Ride Or Die: The Most Iconic Vehicles In Anime And Manga

Nobody can deny the appeal of a powerful motorcycle or a fast sports car. These vehicles turn heads wherever they go, often inciting both jealousy and admiration. Whether you’re driving a powerful muscle car, a sleek sports car, a slick sports bike, or a souped-up big bike, there’s no denying the prestige that comes with owning one of these vehicles.

The same goes for anime and manga characters, of course. There are some anime that can’t be talked about without discussing the sweet rides that are as much a part of the cast as the characters are. While some are real cars, the others are fictional. Take note we aren’t just talking about powerful vehicles like Ferraris or Harley Davidsons, but rather iconic ones that make an impact on the viewer and the story.

Kaneda’s Motorcycle from Akira

Akira is a post-apocalyptic anime about a boy who develops psychic powers that make him virtually godlike until he loses control of them and he becomes a threat not only to all of Japan, but to himself as well. Known for its dynamic animation, stunning and disturbing imagery, and amazing storytelling, Akira is widely regarded as one of the best anime movies ever made.

One thing in particular that most people will remember first about the anime is the motorcycle owned by the main character, Kaneda. A sleek red sports bike with a very distinct design, the bike is more memorable to a lot of people, even surpassing some of the movie’s characters in terms of popularity. In fact, if you do a search for Akira, chances are most of the top results will feature the motorcycle in them!

Tachikoma from Ghost In The Shell

One thing that can make a cool ride even better is a cool ride that’s sentient. This was proven in western shows like Night Rider and Herbie, and reinforced in anime by the extremely popular tachikomas. Serving as police vehicles, tachikomas are small, personal tanks that have wheeled spider legs instead of treads and a pair of arms they can use to manipulate objects.

What really sets them apart, however, are their cute personalities. Often very perky and positive, tachikomas are shown as cheerful and friendly, providing a counterbalance to their often-grim pilots. They’re so popular that they have their own toy line, and in the animated series, little sketches at the end of the episode featuring their misadventures. It’s almost impossible to watch the series and not want a tachikoma of your own!

AE86 Trueno GT-Apex from Initial D

From the anime that started the drifting craze around the world, Initial D, the Trueno GT-Apex is, unlike the other entries on our list, an actual car. Manufactured by Toyota, the Trueno GT-Apex has no special powers, transformations, or artificial intelligence that we know if. In Initial D however, it’s the iconic car driven by the main character as he makes his deliveries up and down the mountains of his hometown.

The car became iconic because despite being an affordable car that wasn’t known as a particularly fast or powerful car, its handling and stability made it a popular choice for actual drifters. The fact that this car is also used in the anime to outperform more expensive, more popular cars also helped it reach its iconic status in the anime world.