men here who aren’t the best looking. So on the flipside, it’s not Japanese men being mysogynistic, so much as it is often harmless, shy men acting out their fantasies with women who won’t reject them.

    I have seen Japanese women reject men here.

    They can be truly cruel here, honestly more so than western cultures. Outright calling the man “ugly” is not uncommon. Granted, the otaku men who would buy this are the ones who would incite such a reaction, simply by being “otaku”- it is a real stigma here.

  75. FoetusNail says:

    …for aging Peter Pans who never grew up…

    Yes, mostly harmless, but still somewhat unsettling to many who probably also find most American entertainment equally unsettling. So the question then is the aggregate mostly harmless, maybe not so much.

  76. IronyElemental says:

    Regarding a Cheney version of this toy….if this depicted Gitmo prisoners, Dick would be all over it.

  77. frankiez says:

    @ AGF
    after I watched 3 times this video I’m really curious how this can be considered a “virtual torture” simulator.
    Probably for people who doesn’t speak Japanese the words can be misunderstood, but if an innocent game like this is considered torture I imagine your sensibility lightyears distant from the people running Guantanamo…

    If this is DISTURBING maybe real BDSM or videogames like GTA are the work of the Devil?!?!

    What’s interesting for me in this thread is the fact that when this software has been shown during the Tokyo Game Show no one considered it sexual or pornographic (or they would have thrown out of the fair), but it seems that the overseas sensibility is totally different…

    I’m curious if anyone commenting here is an anime fan who has ever heard the voices of moe/bishoujo anime characters…

  78. Anonymous says:

    (really, honestly not trying to be a troll here)

    For the record, I’m willing to bet that more men were outraged by the castration videos than women, and more women are outraged by this than men.

    Which makes sense, in my opinion. Men can mentally place themselves in the scenario of being castrated (you know, having penises and testicles) a lot easier than women can, and likewise women can mentally place themselves in the “used as a sexual object” scenario much easier than men can (sorry guys, I’m not buying the “men are used as sexual objects too!” argument. In our culture, women are the ones predominantly put in that position).

    That being said, reading these arguments where “female prostitutes can be beaten up in video games!” is complete and utter horsecrap. The ratio of males being abused and killed in video games to females being abused and killed in video games is about a million to one. I bet more cops are killed in an average session of GTA (most, if not all, male) than prostitutes. I am NOT saying violence against women is acceptable. In fact I will specifically say it is NOT ACCEPTABLE. But our outrage is amplified when women are the targets of the abuse – is this because it echoes real life? I couldn’t tell you.

    In addition, the outrage towards this video was somewhat obscured by the “ooh! cool tech!” and “haha oh those Japanese” factors.

    Oh, and I’m a guy.

  79. Hanglyman says:

    It looks like they’re actually trying for the “torture victim” angle in this ad. When your demonstration of a virtual girlfriend consists entirely of spanking her, undressing her, poking her until she cries, and, um, trying to feed her to a Tyrannosaurus(?!), what are people supposed to think?

  80. mdh says:

    Gender is irrelevant. It is a toy child tortured sexually and semi-explicitly.

    What else needs to be said?

  81. Pipenta says:

    Well that was a freaky little video.

    To my western eyes, it did look like a child abuse thing, which made me uncomfortable.

    Some of the comments on the thread made me more uncomfortable. Right? Wrong? What it is, is a trigger.

    Here’s what I’m thinking. There are a lot of us who will watch this and be triggered because we ourselves have been abused. And I think that might be a part of why this video caused more of a reaction than the castration series.

    I’ve never known any man who’d had his genitals amputated, but I have known many, many people who have been the victims of sexual abuse and other forms of violence. I’ve known women and men who were abused, people who were abused when they were children, people who were abused when they were adults. All kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds, because it is just horribly, horribly common.

    Not everyone talks about it. Some of us do. I guess that makes us feministas or whatever the creepy Rush Limbuggy expression that was used earlier in the thread.

    I’m not anti porn. I’m not anti sex fantasy. May Carol Queen, Suzy Bright and Annie Sprinkle, all armed with Hitachi Magic Wands (See, some GREAT toys come from Japan!) come down and bust on me if I lie.

    But in the world in which I live, and for many of the people that I know, this is not comfortable, this is not fun. Fantasy for someone else, perhaps. Not for us.

  82. FoetusNail says:

    AGF – is right. So, there! Raspberries!!!

