[[quoteright:350:[[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/opanchugo.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Raising Heart Excelion, Drive Ignition!]]

There is an unfortunate amount of truth in the slogan "Anime: CrackIsCheaper". 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 - most often featuring female characters and a heavily {{Moe}} aesthetic. Literally translated as "Painful car", this is a pun based on the fact that "ita" can also stand for "Italian", a reference to the rather flamboyant/extravagant exterior styling of Italian supercars. The pain in question is referring to either the car being a self-acknowledging eyesore, or the painful embarrassment 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 [[MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha Nanoha fan-car]] pictured above, nicknamed ''Opanchu-go''. As per SturgeonsLaw, 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 and even proper racing cars (explained below) 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.

[[https://i.imgur.com/wjfCGd9.jpg Speaking of racing cars turned into itashas, this is what happens when an itasha is entered into Japan's Super GT series.]] [[http://nerdreactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Ikamusume-002_R_c_600w.jpg And they're not]] [[https://c1.staticflickr.com/2/1609/25884145112_a053403058_b.jpg the only ones either.]]

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.

A SubTrope of PimpedOutCar (otaku-style). Compare NoseArt, which involves similar (but much less geeky) paintjobs on planes and other vehicles.

!!Fictional Examples
* The TransformingMecha of the team in ''Series/HikoninSentaiAkibaranger'', named Machine Itasshar, is an itasha car that transforms into a robot called Itasshar Robo.
* ''VideoGame/AceCombat6FiresOfLiberation'' takes this trope to extreme (and literal -- they're on airplanes) heights with ''VideoGame/TheIdolmaster''-themed paintjobs. Of course, when you're flying a fighter jet that can blow anything else out of the sky, [[RealMenWearPink no one will question your manliness]].
** ''VideoGame/AceCombatAssaultHorizonLegacy +'' later does this with Creator/{{Nintendo}} characters, unlocked by Nintendo's Toys/{{amiibo}} toys.
* The ''VideoGame/ForzaMotorsport'' racing video game series (from the second game onwards) has won some popularity among itasha fans due to its robust car-painting system; it is quite possible that more ''Forza'' itasha exist than real-life itasha.
* The Playstation Vita release of VideoGame/RidgeRacer had palette swaps of the available cars based on the characters of ''VideoGame/TheIdolmaster'', just like Ace Combat 6.
** Unfortunately, [[NoExportForYou they were only released in Japan.]]
* The [[HeroSecretService WOTA]] from Anime/AKB0048 pilot mechs with 00-themed paintjobs.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Carmageddon}} Carmageddon: TDR 2000]]'' has The Mecha, a [[RiceBurner tuned up]] Ford Ka driven by an {{Animesque}} girl, a rather oddball in the series. Apart from the distinctive anime girl vinyl, its also decked with [[WeaponizedCar wheel blades and a pumping bumper blade]] designed to [[VideoGameCrueltyPotential cut up pedestrians]].
* ''[[VideoGame/{{GrandTheftAutoV}} Grand Theft Auto Online]]'' introduced the Sultan RS in the January 2016 update. One of the optional liveries is themed after Princess Robot Bubblegum, a fictional anime within the GTA universe.
* ''VideoGame/EuroTruckSimulator'' has a fairly generous assortment of third party anime-themed truck liveries available on the Steam Workshop.
* One of these is in Akihabara in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}''. Morgana thinks the car has been vandalized.

!!RealLife examples
* 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 HardRock / HeavyMetal scene and VisualKei 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.
* The Pikachu Volkswagen Beetle and Lugia Chrysler PT Cruiser promoting ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'', circa 1999-2000.
* The Super GT cars mentioned above. Despite the looks, the main itasha car (GSR & Team Ukyo's [[Music/{{Vocaloid}} Hatsune Miku-themed]] car) that raced in Super GT is actually a three-time champion in the [=GT300=] class.
* Anime conventions such as Anime Expo in Los Angeles and Anime Central in Chicago have a small but dedicated group of attendees who show off their itashas at photoshoots.
* Of course, some model kits are available in Japan for Itasha...
** Beginning with 1/24 scale cars,
** Continuing with Hasegawa's 1/48 and 1/72 ranges of Idol Master modern fighters, similar to (maybe related to) the ''Ace Combat'' example above...
** Add Bandai's 1/100 Macross Frontier valkyrie series done up in such a style, in both a simpler fighter-mode kit and a transformable version...
** And there was once even a modern aircraft carrier in 1/700 scale available.