New AKB Dating Game For PSP & Vita Has 153 Idols To Date

By Spencer . August 5, 2012 . 10:35pm


Namco Bandai is going all out for AKB 1/153: Love Election. The upcoming AKB dating game includes idols from sister groups SKE48, NMB48, and HKT48 for a total of 153 women to (virtually!) meet. AKB 1/153: Love Election has photos and voice samples from all of the singers.


You’ll see the girls in all kinds of fantasy situations – Christmas, Valentine’s Day, in a wedding dresses by a heliport (!?), and red carpet events. Who knows where the girl of your dreams will confess their love and in this game all of the girls are heads over heels for you. As the player, it’s up to you to pick the girl of your dreams.


akb153 akb153-2


Since this is an AKB game, Namco Bandai has a massive limited edition bundle. You get:
AKB 1/153: Love Election for PSP (on two UMDS) or Vita
Four making of DVDs with AKB48 idols (400 minutes)
Three making of DVDs with SKE48 idols (300 minutes)
Two making of DVDs with NMB48 idols (200 minutes)
One making of DVD with the HKT48 idols (100 minutes)
A 150 page swimsuit photobook with all of the idols
Ten photos
Code for downloadable content
and a limited edition box for 14,679 yen ($187).


There’s also a standard edition for 7,329 yen ($93) and if you reserve the game you’ll get three idol photos. AKB 1/153: Love Election comes out on December 20 in Japan.

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  • Darthgundam


  • FitzpatrickPhillips


    • Testsubject909

      The short answer is that it’s Japan.

      The long one, or at least as long as I’d care to write.

      Is that it’s basically a combination of multiple societal phenomenas in Japan, of which there’s the whole dating aspect going awry for a variety of reasons of which the only one I’m going to note that’s going to matter here that I care to bring up is the whole herbivore male to carnivore female situation that creates this sort of situation where it’s more likely for a male to dive to fantasies as opposed to realities plus the whole situation with Japan’s dating scene, mindset on sexuality and the common trade of delving into fantasies.

      Add to the mix the nature of the idol trade and the marketed fantasies aimed precisely to such herbivore style males plus he general fanbase that it has. And really that’s all I care to think about, this isn’t worth getting all that pent up about, confused about or whatnot. It’s just a fantasy that enough people have in Japan that it’s worth them putting money into to make profit.I’m honestly not surprised by this at all. Actually I expect this game to do fairly well and to have some sequels on it’s way.

      • SeventhEvening

        It is already the third game in the series, so a prediction of a sequel isn’t too surprising.

        Personally, I don’t buy the whole herbivore male thing being related to this phenomenon as much as it being a new idea to market existing idol worship, which is a bit different than fantasy. I live in Korea, which doesn’t really suffer from “herbivore male” syndrome, but there is a similar form of idol worship and obsession (and if a Girl’s Generation version of this game came out it would sell like mad here). I also feel like it is some what of an exaggerated problem. There is a problem with men (and honestly, women too) diving into fantasy as opposed to dealing with the harsh realities of the real world, but when I lived in Japan, a majority of the Japanese guys I knew were quite aggressive and quite far from being herbivores. Ironically, these same guys would love to play a game like this just because it is a nice fantasy to date an idol, in the same way that some guys with girlfriends still look at porn. In a sense, this game is dating porn. You want a date, but your girlfriend is busy? You got it. It is exactly the same escapism as any other game. 
        I feel like the game possesses a higher amount of general appeal than people give it credit for. I’ve played it a bit and it is a bit strange, but kind of enjoyable in a weird way. Me and the girl I’m dating both work 40 hour work weeks, so I can only see her on the weekend. It isn’t bad to pop out a PSP and go on a date with an idol, especially because it flexes my language skills. It isn’t nearly as creepy as Love Plus with the active clock that causes you to need to pay constant attention to the girl. 

        • Testsubject909

          I wouldn’t be surprised by it’s higher end appeal due to the fact that this is related to the AKB48 group.

