Raising Heart Excelion, Drive Ignition!
There is an unfortunate amount of truth in the slogan "Anime: Crack is Cheaper
". Despite this, there are some otaku
who end up with money left over after sinking everything they possibly can into their obsession. For a small and truly devoted subset of these, there is only one option left:
The term itasha
refers to any car which has been modified with vinyls, stickers, or other decorations relating to anime or games. It's a pun on the homonym itasha
(confused yet?), which is a short form for "Italian car" (i.e. Lamborghini, etc.). The "itasha" we're concerned with here replaces the abbreviation "ita" (Italian) with the kanji for "pain", referring to the painful embarassment which the owner is expected to undergo when explaining to his (it's almost always "his") family and friends exactly what the hell he was thinking.
There is an unknown number of these cars currently at large, mostly in Japan; probably the most famous is the Nanoha fan-car
pictured above, nicknamed Opanchu-go
. These run the gamut from beautiful works of art to incredibly tacky rustbuckets with anime stickers slapped on willy-nilly. Surprisingly, even expensive cars such as the Mercedes-Benz SLK have been known to receive the itasha treatment, although (this being Japan) Japanese sports cars like the Impreza or Skyline tend to be more popular.
An itasha magazine, Itasha Graphics
, began publication in May 2008, documenting itasha from all over Japan and providing coverage of itasha meets and interviews with owners.
This is what happens when an itasha is entered into Japan's Super GT series.◊ And they're not◊ the only ones either.◊
of Pimped-Out Car
- The vanning subculture provides plenty of examples of itasha. It also provides some of the most badass promotional/advertising graphics for bands and musicians, as the Hard Rock / Heavy Metal scene and Visual Kei have a fairly large representation among the people also drawn to vanning and its related mechanical work, owing to the presence of a lot of active or retired bosozoku and yankii. At pretty much any vanning meet, there will be at least one van that's either tricked out as a fan tribute, or that's used by a band itself.