QotW: What are your thoughts on itasha?

Over the weekend I took my toddler to a local show to see some cars. Though it wasn’t advertised as an itasha event, fully 85 percent of the cars there had anime characters plastered all over them, even cars like Dodge Chargers and assorted traditional muscle cars. Maybe this is yet another sign that I’m getting old, but I don’t understand the appeal of the “painful car” subculture.

What are your thoughts on itasha?

The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “How has car ownership affected your love life?“.

The comments this week were some of the best we’ve ever received for a QotW. Reading everyone’s stories of love (or love lost) were truly entertaining. Even my wife enjoyed them, and she reads rarely reads what I write.

If we learned anything, it’s that the car most likely to spark romance is the Miata, which is only natural for a fun two-seater that begs to be driven. Taylor C. and Ian G. both provided evidence of that. Is there anything the Miata can’t do?

Kevin H. reassured us that obsession with a car does not necessarily mean family turmoil. desktopspeedshop revealed that it was his fiancée who launched his love of old Hondas. Meanwhile, Curtis‘ S13 and Supra ownership proved to be a stronger bond than the one with his partner, and vic showed us what true devotion (to a car) spanning multiple decades and relationships really means. Also, we hope Jonathan P. can join the ranks of the non-lonely drivers’ club soon.

We wish we could’ve picked more than one this week, but we had to give it to Shaun. His story of his JNC’s janky electronics led to a meet-cute — and the way that relationship fizzled out — was straight out of a rom com script.

An introduction AND breakup:

Introduction: In 1994 I met my first serious girlfriend. After work, she would stand out front waiting for her ride home and my workplace was directly opposite. We finished around the same time, and one day I had the courage to go over and introduce myself. She immediately replied “what took you so long? I was wondering when you’d come and speak to me!” Perplexed, I said “what do you mean?” It turns out she thought I had been ‘winking’ at her with my car for a few months. At the time I drove a white 1983 NA Nissan Exa. Wiring problems caused left headlight to randomly pop up and down when starting cold. I just went with it.

Breakup: A few months later, the same girl got her first car – a banged up green Datsun Stanza (82?). To celebrate, I bought her a cap with ‘DATSUN’ in letters on the front. She immediately put it on and found the nearest mirror, then said “NUSTAD…..what does that mean?” My jaw dropped. Broke up shortly thereafter.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

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16 Responses to QotW: What are your thoughts on itasha?

  1. BlitzPig says:

    Just another manifestation of the constant search for individual identity in our society that just turns out to be another form of what I call “collective individualism”. For further research on the subject, see “Harley Davidson”.

    • Alex Larsen says:

      also see scion, or rpf01s.

    • Michael K. says:

      But RPF01s are actually good.

      To me, Itasha seems like it’s more about anime fandom than cars, but what do I know? I still remember the days when we got made fun of for the roll call on the doors. If each sticker adds 5hp then an anime wrap must add 100, right?

      • Alex Larsen says:

        Yeah Rpf01s are great. But when everyone installs them to be unique it kinda takes something away from them. Much like my point with Scion, they sold tons of accessories, which many owners bought to be unique, but when every car like yours sports the same looks its kinda a moot point. Functionally they are fantastic but so are many other wheels.

    • Ian N says:

      Reminds me of one of my favourite scenes in Monty Python’s Life of Brian – where he announces to the assembled multitude “you’re ALL individuals!, to which they, in perfect unison, answer, “Yes, we’re all individuals!”.

  2. Jeremy A. says:

    You know what? I think it’s cool. It’s not for me. But it’s cool. There’s so much toxicity and hate between the different segments of car culture, but I’ve come to realize, we all have the one passion, cars, and Itasha does nothing to hurt me. It’s just some people having fun with their cars.

