Cars that appear in movies sometimes play an important role in some cases. And realistic cars appearing in Japanese animes are no exception to that. Let’s see what cars can we find in these famous animes.
Realistic cars create a realistic world for animes
Animes can depict anything. From documentary to science fiction, comedy, and romance, the advantage and value of Japanese animation are infinite.
And the selection of cars is pretty important when bringing the viewers to the world they see. Some animes select classics to show exotism, and some select cars you see every day to show everyday-life.
We’ve picked five cars that represent the films’ atmosphere to its viewers.
Fiat 500 starring in Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro
“The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)” was released as the second movie in the “Lupin III” theatrical film series based on the late Monkey Punch’s original manga.
About the plot. Lupin and his crew realize that the money they stole from a Monaco state-run casino is counterfeit, all printed in the Grand Duchy of Cagliostro. They infiltrate and try to rescue Clarisse, the daughter of the late Grand Duke, to uncover the dark side of the Grand Duchy.
The movie is also known as the first movie Hayao Miyazaki, an animation giant, directed.
Lupin III mangas and films are famous for their realistic depiction of firearms and cars. Among them, the Fiat 500 has its place as Lupin’s own car and appears in many scenes.
I’m sure many of the readers already know what a Fiat 500 is but let’s look at its history. The first generation Fiat 500 debuted in 1936 and was nicknamed “Topolino”, which means “little mouse” in Italian, because of its shape and size.
Most people recognize the Fiat 500 with its second generation form, introduced in 1957, which is the exact model that appears in the Lupin III series. The so-called “Nuova 500” became a rear-engine, rear-drive to accommodate four adults in its compact body.
In the film, the car had a special trick that increased its power whenever Lupin pulled a specific lever.
The loveable rounded body was designed to make it lightweight but also durable. One of the features the car has is the canvas top which was made to reduce the noise from its 500 cc straight-twin air-cooled OHV engine.
The Nuova 500 was a hit not only in its own market but also in Japan because of its reasonable price and practicality. Many enthusiasts in Japan call the car “chinku (Cinque, abbrev. for Cinquecento)”.
Audi A4 Quattro starring in Spirited Away
Spirited Away (2001) is an animation film produced by Hayao Miyazaki and his animation company, Studio Ghibli. The story is about Chihiro entering the world of Gods, a place where humans shouldn’t be, through a tunnel in a deep forest.
And just before the scene where Chihiro and her family enter a place where they should not, they are seen driving an Audi A4. Judging by her father’s line, “This car’s got four-wheel drive”, the car is a Quattro model.
The Audi A4 was launched by the Ingolstadt automaker as the successor to the 90 series, a car that well-fought against the Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse and the BMW 3-Series. Its layout was selectable from either a four-wheel drive Quattro or a front-wheel drive, due to the car sharing its platform with the Volkswagen Passat.
By the way, the A4 is depicted in the movie as a stick shift LHD model, which was sold only for the 1996 model in Japan.
Alpine Renault A310 starring in the Evangelion series
Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995), directed by Hideaki Anno, is a milestone anime that received high approval both domestically and internationally in the ‘90s. The story is about Shinji, a teenage boy whose father Gendo being the commander of United Nations’ paramilitary force NERV, pilot a giant bio-machine called “Evangelion” to fight against “Angels”, a series of enemies attacking to end humanity. Evangelion got a theatrical reboot in 2007 as “Rebuild of Evangelion”, consisting of four episodes with the last episode being released in March 2021.
It gained a reputation for its unique combination of sci-fi with an essence of psychological drama being included and established the subsequent anime trend in the ‘90s.
And the French sports appears as a car driven by Misato Katsuragi, NERV’s field commander for the EVA pilots officially, and Shinji’s guardian personally.
The car is known as the successor to the A110, a rally monster winning numerous rally championships, best known for its victory in the World Rally Championship in 1973. It was also the first model to be sold under the Alpine Renault name after the company changed its name from Alpine.
With its knife-sharp front end and a streamlined, rounded body, the car brought a futuristic atmosphere when introduced in 1971. Its engine layout was the same as the A110, being a rear-engine rear-drive.
In Evangelion, the car is featured in both the television series and the theatrical reboot. For Neon Genesis Evangelion, the television series, two types of A310 appear, one being an RHD model converted to an EV and another being an LHD gasoline model. And for Rebuild of Evangelion, only one model appears in the movie which is an RHD model converted to a hybrid. All models have their striking six-headlight front end, which means the car is an early model.
The scene where Misato’s A310 driving through debris and performing stunts are something only an anime can depict.