Falling birth rates and infantile otaku culture

This is what I do in my spare time. Really, this is what I do.

I’m more of a Western gamer when it comes to my video gaming habits. I guess I just never got into the Moe-blob romance and tsundere masochism my friends have enjoyed (though I did play a few dating sims in my day). If I had to choose, I’m much more an “action games” person. That, or simulations.

But I do pay attention to other games from time to time. Today’s topic: A new video game coming out in Japan called “Conception: Please Deliver My Child” for the PSP. If you have to ask me what this game is about, I’ll have to point right back at the game title and let you figure it out for yourself.

The opening of the game was recently released, showing folks how babies are created. Boy meets girl, boy kisses girl, kiss creates magical baby to help fight for and save the universe. Gotcha.

Thinking about “Conception,” though, I believe we need to go … DEEPER.

Japan’s population has been in decline for years. A prime reason, when I was younger, was that men and women did not leave the house to start their own families because doing so would limit their monthly income.

In a strange case of post-modernism, many women in Japan, a nation in which income disparities remain high between men and women, have shunned marriage or settling down because doing so would inevitably end their professional careers. Why settle down with some workhorse dude working middle management to raise children when you can actually be an independent person? These barriers have taken their toll to deny some of the greatest people the right to settle down and marry. Combined with Christmas Cake syndrome (No one wants a Christmas Cake after the 25th), many women didn’t want to marry throughout the late ’90s, and early millennium, and couldn’t by the time they felt it was right.

After that came the “herbivorous men,” men who were not the typical archetypes of men of the past, and were the byproduct of idolized boy bands and a rebellious outburst resembling a bizarro version of punk in the 1980s.

Otaku men, of course, faced similar challenges. Similar to herbivore, they decided to go for synthetic vitamin pill meals to put both the carnivores and herbivores to shame. They flat out fled into the servitude of 2D avatars for their affection, avatars that embody the now passed craze of moe. Enough so that some refuse to find 3D women attractive in any capacity (though, assuredly, women likely aren’t so keen on dating men who are enamored with women whom they can never hold a candle to).

So maybe we need a game where guys are encouraged to make children. We need games like “Conception” to perhaps tell guys, “Hey, get out there, get a girlfriend, make some kids and save humanity. Go home and be a family man.

Though, it might be worth mentioning that real girlfriends and children are conceived through a lot of work and sacrifice. For that, may I suggest a real game about dating? How about a dating sim? Katawa Shoujo?

Or you can go read a book.

All screenshots by Tomo Hirai

About Tomo Hirai

For more than half a decade, Tomo Hirai has whittled his time away playing video games and reading comics. He has been writing about Japanese pop-culture since his start at the Nichi Bei Times working on Anime/Manga special issues.

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