New Miniature Car by Gundam Designer Kunio Okawara at Tokyo Motor Show
posted on by Eric Stimson
Prolific mechanical designer Kunio Okawara is presenting his newest work at this year's Tokyo Motor Show. Perhaps one of the most prominent mechanical designers in anime, Okawara has cemented his reputation for over thirty years designing the mecha in Gundam, and has also worked for Tatsunoko Production (Gatchaman, Gowapper 5 Godam) and other mecha anime in Sunrise's oeuvre (Armored Trooper Votoms, the Brave series). His newest offering is a concept design for the miniature electric car "Hiriko."
Developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and manufactured in Spain's Basque Country, it has been sold in Spain this year for €12,000 (about $16,130). It's a two-person vehicle and can fold up to park more easily. Four Link Systems (a Japanese R&D firm), in cooperation with Niigata Prefecture, is developing a new model of Hiriko called the "Niigata model" for use in Japan. This concept design of this model will be displayed at the Motor Show at the Mirai Project booth. The model is scheduled to undergo test drives next summer.
"Mirai Project" [mirai means "future"] is the name of the enterprise designed to market Hiriko to the masses. It uses Mirai Suenaga, the mascot of Culture Japan, a Japanese pop culture website. Booth babes cosplaying Mirai will be at the show. In addition, there will also be a panel on November 24 with Okawara, Danny Choo (director of Culture Japan) and Masayoshi Obata (director of Japan Culture of Automobile Promotion).
Also at the Tokyo Motor Show, Mitsubishi is collaborating with Girls und Panzer. Visitors who download a special app can learn more about Mitsubishi's cars at its booth via Miho Nishizumi of Girls und Panzer. Using AR technology, app users can place her in various poses on their phones, enabling photos of a virtual Miho at the booth. It also promises several bonuses, like "a cheer from the members of the Angler Fish Team" when you check in at the show, and "a special Miho pose" if you scan all the barcodes at the booth.
Kawasaki is also unveiling this new, snazzy three-wheeled electric motorcycle that looks like a sidecar from Tiger and Bunny:
Called simply "J," it's powered by a nickel metal hydride battery and appears to have special features like a disc brake, tail fin and a seat that projects like a horn. It will also change lighting between different modes — city lighting in comfort mode, sports lighting in sports mode.
For more flashy cars and shiny metallic surfaces, see these two articles:
BBC News: Tokyo Motor Show: Automakers show off new concepts
The Verge: The far-out concepts of Tokyo Motor Show
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history