When I first heard about this game in the spring, I groaned. “Love bullets”? It sounded like another ploy to separate obsessive AKB48 fans and their money.
When I saw it in action this week, I thought it might be campy fun. The premise is absurd, and the inclusion of rhythm-based dance numbers might make for a chuckle.
But sitting down and playing it made me realize just how creepy this concept is. Why would you make a game about shooting young girls in the face? “Zombies” schmombies, they look like teenagers. The shots sound like bullets, and one bullet is never enough. You have to tear into them to knock them down, but they always get back up.
I’m sure this all seems more innocent to Japanese people. Their gun laws are strict. You can count the number of annual shootings on one hand. But when you consider how these girls are already sexualized and fetishized in mass media, making them the main targets in a shooting gallery seems wrong. Very, very wrong.
And it cannot be said enough: out of all the girls that could have appeared in this game, two of the seven just happened to be the same two girls who were wounded by a crazy guy at a fan event this year. Of course that’s a coincidence, but it reinforces that these women are already at risk due to their fame (with the “accessibility” factor making them even more likely to be hurt). AND MOST OF THEM ARE MINORS. If it were my child in that game, I’d be furious.