Completely embracing that virtual reality and actual reality are two different things.

While Tora no Ana is much appreciated as a retailer for independently produced dojinshi manga, the company has also branched out into other branches of otaku wellness. It’s started an otaku dating service, for example, and now it’s looking to provide something not only for anime fans with lonely hearts, but those with sore feet too.

Within the year, Tora no Ana plans to open a virtual reality relaxation center in the Akihabara neighborhood, Tokyo’s otaku mecca. Customers slip on a VR headset which transports them into a simulated space where a cute anime girl is waiting to rub the tension out of their muscles. Meanwhile, back in the world of reality, a licensed massage therapist is on hand to actually perform the treatment.

During the massage, which eventually works its way up to the customer’s shoulders, the anime girl will ask questions, with the customer selecting responses using a handheld controller, making the whole thing bit like a romance simulator video game. A recent demonstration of the system featured Yui Hanasaka, from popular anime series One Room, but VR Relaxation, as the service is called, also has two original characters, created by illustrator Rouka.

As you can see, VR Relaxation’s design sheets include what kind of lingerie one character wears, which suggests there’s supposed to be at least a little sexy excitement mixed in with the relaxation, as does the blushing, pantie-flashing promotional poster artwork. The company also boasts that on successive visits, new conversation topics and story elements will present themselves.

But take a look at the photos from the recent demonstration Tora no Ana held in Akihabara this week, and see if you can spot a discrepancy between the fantasy and reality of the service.

Yep, that’s a male masseuse administering the foot rubs, which means that while the customer is seeing a cute anime girl giving him a massage, it’s actually a dude with his hand all over those otaku feet. And though it might seem like this is simply a result of Tora no Ana only being able to book a male masseur for the three-day demo, another piece of official promotional artwork is totally upfront about the possibility that you’ll actually be getting a massage from a man.

▼ And possibly a pretty hairy one.

Under ordinary circumstances, there’s nothing weird about getting a massage from a man, and likewise, there are plenty of people in the world who enjoy being touched by a guy. Still, it’s a bit of an odd choice for VR Relaxation to go so heavily towards girliness for its virtual attendants, even billing the service as “a dream come true with your 2-D wife,” but then do the complete opposite with the human factor, especially when there’s no shortage of female massage therapists in Japan.

Sources: Tora no Ana, Panora via Jin
Images: Tora no Ana

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s currently as stubbly as that illustrated masseur.