    Confining entertainment
    Defies your control
    Defining entertainment
    Defines your soul

    P.S. AGF, the work on your site is beautiful.

  83. Darren Garrison says:

    #132 Wigwam Jones

    The thing some seem to confuse is that manga isn’t a genre– it is a medium. Judging manga in general based on the violent or sexual stuff makes no more sense than judging all novels based on Harlequin romances or all movies based on Debbie Does Dallas.

    Comics in the US do not seem to have as broad a target audience as manga in Japan (most US comics seem to be targeted at two groups– adolescent males and adult males) but the medium of manga has genres for almost any demographic group– and is read much more widely than comics in the US. Just because all genres are sold at the same store is no more reason to be weirded out than the fact that E. B. White and Laurell K. Hamilton are sold in the same store. Just because both authors write words on paper does not mean that their books are the same, does not mean that they have the same audiences, and does not mean that everything written in words on paper should be lumped together into one category.

    The same things that can be said about manga can be said about anime– animation is a medium for telling a story, not a genre of story. Dora the Explorer and South Park do not have the same target audiences any more than do (fill in a child’s anime and an adult anime of your choice here).

  84. Bazilisk says:

    Nobody’s saying this should be outlawed. Of course not, that’s against the idea of freedom being important. But there can be arguments made that 1) this is the product of a culture with disgusting/disturbing attitudes towards women, just like the US’s culture and 2)It might reinforce some terrifyingly negative attitudes towards women in users, especially younger ones.

    I remember in high school, I got some of my cues for romance with guys from indie rock songs. Didn’t think about it at the time, but looking back, the influence was there. Why is it ridiculous to think that people can’t get some cues for sex from rock songs, or, in this case, videogames? In this case, sadly pedophilic and violent cues?

    I am not claiming that OMG THIS GETS OUT THERE EVERYTHING BAD WILL NOW HAPPEN TO WOMEN OMG LET’S BAN IT. I am claiming, things are gray, I can never say this should be outlawed, but fuck, it’s fucked up, and all in all, it serves an antisocial rather than prosocial function.

    Also, it’s a result of things that are disturbing, as well as or instead of a cause- It’s showing that people want to fantasize about injuring and controlling an utterly helpless girl. That is not going to turn everybody into pedophiles, but it shows a lot of people have some warped senses of power that just should never see the light of actual sexual or social interaction. (Cross our fingers.)

  85. noen says:

    I have seen Japanese women reject men here.

    NO!! Say it isn’t so!

    the otaku men who would buy this are the ones who would incite such a reaction, simply by being “otaku”- it is a real stigma here.

    I can’t imagine why. How is it possible that women would reject men with sadistic control fetishes? It’s inconceivable!

    but it seems that the overseas sensibility is totally different…

    I am baffled as to why a completely alien culture might perceive sexual dominance games differently than the originating culture.

  86. pAULbOWEN says:

    Dr Gd. Wht n rth s wrng wth ths ppl? Myb w ght nt t hv stppd t Ngsk.

  87. noen says:

    BastardNamban
    Gender roles are drastically changing here, and a lot of young men are confused with how to relate to women. So they retreat to fantasy girls like this, that let them relate to women who won’t reject them.

    I was just having a bit of fun, nothing personal. Anyway… yeah, I bet they are confused but I don’t think this is helping them. Remember what I said about sometimes it’s not a good idea to do things that feel good at the time because they have long term consequences? This would be a good example, so thanks for that. If deeply sexist male roles are crumbling in Japan and in response some men are indulging in extreme fetishistic fantasies and as a result of that many Japanese women are rejecting such men what can we conclude from that?

    They are being selected out.

    Females control reproduction. Males who fail to attract a mate are removed from the board. Welcome to Charlie’s game.

    takeshi
    In fact, every one of your three replies was ultra-sarcastic. Why, you’ve almost approached sargasm. Don’t strain yourself.

    I thought I was restrained, compassionate even, towards someone who is “shocked! shocked I tell you!!” that Japanese women might reject their asshole men. Good for them. I don’t have a lot of patience for the kind of male privilege that implies. But let me get this straight, I have a bit of a laugh at a male’s expense, in a thread about a sadistic role playing game. Where the men are making all kinds of excuses as to why this is ok… and I’m the bad person here? Don’t think so. Laughing at the ruling idiocracy is how I have survived the last eight years.

