The story of a high school girl who is active in virtual space During the summer vacation season, anime movies is booming every year. The most notable work in the summer of 2021 is ” Ryu to Soba Kasumi no Hime, “which was just released on July 16th (Friday).
Who is the minister who has become an avatar? It was a hot topic even before it was released because it was the latest work of director Mamoru Hosoda, who is known for
“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time ” and ” Summer Wars. ” The story’s main character is a 17-year-old female high school student, Tin, who lives in the countryside of Kochi prefecture, which is rich. I lost my mother in an accident when I was young and live with my father. Tin, who loved to sing with her mother, couldn’t sing because of her mother’s death. One day, Tin learns about the existence of a virtual world “U” on the Internet where more than 5 billion people gather all over the world. With “U,” you can create your own alter ego “As” and live a completely different life. Tin will be able to sing as an As named “Bell” and soon become a popular diva worldwide. However, suddenly in front of her, a mysterious existence called a “dragon” appears … The critical point of this work is the virtual world “U” on the Internet. In the movie “Summer Wars,” produced by director Hosoda in 2009 (Heisei 21), a virtual world called “OZ” appeared, but I’m looking forward to seeing how “U” in this work works.
A virtual world that is close to you
By the way, what kind of impression do you have of this virtual space? There may still be many people who have the image of something that appears in fiction, such as anime. However, not only that, but some measures that virtually drop the real world have already been developed. It is used in a surprisingly familiar place, so let’s take a look at an example. A technology called “digital twin” converts natural scenery into data instead of a fictitious set and reproduces it in virtual space. It is a word that means to digitally produce a world that looks like reality, like a “twin.” The “Tokyo 3D Visualization Demonstration Project” is currently underway in Tokyo, intending to realize this digital twin. By analyzing the urban space on a computer and building a prediction model, we aim to develop a better living environment, simulating the congestion situation from traffic data in the city. As part of this project, a 3D city model of the Nishi-Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Roppongi areas was created. The video released by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on YouTube visualizes the situation such as congestion, office congestion, and weather. Of particular interest is the “shade route search” in the road navigation function. Typically, the shortest route is displayed in the navigation, but by adding the sunshine condition that changes over time, it will find the course that minimizes the time of the sun. Although there are issues to be considered, such as data accuracy, privacy, and intellectual property rights, it can be said that the digital twin has the potential to bring about such a more convenient life.
A department store that virtually discovers possibilities
In addition to reproducing the space, there are also examples where users can enjoy moving their avatars. In March 2021, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings recreated the Isetan Shinjuku main store in virtual reality (VR) and launched a service where you can enjoy shopping in a virtual space. The cityscape of the east exit of Shinjuku is reproduced in the dedicated app, and there is an Isetan store in it. Users can move around the store, which is born with virtual space technology, in the form of an avatar, and talk with sales staff. And each product has an EC site link, and if you like it, you can enjoy shopping by purchasing from each EC site. Behind this focus on attracting customers through digital technology is the spread of the new coronavirus infection from 2020. The aim is to attract new younger generations, and rural consumers as store sales decline. I want to pay attention to how these attempts will bring about changes in future purchasing behavior.
Are you utilizing the country avatars for business meetings?
In recent years, the number of people starting remote work has increased, mainly in central Tokyo. At the same time, the number of business people who use video conferencing systems daily has risen significantly. However, the form of the conference is still evolving. Virtual space technology makes this possible. Synanon (Nishigotanda, Shinagawa-Ku), which develops a VR business, has developed a unique platform called “NEUTRONS” and created the service “NEUTRONS BIZ” for business. I am. NEUTRONS BIZ is a service that allows you to hold meetings in VR space, unlike conventional video conferencing. The user wears a VR headset and enters the “meeting room” in the VR space in the form of his favorite avatar. A meeting is held with the people gathered in this way. Although the avatars that appear on the screen are only the upper body and both hands, they are linked to gestures and mouth movements when speaking. This reduces the stress often pointed out in many video conferencing, such as the timing of remarks being challenging to plan. It can be said that virtual space functions effectively only when multiple people gather in this way.
It’s no longer just for the anime world.
Seen in this way, virtual space can no longer be seen as a story only in anime and fiction. Virtual spaces are already being used in familiar places such as daily life and business sites. There is still a new feeling now, but in the meantime, this may be the norm. If so, it may be said that this is a genuinely historic “transitional period” as the times change.