United Love Freedom – PlayStation JapanStyle
Thanks for joining me as my bloggish musings continue.
Same-sex marriage is now possible in Japan, with Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya wards the first to officially recognize such couples. It’s a big step for the country, which tends to have an abundance of media consumable for all types of people, but low social acceptance of anything other than the norm. There’s a saying in Japanese, “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down” (deru kugi wa utareru). There’s this type of yes-but-no when it comes to welcoming people who aren’t prototypical in this society, which might be a side effect of the country’s 98% born-and-raised native population. There’s a traditional, prescribed method to life, and going against it is socially risky.
There are manga, anime, and even games for homosexual audiences, but media being available an the status being accepted. There’s a sort of wanting to ignore things and hope they go away, if that makes sense. When White Robe Love Addiction — a nudity-free visual novel that stars two women in love with each other — got some new media earlier this year, several Japanese magazines and sites wouldn’t post simple images of the protagonists kissing. Our own comments within the story, some of which liken the simple idea of a relationship to “porn,” signals that it’s still an uphill battle around the world, not just Japan.
While there are games that allow same-sex characters to be in relationships and even marry (especially MMOs), I for one look forward to the day when such things are not seen as the subject of taboo or controversy. I hope, eventually, that it’s not a feature that draws attention… it’s just simply there, like any other type of relationship.
Plus that Cloud-Barret date possibility at the Gold Saucer needs to become an entire new chapter of FF7.
Over the past month, permanent Japanese residents have been receiving their “My Number” cards, which issue everyone a number not unlike the American Social Security system. The system is still rolling out despite being designed in part by a company who bribed its way into a job and despite government officials being unable to explain the system to the public. I’ve had it described to me as voluntary, but legally mandated, but not required, but a requirement, but a totally individual thing that people have the choice to mandatorily opt into… if we want to… because we have to.
One of my jobs told me they need my My Number (yes, it’s my My Number… this is so stupid), but another laughed and was like “What? No, why would we?” No one knows what’s up.
Some have protested the system by taking to social media to call it the “Slave Number,” and others who demonstrate just how little of a fuck they give by posting their number publicly. These girls chose to dress up as criminals and pose for photos with numbers, though there aren’t enough digits to make that a real “My Number.” And, again, notice how this official government policy has an English name. It’s just another example in the stack that continues the decline of that nation’s own language.
One of my hopes is that it doesn’t get lumped into game trade-ins. Whenever you trade in a game in Japan — at least at all the places I’ve done so, which includes chain stores and one-off places — you need to fill out a card with your name, address, and phone number, after which an employee takes a look at your photo ID and writes down the number. The idea of having another number and another card I have to carry around with me isn’t exactly lighting me up with anticipation.
In related news, sources are reporting that My Number-related identity theft attempts are already well underway. Oh, goodie.
Handhelds continue to prove their dominance over TV consoles, with Vita taking a way bigger share of God Eater Resurrection sales than PS4. Vita’s version outsold PS4’s by about 5-to-1. People often ask why one game sells more than another here, and I have to reiterate: graphics are not as big of a factor in Japanese sales. Visuals are important, but not as important here as they are in other markets.
Halo also took a step down from its usual sales, probably due to the incredibly small audience size on Xbox One. Halo 5 sold just 7,500 copies in its debut week, compared to opening with 58,000 for Halo 3 and 40,000 for Halo 4. Given that the Xbox One is still struggling to reach 60,000 in life-to-date sales, the low software performance isn’t surprising. In a land where being a console is already a strike against you, you need to have enough exclusives to give people a reason to pay their precious money and give their limited living room space to your machine. Xbox One hasn’t done that.