    • Antinous says:

      noen,

      It’s always the girl’s fault. You know that. “Why did you make me do that to you?”

      Seriously, we understand that some Japanese women are asking to be treated like humans and that some Japanese men would like to beat them back into submission. We get it. We just don’t like it.

  88. dculberson says:

    The buying off of the torture victim with a teddy bear just gave me the creeps. Totally.

  89. BastardNamban says:

    “NO!! Say it isn’t so!…I can’t imagine why. How is it possible that women would reject men with sadistic control fetishes? It’s inconceivable!”

    Look, I get it. Of course women would reject a man ANYWHERE if they thought he was a sadistic control freak! My point, I guess, wasn’t clear. It’s not really a chicken and egg thing.

    In short, many men here do have fantasies about maids and “controlling” women here because there is a gender gap closing now in Japan. Gender roles here, until only recently, were quite old fashioned, but the current force of more Japanese women going out to work, making money, and even becoming “parasite-singles” has kinda shocked a lot of Japanese men into feeling that their once docile women are becoming aggressive. Whether the women are or not, this phenomenon has caused a lot of Japanese males to become really frightened of interacting “normally” with Japanese women.

    That is what leads to a so-called maid & idol obsessed otaku boom in recent years, and why, if you looked around Japan 20 years ago, you would not have seen all the maid cafes you do now. That is what creates such a strong market for such things as the AV girl in this post.

    Gender roles are drastically changing here, and a lot of young men are confused with how to relate to women. So they retreat to fantasy girls like this, that let them relate to women who won’t reject them. It’s not that more women are rejecting men here, it’s that more men are afraid that they will. Couple that with the really harsh rejections I’ve seen and heard of when girls have an otaku guy hit on them, and it worsens things.

    I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone here, but that is what my background, and my experience living in Japan and studying it most of my life has led me to observe.

  90. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, that’s pretty disturbing. I was prepared to disagree with Feministing’s conclusion, but then I watched the ‘virtual girlfriend’ get hit with a stick and cry until she curled up in the fetal position.

  91. noen says:

    One argument is that play violence leads to real violence and is a sort of “thought crime.” The opposing argument is that violence can have social and anti social outlets and by allowing certain impulses out in a harmless way

    Is there an answer to this from real studies? There would seem to be plenty of data on sex offenders. Does access to porn help or hinder the treatment of pedophiles and other sex offenders. I have no idea so I’m asking.

    The thing is, as far as I understand, that you can train yourself to respond sexually to just about anything. Human sexuality is somewhat, though not infinitely, plastic. If that is true then it seems to me that exposing oneself to degrading material is a bad idea.

    If it is a bad idea to expose oneself to degrading material, because you condition yourself to it, then is it not also a bad idea to permit it generally? If it is bad for a person isn’t it also bad for society as a whole?

    Perhaps that is why we have strong social taboos against pornography. Because over 15,000 years the lesson has been learned that societies that allow free reign to sexual expression do not survive. Perhaps that is something to bear in mind.

  92. prom77 says:

    MDH @25

    I suppose what I meant was that most definitions of porn I’m familiar with generally involve nudity. But I see your point–this is clearly wank material for the intended audience.

  93. Anonymous says:

    This is pretty disturbing. But I’m conflicted, because it’s such a cool use of the technology. :(

    Ultimately, misogyny = bad.

    Not to mention the fact that, with vastly different wardrobe considerations, and a little female insight, this thing could be used to train shy guys on HOW to treat a woman.

    You know, a tiny woman that lives in their webcam (I’m trying, here).

  94. Anonymous says:

    @ 27: “Ok gotta agree. If they didn’t make her so cute, I could be for this. Make her more ‘hooker-bot’ like and I’ll climb aboard.”

    So in your view, it would be okay to treat a “slutty” female figure the same way, because she would be asking for it?

    …Still not seeing why that would be any less wrong.

  95. Halloween Jack says:

    I think that this thing could be quite useful: ladies, if you ever wander into the living space of a man who has one of these things, run far, far away.

  96. takeshi says:

    @ noen:

    I think it’s fairly clear that what BastardNamban meant was: he’s seen how women reject men in Japan. He does, after all, go on to say that there are distinctions from how such situations are handled in the West.

