Otaku USA Magazine
Itasha Are Starting to Take Off in America

There’s a fan movement in Japan where otaku deck out their cars with their favorite anime, manga or video game characters. It’s (ironically?) referred to as “itasha,” which can be translated as “cringeworthy car.” Once totally niche, it has begun to take off in Japan . . . and now it’s even starting to take off in America.

The Houston Chronicle wrote about their local store The Weeb Stop, which offers itasha to costumers who live in the area, as well as people in other states and other countries.

Ed Valles, co-owner of The Weeb Stop, remarked, “We actually do everything from scratch. We do the line art. We make sure the customer likes the pose, facial expressions, everything. Then we have to color, then [revise], then we design, then we print.”

Valles grew up watching anime. “Back in the ’90s, I didn’t have many friends, so all I did was watch whatever anime was available. It helped me to get through. It teaches you. Every single anime has something to teach you.”

At first The Weeb Stop wasn’t getting much business, but as things closed down for COVID social distancing and people began watching more anime at home, the business flourished. Now they get about five people a day reaching out about quotes and interested in giving their car the otaku treatment. Among other franchises, The Weeb Stop has decorated cars with characters and designs from Demon Slayer, Kirby, Naruto, ToraDora!, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and more. Also, people don’t have to just get the outside of their cars decorated. There is also the option of getting more anime decorations for the interior.

John Richard, whose car is decorated like Megalo Box, pointed out the fun of having a unique car for the individual. “It’s like no other car on the road,” he told The Houston Chronicle. “It stands out everywhere.”

If you want to check out what The Weeb Stop does with cars, you can go to their website here.

Source: The Houston Chronicle

Photo Credit: Ariana Garcia


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.