Today we're going to look at teen romance, Japanese style.🤷♂️🤦♀️
Here's an ad for a dating sim on the PlayStation, True Love Story 2. Please note that this is a DATING SIM, not a visual novel (meaning that unlike a visual novel, the player often will have more than 5 or 6 yes/no choices to constitute "gameplay") and it is exclusive to the PlayStation, meaning that there isn't an uncut version for the PC where the player has sex with every single other character in the game. So in many ways, this is something of a minority in the Japanese bishoujo game oeuvre - a PG-13 take on romance aimed at adolescent males.
This ad is great in that it has so many pictures to give us a peek into the mind of the young gamer in Japan as their hormones start to fire on all cylinders. Let's see what we've got here...
Ah yes, junior high school. School uniforms in Japan are fairly standardized, especially jr. high uniforms, so this makes it explicitly clear that everyone in the game is between the age of 13-15. If you've ever seen an English translation of an anime claiming that anyone wearing a uniform like this was in high school, you've encountered a case of a Western company trying to protect themselves from the awkwardness and potential legal ramifications of depicting underage characters in ways deemed inappropriate in most of the world outside of Japan.
Luckily, this is a PlayStation game, so there won't be any explicit depictions of 13-year-olds sleeping with each other. But that doesn't mean we can't have...
- A bikini contest! Sure, why not. Jr. high school girls enter bikini contests all the time. They gotta do something with those newly acquired boobs, and keeping them wrapped up in clothing can get so...hot...🥵
So you've gotta cool 'em off. Maybe go for a swim.
But boobs aren't all that the target audience of this game is into. Here's a couple of different scenes taking place in the school nurses' office, which for some reason is one of the most common spots for hanky panky depicted in Japanese school romance fiction. Probably because there's a bed. 👉👌
But that ain't all. You see those briefs that the girls are wearing? Those are called "bloomers" in Japan, and if you've seen any anime set at a school EVER MADE, you will know that girls wear these during PE or sports practice. Of course, that's complete bullshit - no school in the entire country has worn those for the past 30 years after the sexual revolution finally caught up in Japan (well, at least to the point that women finally felt comfortable speaking up about being forced to wear such things amounting to sexual harassment), but fetishizing underage girls in tight-fitting, high-cut briefs is something that will never go out-of-fashion in Japan in manga, anime, and games, it seems.
But what about the guys? The main protagonist? The guy who stands in for the player whose goal is to woo all of these girls?
You won't see his face, since as the player, his face is your own. He exists as one thing, and one thing only. Here he is.
Mr. Grabby Hands.
If you've ever played a dating sim or visual novel, you know Mr. Grabby Hands well. You've also seen him portrayed as actual characters with names and faces in various manga and anime. And then there is Real-Life Mr. Grabby Hands, as seen in every Japanese porno ever. This guy is as ubiquitous as bloomer panties in Japanese culture, except that he'll never go out of style. And for more information on Mr. Grabby Hands and his indelible legacy, please see articles like:
Virgin territory: why the Japanese are turning their backs on sex
No Sex Please, We're Japanese: The Worrisome Demographic Trajectory Of A Highly Indebted Nation
I mean, come on. If your options were underage girls or Mr. Grabby Hands, you'd keep it in your pants too, amiright?