Since the implementation of electronic money and smart cards, it was only a matter of time before a company in Japan combined the tech with anime to somehow let people pay for anime goods with actual anime goods. First to this is Sony, who are embedding their FeliCa contactless RFID smart card system (which is most known for being the backbone to JR East’s Suica system) into Puella Magi Madoka Magica keychains!
While you use them to tap onto trains in Tokyo, the FeliCa tech in the Madoka Magica acrylic keychains is connected to Rakuten’s Edy prepaid rechargeable electronic money system. You load up the Madoka or Homura keychains at any compatible ATM (Seven-Eleven convenience store ATMs commonly have Edy charging functions) and that’s it, just tap your favorite girl at a contactless terminal with an Edy logo and be on your way to have a magical day.
Sony is using the Madoka Magica keychains as a public proof-of-concept to showcase that the tech inside acrylic keychains is functions and can be used for other properties–even going so far as to put an inquiry form on the website for businesses interested in collaborating on their own productions.
While at this time the Madoka Magica keychains only work with Rakuten’s Edy system, Sony’s FeliCa is used all over the world for contactless payments, transport cards, and as swipe cards for universities and other organizations. FeliCa is widespread in Japan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia, with some uses in Europe and the United States. This means that while the anime keychains are currently only tied to Rakuten’s contactless payment system, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be used for other functions in the future.
Each Madoka Magica keychain will be up for pre-order on the Aniplex+ online store from May 1 to May 31 for delivery around July. Each keychain is 2,980 yen (US$27.37) and sadly doesn’t come with any money pre-loaded.
Daryl Harding is a Japan Correspondent for Crunchyroll News. He also runs a YouTube channel about Japan stuff called TheDoctorDazza, tweets at @DoctorDazza, and posts photos of his travels on Instagram.