Video: man in Japan weds anime game character

Video: YouTube, MP4 download, or Dotsub (subtitles)

UPDATE: Interview with the groom!

On Sunday, a man named Sal9000 married the love of his life. Her name is Nene Anegasaki, and she lives inside of a Nintendo DS video game called Love Plus. The wedding took place during a Make: Japan meet-up held at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. In attendance were a live audience, an MC, the bride's virtual video game girlfriend — who made a speech — and a real human priest.

The event was livecast on Nico Nico Douga, a popular video sharing web site that I wrote about in Wired Magazine back in 2008. (Watch this clip of hot shot Wired folks making total fools of themselves on Nico Nico Douga.)

Nico Nico Douga is home to thousands of video projects by anonymous users — mashups of original art, pop music, anime, and web memes that only an insider to Japanese web geek culture can completely decipher. Sal9000 is an active member of the Nico Nico Douga community, so it was important to him that his offbeat wedding ceremony was broadcast on the site. The footage seen here of Sal and Nene tying the knot between real and virtual is a highly imaginative, multimedia project orchestrated by a guy determined to officiate his devotion to his video game, and to pay homage to the otaku subculture that nurtures this type of creativity. Enjoy!


      1. no no no no…..
        if they divorce, god knows what he’ll have left to his name.

        *insert OBJECTION! here*

    1. Nintendo DS divorce court is probably in the Phoenix Wright/ Turnabout courtroom (Gyakuten Saiban, If you’re japanese.) :)

    1. The right wing doesn’t really care about marriage as long as gay people aren’t allowed to do it. If it was really so sacred to them do you think they would idolize divorcees like Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc etc?

  1. This is one of those things that strains my relativism. There’s a lot to be said for accepting someone else’s choices, but in this case I wonder what would happen if his dad came up and smashed his DS on the ground.

    We clearly have a limit where we won’t tolerate someone else’s choices (rape, murder, etc), and while this is certainly nowhere near those things, I mention them as a precedent for the fact that we aren’t universally tolerant of stupid decisions.

    How screwed up does someone have to be before we’re willing to help them? Culturally we see ANY offer to help someone that’s nuts as being presumptuous and patronizing – but what if he really is just nuts? Should everyone just accept that and watch him mess up his life? ‘He’s not hurting anyone,’ and all that, I suppose. *sigh*

    1. Should everyone just accept that and watch him mess up his life? ‘He’s not hurting anyone,’ and all that, I suppose. *sigh*

      He’s not “messing up his life” and yes, he’s not hurting anyone. Including himself, which is a critically important factor here. This is an eccentric way of declaring he doesn’t want a (real) life partner, but certainly less harmful to him than burying himself at home hoarding cats, or quietly becoming an alcoholic.

      His name is Sal9000 for heavens sake, he gave up being conventional a while ago.

    2. > How screwed up does someone have to be before we’re willing to help them?

      If he’s a grownup, and happy, why does he have to be “helped?”

      Glad I’m not him, but still.

  2. Does this make him a polygamist if he were to marry another person (or video game character) in the future?

  3. As we say on the net:

    “Publicity stunt is public.”

    It’s too bad that they don’t report the e-girl’s age — they could have got him for stat rape.

    \What kind of “priest” would officiate this?

    1. I would.
      I’m a minister in the Church of the Subgenius, though, and we respect your right to disrespect marriage.

  4. Oh god this can’t be happening to me! I’m in love with Nene too and have been for a very long time. I know she still loves me so he has done something to her program or maybe he even used a game shark on her. Well all I know for sure is she can’t just go off and marry some random f*** in Japan, I’m going over there to put a stop to this right now and bring Nene back home with me – one way or the other.

    too lazy to login,

  5. Isn’t this like thinking you’re “married” to Miss November? Or if Miss November and a calculator had a baby, and you married that? What happens if her software becomes corrupted and she freaks out? Will he ever get his MP3’s back? As Steven Wright once said “There’s a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot.” I think this crossed that line a long, long time ago.

    I do like his name, though.

  6. Maybe I just don’t get this one, but I don’t see anything to celebrate here. I’m all for the freedom to marry who you choose, but this just seems… sad.

  7. Its just like Idoru, except the guy in love with her is a dork and the whole thing sounds ridiculous when you mention it to someone in the real world.

    Lets face it folks, this guy just married his right hand. He’s making headlines all over the world for it too. To think, I was always told that it would just make me go blind. lol

  8. “…is a highly imaginative, multimedia project orchestrated by a guy determined to officiate his devotion to his video game, and to pay homage to the otaku subculture that nurtures this type of creativity.”

    Geez, people, it’s not like he thinks he’s getting tax benefits, or that the digital bride will be invited to weddings and parties. It’s just a fun way of expressing himself. Stop talking like you are all so superior.

    (or carry on being merry, as the case may be)

  9. This sounds very familiar, as in it was written by William Gibson in Idoru.

    The name of the program was Rei Toei and she was to be married to a pop star named Rez.