    You picked three of his quotes, quite possibly at random, and dished back sarcasm liberally. In fact, every one of your three replies was ultra-sarcastic. Why, you’ve almost approached sargasm. Don’t strain yourself.

    BastardNamban had something substantive to offer, only to be completely steamrolled by your attempts at cleverness. I am utterly speechless. How anyone could possibly behave in such a way on the Internet is beyond me.

    Oh, the pain. The pain of it all.

  97. FoetusNail says:

    Maybe if the character was older and had the real control a submissive brings to a consensual adult BDSM relationship, as in no means stop now, this would not only be more realistic, but acceptable. This scenario, from what I’ve seen so far, gives a false understanding of BDSM. A more realistic game would have a mature character and the Dom would have to work to secure and maintain the sub’s trust, respect, and consent.

  98. mdh says:

    How do I loathe thee? Le me count the ways….

  99. AGF says:

    Foetusnail – Thanks, you’re sweet.
    Noen – I like you but this:
    “Perhaps that is why we have strong social taboos against pornography. Because over 15,000 years the lesson has been learned that societies that allow free reign to sexual expression do not survive. Perhaps that is something to bear in mind.”
    argument reminds me of being in grade 12. A lady from some prolife group came in to give us a talk about why abortion and euthanasia were wrong. At the end of her (ridiculous /fearmongering) talk, she told us – “after all – the Roman civilization allowed euthanasia – and it fell! If we allow it our civilization will fall.” I say the same thing I did back then. Yes. The Romans had a civilization and it fell. We have a civilization so it will fall. You are alive so you will die. That’s how it works.
    I also really don’t think porn is necessarily degrading. It’s fun to watch people talk, eat, kiss, generally be happy – so why not have sex?

  100. bwcbwc says:

    Tamagochi for hentai otaku? Nothing new here but the mashup of technologies. As far as the morality, I don’t see how this is any _more_ misogynistic than other forms of pr0n. There are sex games out there that are just as interactively sadistic but without the VR element.

    As such material becomes more and more realistic (or more thoroughly integrated with reality), I wonder how this will affect real-world treatment of women. There seems to be a lot of fear that this will lead to more attacks on women, but there’s always the chance that attacks will go down because VR simulation is enough to keep these guys impulses under control. Methadone rather than opium, if you will.

  101. romulusnr says:

    They really are crazy at Feministing. I mean, getting upset about the rights of fake women? Come on.

  102. Shay Guy says:

    Only Japan…

  103. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think this gives any understanding of BDSM at all, and I think that comparisons to “real” BDSM are misinformed and irresponsible.

    While I agree with @62 on the fact that submissives bring their own set of controls to a BDSM scene, I consider this to be more of a slightly sexualized and misogynistic kid-with-a-magnifying-glass-at-an-anthill scenario.

    Let’s be honest – the “player” didn’t make her crawl around and bark like a dog, or penetrate her, or whip her. This video was less a “torture” scenario as a “harassment” video.

    Does that make it better? No. But let’s not bring perfectly rational, sane BDSMers into a discussion on this sort of thing. :D

  104. JG says:

    Odd how Japan has such a low level of violence and crime yet these sort of ultra-sexist/violent items seem quite popular. Men on subway cars read incredibly offensive, violent porn magazines in full view of other riders with little shame or discretion.
    But what can you expect from a country that reveres Hello Kitty yet takes great effort to hunt down and kill nursing whales for pet food.

  105. monkeygirl says:

    This is only OK if the virtual girlfriend gets to virtually break up with you, and you’re out $125 if you don’t treat her well.

  106. bwcbwc says:

    Forgot to mention that the saddest part of the whole thing is that this is an ad for the product. They could easily have used other forms of interaction to demonstrate. I guess this is intended for a hardcore audience.

  107. JG says:

    #35 GREAT idea~!

  108. noen says:

    How about animals? Real ones. Why can’t we torture them? If the argument in favor of torturing virtual beings, even ugly hookers because they are not real and their responses are preprogramed, is valid then why can’t I torture, maim and kill real animals?

    Ok, some animals have consciousness so lets remove them, what about lower order animals and insects. They are little more than automatons anyway. Is it ok to torture and kill for sport those beings?

    It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. The reason we have laws against cruelty to animals isn’t simply for the animals’ sake. It’s for us. We also have laws against people spending too much time on the killing floor of a slaughter house. Some start to like it, even to get off on it.

