Know one thing that, in my view, makes Mega Man Battle Network, among other licenses in the genre, stand out from say, Mega Man Zero or Mega Man X?

Despite the weird, off-the-wall world in which they live, where everything from the microwave to the doghouse is connected to the net, there’s a sort of grounded feel to it, where it’s like a world anyone can easily be a part of. Just about everyone has a PET, and a NetNavi. You read on in-game BBS’s about others, fighting the same viruses and dealing with the same areas you are. And powerful Navis are not uncommon, either. It’s got the feel that you can look at it and say, “I could do that, too.”

One game in Japan, Rockman.EXE 4.5: Real Operation, even seems to capitalize on the idea further, by eliminating the NetOp characters, so that it’s actually you, the person reading this, that is interacting with MegaMan, Roll, or whoever else. Lan’s faults are no longer your own by default.

As a result, Mega Man Battle Network, I find, is rather easy to create one’s own characters for. Unlike your Mega Man Xes or Mega Man Zeros, the heightened status of characters like Lan and Chaud isn’t quite the same. Yes, they’re very good at what they do, but they still seem to adhere to the quality of being human at their core.

It is because of these qualities that I’ve had an idea running through my head for some time now, since about February’s Toyfair in New York City.

My idea is a simple one, and that is to offer a service for fans, and that is to bring them a little closer to the world of Battle Network by customizing their PETs. My own would be black with a gold undercasing, natch. And I figure other people have their own personal color choices that probably don’t coincide with Lan or Chaud’s picks. Heck, they may even have their own symbols they’ve created, as I do.

Now, without actually holding and checking out an Advanced PET, I don’t know what I could do with the symbols, though I have a few ideas. But after looking into it in a few places, I know there is some interest, and I’ve gotten some pointers for how customizing might be possible. But, of course… people want to see it done first.

It’s unfortunate, because I know I could do this, I’m sure of it. But I don’t have the money to make a prototype custom PET, and I doubt there are many who would be interested in being guinea pigs.

Added to the problem is that, well, I haven’t had much luck finding PETs here in Toronto at Wal-Mart, the only place Mattel says has ordered Mega Man NT Warrior product here.

I hoped the Mattel store in Mississauga would perhaps carry them, but they don’t carry stuff less than a year old, save for stuff that may get a new package variant.

I hoped Mattel might be able to sell to me directly, but they’ll only sell to a retailer. Rats.

It’s too bad, because now is the best time for something like this to be tried. American PETs are probably lower in cost and more abundant here than their Japanese cousins.

I thought it’d be a neat hobby, and perhaps a way I could swing a small profit for myself. I’m thinking maybe 5-10 dollars per custom PET, if that. Plus expenses, of course, those being the cost of the PET, materials, and shipping.

I considered maybe the possibility of taking out a loan for it, but was told that’s probably not a good idea. Probably right.

Maybe if I finally get a job, I can put some money aside to buy a PET for a prototype, then take orders on a case-by-case basis. I’ve even considered eBay as a possibility.

Anyway, just to throw a question out there… who would be interested in their own custom PET? I imagine this would only interest those who’d want a PET in the first place, but I might be surprised. It’d be a neat thing to show off for cosplayers at anime conventions, or even non-cosplayers(cosplay as yourself ;P ).

At the very least, I think I’ll still at least try and do mine…

LBD “Nytetrayn”