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Itasha, the painfully nerdy, anime-decal-plastered cars you can spot running around Japan, generally arrive in that state due to an individual fan’s passion and vision (or obsession). The owner buys a regular car from the dealer, then once he’s slapped enough stickers on his ride, presto! He’s got his very own itasha.

Last year, though, Toyota took the uncommon step of not only creating its own itahsa, but selling it as well. The car has finally found a buyer, who had to go through a number of challenges to sit behind the wheel of his one-of-a-kid sports coupe.

Among driving enthusiasts, Toyota’s GT86 is already a pretty desirable ride. Its lightweight chassis and adequately powerful engine make it the sole standard-bearer of affordable, four-seat, rear-wheel drive performance since the untimely deaths of the Mazda RX-8 and Nissan Silvia.

▼ “I’m so lonely…”

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Last September Toyota announced it would be adding a bit of anime appeal by creating an official one-off GT86 itasha. Chosen for the project was the TV series Love Live!, which focuses on a group of teen idols who are every bit as perky as that exclamation point at the end of their show’s title would suggest.

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The car itself was finished in November and exhibited at Toyota’s flagship Mega Web showroom in Tokyo’s Odaiba. But fans weren’t just excited to see the idol-covered coupe in person, as Toyota piled on the excitement by declaring that it would be selling its GT86 itasha to one lucky buyer.

▼ The itasha at Mega Web

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A number of interested parties voiced their interest in purchasing the Love Live! car, and Toyota began making selections for who it would negotiate with for the right to own it. In the end, the keys ended up in the hands of a man who goes by Donguri Papa online.

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Mr. Papa took delivery of his new car this month at the Tokyo Toyopet dealer in Akishima in western Tokyo. “By the time Toyota contacted me, it was already late January, so I thought I’d missed my chance to buy it,” he said.

▼ Clearly the face (and pose) of a man who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat

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So what took Toyota so long to get in touch with the eventual buyer? Well, it turns out Donguri Papa wasn’t the first person they spoke with. Before contacting him, the automaker actually entered into negotiations with two other potential buyers, both of which fell through.

So what was the sticking point? The car’s ludicrous lack of backseat foot space? The roughly 1,500,000 yen (US$14,500) mark-up compared to the starting price for a GT86?

According to Toyota, the problem was something far more obvious. The would-be buyers’ families simply couldn’t accept their decision to buy such a vehicle.

This doesn’t mean that Donguri Papa’s household is any more understanding, though. “When I first spoke to my parents and wife about wanting to buy the car, they we’re immediately like, ‘Nope, not gonna happen,’” he recalls. “But that just made me all the more determined to go through with it.”

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So great is his dedication to Love Live! that he even picked out a personalized license plate related to the show. Donguri Papa says his favorite character from the show is Maki Nishikino.

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▲ Yes, you, Ms. Nishikino.

She’s also known to fans by the abbreviated nickname Nikomaki. Since Japanese license plates are made up only of numerals, Donguri Papa chose 2525 for his, since this can be read as “Niko Niko.”

Were she alive, we’re sure the teen idol would think it’s a sweet gesture. Whether Donguri Papa’s wife feels the same way, or if she has any willingness to ride in the passenger seat of her husband’s new car, remains to be seen.

Source: Hachima Kiko
Top image: Hachima Kiko
Insert images: Toyota, Wikia, Hachima Kiko (1, 2), Fanpop