  3. speedie says:

    I happen to like anime and watch quite a bit of it with my son, so I actually like seeing itasha and knowing who the characters are. I was at a small car gathering last year and there was a young man in an itasha Mitsubishi Eclipse. Now there are maybe twenty cars at this gathering consisting mainly of American muscle cars, a spattering of European exotics and a Miata or two. So here is this young man, who is obviously proud of his ride, standing there and feeling a bit out of place when a sixty year old guy (me) walks up to him and starts talking to him about the character on his car. I don’t remember the actual character, but it was your typical big breasted, make an adolescent boy get a nose bleed type. This led to a longer discussion about the whole itasha scene and personal expression. After I walked away I saw a couple of other people who had been listening in our conversation, go over and ask him about the “wrap” on his car. Label/classify it anyway you want, in the end it’s all about the love of cars and expressing one’s individuality.

  4. Land Ark says:

    I learned a phrase recently that struck a chord for me and I think it applies here.
    I’m not going to yuck your yum.

    Now, I’m an old guy so I feel silly writing it but the thought behind it represents my thoughts on the matter. It’s your car, what you do with it has zero impact on my (or anyone else’s) life, so do what you want if it makes you happy.

    It’s no different than donks having company themes like McDonalds or Lucky Charms. We survived that, we’ll survive this too before folks move on to the next fad.

  5. Lee L says:

    It’s one of those things that in small amounts seems pretty cool. Like if you’re at a car show and 1 in every 20 cars has it, it’s unique and fresh. I don’t think I’d go to a car show that’s all this style.

    It’s still better than the hellaflush style, though.

  6. Dimitry Mochkin says:

    I think it’s one of those things that when done right, look amazing, when done bad, look absolutely horrendous.
    A great example of it is Good Smile Racing who literally run Hatsune Miku liveries at Super GT and every one of those cars look spectacular.
    The real question of the day is when will we see Itasha in F1?

    • Mark F Newton-John says:

      You’ll see itasha on race cars as soon as a major studio decides to spend a ton of money to sponsor a team. And that’s hardly going to happen since the studios pay animators crap, so they certainly do not have the money.

  7. Mark F Newton-John says:

    I’ve been an anime fan since the beginning in the 80s, and always wanted to do one. But then again, my wife has something to say about that…

  8. Kevin H. says:

    I love Itasha cars, especially domestics. No I don’t plan on styling my car(s) with the anime I love but I understand the need to individualize, stand out, and seek attention…. My car shoots fire out of the tailpipe so who am I to judge.
    In February of 2020, days before the pandemic hit Houston, I showed my wagon at Radwood Austin. A lot of really impressive cars showed up but what parked next to me was a C4 Vette in a clean but driven aqua green, oh and yeah a giant Waifu decal across the hood and anime down the sides and rear window. Everyone’s face looked as if a skunk was walking by and it made me literally laugh out loud. When the young owner, maybe 20 at most, parked he parked next to me. I immediately stopped what I was doing and went over to him as he was getting out of his itasha C4 Vette and praised him for his originality and bravery. He grinned from ear to ear and told me how he gets nothing but hate for his car, but “loves how it angers people.” Elitist are always going to hate on originality and individualism. I deal with it quite a bit due to my modifications and vehicle choices, but I get way more love because I do what I want to do to MY car. BTW the itasha waifu C4 Corvette was a manual, bonus props there!

    • speedie says:

      I did the same thing for a young guy who showed up at a local car event dominated by American muscle cars. He was very proud of his ride. I actually knew the character on his car so I went right over and started a great conversation about the anime the character was from and the whole itasha scene. When I left I saw a number of people who had been listening start to ask him questions about his car. Its all about the love of cars and personal expression and it is all good.

  9. Bryan Kitsune says:

    I could write a whole sentence about my thoughts on itasha.

  10. Shaun says:

    I never even heard of itasha until I read this post. But I love it.

    Why? It’s a further sub-group of a broader culture underpinned by something that we all share – a love of cars and all things automotive. And cars bring us together.
    It doesn’t matter where, when, what or who – sharing the joy of owning and/or loving cars always overcomes every other barrier.

    An itasha C4 might not be my thing, but I would always support and encourage anyone if its their thing, and fight to defend their right to express themselves however they see fit.

    So yeah, I love itasha. We all should.

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