Smartphone game sees the handsome teens’ attentions pulled away from their key chains and plushies.
There are a fascinating number of layers to the existence of the Sanrio Boys, or Sanrio Danshi, as they’re called in Japanese. Late last year, character-based merchandising powerhouse Sanrio, owner of Hello Kitty, debuted the group of five handsome teens, ostensibly as a way to promote its preexisting merchandise, since each young man has a favorite character from the company’s product lineup.
But the Sanrio Danshi have proven to be rather popular in their own right, so now they’re starring in a new smartphone dating simulator.
▼ Promotional video for Sanrio Danshi -I’ve Learned What Love Is-
While some of the Sanrio Danshi illustrations that’ve been produced to date seem willing to skirt the same-sex attraction tropes that have become so common in female-oriented anime and manga, the smartphone game casts the player as a woman who can enter into a love affair with the guy of her preference.
▼ From left to right, Kiki Lala-loving Ryo, My Melody-smitten Yu, Pom Pom Purin-passionate Kota, Hello Kitty-infatuated Shunsuke, and Cinnamoroll-infatuated Seiichiro
Like any good dating simulator, the game takes place on a high school campus with a tree that’s supposed to fulfill the wishes of young lovers. On the other hand, unlike many titles in the genre which obscure the face of the player’s in-game stand-in, the female lead’s facial features are clearly shown in certain pieces of artwork.
Sanrio Danshi -I’ve Learned What Love Is- is free to play, but as you might expect from a franchise with so much merchandising as its raison d’etre, there will be in-app purchases you can make to help tip the romantic scales in your favor. Download links for Android and iOS devices can be found here on the game’s official website.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s wondering if the game will include a bad ending that sees the player paired up with a boorish fan of Bad Badtz Maru.