She's a Lady.....Sega's EMA
A couple of weeks ago, Sega Toys announced a "girl" robot that sings, dances, and, when in "love mode", kisses.
EMA is a busty hip-swinger, and is a real little lady: just 15.5" tall. So she's a lot bigger than Barbie, plus she can do more. Of course, unlike Barbie she doesn't wear spike heels, have blonds hair and tons of eye shadow, and wear sexy clothing. EMA, in fact, does not appear to have any facial features (maybe her eyes are hidden by her bangs). But EMA does have better moves than Barbie, and, truly she seems a bit more human.
SEGA TOYS will place marketing at the center of its management strategy and provide customers with value based on new types of play.
Kissy-kissy with a 15.5" love bot? New types of play, all right.
Sega hasn't forgotten that women like to play with weird objects, too. For us there's:
O-CHA KEN (Tea Dog)
This character was developed to help working women relax. In the three years since its launch, O-CHA KEN has been licensed to 40 companies in Japan and 60 companies overseas. Together with these partners, we have developed a wide range of licensed merchandise, including dollhouses and clothes, stationery and confectionery, as well as promotional campaigns for a beverage manufacturer.
If O-CHA Ken isn't available in the States, Sega's missing a market, because American working women like to relax, too.
EMA is not, of course, the first robotic living-breathing-creature substitute on the market. Last winter, there was Sharper Image's PLEO, the dinosaur "life form" they characterized as a "fellow creature," (and which I blog-ized as kind of interesting but creepy).
This is far creepier than PLEO, that's for sure.
Over on The Post Chronicle, they've got a quote from Sega about EMA:
"Strong, tough and battle-ready are some of the words often associated with robots, but we wanted to break that stereotype and provide a robot that's sweet and interactive," said Minako Sakanoue, a spokeswoman for the maker Sega Toys, told Reuters Japan. "She's very lovable and though she's not a human, she can act like a real girlfriend."
"...though she's not human, she can act like a real girlfriend."
Oh, no she can't. She can't make you a sandwich, laugh at your stupid jokes, tell you look cute in that cap, borrow your jacket when she's cold, or tell you that you're older brother may make more money - but you're nicer-sweeter-funnier. And a lot of other things that a real live girlfriend can do for you.
Come September, I wonder how many EMA's they'll actually sell - and just who will be buying them.
From Sega Toy's site, I read that:
SEGA TOYS aims to be a toy company with a new marketing-based model. Under this completely new business model, we see our role as being an entertainment innovator, unconstrained by the conventional wisdom of the toy industry....Utilizing a state-of-the-art management model and the latest technology, we strive to satisfy the eternal thirst for fun and contribute to the creation of a society that nourishes the human spirit and imagination.
Is it just me, or are others struggling to see how EMA "contributes to the creation of a society that nourishes the human spirit and imagination?"
But human spirit? Not as far as I can see.