    For that same reason, I believe, certain pornography really is obscene and certain depictions in media, or in video games like this virtual person, ought not to be permitted. That’s my current belief anyway.

  109. Anonymous says:

    Looks like something Josef Fritzl might like.

  110. Teapunk says:

    Anyone still wondering why Japans birthrate is declining?
    This ist what japanese boys want.
    But japanese girls don’t want japanese boys who want that.
    It’s not about the rights of fake women. It’s about the emotions, the powerplay, the whole “I can kick you as much as you want, because when I get you a teddy I’ll get away with it”. It’s about the lessons it teaches. I really hate the whole Akiba-Maidperverts-Thing.

  111. Jaan says:

    You know, some of the most well adjusted women I know like to be spanked, tied up etc. every once in a while. It’s the ones with issues that turn out to be feministas.

    Just saying.

    • Antinous says:

      It’s the ones with issues that turn out to be feministas.

      I suspect that only the ones with severe issues would give you the time of day. Just saying.

  112. Xeno says:

    #61 treating a virtual character who acts slutty like a sexual object? Yes. Because it is one dimensional and it is a fantasy. Making a character more than one dimensional where you can torture them and the rip their clothes off while they cry seems somehow like the same thing to you?

    The madonna-whore complex has been explained in depth and I’m not going to rattle on about it here so please do some reading on it but I do believe a cardboard cutout one dimensional character made explicitly for sexual recreation would be no more different that a toaster being made for making toast. When you make it react like a living creature and respond emotionally, thats when issues arise. Would you want your toaster to protest and choke and cough and act like it was dying if you unplugged it??? Or how about scream when you crammed in a fork to get your toast?

    It’s an object for now. The more human we make it, the more human we treat it. And when you give it human responses without repercussions, sometimes the worst of our instincts can come to the urface (‘I wonder what happens when I poke her with a stick over and over’).

    It’s like those kids who are left alone with a turtle. Will they kill it or just enjoy it for it’s beauty? If it acts like a living thing, and responds like a living thing (ie is not one dimensional is character), how will they respond to it when they can rip her clothes off and torture her?

  113. AGF says:

    Well maybe I’m going in for TMI here – but we’re all friends right? A friend of mine told me her little sister (15) and her girl friends were finding it weird to be the first girls young boys slept with. They said it was obvious they had been watching porn and were trying to do that – instead of what just felt right. After a while the boys apparently improved – but kinda interesting hey?

  114. zorlack says:

    Ok, maybe this is slightly disturbing. But how is it any different than the interactions with sex workers in the GTA series. Is it more shocking because there’s a greater level of interaction?

    This type of technology will be subject to the same type of grumblings that the video game industry has been dealing with for years. For better or for worse.

  115. Anonymous says:

    Western culture is hardly innocent when it comes to the objectification of women or exploiting male fantasies of female torture…but before we get too relativist let’s put things into perspective:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfort_women

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

    I make a clear distinction between the modern adult Japanese male and the people who committed the above atrocities. That being said, what we have here is an culture that is unrepentant about it’s past and the disturbing undercurrents that flow from the pools of suppressed memory, a culture that has never come to terms with it’s past and like an untreated wound it has turned gangrenous and poisons the whole body. (mixed metaphors, I know).

    Constant depictions of tortured, whimpering, eroticised children is not OK.

    Please don’t delete this comment. I’m not trying to be confrontational or to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s something that I feel needs reminding from time to time.

  116. Anonymous says:

    How about a full size version? That bleeds.

  117. avraamov says:

    romulusnr:

    do you think the avatar should be rape-able? (i’m not trolling B.T.W).

  118. mdh says:

    JS7A – “Someone please explain, in simple terms that I can understand, why that is misogynistic?”

    Because it so accurately yet so inaccurately represents a female. But so what?

    Exploring taboo’s is important, but making fun games out of taboos that exist because they cause unrecoverable crash faults in the abused (like “poke the baby in the soft spot”, or “blow your father for your allowance”) are quite a bit squickier than than some other taboo’s like miscegenation or homoeroticism (and maybe even misogyny and racism and murder, if you keep going along the scale – maybe they have their limited place too?).

    Games like this are why parents are so freaked out about their children going outside.

    Don’t you get it?

  119. Jaan says:

    “I suspect that only the ones with severe issues would give you the time of day. Just saying.”

    Wow, spend much time in the second grade?

