There are a lot of ways in which an anime character hug pillow is a poor substitute for a human girlfriend. For instance, despite being extremely patient listeners, pillows are poor conversationalists that rarely, if ever, have anything to add to a discussion. Their hygiene is also not the best, as unlike a real girl, who will regularly shower and brush her teeth, an anime pillow will endlessly wait for her obsessive otaku lover to wash her, no matter how smelly or moldy she gets in the meantime.
In making our list of shortcomings, we were also tempted to add “You can’t take your pillow girlfriend out on a date in public,” but not only can you, one man has, as he was spotted riding the train with the Love Live! character that supports both his heart and head.
In case you have trouble remembering who’s who in the extensive roster of teen idols in Love Live!, that fluffy cutie is Honoka Kosaka.
Earnest and cheerful, Honoka is the series’ ostensible main character, and the apparent favorite cast member of the man in the neon trucker hat photographed by Twitter user Ikegamisora.
While the concept of anime character pillows is nothing new, they’re generally the sort of thing fans keep in their bedroom, both because that’s where they get their use, and also because they’re usually not the sort of thing people want to flaunt to the world at large. This fan has nothing to hide, though, as not only did he bring his beloved Honoka-chan on the train with him, he figured that sitting side-by-side was the perfect opportunity for some public transit cuddling.
Despite the image the country has abroad as some otaku haven, this isn’t the sort of thing you see every day in Japan, and needless to say, some Internet commenters were shocked.
“There’s seriously something wrong with this guy!”
“I bet your mom is crying her eyes out.”
“I honestly wonder, is he enjoying himself?”
Others, though, accepted the love between man and pillow for what it is, and focused instead on the more practical implications of their romantic train ride.
“Hey, don’t stand on the seats!”
“He made sure to buy two tickets, right?”
“His girlfriend’s taking up someone’s seat, so he should really put her up on the luggage rack.”
“Please have your girlfriend ride on your lap.”
Despite this bold display of affection, not everyone was convinced the man’s feeling are genuine, with one commenter speculating he’s deliberately showing off to earn the respect of other Love Live! fans. The otaku passenger’s true motivations aside, perhaps this was the most level-headed diagnosis.
“He’s doing his own thing, and that’s awesome.”
Everyone might not agree with the second half of that statement, but there’s definitely no arguing the first.