          As for the herbivore male, pardon my use of it without proper explanation especially since my ideas behind it is a far cry from just putting herbivore males there. It’s the idea behind them purchasing such a game, the fantasy of being with one of these girls which honestly is in no way not limited to them.

          On another note though, thanks for your insight and your own personal experiences from being in Japan.

          But on that last note, I suppose it also depends on how you view the situation. While Love Plus definitely demands more attention, similarly to a Tamagotchi, by itself if we were to ignore the whole phenomena behind it and some of it’s questionable fans within a larger fanbase. The idea and fact that they’re inexistant 2D characters to me seems to provide a larger buffer whereas the application of a real life person, if even just a character that they portrait during their worktime as idol, just seems a tad creepier to me due to the personal connection to a real living being as opposed to just a fantasy. But I suppose in the end it could be amounted to just about the same as having a crush on a movie star and buying their paraphernalia or just enjoying a game and dismissing whatever connection it might have to the real world, similar to enjoying the acting of an actor without thinking of the actor and only recognizing the character during the time spent enjoying the event itself (in this case the game).

          Hmm… Now I’m wondering if I thought too much into it initially.

          • SeventhEvening

            To me, that is what makes Love Plus creepier. I understand the disconnect making it less….uncanny…. but the level of devotion required freaks me out a little. The only thing I can compare it to is, yes, tamagotchi or nintendogs or something. And those aren’t dating games, they’re pet simulators. Even if it is a 2D girl, the fact that you’re basically taking care of a human as if it is your pet…. it makes me more uncomfortable. To me, a 2D girl and an Idol are both idealized images and not terribly grounded in reality. 

            I’m not a fan of AKB, but I like the idol IU so I’ll use her as an example. I like her music, her commercials, and I would play a game like this if it existed for her. She is basically an ideal as opposed to a human. I can’t even imagine her as a real person. People usually don’t see idols the same way as people, they have to behave a certain way and seeing them behave in a too human manner damages that ideal. If, in some incredibly freakish stroke of luck I met IU and she fell in love with me, she would cease to be the image that I know of and would become a human. The idealized relationship with the cute platonic dates and static backgrounds keep the illusion alive and enhance the disconnect. If I actually dated an Idol, I’d have to deal with fighting, with her being idolized by others, with jealousy, with body function…. at that point an idol is completely indistinguishable from a normal pretty girl. The illusion is crushed.  

  • Wagnaria

    This is kinda creepy…

    • It is.

      It’s even weirder that a part of me finds it creepy specifically because these are real people. Which means that I’d feel better if they were all 2D women…?

      I creep myself out.

      • Testsubject909

        No, that’s natural I’d say.

        If I stop for just around five seconds, give or take. The immediate thought that comes to mind is that it’s due to the distancing from reality. A 2D image is obviously fictitious by nature and thus fantasy, though apply a real live person and that crosses a certain treshhold.

        In a way, knowing that it’s a real person being placed in a fictitious universe for you to interact with is a bit of a jarring effect of two opposites being fitted into one. Though you could argue that, being idols, they are fictitious by their very nature, there is still that connection to reality and to a real person.

        So unless you have some sort of attachment to said person or fantasms, it might not be your thing, though of course those can grow and come to being by playing the game or getting to know more about the person (much like never knowing a thing about this or that actor and then viewing a few movies. But even then, it’s typically moreso the character they embody rather than the person themselves. If it is the person though, it’s typically just a physical thing, like Angelina Jolie for example. And even then, I’m sure many would still have that odd feeling you’re having.)

        There’s definitely a larger barrier to prevent you from being immersed and most likely an underlying sensation that this game is just one step away from making you feel like a stalker considering, again, that this is dealing with real live idol/actresses.

        edit: PS. I’m also noting the difference between a person lending their likeness or their voice to a person quite literally being in a game. A voice can be applied to a fictitious character simply because that character has no voice. Hatsune Miku herself has no voice per say but was given one by a real live person. And a variety of actors and actresses have given their likeness that has created their own characters, like Gackt for example. Even though we always know when a character is based on Gackt, the character himself… okay nevermind, Gackt is a bad example because no matter what character it is, it always feels like it’s just Gackt invading the game or anime he’s in.

        • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

          Gackt is great there.^_^ Every game that have Gackt become a good game lol no matter how “kusoge” they are lol.^_^

          • Testsubject909

            Fair enough… There’s a really nice flashy PS2 action game called Bujingai where he’s basically the main character.

            It’s a little button mashy but it’s fun and definitely a visual spectacle.


  • i’ll play it….

  • Jeez, 153? A bit much, isn’t it?

    • They had to fill out the AKBdex. There’s actually 154, but the last one only appears through a special story event.

      • Oh my god, do they evolve into each other too? :I

        • SeventhEvening

          No, they only evolve into solo careers if you use the money stone on them. I was a bit disappointed in the second forms.

      • Testsubject909

        Gotta date em all, Gotta date em aaaalllll!


        Hmm… doesn’t really have the same ring to it…

        • Using flash in dark cave just got creepier

          • And we haven’t even gone anywhere near the topic of breeding and EVs/IVs yet. There’s plenty of juice left in this analogy!

            (Someone hit me. I think I creeped myself out.)

          • Testsubject909

            As you wish.

            *Rolls up a newspaper*

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Let’s just set Yuno Gasai loose as as DLC. Will make ‘no russian’ look like a Sesame Street numbers and letters game.

  • Rolling Guy

    Finally! SKE48 is in it! 9 u 9

  • Riian

    Japan is freaking weird, but what else is new? Who even buys these games? What sort of audience is this game catering to?

    • Testsubject909

      I’d say a fairly large audience considering how many people are into the AKB, SKE, NMB and/or HKT idols. The amusing thing is, many such fans will probably buy this game for the sole purpose of dating only 1 girl.

      Hey, if there are fans who will buy a limited edition Hatsune Miku colored Car. There’s more then enough fans who’ll buy this game.

    • SeventhEvening

      I actually found a used copy of one of the earlier titles in the series a little while back and gave it a shot. I actually found it surprisingly enjoyable to play, even though I’m not familiar with AKB.

      Besides AKB is insanely, insanely popular at the moment, so it is catering to that audience, or at least the male portion of it. I would say the amount of work involved in the creation of the game is rather low compared to the massive profit they would get back. The only difficult part of making the game is photographing 153 girls about 100 times each in different clothes, but I doubt the guy with that job is complaining too much.  

      • Testsubject909

        Photography, specifically that of models, is quite active and fun. It’s serious business but the time passes by rather quickly and your mind’s too focused on getting a good shot that you really have the time to get tired until after you get the results you want. Mind you the experience I have are from classes specifically on photography, but the general experience shouldn’t differ outside of having a private studio and personal professional grade equipment as opposed to borrowed professional grade equipment.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      AKB fans. Nuff said.^_^

      • Testsubject909

        The sad realization I have.

        What you said is seriously all that needs to be said. (Meaning I’ve wasted some effort with the walls of texts I made)

        • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

          Well, i mean what else can i said here lol.^_^ I also bought the latest Guam series there and i am quite happy with the game considering the heavy text there even though i am not really fans of AKB at all there except reading for the manga there and listening to some of the songs there.

          Hell i don’t even know any of the members there lol but well in the end, AKB fans is indeed the best answer i can give there.^_^

    • NoOneSeesWhatWeSee

      Japan is really not weird.

      I’m personally sick of hearing this all over the place. Even if it’s a joke, it’s a tired one.

      And really, you don’t know what sort of audience this game is catering to? Oh, I dunno, every single person in the world who has ever wanted a pretty Asian girlfriend.

      • Testsubject909

        (edit: TL;DR: Japan is weird. And this game is marketed to AKB/SKE/NMB/HKT idol fans.)

        Japan IS weird.

        (edit 2: Though I’d like to note. Japan is not alone as a country and society at being weird. And that it certainly is not as a whole that it is considered weird.)

