Company plans singles parties for fans of specific areas of otaku interest.
Japan’s Tora no Ana chain of specialty stores is well-known to otaku as one of the best places to look for dojinshi (independently published Japanese manga, often featuring characters from existing anime series). Starting this month, though, the company can help people find not only the comics they want, but also the lifelong romantic partner they dream of as well.
On February 25, Tora no Ana’s parent company is launching Tora Con, a matchmaking service exclusively for otaku who are seriously seeking a potential spouse. When registering for the service, users are asked to take an “otaku diagnostic test,” which asks them to identify their areas of interest such as anime, manga, video games, cosplay, idol singers, figures, or voice actors. The test also requires registrants to identify specific series or characters they enjoy, or otherwise pinpoint their specific interests within the fields they’ve identified as hobbies. In addition, Tora Con wants to know how long users have been otaku (possible responses range from one to 30 years), and also asks how much time per week they spend on their hobbies (with the maximum possible choice being 100 hours a week).
Tora no Ana says it asks these questions in order to identify and exclude imposters and fakers who don’t really care about the otaku arts, but rather just want access to the dating pool made up by fans. After taking the test, the next step is an in-person consultation at Tora Con’s office, which is of course located in Tokyo’s Akihabara, the heart of Japan’s otaku community.
▼ Artist’s rendering of the Tora Con office
アキバのアツい結婚相談所 「とら婚」 はじまります！ https://t.co/17kPPx7DII—
とら婚 (@ToraCon_Akiba) February 22, 2017
Once you’re in the system, Tora Con can help match you with a romantic prospect who’s not only an otaku, but a fan of the same genres and series as you are. The company will also be holding matchmaking parties for its members (limited to those interested in specific otaku fields), and a dizzying array of optional services are available. Aside from helping you plan dates, Tora Can can give you advice about what to wear, run a training simulation of the date for you, or keep a staff member on standby in case you need to email the company for advice in the middle of your date. The company can even advise you on how to decorate your home interior and cook a romantic meal, should the object of your affection be coming over for dinner.
Depending on the specific services you sign up for, and how frequently you want to be introduced to potential matches, the cost of Tora Con’s services varies widely. At the bottom end, the service is completely free, while more inclusive plans have signup fees ranging from 98,000 yen (US$845) to 230,000 yen, with monthly fees from 10,000 to 15,000 yen. However, the service’s grand opening sale, which is going on until March 31, has discounted those by over 50 percent.
Other discounts for otaku content creators and fans of specific genres are also hinted at on the company’s website, and if all of this has you ready to take your otaku diagnostic test, you can do so right here.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he and his wife are in disagreement about how compatible Patlabor’s Goto and Shinobu are as a couple.