There’s no more appropriate way to get from your hotel to Comiket than this.
In general, choosing which taxi to ride in is a pretty simple process in which we ask ourselves “Is there a taxi in front of me?” and “Does it look like someone recently lost control of his bodily functions in the backseat?” As long as “Yes” and “No” are the respective answers, most of us will hop right in.
Of course, this makes it difficult for taxi companies to gain an advantage over their competitors. Differentiating yourself is especially hard in Japan, where taxis are almost uniformly spotless. And yet, Tokyo-based taxi operator Gojo Kotsu has found a way with an ita-taxi, or taxi plastered with anime-style artwork.
Taking its name from itasha, the customized graphic-covered rides of hardcore otaku, Goju Kotsu features smiling schoolgirl Pronama-chan, the mascot of the programming community of Japanese video-sharing website Nico Nico Douga.
The ita-taxi was first displayed at the Nico Nico Super Conference online pop culture convention, where it got an overwhelmingly positive reaction from cosplayers and other attendees. In response, Goju Kotsu decided to put the car into actual service.
August 12 was the ita-taxi’s first day on the roads, coinciding with the opening day of the summer Comiket indie comic and fan art extravaganza. Initially the special taxi will be stationed in the neighborhood surrounding Tokyo Big Sight, the venue for Comiket, but giving its inherently mobile nature, anime fans who need a lift might be able to flag it down in other parts of the city too.