        But I digress.

        Nothing is weird, by the sole idea that it depends upon the norm that is applied to us, from a societal point of view or from our own personal point of view. As such one could argue that nobody or nothing is weird and by default that everything is weird as well because of the idea that everyone utilizes such a categorization based upon personal subjective perceptions, impressions and ideas.

        But I’m not a big fan of this whole relativist-only-mentality and quite prefer to think that reasoning while applying relativity where applicable as a reasonable act is far more efficient and closer to a core undeniable objective truth.

        Though still on a societal level, and thus on a subjective level per country or state/province pending the large differences, there still seems to exist an international mentality upon certain standards of a modern day society with acceptable socio-political views and mindsets.

        Japan’s oddities are numerous enough that I’d personally argue that Japan IS weird and there’s really little you can do about it.

        Mind you, weird doesn’t mean bad. But there’s really no denying Japan is weird.

        edit: Also, on who this game caters to. I’d argue against your statement.

        I’d like to point you to my reply to Fitzpatrick’s why.jpg and JustThisOne’s mention about being creeped out by this game.

        This game specifically is marketed to the fans of the highly popular AKB, SKE, NMB and HKT idol groups, thus is specifically marketed to Japan and an exclusive niche audience outside of Japan, that said there’s extremely little to no chance this game would get localized to either Europe or North America.

        • NoOneSeesWhatWeSee

          First of all, Japan is a country obsessed with normality and conformity. America is a lot more weird, with all the talk of “individuality”. While Japan places a far greater premium on conformity than America.

          Furthermore, pop music is not exactly niche weirdness. Sure, idols are heavily on the decline. Really, they haven’t been a super mainstream idea for a while. But Hello!Project and AKB still kick pretty strong. And are among some of the most well known music in Japan and Japanese music outside of Japan. Along with Morning Musume, Ayumi Hamasaki, Utada Hikaru, Johnny’s Entertainment(who make money doing a similar appeal for women), and the new sensation Kyary.

          Also, while the fanservice here is a bit on the large side. Celebrity and idol fixation of any country hardly knows limits. People have sold boy band phones and badly made video games and faux-dating things here in the United States. In fact, I’d be surprised if something like this doesn’t already exist for Justin Bieber. Even most romance novels are directed at some kind of dating fantasy.

          It’s a little bit unusual to see this sort of thing in explicit video game form. And to the exact degree of explicitness it is taking. But not that unusual.

          • SeventhEvening

            I agree with you, weirdness is anything outside of a persons comfort zone. This isn’t actually too weird, but it is just different enough for people to freak out. Americans usually find Japan so “lol weird” because the cultural norms are in many ways quite different: Sex is more ok than violence, conformity and unity is more important than individuality…. things are more or less reversed compared to the states, which makes it “weird” to americans. But I think that calling something a little different (especially culture) weird demonstrates a lack of understanding of that culture, or an lack of self-reflection on how strange any culture is, especially when viewed from small out of context fragments.

            That said, Kyary is weird. She’s weird by any standard. Don’t get me wrong, watching her is very entertaining so I see the appeal. But I cannot think of anything I have ever encountered that is less normal than that girl. 

          • She’s not genuinely weird, though, that’s manufactured weirdness. Ryu Murakami is weird. Yukio Mishima was weird. Edogawa Rampo was weird. That’s a compliment for those three authors, by the way.

          • Testsubject909

            I’d love to argue that weird is actually universal. We have a defined idea of a norm, but it’s really more of an idealization of it then an actual fact, as such everything tends to get measured to that ideal.

            To that end, many things wind up being weird. And weird to me doesn’t mean being out of a person’s comfort zone, so much so as being outside of the norms established.

            Even with a clear understanding of a culture and whatnot, it doesn’t prevent it from being weird in certain spots. The denial of it in itself is unhealthy as every society certainly has an odd-spot that needs some heavy self-reflection or embracing to define their social culture.

            So, forgive me, but I’ma keep calling Japan weird.

