No, this is not about anime whose theme is about racing. Rather, let’s take a look at automotive companies that use anime to promote their cars.
My second biggest hobby after being an otaku is being a car nut. Not the modification or performance kind, more like the automotive industry watcher. I monitor things like new cars and how well they selling. So naturally, when I see a car in an anime I try to identify what it was, even though most of the time they are used as backgrounds or as they pass the foreground. A combination of these two hobbies would be my holy grail. But so far, all I see are quick glimpses of cars in an anime scenes, licensed or not.
But one thing is common in cars, advertising. Advertising vehicles is shared around the world, hoping to grab your attention and entice you to visit a dealership. Every culture has their own way to advertise a car, from big budget Super Bowl ads, to funny ads, even controversial ones. Heck, Japan is in on this too.
Let’s take a look into a few product placed anime for the sole purpose of blatantly showing off a vehicle or two. These shows vary from commercial length to full featured episodes. Whether or not they do manage sell a car is up to you…
Toyota is well known for its famous Pruis line of hybrid vehicles. Their family of cars is growing and Toyota hopes to lead the way in Earth friendly technologies. What’s a good way to showcase this? Why make an anime of course! Officially called “PES: Peace Eco Smile,” this is a take on Toyota being an Eco friendly company through the story of an alien visiting Earth. Animated by Studio 4C.
Featured Vehicles: Toyota JDM vehicles, including the Camry, the LFA, and the GT-86.
Subaru’s “Wish Upon the Pleiades”
That’s right Subaru’s wishing upon itself…
Made in conjunction with Gainax, it’s a magical girl anime about saving the
world galaxy. It’s a fun animation run, happily released during the Madoka’s run on the air. Speaking of which, the character colors are strikingly similar (NSFW) between the two shows.
Their staffs are cleverly designed as the cars themselves; I like the conveniently placed headlights as the staff’s wing tassels, plus the engine sounds…
And good news, there is a movie coming soon.
Featured Vehicles: Subaru JDM vehicles, albeit subtle.
Mercedes-Benz’s “Next A-Class”
Production I.G heads this single episode special as a way to promote the Three-Pointed Star’s smallest automotive offering. Honestly, I would like to test drive this one but alas, it’s only available in Europe and Japan. Oh, and it can’t do those awesome jumps in the video.
Featured Vehicles: Mercedes Benz A-Class and classics including the 1955 Blue Wonder and the 300SL Gullwing.
Though not exactly a car, it’s along the same lines so I’ll lump it along here.
Honda first built itself as a scooter/motorcycle company first before working on cars. A connection between this and a group of high school girls owning motorcycles is
absurd only natural to think of. The show is a basic slice-of-life with a theme revolving around friendship. I want a scooter now…
Featured Vehicles: Honda Scooters & Motorcycles, predominantly the Giorno, CBR250R, and Zoomer.
Toyota USA’s “Corolla + Miku”
I just had to include this one, an actual commercial!
Vocaloid 01 endorses her image in hopes of promoting the Corolla to US otakus. If fact, this advertising was part of a bigger promotion for Miku herself since she was doing a concert for the 2011 Anime Expo.
Featured Vehicle: Toyota Corolla