Nov 142008

This is the Dennou AR girlfriend. Your webcam reads the symbols on the cube and cards and your computer adds the cartoon girl and other objects to the video. The cartoon girl can interact with other AR objects, including a “hand” stick. (Found on Boing Boing.)

There’s been some strong opinions on this. Feministing calls the character a “virtual torture victim”. One Boing Boing commentor says:

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.

Others say:

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.

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.

It’s not the the thing being tortured is not real – it’s that the torturer is real.

The same poster later added

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.

The comments covered a lot of issues included the relationship of fantasy and reality, gender roles in Japanese and American culture, whether the character represents a child or an adult and so on.

In theory, you could program this character so that if you top it too much or too hard, it would safeword and shut down.

Incidentally, ever seen how little girls play with their dolls? Makes a Max Hardcore video look like Teletubbies.

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