  120. prom77 says:

    Anyone else ever get the feeling that most of the best new technology is first used for porn? (Don’t know if this qualifies as porn, but it’s pretty twisted.)

  121. Shay Guy says:

    Come to think of it, why is it that this sort of thing would be made (and would probably sell) in Japan, but not a snowball’s chance in Hell in the States? Yeah, the cultures are different, but that’s a cop-out answer — what I’m wondering is HOW and WHY? What led up to this kind of divergence?

    Sorry, but the whole question of how cultures evolve has interested me for some time. Cause, effect, complex systems, initial conditions…all that stuff.

  122. avraamov says:

    It’s interesting how often the childishness and/or helplessness thing is being picked up on here. i’ve seen plenty of pictures of – say – a schoolgirl getting caned in fetish or BDSM contexts – which on the face of it is not so very different (OTT postures, maid outfits, body language denoting shame etc), but which is a lot less upsetting. mind you, i don’t see many spanking mags where the punishment is being dished out by a 2 meter high hand holding a stick with strange symbols on it. and she is getting thrown about.

    most of the effect seems to be coming from the voice. watching it without the sound transforms the whole thing into s kind of slightly violent surrealist dream sequence, and takes away a lot of the discomfort, which says a lot…especially given that i don’t speak a word of japanese. the vulnerability is all tonal.

    and what’s with the cats?

  123. mdh says:

    Jaan @ 71

    You know, some of the most well adjusted women I know like to be spanked, tied up etc.

    I see your point.

    But that is a (pretend) 14 year old child.

    NOT an adult.

  124. a_user says:

    I’ve seen a few comments about the character being a sexualised child and I presume it’s an assumption made from listening to the voice. Japanese girls in their late teens to mid twenties all have kawaii voices, and it gets really wearing after a while.

    Also as has been mentioned by other posters this would appeal to a niche market, as much a minority in Japan as the guys who have sex dolls that they dress up and take out to date spots so they can take photographs of themselves together. Weird but there you go.

    @ Caroline
    Yes, violence happens to people in real life
    http://www.ifeminists.com/introduction/editorials/2001/0529.html

    As does the reduction of a person to an object of gratification
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6141895/
    http://tinyurl.com/extlx

    As do psychological upsets based on over focussing on appearance as a measure of personal worth
    http://menshealth.about.com/od/conditions/a/eating_disorder.htm

  125. Mojave says:

    I cannot read Japanese…can someone explain exactly what we’re looking at here. Is this image actually on our desktop and we can interact with it?

  126. VICTOR JIMENEZ says:

    Come on! as any technology you can use it for good or for “not so good” things.
    You may have on of those virtual girlfriends and never upset it while your olde neighbour torture her squalid stray cat pet.
    Maybe what we should criticise is the company´s PR & marketing department for such disturbing ad.

  127. i_prefer_yeti says:

    Is there any clue as to how successful this product is, sales-wise?

    Has it made a profit? Is it impossible for retailers to keep in stock?

    Is it the torture-me-elmo of Japan’s x-mas season?

    Is it – just sayin’ – possibly a bad idea that no one wants?

    I sleuthed the company a little. GeishaTokyo was founded 2 years ago. It has 17 employees. Which would make for a pretty nice little payroll that the company has to meet.

    This product has certainly garnered a lot of blog talk, but I’d be interested in seeing some sales numbers on this $125 item.

  128. Anonymous says:

    It took me a little while to figure out how this functions. I’m guessing the patterns on the paddles and blocks signify to the program (through the web cam) what behaviors the avatar is to display. Is that even possible? I could be way off.

    So if that’s the case, why not have a version where the paddles/blocks do things to the avatar that doesn’t make it afraid/submissive/cry, etc. You know, maybe a little light spanking and some tickling without the actual abuse? Do you really have to be a misogynistic sadist to play with this? What if you wanted to only make it happy? They should at least give that option. (these are legitimate questions)

  129. FoetusNail says:

    Anon @65 – I would not assume the negative review of this product on Feministing.com site says anything about their opinion the spanking practiced in many consenting BDSM relationships. Torture is not just defined by the acts, but by consent to the acts. If someone does not consent, then it is torture, whether the behavior includes spanking or just keeping someone awake for days.

  130. Caroline says:

    RomulusNR — yeah, because it totally doesn’t show anything about how people think about real women whatsoever. /sarcasm

  131. arkizzle says:

    I thought you were all being uptight didn’t-get-its, and that it was joke ad.

