An amazingly simply but cool idea to really help your itasha anime characters’ eyes “pop.”

If you want to turn your car into an itasha, the only real requirement is that you slap some anime character art on it. But with anime being a medium with a highly polished aesthetic, you’ll probably want to take the contours of your car’s bodywork into account when selecting and positioning the images of your favorite characters (or voodoo doll substitutes for the characters you hate).

Some itasha owners have even gone as far as to make the character artwork animated by using the car’s wipers or windows. But one thing we hadn’t seen, until now, was an itasha design that uses the vehicle’s taillights as the character’s eyes.

Japanese Twitter user @404_m9’s itasha design honors Pop Team Epic, the bizarre comedy hit of this year’s winter anime season. As seen above, the rear end of the Nissan R35 GT-R is festooned with a triple helping of the likeness of Popuko, the shorter of Po Team Epic’s two schoolgirl protagonists. While the central Popuko is seen in her usual form (flipping the bird with each hand), the corners of the car have Popuko positioned so that the car’s distinctive round taillights serve as sinister glowing red eyes for her.

▼ Even in the daytime, the effect is startling and slightly unsettling, much like Pop Team Epic’s artwork itself.

@404_m9 has done something similar with his itasha design for the R32 GT-R, which was sold three model generations before the R35, back when the car was still part of Nissan’s Skyline series.

It’s an extremely clever idea, and even if a car doesn’t have round taillights, incorporating the red glow of the brake lights into the itasha design, perhaps as an aura of magical energy, seems like a great idea. But aside from the originality, something else stands out about @404_m9’s itasha efforts.

Often, itasha owners choose sports cars from the mid to late 1990s as their canvases, since they’re fun to drive but also cheap to buy, but the R35 Skyline is very expensive, with prices starting at 10.2 million yen (approximately US$95,000).

▼ @404_m9’s Pop Team Epic R35 on the track

So does this mean that @404_m9 is rich? Not necessarily, since buying and building his two Pop Team Epic GT-Rs, and even a pair of Toyota 86s…

…only cost him about 6,500 yen (US$61), since they’re all cars he decorated using the livery editor in Sony’s Gran Turismo Sport video game for the PlayStation 4.

▼ A time-lapse video showing the extremely detailed production process.

Considering that the Gran Turismo franchise has long billed itself as “the real driving simulator,” it makes a lot of sense that the real-world itasha phenomenon is now possible within its virtual space. And since the game includes an in-depth photography mode as well, here’s hoping that the parking lot of the UDX building in Tokyo’s Akihabara, the sacred mecca of itasha, gets added to the game in a future update.

Source: Twitter/@404_m9 via Otakomu
Featured image: Twitter/@404_m9

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s still mad about the music being changed for the North American release of Gran Turismo 1.