Mike Stevens | Mar 18, 2009

If you’re as obsessed with animation as you are with cars, you might be the type to pepper your dash and parcel shelf with stuffed toys of your favourite on-screen characters.

But there’s another way. It’s far more costly, but if your goal is to tell the world how much you adore Macross Frontier’s Galactic Fairy Sheryl Nome (what?), there is no better way.

Welcome, then, to the Itasha phenomenon.

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Itasha is a Japanese concept that – apart from being a freaky obsession – boils down to the decoration of cars with popular anime characters. (pronounced ah-ni-may, meaning Japanese animation).

None of this is done for promotional purposes, mind you. It’s almost always undertaken by the car’s owner, for no other reason than to express his or her love for the characters sprawled over the bonnet of their ride.

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The range of cars Itasha is seen on knows no bounds. As you can see in our gallery, owners of ‘JDM’ Toyota Caldinas right through to BMW Z4s and Lamborghini Gallardos are taking part.

Even an ultra-rare Lancia Stratos HF is wandering around Japan coated with big-eyed big-breasted cartoon girls.

At the end of the day, it’s perhaps not that odd, really. As much as we might laugh at Itasha cars, spare a thought for the mass of airbrushed and vinyl-wrapped cars getting around Australia and the US, featuring characters like Spider-Man, The Hulk, or any number of demonic or seductive images.

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On second thought, a lot of us laugh at those as well…

Gallery

[all images from sankakucomplex.com – warning: adult-oriented content]

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