    Then I clicked the link.

    Sweet creepy Jesus.

  132. desiredusername says:

    The first time I watched it I was suprised and shocked. I wasn’t going to rush in with a judgement because even though I didn’t like the crying and the “overwhelming the girl” tenor of the interaction, I don’t know the history of Japansese culture. Also I didn’t know how prepared to defend porn, BDSM, or sexual variation I should be when reading the reactions. Then I went about reading the comments here, then the comments at Feministing. I just wanted to know what the reaction was.

    Then I watched the video again and this time it wasn’t shocking. The change in my experience was suprisingly dramatic, actually. The crying seemed minimal and perhaps just overdone. Most of the time it was “hand-slapping” a performance of modesty. I don’t know why it went to the extreme it did, or if even the crying was intended to be interpretted as a result of the disrobing, or just a video edit cut to show a variety of character emotions. Perhaps she was crying form lack of attention. I can’t know. The only sentiment that remained is that I just don’t understand why, given that it is fantasy and any personality can be created, why they would create a character that was so modest, unprepared and unequipped to satisfy the interest of the “user”.

    American porn on the average, seems to be about women that are always ready, and are uncomplicated to have sex with, and that having sex with them doesn’t invoke any latent masculinity issues. Does this indicate that Japanese porn is about anxiety about the measure of agressiveness expected of them to foster sexual relationships? Do Japanese men feel that is their job alone to overcome traditional social taboos about sex?

    The video provoked a lot of questions but the problem remains that I don’t know if I understood the narrative correctly. Its frustrating.

  133. a_user says:

    It was a surprisingly uncomfortable watch – all that was missing was an orange jumpsuit and a waterboard and it could have been a multi-level political commentary. That and the genki kogaru-ness.

    What I also find interesting is the indignant tone of the early posters in this thread compared to the apparently nonplussed ones on the recent Boing Boing thread ‘You Will Not, In Fact, Put Anyone’s Eye Out’
    http://www.boingboing.net/2008/11/04/you-will-not-in-fact.html#comment-324160

    In the latter actual graphic physical torture was shown, whereas it is implied in this video.

  134. robin_hood says:

    Obv you people have never wandered around Second Life

  135. Teller says:

    Well, it’s just Mr. Bill in a thong.

  136. AGF says:

    Frankiez – Click on my name and then read all my comments (at least about this thread) ;)
    Yes, calling this ‘torture’ is probably a bit much – but i’m still not digging it.

  137. AGF says:

    oh and btw – not saying I wouldn’t dig a virtual gf on my desk top. I just wouldn’t treat her this way. My big problem with this is the marketing.

  138. John Hell says:

    I’m sorry I beat the hell out of you. Here’s an expensive panda outfit. Now get in it before I beat you again!

  139. imipak says:

    Ewwww. NSFW? That’s not safe, period. Where’s my mind-bleach?

  140. EeyoreX says:

    My 1st reaction:
    Ok, so its a virtual, interactive version of those collectors pvc figurines that japanese manga nerds like to pimp their booshelves with. How cool is that!
    I want a smurf figurine version of this. And maybe chistmas ornaments…

    My 2nd reaction:
    Ok, I suppose that IS what those pervy manga nerds have always wanted to do with their overprized colletors item toys.
    Still, peeking under the dress of a virtual representation of a sculpture of a caricature of a girl seems frightfully ersatz, doesn’t it?

    My 3rd reaction:
    Hey, is that a cold, half-eaten pizza in the background?!? And now it’s a different pizza!
    Have they consciously dressed the set for this commercial to look like a man-boys room in his parent’s basement? That is a whole new level of sad and cynical at the same time.

  141. Nelson.C says:

    I question whether this animation is meant to be of a child, as some commenters seem to be assuming. A lot of cartoon characters tend to neotony in Japan as they do in the West, so big eyes and head are no indication. The video doesn’t show a lot of detail, but she does seem to have a bust, which indicates to me that she’s meant to be adult. And her voice is that awful squeeky falsetto that some Japanese women carry well into their adult years (undoubtably voiced by an adult voice actress, btw).

  142. The Unusual Suspect says:

    I cannot read Japanese…can someone explain exactly what we’re looking at here. Is this image actually on our desktop and we can interact with it?

