22 Jan 2013

Variation of a Theme - Girls as Cars

In a discussion with Steven Savage about the trend of anime to have teenaged (or younger) girls represent odd objects.  Examples include Strike Witches (girls as lolicon fighter planes), Hetalia: Axis Powers (girls as countries), Girls und Panzer (girls as tanks, and the womanly art of tank-do), and Upotte (girls as military weapons, such as rifles and submachine guns).  Naturally, I exercised my Craft (Disturbing Image) skill and suggested girls as cars.  Not military vehicles (covered partially already by Girls und Panzer), but everyday cars.  And, during a bus ride to work, I started filling in details.  I wanted the girls to reflect the cars they represented instead of just being Sarah Ford, Kelly Chrysler, or Lenore "the General" Motors.  No, that just wouldn't do at all.

What I've done is come up with a small cast list for the girls who go to an international school.  Teenaged girls from all countries attend, with an associated boys school nearby.  I've linked the various cars and other references in the cast list below, to keep things easy and clean.

The Girls:
Portia, from Germany.  A strong competitor, loves track events, especially sprints where she can run full out.

Mercedes, from Germany.  A very proper German  girl, but can keep up Portia when she needs to.  Has a rivalry with Martin Astin (see below).  Has a younger sister who she loves dearly but thinks is very nerdy.  Older brother is Baron Benjamin XXIII, the latest in a long line of Bens.

Opal, also from Germany.  A more matronly lass than Portia, above.[link to car selection]  Has a brother, Adam (see below).

"Mustang" Shelby, from the US.  More tomboyish and rowdy than the other girls.  Works out.[link to muscle car]  Loves riding horses, thus her nickname.  Despite her appearance, she can give Portia and Mercedes a challenge, especially in short sprints.  Is seeing Martin Astin.

Arachne, from Canada.  Much prefers the outdoors and cross-country running.

Agnese "the Lamb" Gallardo, from Italy.  Soft spoken and shy.  Capable of out running Mercedes and Portia, but isn't interested in the competition.

Clio, from France.  Tends to fade into the background, but is reliable.  Often joins Adam (below) on his cross-country runs.

Kia, from South Korea.  Enjoys soul music.

Lan, from Japan.  Fan of Initial D.  Engages in illegal parkour in the city.

Kaoru, from Japan.  Also a fan of Initial D.  Also into parkour, often getting into trouble with Lan (above)

Octavia, from the Czech Republic.

Samara, from Russia.  Tries her best but has trouble keeping up with the others, especially Portia and Mercedes.  Injury prone.

Barbara, from the US.  Specifically, from Malibu, California.*  Laid back.

The Boys:
Martin Astin, from England.  A rival to Mercedes, especially in school performance.  Is currently seeing "Mustang" Shelby (above).  Wants to be a secret agent after university.

Adam, from Germany.  Opal’s street smart brother; enjoys cross-country running.

David Harleyson, from the US.  The bad boy of the story.  When he was younger, he was called "Fat Boy", but after bulking up over summer, he's known as "Iron"

Holden, from Australia.  Enjoys long walks in the wilderness.

Other Cast:
Frau Westphalia, from Germany.  A teacher at the school, she dresses like a hippy.  Enjoys brownies, which she never shares with her students.

G.P. Willis, from the US.  The running team coach.  Served in the Army.

Catherina, from Sweden.  Teacher.  Brother Viggo was a Swedish Air Force pilot.

Have an idea for other people at the school, either student or teacher?  Want to submit a pic of one of the characters above?  Let me know, either through my contact email or in the comments!

* This one gets tricky.  Barbara represents the Chevy Malibu.  So, why Barbara?


  1. I'm delayed in making comments, but this one deserves a jump in the queue... first, okay, I had no idea that my web series was actually part of an ongoing trend. Second, wow, you're clever - not knowing so much about cars, I'm sure there's nuances I don't get. (Though I did pick up on Barbie.) Third, it makes me wonder if there's additional subtext now to "Guardians of the Gem". ;)

    Finally, can't help but note that girls as names of cars has been done before. Not as actual representations, more in-name only, but it's another reason that Magical Lyrical Nanoha is awesome. Here's the character list: http://nanoha.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Characters

    Keep an eye out for Precia Testarossa, Signum, Subaru, Teana (the tsundere), Zest, and many others.

  2. I think the OS-tans kickstarted something, but I couldn't give you a timeline. It is a thing, though, and your webseries is early on it. I added the links for those without the knowledge. It was a slow day at work. :) (I was hoping someone would make that connection.) No, no subtext there; I used the names but not the qualities of the alcohol.

    I figured something like that had been done. I was aiming to capture the essence, though the Lamborghini Gallardo as Fluttershy came out of left field.

    Oddly, it was an effort to find names for the American cars. The German ones had perfectly serviceable names.