Just when you think you’ve seen everything get anthropomorphized into moe characters, something else comes along to prove otherwise.

The latest project turns Japan’s highway service stations into attractive female characters.


NEXCO Central Japan, which operates highways in central Japan, in cooperation with the telecommunications company Dwango, is publishing a novel, Gensō Kōryū (“Exchange of Illusions”), starring these characters. It is written by Yūri Shibamura, who’s written an anthropomorphizing story before — the swords-as-men game Tōken Ranbu — to celebrate the February opening of a new stretch of line on the Shin-Tōmei Expressway, which will eventually link Tokyo with Osaka. The story involves the interaction of a group of girls fleeing their alternate world, Els, which has suffered war and decline, and a salaryman sent by his company to oppose them on the Shin-Tōmei Expressway.

Here are the character profiles:


A Sapiens (human), she works in a clothes shop run by Toyota, battling a giant length of fabric all day and night. She wants to dress up Toyota, but to do that, she’d have to go to a factory in Kakegawa.
Character designer: Mel Kishida


A Gigantess with an unusually well-proportioned body. She hires cats to hold her long hair up. She thinks of Japanese backhoes and cranes as her rivals.
Character designer: Mel Kishida


A Sapiens, she was orphaned in war and as a result wears armor. She’s a warrior and can use spears, swords, bows, and guns. She loves hearing about the Warring States Period. (Nagashino was a famous battle from that era.)
Character designer: Yuka Nakajima


A 14-year-old Sapiens who follows in her father’s footsteps as a wandering minstrel. She also goes by “the Traveling Idol.” (Hamamatsu is the headquarters of Yamaha Corporation, which makes musical instruments.) She’s not very good at instruments, so she mostly sings covers. She travels the land, seeking survivors and areas undergoing revival.
Character designer: Noizi Ito


This Magius (giant fairy) has great foresight, but she’s also a spoiled brat. She hates ugly things and hides her eyes in their presence. She thinks a road should be built to revive her civilization.
Character designer: Yū Akinashi


A Megadeus (semi-giant), she goes fishing in dangerous waters with her many cats. (Numazu is a fishing port.) She isn’t very intelligent, but she hides this. Her motto is “Your body is a resource,” and eats a lot.
Character designer: Yū Akinashi

13 chapters of the novel have been posted so far, with the next chapter scheduled for publication on April 12. Character designers Kei and Akio Watanabe are also involved in the project (some characters have not yet been revealed.)

Besides highway service stations, monthsgum, and Christian denominations have been anthropomorphized. The list goes on…

[Via Internet Com and Gensō Kōryū official site]

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