NTT DoCoMo, evidently feeling that customers are just not attached enough to their mobile phones, has been developing a new range of Machi-Chara (virtual characters) that can help customers manage their cell-phone correspondence. “Even your older brother will get angry with you if you ignore messages,” explained the booth babe at the recent CEATEC IT and electronics exhibition in Makuhari Messe.
These cute animated characters have been around for awhile, typically roaming around the users’ screen and reacting to incoming calls and messages, or even helping you with your appointments diary. What’s different about the new, yet-to-be-released range is that they are exploiting otaku moe (character love) fetishes to the max and messages from them are designed to have a more personal touch. For example, the maid in her frilly white apron might ask you, “May I connect to the Web site, master?”
There are three characters in total: older brother, younger sister and maid. The first is aimed at women and the latter two at men, presumably the logic being that women enjoy being bossed around by an angry older brother while men prefer to assume a dominant role with their personal online slave. We expect this application is going to be extremely popular amongst male anime fans.