    That is of course where the similarity ends since Sal9000 is not interesting otherwise and certainly not a celebrity.

  10. C’mon, not even close to “real” marriage. And anyways, marriage doesn’t mean anything in Japan unless you’re added to the family register. Considering how hard it is to get a foreigner added, a fake tech character won’t happen. It’s a hobby, a lark, whatever you want to call it… but ain’t marriage, in any legal sense of the word. Same country where “priests” officiating “weddings” are sometimes foreigners with no religious training – actors for hire.

  11. That looks like one of the fat original-model DS’s. I would’ve thought he’d at least buy his new bride a more modern version as a wedding present.

  12. William Gibson wrote this script in 1997, albeit with a more realized virtual character. The novel’s title is “Idoru”.

  13. @49:

    That’s Nico Nico Douga’s weird commenting system. rather than having the comments on the page the video is displayed on, they are displayed ON the video, at whatever timestamp they got added. Drives me nuts. I’m there to watch the video, not a bunch of “wwwwwww” or “aaaaaaa” or whatever scroll across the video!

  14. Go ahead and marry whatever household electronics you want, but don’t expect to ever get laid by a real woman again.

  15. What about everyone else who plays Love Plus. I hope Sal9000 doesn’t get jealous of all the males/females working their way with Nene Anegasaki…. Sucks she has already cheated on him. Poor guy.

  16. I guess some of you guys didn’t read past the headline? It wasn’t serious. It was akin to a multimedia performance. Entertainment, imagination … that stuff. Why get so serious and leave political comments about everything? Just enjoy imagination and entertainment for what it is. I find it hard to believe that no one here has ever gone to a theme park, made an art project, or wanted to throw a cool party.

  17. @#63 – My thoughts exactly. He may be mentally ill, but I think it’s much more likely that this is a piece of “performance art” (or something akin to it).

  18. wanking to a centrefold is pretty much acceptable….i guess it’s all in the head. if you can’t conform, then you may have to take it to another level, be it higher or lower, to satisfy the crave that you can’t attain.

    i’ve since given up trying to figure out why we all do the things that we do. that’s all part of our footprints on the trek down the evolutionary path.

  19. What bothers me conceptually is that he’s marrying someone’s program. If he’s serious, it means he equates female intelligence to that of an algorithm.

    Whoever wrote that part of the game is probably very confused at this point.

  20. @rifflesby (#41): I can’t agree with you more. If he was truly pulling out all the stops to make it a serious ceremony, he should upgraded to a DSi. (I myself upgraded from a DS Lite when I bought the Korg DS-10 Plus and I’m not even hearing wedding bells over that particular app)

    Being displayed on a “DS Phat” at one’s own wedding? That’s like wearing an ugly ol’ thrift-shop muumuu instead of a decent bridal gown…

  21. I bet I can find naked pictures of his wife online.

    Also, I don’t know if the DS warranty covers damage via copulation.

  22. @#72- Which “I sing the body electric” Bradbury’s book, Whitman’s poem, or the song from Fame?
    @#63- I quite agree. Performance art all the way.

  23. Good luck to him. I’m pleased he married who he loved. Who are you people to judge him? You can’t help loving who you love.

    I wish Sal9000 all the best.
    God Bless.

  24. The first headline I saw read “man marries video game character” — I should have guessed that it had to be some otaku in Japan!

    I long for the good old days when even the otaku understood the Japanese proverb, “deru kugi utareru” — the nail that sticks out will be pounded down”.

    But it is Japanese women who should be most concerned: the otaku may have started a trend of preferring stereotyped game characters to real Japanese women;)

  25. There’s already a site where you can marry your favorite characters online.

    I’m fake-married to Pygmalion’s statue of Galatea.

  26. “his devotion to his video game, and to pay homage to the otaku subculture that nurtures this type of creativity”

    I don’t know, what’s seriously creative about people taking their idol games too seriously? Isn’t that the point to the game? I don’t really see this as the height of “otaku culture”, I suppose.

  27. wouldn’t this be comparable to marrying a fictional character from a TV show or movie, whether it is live action or animated? it’s like marrying someone who does not exist or someone you will never meet in person.

  28. I knew she had been cheating on me. I never thought she would take it this far. I will sues!

    I hope he’s happy. Wow.

  29. How has no one commented yet on the horrible cringe inducing puns flying around here? You people are not mean enough.

  30. This guy never got out much did he? ah man, this is kinda sweet, very awkward though. oh gosh, I’ll say nothing more.

  31. They should just flood the internet with doujinshi of this chick, Oh look your wife is cheating on you.. and again.. and again.. and again………..

  32. I wonder how crusty this gimp’s DS is gonna be by the time he’s done with his virtual marriage. She’s the only girl in the world who will consent to sex any time he asks (and probably the only girl who would have sex with him period) so I imagine he’ll consummate the marriage at least 4 – 5 times a day.

