Sunday, 22 January 2012

Review: Lady By Tokyo

This review is well overdue as this is a unique machine aimed at older users who are tired of the too-processed look you get from other machines. It also has the distinction of being the first machine to use a foreign model.
First a little apology, my camera battery was dying (and did half way through!) so it was taking a long time to work and so some of the pictures are blurry. But I thought that if I put off doing the review it would take weeks so I did my best!
I wrote a little about this machine when it was first released. Basically the company surveyed some users and found that a lot of them were tired of the machines that over light and process so much that your face looks flat. (Lumi3 is a pretty good example of that.)
So they tried to make a machine that is somewhere between a regular purikura machine and a photo studio. It is also designed to appeal to the older crowd who have outgrown the machines aimed at high-schoolers.
The very first thing that makes the machine so different is the inside. All of the walls are black. Most of the machines are white to reflect the light around but the black means that the lights are directed to highlight your face without too much light bouncing around making your face flat.
The design of the screens and the machine is also very black and white, it seems quite classy compared to the cuteness of regular machines and that makes it stand out. It looks like its based on some kind of high-brand perfume or something.
We wondered what the little drawers were for down underneath the screen, but it turns out they were just for show!
The machine is also arranged in a different way in how you take it. Milk Beauty is based on this so they are similar in structure.
First you chose your course you have the choice ofらるつやナチュラル (rarutsuya natural- left)  or さらふわナチュラル(sawafuwa natural- right). I don’t know what raru is but tsuya is glossy, and sawasawa is silky, fuwafuwa is fluffy. So the course on the right is glossy natural and the left is silky-fluffy natural. We went with the right side for this one.
After that you go straight into taking the pictures so be ready! It gives you six random poses, you don’t choose backgrounds yet. In fact, there are no options before the pictures so be on your toes!
After you take the pictures, and while you are still in the booth, you choose your eye size. Clicking on each size will show you the preview so you can choose exactly what you will get.
The next option is the skin tone, again clicking on the options will show you the preview.
After choosing those options you go outside to the graffiti screen. Here you can choose a course for your background colours. We chose pastel.
The next step is choosing you backgrounds, tap on a background to choose it for the selected picture. The machine will advance once you have chosen but you can go back and change it if you like. The tabs on the sides will show you ‘normal’ ie plain backgrounds, ‘pattern’ backgrounds which are quite simple, like dots or repeated words…
..or you can choose the third tab which is ‘sets’ this option will give you six matching backgrounds in one click.
Then you are into the graffiti section which is set up like regular machines, also the section menus are in English. I think this is mostly a design thing but hey, if it helps non-Japanese speakers I’m all for it! The “Change” tab just seems to be miscellaneous things, the rest is self-explanatory.
Some pens. I like that it shows you a little example at the top.
Under the ‘special’ tab is the one touch graffiti. This is mostly simple phrases in English/Japanese in cute pen.
There’s also a birthday section where you can enter your date of birth and it will insert the date and your age… should you want to reveal it Winking smile.
Today’s date stamps:
Co-ordinate (outfit) and shopping stamps.
There’s also personal name stamps under special but I seem to have missed pics of themEmbarrassed smile. And yes, you can adjust your English name as I talked about in the previous post.
The other graffiti options are fairly simple, I think as the machine is aimed at an older crowd the designs are less crazy than most machines.
Classy black and gold stamps…
These word stamps you can change the colour of by tapping the colour boxes on the left.
One thing this machine has is a lot more fonts than others I’ve seen. To the left you can see ten buttons with alphabet and hiragana or katakana versions of each, that’s a total of twenty fonts in changeable colours!
Closer up view of the available fonts and colours (including rainbow options at the bottom!)
These fuzzy, slightly transparent stamps are for the cheeks, I personally really like decorating cheeks. I usually just doodle a heart but here we have so many options!
Here’s where my camera battery ran out so I switched to my iPhone! Crying face
You can also make some simple mobile phone graphics, by tapping the mobile phone shaped button on the main screen.
You have various sizes at the top and your pictures to crop from. Once you crop to your satisfaction (I found it a bit fiddly) tap the black button in the bottom right to go to the decoration screen.
You can choose backgrounds, and some of the stamps from the main screen. I wasn’t that impressed with this bit to be honest I think they just added it because they felt they should.
Once you’ve finished you can chose your layout, like Milk Beauty the layouts are designed to be one big huge sticker, but if you want regular sheets of lots of pictures those options are to the right of the fancy layouts.
Once you chose your layout you move to the outside screen where you can enter your email address. If you have the FeliCa reader thingy (Japanese mobile phones often have them) then you can receive your pictures through infrared by touching the big button. If you want to type in an email address touch the smaller black button to the right.
Select the picture you want and then enter your address.
My friend and I each got different layouts, they come out as two separate sheets so no need for scissors!
And the pictures?
I’ve taken this machine quite a few times so here are some other examples…
IMG_3113 (3)
I think you can definitely see that the facial features are much more defined than regular machines and yet still flattering, I think the circles under my eyes are a bit prominent in the ones we took on the review day but it was straight after work at the end of the week!
Lady By Tokyo is worth a shot especially if you want something with a different look to the normal purikura. It has also remained in the top three ranking at my local game centre since it was released.


  1. This machine disappointed me in so many ways. It made my eyes superextremelyHUGE (the pic I have on my blog on the left) and there are just some plain backgrounds to choose from :/ It's nice that they think about older fans of purikura but I think there could be a lot improvement. Old doesn't mean boring (: But nice review as usual :3

    1. Did you try the different eye settings? I thought this was one of the least crazy looking to be honest!

      I think it depends what mood I'm in as to whether I like it or not...

  2. I like this machine, it looks very sophisticated and simple enouhg to use. I like how you choose the eyes, skin and background AFTER taking the pictures!

    1. I like that too, although I usually just go for the most natural setting anyway, still it's fun to click the largest just to have a look!

  3. yeah, i don't like it either! (as you know :p) i much prefer Milk Beauty ^_-

    but good review!

    1. I do like this machine, that one up there with "forever friends" is one of my favourites!

  4. シンプルだけれども、可愛いですネ。私の住んでいるアメリカにもあったらいいのにな〜

    1. シンプルはポイントですね、プリクラとフォトブースの間ぐらいかな。

  5. I found ur blog today and I'm waaaaay tooo addicted into it, at the very first sight :D Even I've never tried out purikura or never been into Japan, I find those machines really fascinating<3 I guess it's because I'm graphic designer... But gosh, I want to try out those too... ._. <3 Thanks for the awesome blog <3

    1. Purikura is so much fun! I can see why a graphic designer would have a special interest in them too.

      They have older machines in other countries so maybe you can try one day :)

  6. Hi samantha, may i ask if there are places in japan that has older purikura machines? Thanks

    1. Yes, there are. If you are looking the best places would be smaller independent game centres that can't afford to update a lot. Also malls, and sometimes karaoke foyers have older machines.


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