Japanimation and manga revolutionized the art of comics and integrated much of car culture into its youth-oriented, often tech-heavy dramatic fantasies. Most famously, "Initial D" profiled a drift-happy tofu delivery guy and his black-on-white Toyota. These are Jalopnik readers' picks for ten other vehicles that deserve to star in their own manga/anime series.
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(Illustration: Jason Torchinsky)
10.) Nissan Juke
Suggested By: burglar wants something air cooled
How it fits in the story: The Toad is the Pokemon character that got traded to Nissan in exchange for a few unused Pike proposals. The overachiever Juke-R would bring a valuable dose of aggro to the proceedings, but the normal model's absurd styling and giggly personality make it close to anime on wheels as it sits.
Photo Credit: Automotive Rhythms
9.) Corvette ZR-1
How it fits in the story: Big powerful American cars are not uncommon in anime worlds, where their V-8 thunder and gaudy styling help push past the boundaries of reality. The ZR-1's blend of massive power, serious technology, and arresting presence brings enough action to make a Gundam mobile suit look outdated.
Photo Credit: yann.redleaf
8.) Isuzu VehiCROSS
Suggested By: Aldairion
How it fits in the story: The sci-fi oddness of the VehiCROSS may have limited its appeal here in America, but the gawky looks and off-road capability could almost be by some writer's special request. The VehiCROSS would be the perfect official vehicle of a a terraforming colony.
Photo Credit: kat_Evans
7.) Mitsuoka Orochi
Suggested By: Defender90
How it fits in the story: A perennial favorite in Ugliest Car On The Planet contests, the Orochi would do very well in a setting where, say, a nuclear event that makes Fukushima look like a birthday cake has melded animals and machines into wheeled bioplastic creatures. Or at least that's one way to understand the looks.
Photo Credit: James Cheuk
6.) Toyota GT 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ
Suggested By: NEON wants moar torksteer
How it fits in the story: Hachi-roku Truenos like Initial D's panda are the most immediate inspiration for the Toyota-Subaru joint venture sports coupes. It would only be fair to let one take its rightful place on Gunma prefecture's mountain roads after dark.
Photo Credit: Toyota
5.) Lamborghini Miura
Suggested By: ikaiyoo
How it fits in the story: Everything that's wrong about the Orochi is right about the Miura. Still one of the all-time heartstoppingly gorgeous designs forty-five years after its introduction, the Miura's speed and sinister seductiveness are postmodern urban cool for the fast-forward set.
Photo Credit: 98octane
4.) Mazdaspeed 3
Suggested By: Honda_Hooning_Daily_Driver
How it fits in the story: Crazy clown face meets super-boosted motor meets bionic reflexes meets enough cargo space to carry an Akira-length plot. The MS3 is one of the most entertaining cars on the road today; there's no reason why it shouldn't be one of the most entertaining cars on the printed page, too.
Photo Credit: Eric Hacke
3.) Nissan GT-R
Suggested By: Marimvibe, RIP Sarah Burke
How it fits in the story: Heavy tech. Legendary reputation. Howlingly fast. As Japanese as slurping your noodles. The GT-R is a very serious flight of fancy. Something about it speaks of a certain glowering, bad-ass attitude; maybe Godzilla could be the ride of a yakuza enforcer battling his deep moral conflicts.
Photo Credit: flickr.Marcus
2.) Dekotora vans
Suggested By: Subcompact
How it fits in the story: Dajibans are cool in a sort of Japanese-hipster way, but for pure visual impact nothing comes close to the massively psychedelic dekotoras. Given that they were originally influenced by Gundam and other mid-Seventies manga, returning the favor would be honorable. All that room in back could also make for some interesting interpersonal developments.
Photo Credit: Chris Davis
1.) Mazda Furai
Suggested By: claiborne
How it fits in the story: The brilliant, bizarre, beautifully unreal Furai looks (and sounds) like something not of this Earth. If any vehicle deserves a setting in a hypertech fantasyland, it's this one. The problem here wouldn't be fitting the Furai into a story; it would be coming up with a story that does justice to the car.
Photo Credit: Dave Pinter