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TOYS

Takara Tomy’s Love Digi continues evolution of purikura

by Rick Martin

Most readers in Japan will be familiar with the local phenomenon of purikura. Translated as “print club,” they are small, user-decorated photographs with sticker backings. These personalized stickers are quite popular among young girls in Japan, who will often plaster them all over notebooks and mobile phones to add a little personal flare.

With the Love Digi PV Cam, Japan’s toy giant Takara Tomy has brought purikura to the next logical evolutionary step — video.

The Love Digi PV Cam is a hand-held video camera that can create purikura-style effects to overlay on top of your movies. In effect, you can make a Shibuya-girl-style PV (which is what the Japanese call a music video) of you and your friends. When the Love Digi is in PV mode, just choose a design theme and the device will generate the video effects in real time as you film. Just like regular purikura, the themes are cute and overflowing with the color pink. The videos are given a dash of music, also with a distinctly kawaii (cute) flavor that only a Shibuya gal could love.

The camera’s interface is simple and easy to use, only requiring you to press record once it has been switched to PV mode. It’s unfortunate that you can’t choose the decorations on your own, but this keeps the toy easy to use.

Of course, even the most vain Shibuya girl will tire of making music videos starring herself at some point, so thankfully the Love Digi PV Cam functions as a regular video camera as well. Videos are saved to an SD card (sold separately), and cards up to 8-GB are supported by the device. Shooting in PV mode gives you a choppier image, but it also lets you store up to 250 minutes per 2-GB SD card. The regular mode shoots like a regular camera and thus is a bit more data intensive, so you can only squeeze 33 minutes onto a 2-GB card.

The Love Digi also features a 2.4-inch color LCD display so you can play back your recorded videos once you’re done. Playback is immediate: There is no processing time required before you can see your final video. The camera is also capable of sending output to a television or a personal computer, so you can enjoy viewing all your craziest videos in the company of your friends.

Measuring 58 × 160 × 45 mm, the camera is small enough to fit in your pocket or bag for when you’re on the go. That way, if a scenario ever arises where you need an emergency music video, the Love Digi PV Cam has you covered! This video camera is recommended for those over the age of 8 and requires 4 AAA alkaline batteries. It’s available in two colors: pink (as you might expect) and a nice powdery blue.

The Love Digi PV Cam is set to be released on Oct. 21. It will be priced at ¥10,000 and sold in toy stores and some electronics shops. Overseas buyers will have to turn to the Internet if they hope to get their hands on one of these little cameras. Some versions of the Love Digi are available for purchase via GeekStuff4U.com and JapanTrendShop.com, although be warned that the prices are significantly higher.

Love Digi looks to be a great gift for any young kids in your life with a liking for Japanese bubble-gum cuteness. It’s never a bad idea to get camera technology into your kids’ hands at a young age, because who knows — your little one might just develop a taste for film and photography. You could have the next Ansel Adams on your hands, or the next cover model for gaudy fashion mag Egg.