Everything starts out fine, but it turns out it’s impossible for this beautiful hostess to drink.

With pretty much the whole world being told to stay home as much as possible, the restaurant industry is in a tough spot right now. Some establishments are coping by switching their focus to take-out orders, but what about places where customers aren’t coming so much for the food and drinks, but for the comely company of the staff serving them?

That’s the problem being faced by Japan’s girls bars, hostess bar variants where the bartenders are all attractive young women. But savvy entrepreneurs will tell you that every crisis is also an opportunity, and Japanese Twitter user @nariyu hit on what seemed like a great plan: a virtual girls bar, operated through online video chat app Zoom.

In many way, it’s really a brilliant idea. Guys don’t go to girls bars because of the drinks’ low prices or high quality, so a beer or canned cocktail from the customers’ own fridge will do just as well. And since girls bars, like hostess bars, are supposed to operate under “look (and talk) but don’t touch” rules, real-time video chat should be almost as good as the real thing.

@nariyu even put together a concept video, but quickly ran into a problem.

▼ “I was going to open a virtual girls bar with Zoom and make a killing, but whenever I take a sip of my drink this scary-looking dude appears, so the bar is now closed.”

Sure enough, after flashing a perky smile and waving girlishly at the camera, when @nariyu lifts a cup and takes a sip…

this guy suddenly appears, before the woman blips back into existence.

So what’s going on? Using a video filter, @nariyu is overlaying his actual face (the guy’s) with the young woman’s. The filter is able to keep up as he changes his expression and moves his head, but when he lifts the mug to his lips, the camera can’t see his mouth any longer. Without that major feature, the program no longer recognizes @nariyu’s face as a face, and so it immediately stops applying the filter, unceremoniously stripping away his girls bar bartender mask.

Along the way to racking up two million views and plenty of laughs, @nariyu’s video has some commenting that no, they don’t want to drink with him…but not because they feel tricked.

“I spit up my caramel latte laughing, so you owe me a refill.”
“I was drinking some tea as I watched this, and now it’s gone up my nose. So painful.”
“Whenever she takes a sip, the magic spell is broken.”
“I think you could solve this problem if you used a straw,”

On the other hand, even though the entire video looks to have been made with @nariyu’s tongue in his cheek, some people think he should press on with offering drinking companionship, but just drop the girls bar concept.

“Due to the subliminal suggestion, I now think you look really cute too.”
“You’re a really handsome dude!”
“Please open the virtual bar. I want to drink with that scary-looking guy.”

So just like with anime-style catgirl YouTuber Nora Cat, sometimes people are happy to see the real person underneath all those video filters.

Source: Twitter/@nariyu via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@nariyu
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