          • I think worshipping female celebrities as “idols” and making these wish fulfillment games are very weird, not to mention sexist.

            Also, one country isn’t more weird than another. All countries are weird.

          • JustaGenericUser

            So it will somehow not be sexist if it was male celebrities?

          •  No, it’d still be sexist.

  • igotareallybigthingwithcars

    Rove Erection

  • Jesse Thompson

    Too real, give me 2D girls or gtfo!

  • Aoshi00

    OMG, Matsui Rena/Jurina are so cute *.*;… I picked up AKB1/48 Guam for cheap a while ago but still haven’t played it yet..  might get the Vita ver, but 153, nuts, total harem…

    • Jesse Thompson

      Which one is the one in the left in the first photo at the top?  Because she looks like a deer caught in the headlights! (>.<);

      • Aoshi00

        That’s Rena-chan :)  I know, kinda a funny surprised look, but she’s real cute.. btw, they’re not real sisters lol..  I don’t really follow the 48s or J-pop in general anymore, but some of their songs I do enjoy…

        • Rolling Guy

          Yeah, they just have the same last name. I think it’s not that uncommon in Japan. What I’m curious about it is that they have the same Kanji. Usually, that’s where they differ.

          • Aoshi00

            Matsui is certainly not an uncommon last name, but the two girls are always marketed together as a pair, so people just assume they’re real sisters if they don’t know better, which I did at first.  Their names are 松井 珠理奈 (Matsui Jurina) and 松井 玲奈 (Matsui Rena). 

            Also they were the promo girls for Kinect in Japan, having done a series of videos demo’ing the games wearing adorable costumes.

            I don’t listen to Jpop or these idol songs that much anymore, but I love this song 1,2,3,4 Yoroshiku, so catchy :)  I wish I’m young like the girls…


            Personally I prefer the group Momoiro Clover :)

          • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

            Considering one of the famous baseball player name is Hideki Matsui there, Matsui is certainly a common japanese surname there.^_^

          • Aoshi00

            Yeah, was about to mention the baseball player too :). The pair are always together and even have quite similar first names, but aren’t actually related.. I like them the most those from SKE48 from the way they advertised Kinect, very cute.

          • Rolling Guy

            No wait, you misunderstood me. I meant that having the same last names in Japan aren’t uncommon. Meaning it’s perfectly normal to have people have same last names.

            I’m an AKB/SKE fan so yes, I know they’ve been in a lot of promos, singles, etc together. Jurina is pretty buddy buddy with Rena in and out of the business. Now though, she hangs out more with Mariko and Tomomi of AKB.

    • Testsubject909

      It does make me wonder if there’s some sort of ultra-happy-harem ending where you get all 153 girls.

      • Aoshi00

        The slogan of the game is dump, dump, and dump 152 girls and get that 1 girl though.. so hard to choose, but I know who to get :) Pretty cheesy acting by some, but this is as close as it’s gonna get dating a Jpn girl (minor) lol.. and who could resist the bikinis in Guam..

        • Rolling Guy

          Yeah. Mayuyu is a total cutie. Just couldn’t resist her. I feel bad when I try to dump her. Ugh…

  • This is so creepy.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Haha.^_^ That just mean the game is not for you there.^_^ and it should not be suprising there considering this game is targetted to a very specific market there like the “AKB fans” rather than real gamers.^_^(Even though, i had a feeling that most AKB fans are a gamer lol.)

      • Come on though, a game where 153 women fawn over you and you select your prize pick of the litter? This makes me sick to my stomach, and I played through Saya no Uta 3 times.

        • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

          Lol, and here i thought this is much better than Saya no Uta lol. At least i won’t feel guilty at all not like Saya no Uta. (I had a bone over a gore pics??? At least, this allow me to increase my affection with the characters normally and have happy end which is none existant in Saya no Uta lol.)

  • James Smith

    Has this been done before? It’s an interesting approach, other dating sims release just a few girls but in this one there will so many girls to capture it’ll give choice a new level.  Will be interesting to see how things go with it, giving a hugeload of options could become a new trend.

