Dialogue in new Nintendo Switch video game is just fine for little kids, but “a form of harassment” for older fans.

While it’s a common misconception that all anime is aimed at adults, in Japan you can find passionate adult fans of just about any anime series, even the ones that are primarily for children. Sometimes, the adult fanbases become large enough that they get products marketed specifically to them, like high-end One Piece swimsuit figures with busty, barely clothed characters pouring liquids of indeterminate origin over themselves, but other times grown-up fans have to make do with playing with the same toys that were designed for kiddies.

Case in point: magical girl anime franchise Pretty Cure, more commonly known as PreCure, just had a new video game adaptation come out for Nintendo’s Switch. Titled Narikids Park Hugtto PreCure it lets players not only team up with the cast of heroines to battle monsters, but also tag along with their everyday alter egos and get a taste of what it’s like to work in a bakery, florist, or hospital. Another game mode, shown here in the game’s promotional video, even gives fans the opportunity to have short conversations with the different Cures.

Though the game was obviously created to please little girls, adult PreCure enthusiast @daikai6 also picked up a copy. Since the game designers didn’t write different dialogue trees for the benefit of grown-ups, adult gamers get asked the exact same questions as the grade school-age target market does, and that’s where the trouble starts.

Context is everything in communication. To a child of five or six, the world is fresh and new, and having their whole life ahead of them gives them virtually limitless potential to dream and indulge their curiosity. So when the cures ask, “When you get older, what do you want to be?” or “Do you like trying new things?”, they serve as great jumping-off points for imagining a happy, fulfilling future.

But to someone who’s already breached adulthood, those conversational prompts probably don’t produce exciting daydreams. Maybe you’ve given up on your childhood goals and had to settle for a dull, routine job which pays the rent, but leaves your emotions in a Monday-to-Friday sludge as you wait for the weekend. “Playing the game as an adult, when you keep getting into conversations like these, it really tests your heart,” tweeted @daikai6. His soul also grew heavy when the Cures asked him “Did you smile and laugh a lot today?” or “Are you giving life your all every day?”, because while a kid who just got home from a day of learning new things at school and playing with their friends might respond with an energetic “Yeah!”, ground-down salarymen are more likely to say “No, not really.”

Other world-weary Twitter commenters shared @daikai6’s pain:

“Feeling pretty damaged after those questions.”
“Nothing sticks you in the heart worse than words like those spoken without malice.”
“Many adults are dissatisfied with their daily lives, and recklessly asking them questions like these is practically a form of harassment.”
“Their words stab me like a knife. I guess that’s what they mean when they say ‘The pen is mightier than a sword.’”

Of course, no one is saying that the game’s designers are wrong for writing the dialogue they did, since the game is, again, meant for little girls (and continuing PreCure’s practice of trying to get them to think about bigger issues than just looking cute and beating up bad guys). Still, maybe this is an example of a time when growing up means you should stop playing with kids’ toys, not because it’s embarrassing, but because you might get hurt.

Source: Twitter/@daikai6 via Jin
Top image: YouTube/876TV

Follow Casey on Twitter, where “laugh a lot” actually is one of his usual daily goals.