WHAT'S COOL IN JAPAN
Osharemajo Love and Berry
Young girls have always liked to dress up their favorite dolls in elegant, flowing dresses, style the dolls' hair, and deck them out with bags and other accessories. Now a card game based on this type of fun has become wildly popular among Japanese girls.
Osharemajo Love and Berry (meaning Fashion Witches Love and Berry) was launched in October 2004 by Sega, the same company that created the popular boys' card game The King of Beetles Mushiking. At the start of the game, players receive an Oshare Maho(Fashion Magic) card containing a picture of a fashion item, such as a dress or a pair of shoes. game over and over. Next, they choose between two characters: Love, who adores cute clothing, and Berry, who prefers a cool style of dress. Players then scan their Oshare Maho cards into the game machine and dress their characters up in their favorite styles. After making their characters look just right, the players tap buttons in time with the sound of a tambourine to make their character dance; the winner is the one who can make their character look and dance best. The more cards a player collects, the more options she has to coordinate her player's fashion, so this motivates many girls to play the game over and over.
First-grade elementary school student Yurika began playing Love and Berry this spring and has managed to collect all 88 cards in the 2005 spring/summer collection. "I like watching Love and Berry dance while wearing clothing combinations that match my tastes," said Yurika, who was playing the game at an arcade in a shopping mall with her mom. She has even organized her card collection in an original card holder.
A Sega spokesperson says, "In the autumn/winter 2005 version of the game, players will be able to select from six settings for the game, including a ball, a fashion street, and a disco. When choosing clothing, the advice of the player's mother will be helpful. For instance, a mother might say, 'For a ball, a long dress will stand out.' We hope that this will encourage the mother and child to enjoy communicating while playing the game."
Since mid-September 2005, official contests have been held on weekends at some stores where the game machines are located. Starting at the end of October, Sega began to release the 106 cards that make up the autumn collection, and these new cards will give fashion-loving girls even more choices of clothes and accessories to use in the Love and Berry game.