Tokyo-based dating service Tora Con has what sounds like, on paper, a pretty good idea. As an offshoot of anime specialty retailer Tora no Ana, Tora Con holds matchmaking parties for otaku, a demographic that’s always been enthusiastic about romance in the media it consumes, but traditionally less lucky at finding real love for themselves.
However, that doesn’t mean that all the company has to do is rent a room and say “Come on, lovelorn anime fans!” There have even been Tora Con events that were on the verge of being cancelled for not attracting enough female participants. Luckily, though, Tora Con seems to have found a reliable way of filling seats at its parties: specifying that guys should only show up if they’re going to be understanding and accommodating of a girl’s passion for boys love, the genre of male homosexual romance in otaku storytelling.
Tora Con has been seeing consistent success for the events it holds with that condition. Following boys-love-accepting parties in October, November, and the first day of December, the company placed a notice for yet another on its website on Dec 3, only to replace it with a notice just four days later saying that all 16 reservations were taken.
This isn’t the very first time for a dating service to recruit guys who’d like girls who like anime about guys who like guys, but it is the first time for a company to regularly host such events. Tora Con says its decision came when it noticed an important difference between its male and female customers.
For example, a Tora Con spokesperson explains, a guy might be a big fan of, say, idol franchise Idolmaster, whereas a girl might be just as intensely devoted to the slender yet hard-bodied young men of Prince of Tennis. But while a lot of Tora Con’s male clients were saying things like “I’d like to find a girlfriend who’ll go to an Idolmaster concert with me,” for many of its female participants, it was the opposite. They said they didn’t care if their boyfriend would go to a Prince of Tennis stage musical with them or not. If anything, they wanted boyfriends who would stay out of their fangirl business, letting them indulge fully in their preexisting passions without his complaints or company.
From that, Tora Con deduced that there’s demand not just for events that pair otaku who have the same interests, but for otaku who’ll accept a romantic partner’s hobby, even if it’s one they don’t share, and happily let her enjoy it on her own. Of course, that raises the question of what the would-be otaku couple is going to talk about if they’re not following the same series or genre, but that’s probably part of why Tora Con itself advises its clients to develop interests outside of anime.
The concept has similarities with a recent Japanese Twitter discussion about how another otaku might not always be the best spouse for an otaku, and so far Tora Con’s plan seems to be working. At the most recent boys-love-accepting matchmaking party, out of a total of 16 participants, (eight men and eight women), three pairs ended up becoming couples, which is an impressive ratio.
We should also point out that in addition to a boys-love-accommodating attitude, the parties have a few more conditions. Men must be between the age of 25 to 35 and either earn 3.5 million yen a year, be a permanent employee at their workplace, or employed in civil service. Women must also be between 25 and 35, but have no income or employment stipulations placed upon them. Ladies are required, though, to “be understanding and permissive of their partner’s ‘acceptable’ hobbies,” though with no mention of what qualifies as “acceptable,” enjoying high school idol franchise Love Live! seems trapped in a sort of gray area.
Source: IT Media via Otakomu
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