Forget Hayao Miyazaki, apparently the next force in Japanese anime is a German carmaker.
Mercedes-Benz has produced NEXT A-Class, a short anime film celebrating the Japanese launch of the A-Class hatchback. It features the new eponymous car chasing a 1955 Blue Wonder legendary ramen truck, neatly tapping into the Japanese obsession about food. Trust us, it looks better than it sounds and there are even English subtitles.
Automotive companies seem to like making anime these days. Toyota also recently co-produced PES, an environmentally themed anime about “a curious alien who explores the joy of driving and the importance of safety”.
In case you didn’t work it out, PES stands for “Peace Eco Smile”. No, this kind of Jinglish you just can’t make up!
Toyota have been promoting the PES campaign at anime events in Europe and Asia, plus at the Tokyo International Film Festival, of which they are the main sponsors.
The films and associated campaigns are clearly intended for different purposes and audiences, so perhaps it’s unfair to make comparisons — but we reckon Mercedes-Benz are the hats down winners here. Their anime is much better quality (at least to eyes that are both foreign and relatively uninitiated) and exciting. The retro vibe off set with futuristic Tokyo cityscapes and fast racing scenes crush the rather naff eco message being plugged by the Toyota movie, which is a bit hard to stomach from a car company, even one that gave the world hybrid vehicles.