    Gross…his red DS will be totally white in a few weeks.

  33. #100

    Lets pay our due respects to the internetz. Sitting like the mighty pharaoh on top of the technology pyramid, passin’ judgement on all the lesser peeps of this world like a king.

  34. This is sad..he is not even concerned how his parents would feel and think.I feel that he better not go back home otherwise he will “kill” his parent,on matter how sane his parents are they would NEVER approve of this ridiculous marriage.

    sorry for the bad grammer

  35. If this is real, this is so, soooo sad. How do you divorce a video game character? I mean, is the anime chick an avatar for a real girl?

  36. She will make a very good wife. Keep her supplied with batteries and she will never forget anything…just like a human wife.

    As far as the consummation of the marriage, there’s bound to be some type of USB device out there for just such an occasion.

  37. Another Gibsonesque ideal come to pass. I can’t wait to move to the Golden Gate, get my wetware augmented by russians, jack in and hack some ICE! Yea Me!!

  38. It kind of reminds me of “Chobits”. It doesn’t matter if she feels real feelings or feelings she’s programed too, if he perceives them as being real.

    And they can totally come to all of my parties. :)

  39. How the hell did these comments turn political? This is just a wacky guy doing a wacky thing. To those who turned this political: Get over yourselves.

  40. hey, who cares right? It’s his life…(dude, i like anime but you gotta keep the imagination to a minimum and try not to marry some video game character in real life…)

    I’m amazed he actually talked a priest to do this kinda job XD

  41. Questions- if he were to wipe the drive, would that be murder? If he were to reinstall the software, does he have to remarry?

  42. this has NOTHING… let me repeat that NOTHING to do with Left Wing or Right Wing BS. Just end it!
    It’s about a guy in JAPAN marrying pixels. Which is awkward and strange on so many levels O_o

  43. I dunno, I’m nearly crazy enough to do similar myself. Nearly. But someone I can’t actually hold simply won’t do.

  44. he is now married to a woman whose picture he can’t show on his website etc. as he image will be copyrighted!

  45. Many comments here are like “Tsk-tsk, what is this world coming to?” Hey people, get a sense of humor about the whole thing…
    And no use smashing his plaything to finish her off – she’s immortal! She does not live anywhere, she’s like Mickey Mouse or Peter Pan – omnipresent and indestructible! This guy can still be married to her when he’s 90 and she’ll still be that hot young girl that fascinated him. Great for him ! and never a rejection!

    1. Why they’ll spawn processes, of course. Right after he gives her his random seed, at which point her kernel will begin recompiling.

      And when she’s not in the mood in a few months because all her userspace is occupied, he’ll always have his loopback interface to rely on.

  46. im dealing with that too, i know a girl whose name is loyda n im in love with her but she won’t give a chance never that is the same bcause this guy will never touch and kiss this character in real life

  47. Nobutsrsly: Makes you wonder, eh? It doesn’t seem like this kind of thing would be to far off. If Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality were to become advanced enough… Well, would you rather spend years in marriage counciling or seconds in a boot screen?

    I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned it. *shrugs* Coding that, though, would take genius and time. All that said, unless the A.I. girl can make a sammich, I don’t believe it’d make it past Japan.

  48. As amusing as it may seem. I think it ruins the game and character for everybody else.

    I watch anime and play games like that, but i treat it as art. To marry its characters, although not actual or legal, is like adversely claiming a piece of culture and art for oneself and ruin it for everybody else.



    This dude is nutz!!.. But one this iz kool his so called wife can be programmed..HAHAHAH

  50. so how then does she live in the game after being married.. She will be a much less needed and desired character.
    How will it continue for her?

  51. There will one day be “Hollywood Stars” who will be entirely Virtual and fake, but will star in various CGI movies, as different characters like current REAL actors do, but will carry with themself a persona that will see them have fan bases, and EVEN dudes (like this dude) and girls that will fall in love with them. Make this the beginning of my prediction.

  52. This is rather sad. A Human who cares more about fake computer world then reality.

    Only recently another family were convicted of neglect when their child died of starvation. The parents were too busy looking after a virtual baby to care for the real baby they had.

  53. I’m married to Ann from Harvest Moon Friends of Mineral Townfor Gameboy and shes’s carrying my baby.
    Is that bad D:

  54. Crap, she’s not even the cutest anime character.
    – Rhyme from TWEWY
    – Eri from School Rumble

  55. Where did he put the ring?…if someone else plays that character is that considered cheating?…when the Ds Battery dies does he have to have a funeral for his wife?…to reproduce does he use the gameboy slot?….Just some food for thought xD

  56. “Oh dear. I knew I should have shown him Electro-Gonorrhoea: the noisy killer!”

    This statement my friend is pure genius

  57. “..No wonder the birth rate is dropping in Japan…”

    That’s just Darwin’s theory hard at work, right?

    Is there a category for this at the Darwin Awards?

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