Anime and Automobiles
Anime’s influence on car design
Letting your mind go to places you never thought it would through watching just a simple tv show or movie is something everyone has experienced as a child. Kids growing up and playing hockey would look back and realize that they would have never been in that position if it weren't for them watching their very first hockey match on tv when they were young. It's truly a beautiful thing. Every single profession or hobby can inspire someone through entertainment. All of this is how the car community, specifically the JDM (Japanese domestic market) community, got as big as it is today.
Anime has always had an impact on North American culture, so it wouldn’t be a surprise that it’d influence car culture as well. “Japanese anime has always been very influential in North America. Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon are prime examples” said John Maye, Japanese car enthusiast and owner of @jdmmontreal on Instagram.
The main anime that brought the North American car community to where it is now is a show called “Initial D”. This 1998 Japanese animated series is about a teenager named Takumi Fujiwara and his journey to become the best drifter in Japan. “Initial D was not shown on large platforms in Canada. But, it still developed a large cult following and spread quickly for car enthusiasts” said John Maye. The widespread interest in this show brought over culture from Japan that we would have never thought of here, in North America. The Touge scene and drifting are prime examples of this.
Not only do these car based animes influence driving styles and the way people perceive racing, but it also influences the way people modify their cars whether it be aesthetic
modifications or performance modifications. “I always see people putting anime stickers on their cars. Sometimes I even see a RedSuns sticker for the cultured to understand” (the Akagi RedSuns are a drifting team from Initial D) said Carlo Arquilla, owner of a 2004 Porche Carrera 4s. Teens would modify their cars as they would in shows like Wangan Midnight to be able to drift like their favourite anime character.
Although these are all positive points on the influence of anime on car culture, there are also very large negatives as well. Considering the rising popularity of JDM culture, the cars featured in these anime have increased in price and rarity significantly due to the high demand. The cars being discontinued for years didn't help either. There has also been a sudden surge in street racing which hinders road safety.
No matter the circumstance, the car community will forever find ways to add style and power to their vehicles, and anime has brought the car community one step closer. The JDM culture will thrive for a very long time, just like it has been for the last 20 years. Car manufacturers are realizing this and are bringing back JDM classics in newer models such as the new 2021 Supra. But this begs the question, how do you feel about these crazed anime fans taking speed to your streets?