Hentai Fans Airbrush a Mangallardo
- November 18, 2008 |
- 3:50 am |
- Categories: Autopia WTF? Dept.
In what is the most bizarre cross-cultural phenomenon we’ve seen in ages, a Japanese adult videogame publisher has combined his love of attractive women, exotic Italian cars and eroge into ultra-exclusive itasha — the Japanese fad of painting cars with comic and videogame characters.
Age Soft chairman Yoshida-san made a fortune designing and selling hentai and eroge games such as Muv-Luv. Some of that money obviously went into his itasha Lamborghini Gallardo and Lancia Stratos, decorated with characters from the games created by his company. Francesco Fondi, our gaming gearhead amico at blog.gamersweb.it sent along some pix and commentary. “Probably the purists will be disgusted at the sight of cars like these covered with characters from manga, but we like them a lot,” he told us.
We’re told that itasha is a Japanese portmanteau that combines the words itai (painful) and shai (vehicle) and sounds like the word meaning “Italian car” (Itaria-sha). While it’s exciting to see some manga fans have great taste in cars that are often painful to own, we must admit it’s a little painful to see the otherworldly Bertone-designed Lancia Stratos — fewer than 500 were made — covered in half-naked cartoon characters. More photos and video after the jump.
Manga has gained worldwide acceptance beyond the obsessed otaku, further promoted by Prime Minister Taro Aso who reads up to 20 comics a week. In October, Aso praised the cultural significance of manga to adoring crowds in the otaku enclave of Akihabara. “Japan’s subculture of animation has been overwhelmingly accepted in the world,” Aso said. “Japan’s culture is not only kabuki. Comic books, our subculture power, have been widely read in not only Asia but Europe, the United States, Latin America.”
Now, the comic-book culture has been combined with car culture in itasha, which has spread beyond Italian cars. Big-eyed, spiky-haired girls are plastered on all makes and models from the German BMW M5 to the domestic Toyota Estima.
Investors take note: Apparently itasha is immune to the worldwide economic meltdown. “People will cut out wasteful spending and pay for the things they really want,” software executive Hirohiko Yoshida told Bloomberg.com. Technology executive Koyo Yamamoto said he’d gladly continue to spend more than $4,000 yearly putting decals on his GT-R, while 21-year-old Makoto Yagami estimates that he spends more than 80 percent of his income on manga-ling his Nissan 180. As a condition of the bailout, we suggest that Detroit start exporting to Japan Malibus and Sebrings plastered with the women of D?ky?sei.