Baka gaijin just don't get it.
You better watch out. Having a credit card with Idolmaster characters plastered across the surface is good enough to get you arrested in the U.S these days. That is precisely what happened to a Japanese Twitter user’s father on a recent trip to Los Angeles. The card was so cute that it was mistaken as a fake, which resulted in the Japanese man being arrested by local authorities. Maybe a wonderful Disneyland trip was ruined in the process but we may never know the full extent of what actually happened.
Idolmaster is a popular simulation game with countless spinoffs, where the player assumes the role of a producer for pop idols. The main goal is to groom your attractive idols for stardom through a random assortment of mini-games and activities. For lovers of the game, the official Idolmaster Visa credit card is available through the Mitsui Sumitomo bank in Japan. It comes with a cast of pop idols covering the front of the card so you can be cooler than all your friends who have generic blue and gray credit cards.
While it might not seem odd to have a credit card with pictures of idols from a game or cartoon in Japan, the same can’t be said for the U.S. Anything too cute for comfort might be seen as a child’s toy and any man carrying a cutesy card might raise a few eyebrows as well. Let’s face it, not too many men carry around credit cards with adorable young girls on them in the U.S., so it’s not surprising that authorities suspected this man of fraud (it seems that my Labrador Retriever credit card is the threshold for cute as I’ve never had a problem using it in the U.S.).
What is surprising is that they actually went as far as arresting the man for using his anime idol girls as a form of payment. Thankfully the man’s bank in Japan followed up on the case quickly, offering their apologies and telling the man to wait until the evening for a free meal. Talk about compensation. Granted it’s not really the bank’s fault but couldn’t they offer a bit more?
Luckily, it’s not every day we face such bizarre circumstances. However, there are a couple of things we all can learn from this credit card mishap. Whenever you find yourself abroad and in trouble you had better contact the nearest embassy or consulate and talk to someone face to face. Otherwise nobody will understand why you were carrying around a suspiciously cute credit card.
Finally, it’s probably a good idea to not use credit cards in the U.S. or abroad with cute cartoon or video game girls unless you are seeking some personal time with the police. Your best bet would be to save those for use in Japan where they are perfectly acceptable forms of payment.