While amusement arcades are losing customers to mobile phone games and video game consoles, crane games — in which players grab stuffed toys and other prizes with a crane arm — are offering a lifeline.

Thanks to the growing popularity of anime, crane games have become a popular family pastime and are also attracting foreign visitors.

“Go! Almost there!” — Misato Nishimoto, 35, an office worker from the city of Hiroshima, was trying to win a "big prize" from the Monster Catcher giant claw machine, which is more than 3 meters high. The machine, introduced on Aug. 1, is a mighty presence at Happy Land Marina game arcade in the Hiroshima Marina Hop commercial complex.