    The cube, stick and card are real objects you can manipulate, viewed by the webcam and displayed on the monitor in realtime.

    The girl is inserted into the images by the software, and visible only on the monitor.

  143. Takuan says:

    what impression of human primate male/female relationships would an extraterrestrial alien form, based on viewing of American beer commercials?

  144. help i cant comfirm my username themelonbread says:

    Wow… everything that I wanted to say has been said already. Glad to see that BoingBoingers can still have nuanced and well-thought out responses to something that makes us uncomfortable yet still doesn’t deserve a shrill, unilateral condemnation as evil, misogynistic filth.

    Anyways… for those saying that this is symptomatic of greater problems in Japanese culture, I can agree with you up to some point, but would have to point the vast corpus of American porn that portrays abuse of women. And the subtext present in alot of Hollywood films that diminishes even supposedly strong female characters to mere sex objects. But while we have buried these dark desires pretending that they don’t exist, Japan, with its more liberal attitudes on sex in general, has outlets like these to truly sublimate such things into fantasy.

    • Antinous says:

      Japan, with its more liberal attitudes on sex in general

      Japanese people have sex less frequently than every other nationality. They can’t show genitalia in their porn. They’re far less liberal than many other countries in matters of sex. They are however far more liberal in showing degradation of women. They have substituted fetish for sex.

  145. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen this sort of thing before; my buddy Bhil had a little chick dancing about his desktop in Windows 3.11 as I recall. He did not beat her but he occasionally stripped her and sometimes she got accidentally poked by the cursor arrow or ran into the screen while trying not to be run over by a moving window. She was named “Tawny” or “Tauni” or something like that.

    Morality ain’t simple when you start wanting to interfere with other people’s perversions. Because then you have to come to terms with other people’s willingness to interfere with your own behaviour, that you may or may not deem perverted.

    Kurt Godel’s work implies that it is impossible to accurately describe in useful language when it is moral to intervene and when it isn’t; this implies that it is impossible to frame a law that will cover all situations (the hack is to use an unbiased human jury, and some sort of unbiased investigative process to determine context). But I don’t buy that, personally; I just keep trundling along with Kant’s categorical imperative….

  146. Red Leatherman says:

    To understand the Japanese, remember the high art of kinbaku, known as shibari in the U.S. The Japanese rope bondage art has a long history and is very complex, beautiful, and when done properly is extremely pleasurable for the submissive. The Japanese are the masters of bondage art.

    Okay Foetusnail I like your post but I don’t know for sure that I understand the Japanese any better by understanding shibari but it’s interesting that you mentioned that it’s pleasurable to be bound in this way. I heard the words “secure feeling” used during a class given by Midori, who wrote a book on the art of Japanese rope bondage and also gives classes on shibari during which she has the bindee bind the binder and the words “secure feeling” came to My mind during the reversal part of the class as well.
    as far as that AV having anything even remotely related to shibari to Me personally, I’d have to say No.

    The imagination can be a fascinating thing. From reading the post in this thread I see that My fellow Boing Boingers have a whole lot of imagination. I don’t agree with anyone who says that thing is evil, that would be more reflective of your personal imagination but hey, I like the way your thinking.

  147. Anonymous says:

    As disturbing as this is, I won’t lie, I laughed when the dinosaur popped up.

  148. a_user says:

    @ FoetusNail

    “As far as the age of the character goes, it is important that her body measurements are those of an adult, but her doe eyes, dress, and demeanor are childlike. And don’t think, well many people pretend to be children, ”

    You don’t know many Japanese women do you?

  149. Cool Products says:

    I haven’t read any of the comments above me, but, what in the hell did I just watch? Anyone, anyone…

  150. Teapunk says:

    The difference between this and the GTA sex workers:
    (I assume we are talking about the sex in the game) It’s the whole “consenting adults” thing, the sex workers in the game consented to taking money for sex.
    This here is a childlike Maid/girl who is not consenting, she is yelling “You’re so mean! That is so cruel! How can you treat your girlfriend like this?” and then she is pacified with a teddy.
    If you think it’s disturbing if you can’t understand her it’s much worse when you understand what she is saying.

  151. noen says:

    Takuan, since most beer commercials feature talking animals they might think we weren’t the most important species on the planet. Maybe that’s why we haven’t encountered any aliens? They keep trying to buy insurance from lizards.

  152. Takuan says:

    lizard/primate sex? ewwwww!

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