Nothing says "I do" like taking a hammer to the groom's virtual girlfriend.
It's a cliché, but there are a few things a man has to give up when he decides to tie the knot. That nudey calendar from 1996 is out, as is the impressive beer can mountain and sock graveyard you maintain under your desk. Do you have a virtual girlfriend? You should probably get rid of her too, just to be safe.
Which is exactly what an Otaku and his wife did when they took a hammer to his copy of mildly-unsettling, Japanese dating sim, Love Plus, during their wedding. The wedding, which was attended and photographed by various Comiket staff, seems like it was quite a bizarre affair, with the groom's virtual girlfriend, Nene Anegasaki, getting her own invitation and seat.
According to some reports, the bride sprang the destruction of the cartridge on her recently-acquired husband as a surprise, but he elected to take part in the smashing anyway. With tears in his eyes, he helped his new wife crush his digital ex with a mallet.
On the opposite end of the spectrum we have one Sal9000, a man who "married" his Love Plus girlfriend back in 2009. The ceremony, complete with guests and a priest, was part oddity and part promotional event. It worked; news of the marriage managed to get the Japan-only game onto some major US TV networks.
"I love this character, not a machine," responded Sal when asked about the marriage. "I understand 100 percent that this is a game. I understand very well that I cannot marry her physically or legally."
While developing feelings for non-sentient objects isn't exclusive to Japan, the nation does seem like a hotbed for weird and wonderful romances. According to Hiroshi Ashizaki, an author who's penned multiple books on internet and game addiction, Japan's insular culture may be the root cause.
"Today's Japanese youth can't express their true feelings in reality. They can only do it in the virtual world," he told CNN. "It's the reverse of reality that they can only talk about what they feel to a friend in the virtual world."