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Itasha, Itansha or Itabag?

To All,

For today, let's examine the changes of one of the most amazing trends cultured in Japan -- the Itasha.

Itasha, renowned for its name in Kanji which translates to "Painful automobile" has not made certain if the pain was contributed to by the cost of applying the print of your favorite anime character to your car, or the moment when your car gets scratched. Perhaps it's both. Or maybe it's due to the cost of purchasing a car?

If you have been to AFA, you have definitely seen an Itasha. Those cars covered with Suenaga Mirai or Hatsune Miku decals are (strangely) one of the few things I expect to see at every AFA. Perhaps it's because I don't own an Itasha, or because I don't frequently come across Itasha in Singapore, that seeing one is one of my perks at a convention!
Is there anyone who would like to put some To Aru decals on their car?
(Aoshima decals can be found on sites like HobbyLink Japan or Amazon jp)

And in case, you think of Itasha as simply putting decals of your favorite character on your car, you're wrong. True Itasha fans go beyond the exterior and decorate even the interior of their cars, building the perfect anime haven for themselves!

Going from wrapping their seats with Dakimakura (body pillow) covers to displaying magazines, plushies and even figures of their favorite characters... As long as you can name it, I'm sure there's a car out there who has it!

All itasha images are taken from DannyChoo's website.

As someone who doesn't own an Itasha, the question that always bugs me when I spot an Itasha is "Do people actually drive this?"

Actually, to the Itasha owners or those who plan to get an Itasha someday, would you actually drive your Itasha? And if your answer is yes, how frequently?

Personally, I wouldn't drive an Itasha around since I'm afraid the decals might get scratched and replacing them would cause more "pain" to both my wallet and my heart. I would never be able to take it if there was a scratch across my favorite character's face!

I have heard some shops in Singapore do provide printing of decals for Itasha, though they are not actively advertising it. However, this means that it's possible to get your car turned into an Itasha even if you aren't in Japan! 

So if you're someone who is hesitating to get an Itasha due to shipping prices, why not consider getting your decals printed in local stores? Not only would you save on shipping, you'll also have an experienced team helping you paste the decal on!

But that's not all. Disregarding the many aspects of pain brought about by Itasha, many Japanese moved on to Itansha, which, in my opinion, is a more remarkable and affordable method of displaying your favorite anime character, albeit being much smaller than on a car. Buy hey, beggars can't be choosers, right? There's only so many people in the world who can own cars.

Itansha, similar to itasha, involves posting decals -- but not on the car's body, but on a motorcycle or bicycle's body. The Itansha picture above which Danny Choo managed to capture really is an impressive Itansha! I would love to be able to take a picture next to it!

Similar to Itasha, owners have their own freedom to design their own Itansha in any fashion they like, and to display any goods they like. I'd like to think that displaying figures was difficult so owners chose a safer option and who'd disagree with me that the bikes look incredible?

But like I've mentioned before, other than bikes, decorating your bicycle is also another category under Itansha. Personally, I feel that having a decorated bicycle in Japan makes more sense as most students and the young working force go around with bicycles. It's really just more convenient usually with a bicycle and train than with an automobile!

But alas, the fad with "pain" doesn't only end there. Recently (or not so recently), there has been another rise, this time with Ita-bags, where fans decorate their bags with merchandise of their favorite character. The merchandise used range from plushies to badges to rubber straps to acrylic keychains... and the list goes on.

And spare me for using this as an example but what's a better option than using an award-winning Ita-bag?
I don't want to imagine how heavy and costly all these are.
(Image credit to the Ita-bag contest winner's twitter)

And if you're wondering if people are actually using these bags, japanrealm has shown us that yes they are! But for the purpose of everyday use or just for conventions will remain a mystery.

(Image credit to japanrealm)

Let's not judge the sanity of these people because what we have upcoming, the "Otaku armor" will be even more shocking!
(Image credit to Rocketnews)

If the prospect of Ita-bags sound too feminine for you and you do not wish to be seen walking around with your favorite anime girl on your bag, why not try camouflaging yourself with her and becoming one together?

Rocketnews has brought us images of this lovely armor made of merchandise of Minami Kotori from Love Live! And yes, this person actuallywears it out. In fact, many of these 'warriors' do wear their gear out to conventions!

Now that's what I call a dedicated fan!

As strange as this might sound, I'm proud of him as a fellow Kotori fan. Sadly, I don't think I have either the finances or the dedication to ever reach that level.

Ita-bags would be the furthest I would go with this trend, though I have barely started. It's just more affordable, merchandise and decals aside. Motorbikes and cars are much too expensive for me to consider at the moment...

In any case, if you own an Itasha or Itansha or a Ita-bag please share your pictures with the rest of us! I'm sure it'll be a good source of inspiration!

Thank you for reading and have a Happy New Year!

From Your Fellow Fan of Japan's Culture,

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