Zeonic Toyota Special Movie – 01 & 02

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The gist: a charming, high budget mini-sode format as commercial where Char jumps from his Zaku to a Toyota, which he finds comfortably supportive to sit in. Then he drives it down a colony highway until Lalah Sune warns him an enemy is near …from the Zaku he just left… and he drives into a hanger where they trade rides.

It’s very well animated, if a very simple concept, and the Toyota is almost cool looking in red with Zeon details. Oddly, the car model’s saturation is much higher than the Gundam in the background, which separates them in a slightly awkward way. It’s odd because the car’s style is closer to OG UC gundam than the mech, which feels more nuanced. More modern.

I’m not sure why a Zeon theme was chosen, since they are pretty definitively the bad guys in OG UC Gundam? Also, I’m not sure why Char would be a good endorsement for the brand either, since he’s a devious lie-to-your-face kind of guy bent on revenge?

Maybe if he were driving a Subaru WRX I could take it more seriously…

Car Cameo Update

RABUJOI is, to our knowledge, the only anime review blog that consistently identifies and catalogues nearly every real-world vehicle that makes an appearence in the anime we watch. (If there’s another blog that does this, please let us know!) Our Car Cameo garage has grown quite a bit since its inception five months ago.

Here are some observations:

• Jormungand dominated in car cameos with 21 in just 12 episodes. What with all the car chases, that’s not all that surprising.

• Hyouka, only half-over, occupies second place with 9 cameos and has a solid chance to beat Jormy, despite the fact cars are only background. This is KyoAni we’re talking about, though, so of course most of those car models are of the highest quality.

• Eureka Seven AO has had 7 cameos so far, while Sket Dance has had 6. All other series have featured five or less in their runs.

• With 23 cameos – and probably a few more we missed, Toyota is the top marque. Not surprising, since Toyota dominates the Japanese domestic market. Of the 19 different Toyota models that appear, the “Crown” family is the most common, followed by the Prius.

• In a distant second and third are Nissan and Honda, with 9 and 8 cameos each, respectively.

• Jormungand featured lots of German marques like BMW and Mercedes, and Volkswagen as well as Frenchies Citroen and Peugeot,  Swedish Volvos and Italian Lancias. Call it the UN of the bunch.

• One of our own cars, an eigth-gen Honda Civic sedan, has a cameo in Hyouka 04. For the record, the car is named Kana-chan, after Hanazawa, the prolific seiyu.

• Strangest Cameos? It’s a tie between the legendary Lancia Delta HF Integrale 16v Evoluzione II (quite a mouthful!) from Aquarion Evol 15 and the immense ’75 Chevrolet Caprice Estate Wagon from Eureka Seven AO 11.

• Head-scratchers: Accel World features many real-life cars (like the Prius), but some that are quasi-futuristic mashups we couldn’t identify. We convinced ourselves one such model really existed, and drove ourselves half-mad trying to find it on various Japanese car websites, to no avail. :P

• Tari Tari is off to a good start – automotively, with 5 distinct cameos in its first episode. Looking forward to spotting more cameos in the coming Summer season!

Introducing Car Cameos

We here at RABUJOI are a bit mad…we don’t just love our anime, we love our cars too. And aside from Initial D (which we’ve sadly never gotten around to watching), and other series where the cars are the focus, the majority of anime have treated cars merely as props or part of the background.

Well, it’s a great time for anime fans who also happens to be able to identify the year, make, and model of any vehicle they come across. Thanks to the now-widespread use of accurate CGI vehicle models, specific makes and models are appearing all over series in which cars play no sizable role. Cars are rarely hand-drawn anymore (it’s more expensive), which means they’re no longer made-up. They’re real.

For most of 2012, whenever we spot one (or more) of these “Car Cameos” in an episode, we make a note of it in our review. In less than three months, we’ve amassed quite a collection. It’s a nice cross-section of the Japanese automotive landscape with Toyota dominating, followed by Nissan. Curiously, we’ve yet to spot any Hondas, but we have seen a fair number of foreign (i.e. non-Japanese) models.