    • Light Yagami

      there are 2 other games before this one but this is the first 2 include all the sister groups.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Love plus still better 

    • Testsubject909

      I’d still rather Ciel no Surge… No chance that’s getting localized is there?

      • ShawnOtakuSomething

        fan trans 

  • Hoshi星

    I’m glad that I’m no AKB fan

  • Afnan Muhammad

    I dont care what people think, i love these groups so much.

  • French

    I am confused 

  • Liam Keenaghan

  • I dunno why, but the fact that these are real girls makes the weirdness factor go sky high.  You figure the opposite would be true–a dating sim where imaginary girls pine over your player character should be more awkward than this game.  Still while I’ve started to come around to the 2D dating sim, this creeps me out for some reason.

  • NoOneSeesWhatWeSee

    Okay, I’m not saying for certain or anything that this isn’t sexist. Or that the idol industry isn’t sexist, it is. Even if the Johnny’s Entertainment counterpart does exist. It doesn’t exist and do the same things to the same degree that exist for female idols.

    What I’m wondering it, how exactly is the situation sexist and why? I can understand if someone wants to claim it is degrading or something. But being sexist and being degrading are two different things. And I don’t see a case made specifically for why it is sexist. This is further called into question by the fact it is called “sexist for either men or women”. I’ve heard several claims about sexism before in the past. Like objectification, claiming that if men are objectified, it’s sexist too. That’s a really problematic claim though because I’m not sure that’s how sexism works. Sexism is a construct of power, not something that may or may not be degrading for a man or woman. If it’s degrading, it’s degrading. But being degrading is not the same as being sexist.

    From what Robert Fenner has said, I’m guessing he’s interpreting in a certain way that would be sexist. That the game is playing into the “harem” and therefor “alpha male” fantasy. That all of the women desire him, but he gets to choose the “best” of them, therefor putting him above the women and choosing their worth. That would be sexist because it plays into the idea that it is bad for men to be “herbivorous” and not take initiative or be stereotypically masculine and dominant, that men need to have multiple sex or dating partners available to have worth(and the converse, women have slut shaming if they do), and in general a lot of sexist double standards that need to go away seen as the “lock and key scenario”, alpha male normalization(or basically, male supremacy and privilege in dating), slut shaming, and so forth. The standard for men to have dating supremacy over women is a sexist social construct of power.

    However, I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. It’s not that all girls are showing you their favor by trying to make you feel popular and superior to all of them. It’s the mere fact of wish fulfillment of people who like a specific idol, and feel that they don’t stand a chance in reality of being with them. They’re “all interested” in the player, not to give the harem fantasy, but because different people have crushes on different celebrities.

    And onto the taboo of “loneliness” and escapism of certain varieties. I think most people have had a celebrity crush on some level. In fact, I’ll admit a large part of the idol fandom is lonely guys who want a pretty Japanese girlfriend but don’t feel confident in being able to do that. I also think that attraction to celebrities is fairly mainstream and some desire on some level is accepted. And celebrity fixation here in the United States is so big that people hardly pay attention to politicians in comparison. However, I also do think that the level of acceptance depends on how much emotionally involved you are with them. People are mostly fine with shallow objectification of random celebrities.

    But we as a society also social competitive. What people are actually finding “creepy” or “weird” here is actually what people are calling “pathetic”. A lot of why being attracted to 2D character is mocked by many at all. People are obsessed with coolness and social dominance and social desirability. And this situation is hitting a kind of uncanny valley. One where two partners to a relationship clearly exist, but love is only pretended to be reciprocated. One that makes the one indulging a fantasy about someone appearing only interested in making money off of their romantic desires. And it seems like an unusual subversion of dating norms, and hits many people too close to home about actual dating and relationships that it seems more bizarre. Again, it’s an uncanny valley situation.

    It doesn’t make it sexist, though.

    It’s been 14 hours since the last comment. So I’m unlikely to get a response. But I felt I needed to weigh in on this.

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