Toyota, Acura use ‘Initial D’ type animes to market new cars

The Japanese automakers are targeting a new niche and are embracing the street racing crowd with their new advertisements

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Toyota and Acura are turning to anime — a niche form of Japanese animation — to market their new performance vehicles, presumably for the street racing and avid audience who grew up on the Initial D TV series.

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Don’t call it a cartoon: the 26-episode program (which started as a… manga book series) was hugely influential both in his native Japan and abroad, helping the Toyota AE86 Trueno, or hachi-roku , as a drift icon. That compact car’s cult following is, in fact, why the automaker named its new sports coupe “GR 86.”

It’s also why Toyota tapped Initial D The original animator, Shuichi Shigeno, who produced a new series of short video clips, said GT86, along with real-life “Drift King” Keiichi Tsuchiya.

The three 15-second ads shine in both the new GR 86, with Tsuchiya at the wheel; and Initial D Trueno in panda livery and his driver, Takumi. They also join Toyota’s “FasterClass” pro drift driving schools.

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Not only are the ads downright awesome, but the ads mark a grim turn for the automaker’s marketing division, which only justified the absence of video game franchises like 2019 in 2019. Need for speed: heat with a desire not to “promote illegal street racing”.

By a strange coincidence, just weeks after the Toyota Initial D vids went live, Acura released its own 16-second animated video, although the short clip was just a teaser for a longer four-episode miniseries, Type S: Chiaki’s Journey , which began streaming today, January 20.

The company is footing the bill for this new series, and even the trailer shows it isn’t afraid to cram as much product placement into the thing as possible.

For example, in the span of just those 16 seconds, we see protagonist Chiaki driving both an Integra Type R and a new NSX Type S, the latter apparently around Long Beach’s Acura Grand Prix circuit. The animation style quite clearly draws aesthetic inspiration from it Initial D .

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Above is the minute-long part 1, but parts 2 through 4 are already live, so you can brush up on the storyline of the entire series during your lunch break. We won’t ruin it for you, but we’ll say it makes us hope more automakers jump on this trend.

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