In Japan, "itasha" are cars covered with stickers depicting anime or video game characters. They've been around for a couple years now, and there are even gatherings of itasha enthusiasts.

What "itasha" have in common is that the characters they feature are not real—they are created by artists or designers. Nana Mizuki is real.


In Japan, Nana Mizuki is not only a successful voice actress, but also a highly successful singer.

She's appeared in a slew of anime and games, ranging from Naruto to Fullmetal Alchemist as well as Shining Wind to Tales of Symphonia.

This year, she's Celestia in Final Fantasy Type-0, while last year she was Paz in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. She's a big time voice actress.

More impressive, perhaps, she's also made her way to the top of the Japanese music charts. Last year, her single "Phantom Minds" sold 54,000 copies in one week, hitting the number one spot.


This was the first time that a voice actress had a number one weekly single since the Japanese Oricon billboard chart began tracking music in 1968. Many voice actresses release music albums and singles, but so much of what they release is snapped up only by hardcore fans. Nana Mizuki, who has been formally studying music since she was a little girl, was able to go mainstream.


With this in mind, it's not entirely odd to see her face plastered on itasha—though, the reaction online in Japan to these photos has been one of amusement. She's quite popular. Many Japanese music fans, most notably Ayumi Hamasaki fans, do not hesitate to put bumper or window stickers on their cars to show their support for their favorite artist.

While certainly not widespread and no doubt the work of a few diehards, Nana Mizuki gets more than a bumper or a window. She gets a hood or a door panel. For what she's achieved, she deserves it.


Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.

(Top photo: Photographer | Outlet)

You can contact Brian Ashcraft, the author of this post, at You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.


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