We’re pretty sure we’re the only anime blog that does this, because truthfully, who else would bother? In any case, you can now access our “Garage” of Car Cameos by clicking the tab up top, or here. We’ll be watching to see if any of the cars we’ve owned (all Hondas, incidentally) ever appear in future episodes.

Tokyo Trip Journal 7

10 June, Heisei 22 (Thurs)

This morning heralded in a clear, warm, sunny, and absolutely perfect day to visit Tokyo’s waterfront district, a reclaimed “Inner Harbor/Harbor East”-like area known as Odaiba. The ruby Uedo. line took me form Shinjuku to Shiodome, and then I only needed to hop on the Yurikamome monorail to take me across the part of Tokyo Bay to Odaiba. As I write this I am enjoying a Georgia Iced Latter (a Coca-Cola product) with the Rainbow Bridge across the bay from me, Tokyo Tower and Roppongi Hills visible behind it in the distance, the eccentric Fuji TV Building at my back, and, oddly enough, a third-scale but otherwise exact replica of the Statue of Liberty to the right.

Odaiba is also home to Toyota Mega Web, the largest Toyota auto salon in the country, but less stylish than the one in Ikebukuro. It is also home to a gallery of automotive history, containing some real gems I had not had a good look at in the flesh before (E-Type, De Lorean, Isetta, Spider, Mustang, Biarritz, etc., along with some notable specimens from Toyota’s storied racing history. At least at the hour I was there, I was apparently the only one interested. From Aomi I dashed to the next station to get an up-close look at Tokyo Big Sight, described as either an upside-down version of the Pyramid building from Blade Runner, or your average convention center flipped upside down and suspended on stilts. It is an insane piece of architecture, very sci-fi. Btw, each monorail station has a unique color and pattern decoration derived from Japanese art and design history. What significance this holds alludes me at this time, but its still neat, and I appreciate the attention to detail, as always.

After sightseeing in Odaiba, I finished the Yurikamome monorail loop to get my 800 yen’s worth, ending at Toyosu station on the Yurakucho line, which conveniently connected to Sakuradamon, on the side of the Imperial Palace grounds I hadn’t been to yet. First I took a quick look at the National Diet building, a handsome structure combining elements of Japanese and Art Deco architecture.

The gardens and plazas surrounding the palace moat were gorgeous and impeccably tended. I wondered what life was like up there on the raised stone ramparts, and whether the Emporer ever walked along its perimeter, gazing out onto the modern city beyond his moat. I had to wonder, because you cannot see much; the main gate was firmly closed and under heavy guard, and the one of the only good views in, while picturesque, still didn’t allow visual access to the palace residences themselves. No biggie though, it was cool just to get as close as I did.

Hungry, i went east to the modern city to find a place for lunch. I found one in “Banri”, another no-nonsense value-for-money place, where I stuffed myself on a miso-like stew with cured pork, mushrooms, bok choy, bamboo shoots and scallions, with excellent pork fried rice on the side. Portions at these restaurants tend to be huge, and people typically eat quite fast. I take my time cleaning my plate, again so as not to offend. Ometachi station was right next door, so I took the now very familiar red Marunouchi line to Shinjuku, where I decided to satisfy my curiosity regarding the “Toto Super Space” on the 27th floor of the Shinjuku L-Tower. The fixtures on display were quite slick…and expensive.

After a brief rest in my room and a shower, I head somewhere I haven’t been before – Ebisu – on the Hibiya line. Ebisu is apparently a diner’s haven; as soon as I emerged from the station I was assaulted by hundreds of places to eat. Choosing where to eat when there are so many good choices can be excrutiating, but I bit the bullet and chose somewhere. I’d eaten Japanese-style food essentially every night I was here, so I decided to switch it up and try out an Italian place called Palermo. They made a mean Margherita pizza.