You’re going to read this article and it’s going to be a marmite situation - you’re either going to love or hate it. If you’re in to #Manga or #Anime this is one solid reason to get into itasha cars, if not this may well make your skin crawl.
A new craze has emerged in Japan over the last couple of decades which merges the ultimate comic nerd with the ‘need for speed’ petrol-head.
#Itasha literally translates to ‘painful car’ - a term which has emerged to describe cars which are painful to look at and no doubt painful to your wallet.
Itasha is a trend which cropped up in Japan in the early 1980s by decorating cars with character plushes and stickers. The fad has exploded in the last few years and keen enthusiasts have started to fork out mega money to decorate their entire cars in female anime characters.
For anime and car enthusiasts the trend is a fantastic way to merge two keen hobbies and show off to your fellow geeks.
Most itasha owners are between 20-30 years old. However, (weirdly) it is becoming common for 60+ year olds to own one of these eye-catching statements.
Lately, more women are getting into the itasha scene by investing in anime stickers of characters they have loved since their toddler years. The craze has helped a lot of people to grow their self-confidence through self-expression, meeting like-minded people and of course being asked to have a picture with their fascinating ride.
The most likely itasha car types, because of their dream car status, are:
Nissan Silvia Nissan Skyline Nissan 180 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Subaru Impreza Toyota Supra Matsuda RX7
You may expect this to be a niche interest however, you can find itasha conventions cropping up all over Japan with the largest one held at Itasha Paradise.
The most common place to find an itasha convention is Akihabara which is the heart of anime in Tokyo. The conventions often consist of karaoke, dancing, cosplay and #drifting.
Most of all they are a way for enthusiasts to come together, geek-out over their favourite characters and feel proud of their identity. Even garages are attracting media attention, UDX garage in Akihabara has become a well known place to display itasha. Here you have to pay to park your car but it’s completely free to have a walk around and view all the different rides.
The most hardcore itasha fanatics will not only have their car dripping in stickers of their 2D crush, but will have even chosen the model because it has the same name, ‘#Toyota-Sera’.
Itasha is moving away from purely anime designs and is spreading out among people keen to flaunt their favourite video game or manga character. The craze is now turning global with itasha conventions spotted in Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, the United States, Brazil and Indonesia.
What are your thoughts on all this? Are you creeped out or currently Googling how to get your hands on a few itashi decals? - post your thoughts below.