What is Itasha?
The word Itasha (痛車) literally means “painful car”. Whether it’s painfully embarrassing to be seen in or painful on the wallet due to the cost of modifying the vehicle, Itasha cars are generally decorated with the owner’s favorite manga/anime or video game characters. In extreme cases the cars are also adorned with visually extreme modifications, including LED lights and aerodynamically-challenged bodykits. The decorations could involve paint schemes, stickers or vinyl wrap that are specifically designed for the car.
Itasha is a sub-culture of the car scene that is rarely seen outside of a few major cities in Japan. In recent years the Itasha style has begun to be adopted by the mainstream (in Japan at least), with high profile race/drift cars combining wild designs and sponsorship tie-ins. With the spread of manga/anime culture outside of Japan Itasha can be seen in many countries of the world where otakus gather.