No matter how deeply you respect someone’s core values, or how physically attractive you find them, it’s hard to build a successful romantic relationship without some common interests. So it’s really no surprise that an upcoming singles party in Tokyo’s anime mecca of Akihabara is looking for men and women with a shared love of animation.
This isn’t the only romantic anime event coming to Tokyo, though. On the other side of town, organizers are in the process of assembling a quorum of guys who’d be happy dating women who’re fans of male homosexual anime and manga.
We’ve talked before about gokon, matchmaking parties in Japan where friends gather an equal number of unattached guys and girls. But as both men and women lead increasingly busy, socially isolated lives, many are finding their circle of acquaintances isn’t large enough to put together a proper gokon with.
This is where machikon, gokon run by professional organizers, come in. “Machi” is the Japanese word for town, and many machikon are sponsored by, or at least draw on the local appeal of, the neighborhood in which they’re held.
Akihabara may be Tokyo’s most famous otaku shopping district, it’s not the only place to get your anime merchandise fix in Japan’s capital.
Ikebukuro, on the northwest edge of Tokyo’s downtown, may be too large and mainstream for any one subculture to completely overrun the neighborhood, but it does boast a number of anime retail outlets, including the stretch of shops known collectively as Otome Road.
The stores along Otome Road specialize in the genre called Boys’ Love, romance and erotica featuring gay male characters. It just so happens that the largest demographic of Boys’ Love fans coincides with the one least needed by the genre’s narratives: women.
So while a machikon being held in Akihabara on July 20 is simply looking for individuals with a lonely heart that also beats for anime, the one being held on August 31 in Ikebukuro has an additional stipulation. Animachikon, the company organizing the event, is recruiting dudes who can see the appeal of Boys’ Love.
When filling out their dating profiles, male attendees will be required to rank their “understanding” of the Boys’ Love genre on a scale of one to four. Animachikon hasn’t specified whether “understanding” refers simply to the knowledge that some women are into Boys’ Love, a critical appreciation of the genre’s visual and storytelling techniques, or a personal enthusiasm for animation and comics of this type. Nevertheless, the Ikebukuro machikon’s website encourages women to utilize the self-provided rankings to “get your ideal boyfriend.”
Aside from having an open mind, guys who’re interested in taking part in the event will also need to open their wallets. Tickets for female attendees cost 3,000 yen (US$29.50), or just 2,000 yen for those who purchased well in advance. The price of admission for men, though, more than twice that at 7,300 yen.
That’s definitely not cheap, but considering how many male otaku regularly spend that much on figures of anime girls, we think they can find room in their budget if it puts them in closer proximity to real ones.
▼ Mikasa is too busy killing Titans to go out to dinner with you, anyway.