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ORIGINAL CONFIDENCE (Japan)

TOKYO – What do Japanese animated films (anime) and automobile industries have in common? They are joining forces together, bringing product placement (in this case Japanese cars and motorcycles) to animation.

Carmaker Subaru and famous anime studio Gainax collaborated on the web series Hōkago no Pleiades (Wish Upon the Pleiades), a story about a young girl named Subaru who discovers that her best friend has magical powers. No Subaru cars are shown in the series, but the goal of the series was to show what Subaru cars were about: its "essence."

In another production, Rinne no Lagrange (Lagrange: the flower of Rin-ne), the big robot was designed by Nissan Motors.

Movies sometimes also use real car or motorcycle models. Junichi Sato's series One Off is about a young girl who "loves her Honda Giorno scooter."

This kind of collaboration has proved profitable for both sides.

In another anime series, PES: Peace Eco Smile, a romantic comedy featuring an alien named PES, Toyota wanted its cars to be featured "in a casual manner," says sales and marketing coordinator Takao Mirai.

Today in Japan, the younger generation is less and less interested in cars. Carmakers are scrambling to find new ways to appeal to this market and collaborating with anime studios is one of them.

"We don't mind if people do not buy our cars directly after watching the anime. The important thing is for our image to be associated with a company which is doing cool things," says Mirai.

Such partnerships are already common for motorcycle industry. Popular superhero Kamen Rider (The masked rider) has been running Honda bikes for decades.

(One Off: A young lady and her Honda scooter. Photo- 7th Style)

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