Anime Ushi started off Anime Expo on day zero at a special press event held by Voltage Inc., a worldwide leading producer of romance apps. Voltage’s main focus is to provide entertainment content solely for women of all ages, but with a large audience of women in their mid 20’s and 30’s. As of 2006 they have taken this focus into strictly making romance simulation apps. Thus far they have created over 60 titles with over 30 translation into english. These apps are story-based apps where you get to choose a themed situation, choose from a variety of guys to date, and be the protagonist of your own love story.

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Voltage has come out with two types of apps: party type and novel type. With the party app you get to create your own avatar that by winning missions throughout the game, you win clothing and decorations for you home. The novel type is much more like a visual novel/choose-your-own-adventure-story where you go throughout the story making critical decisions in the storyline to make one of the males fall in love with you. Most of Voltage’s apps have either a happy ending or a super happy ending based upon the choices you make throughout the story.

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My Forged Wedding was the app being promoted as this year’s expo and press event. Arriving to the party we were greeted by three handsome men in 3-piece suits, giant cardboard cutouts of the app men, and adorable Voltage workers wearing pink and black spotted aprons. We were led to a large table full of tablets and given a set of earphones to watch a small presentation about Voltage Inc. This talked about the apps success in Japan and how they wish to bring the culture of dating apps to American women. One of the biggest challenges they have faced so far with the cultural differences is women tend to feel more embarrassed here. It is hard to get them to make that first step to actually play the game, but once most get the chance to play they are hooked (I am a guilty party of this, and yes, I am already hooked to Pirates in Love). They have also found that women in America tend to favour a strong female lead while in Japan the women enjoy the fantasy of the confident, dominating male with a weaker female protagonist. Taking this knowledge they have created ten graphic novel romance apps that have a more American comic book look and feel with a dominating female lead to match the look. Even with both these options in english, the American audience still tends to pick the same popular options that Japanese women pick from the anime style to even the same most popular characters.

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During our time at the press event we had time to get to play a little bit of both the party and novel versions of My Forged Wedding while enjoying a “wedding” themed drink and small horderves. These games are all free to download and play to test out which storyline is best for you. Once you get far enough into the stories you pay for which character you wish to continue the story with. At the event, vice president Kentaro Kitajima came to talk to us a little bit. He is in charge of game content, needs, social media and overall visualization of the company. We learned from him about how he wishes to bring over the popularity of using romance apps in Japan to have the same feeling here in America. They started this transition last year at Anime Expo with their first booth in the entertainment hall set up like their Sakura Amidst Chaos game. Keeping with the wedding theme, Voltage’s booth in the entertainment hall this year was set up as a chapel with the same handsome models from the press event cosplaying as some of the character options. We later got to personally interview Mr. Kitajima at his booth, so stay tuned to learn even more about what Voltage has to offer and is bringing to America!

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