In May 2008, Hideo Kojima held a press conference for Metal Gear Solid 4 that was noteworthy for three things: The first MGS4 gameplay was shown, Hideo Kojima arrived with a silly haircut, and young model Akina Minami graced the stage.
Besides the stealth and the guns, a Metal Gear mainstay is the pretty ladies.
Some of the ladies go on to nothing. One became an international stripping fugitive. Akina Minami became famous.
But Minami was thinner than the typical Metal Gear pin-up. And man, did she ever drink soda.
By late 2008, Minami was one of the most popular pin-up models turned "tarento", Japanese-English for celebrities who specialize in appearing on variety shows.
The then 19-year-old even dressed as Pikachu to throw out the first pitch at a Yakult Swallows' game. She also lent her voice to Pokémon anime, Pokémon: Girantina and the Sky Warrior.
(Kojima Productions | Konami)
Minami was more leggy than curvy, and part of a wave models that, in the past few years, have redefined Japanese ideas of thin—and not necessarily for the better.
These slim models were in stark contrast to the models and idols of the turn of the century, who were often "round", or what doctors refer to as "healthy" and "normal". These young girls would appear on show after show, stuffing their face with food and talking about how they loved to eat.
But in the last few years, models, such as Aki Hoshino, have become painfully skinny, trying to achieve that elusive ideal body weight. They appear in fashion magazine after fashion magazine, divulging how they cut such a slim figure.
Minami's favorite food is Coca-Cola. In the above TV show, Minami is having a coke for breakfast, which lots of people have. Apparently, she also has five cokes every night for dinner, which makes it sound like the secret to her slimness is malnutrition.
While her actual diet is lacking, her gaming diet appears to be extremely healthy. On a recent variety program, she showed off her gaming collection, which includes all three consoles, Metal Gear Solid IV, and whole bunch of DS games. Supposedly it's US$14,000 worth of gaming, which does sound rather high. Still, just think how many cokes you can buy with that!
Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.
(Top photo: KTV)