The good people over at Pink Tentacle are rapidly becoming our go-to source for information on the bright, colorful, and often completely insane world of Japanese pop culture, and this week, they've hipped us to something we were completely unaware of: Itasha.
Literally translated as "painful vehicle" (for what I'm going to go ahead and say are pretty obvious reasons), "Itasha" is the term for a fad where otaku customize their cars with paint, stickers and detailing featuring their favorite cute anime and game girls in what appears to be a contest to create the most over-the-top mobile moé nightmare.
They're so amazingly gaudy that it's hard to turn away, which is why today, I've gathered up a few of my favorites.
Now I'm not a judgmental person (long-time readers will recognize this as a lie) and I'm totally cool with displaying your fandom however you want, but seriously, there is nothing about this picture that doesn't point straight to "sexual predator." I mean, even without all the decals, we're still starting with a van that has a RealDoll in the passenger seat. It's hard to come back from that.
Oddly enough, the cars driven by women actually seem to be less "girly" than the ones shown with men, although to be fair, a gun-metal gray finish and a super-deformed Anime schoolgirl don't really hide the fact that you're totally driving a station wagon.
Of course, when this is your competition, it's not really difficult to be less "girly." Still, it's nice to actually know what it would look like to live in a world where "The Fast and the Furious" was directed by Lisa Frank.
There is nothing you can say that will convince me this is not all part of an extremely elaborate Travis Touchdown
Multiple schoolgirl decals? Check. Toys on the dashboard? Check. Sex dolls in the passenger seat? Double check. Ladies and gentlemen... we just hit Creep Bingo.
Huh. Sunglasses and a black leather jacket really can make you look cool no matter what you're doing. Well-played.
Here's the thing about having 8 -- that's eight -- digital video screens in your car, including directly above and directly behind the steering wheel: Still not as dangerous as one teenager with unlimited texting.
I'm unclear on international law here, but: Does driving around with a sex pillow qualify you for the carpool lane?
For more, check out the full gallery from photographer Tomoyuki Sakaguchi, which can also be bought as an iPad photo book!