Saturday, 28 May 2011

News! Lady By Tokyo - Purikura for grown ups?

This announcement popped up on my twitter, and I haven't been announcing all the new machines (as there are far too many at the moment!) but this one caught my eye because the follow-up tweet said it was their first machine featuring a foreign model.

I have no scans from magazines so here's the link to the company's page (Japanese).

It says that the design of the machine is meant to resemble an overseas brand. I assume they mean the black and white "classy" style as opposed to the pink, colourful and cutesy style we are used to seeing.

I think that this shows a recent trend in purikura machines that are trying to appeal to a slightly older market than the usual junior high/high school girls. Essence's premium sheet print style was marketed as "adult-like" and I've seen more than one machine boasting that their stamps and frames are more grown-up/classy.

I think in general people grow out of purikura like other things they used to do in high school. (Except me!) All of my Japanese friends that I have taken purikura with said that they used to take purikura in school but not since then. So I think the recent wave of grown up machines is trying to extend the length of time people are purikura users.

Anyway back to Lady by Tokyo.

The name also suggests a more grown up machine, and I think the "by" is supposed to be reminiscent of labels like Marc by Marc Jacobs...the first thing that pops into my head though is "AU by KDDI" which I assume is not the image they were going for!

The website talks about a survey they took where people are starting to dislike the over processed look of recent purikura, where your skin in smoothed and lightened so much that it looks flat. So this machine is in response to that and the look is meant to be like a photography studio. The booth is black inside to avoid the reflection of light that flattens your face. I think there's also less processing on the eyes. (Machines now darken your lashes automatically.)

You can choose the eye size and skin lightening, but after you take your shots you can also change the back ground colour afterwards (this isn't unique though)

Other points:
1:1.2 ratio prints as opposed to square (um...that's what purikura used to be anyway...)
matte prints
adjustable contrast based on your phone handset

My thoughts:
I do agree that some machines are quite over processed, but not all. IMS machines tend to give a nice look to your skin without flattening your face. I'll reserve judgement until I try it but I'm wondering if the lack of processing will work on those of us that aren't models. Purikura is the only time I've ever seen myself with good skin and no dark circles under my eyes... how will I look in this new machine??

There's not much on the stamps on the website, so I'm wondering if they will be quite minimal. It could be that this is more a photo studio than a "purikura" booth. Which would have it's own niche if marketed to the right audience but might turn off the typical purikura user who would consider the booth "boring".

Still I'm looking forward to trying it, what do you think?

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