They’re loud, proud and never ashamed to show what they like. A pedestrian cannot help but stare at them and real girls, surprisingly are keeping a distance from people who own them. This is about cars called “itasha” it is not just seats they decorate but also the majority of the outer body of the car. This trend has been regaining popularity in Japan due to the nation’s craze towards anime. With the combined words “itai” that means painful and “sha” that means vehicle, they translate as painful cars with the exterior filled with tacky stickers of female anime characters.
They obviously grab attention, especially in groups. You can usually find these cars at Akihabara, the electronics mecca of Japan. Where “otaku” meaning geeks, hang out.
To some otaku people, they just simply like anime characters and want to show it off. These men, however, are not dressed as any anime characters. All of them are employed, single, between 20 to 30 years of age, have good salaries, and have good enough judgment to follow traffic rules. They even remind each other to kill their engines and don’t forget to follow the rules of traffic. Also making sure that no one parks illegally.
These cars are so popular that about more than 300 owners attended the Itasha Meeting on the Fuji Speedway. Another event at the famous formula one venue held the second-largest itasha even right after the Moesha Meeting in Gifu that attracted more than 400 itashas, claimed by some itasha owners.
There are not real statistic on how many itasha are on the road, these loud cars hit the scene late in the late 90s, going through the peaks and lows of just like any other fad today. Some even say that they are on their highest peak now.
The reason behind the itasha craze and its sudden return from the dead state is that the boom is a party because of the explosion of color stickers, which is very inexpensive. Then it spread throughout roughly four years ago.
Unlike before if you want to decorate your car, you have to have it repainted. Sometimes you have to use an air brush, which is undoubtedly expensive. Today, even with the use of home printers, you can make high-quality stickers and using ink that are water resistant. This also contributed to the rise of itasha. After making the design with printers, some owners will even coordinate with a billboard company to complete the detailing of the car and can when it is all said and done you might see yourself spending about $600.
In the Kanto region, Akihabara is the place to hang out for itasha owners. But it is not where the anime covered cars first started out. It actually emerged intermittently across the nation and just landed in a single spot at Akihabara. Even if they don’t have anything to do with the “bosozoku” gangs, drivers seem to be developing their cliques and identities as times goes by.
This can pose a problem when itasha owners start their family. Imagine a father driving a crazy looking car with a baby inside. It could be cool to decorate the baby seats as well to match the whole theme of the car. There are great convertible car seats in the market that can be easily decorated. Rear-facing car seats are also a trend and has advantages in terms of safety.