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The Story Behind Toyota UK's Manga Inspired Adventure

Date: 2014 November 25th Tuesday [17:01] | Posted By: Joe

Toyota UK have decided to do something a bit interesting with their Japanese roots. At the October 2014 MCM London Comic Toyota revealed a new manga styled adventure to launch their new Aygo.

Specially commissioned by UK based artist Sonia Leong to create the manga. Toyota also commissioned an animated version of the comic too.

We caught up with Nik Pearson (Manager, Press Relations) at Toyota to talk about the campaign. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive interview about the project.

Thanks again for your time Nik. It's always interesting to see how production of manga based marketing campaigns work.
Full Story
Interview as follows:

Why did you use manga to promote the latest Aygo?

The design of the New Aygo was completed by David Terai and Nobu Nakamura, both big fans of Manga. The original design thought behind New Aygo was 'Small but Powerful', inspired by the classic Manga character, Astro Boy.

Why did you pick a British based artist rather than Japanese talent for the artwork?

Using a British artist was important as we wanted it to feel like a UK project. When we met with Sonia, we knew that her talent and knowledge of the Manga style would add some real credibility to the project.

What was the working process like? How closely did Toyota work with Sonia Leong?

The team and I had an initial meeting with Sonia to give her some information on the car, and the thinking behind the design. Following this, Sonia had complete freedom to create the storyline and artwork.

Was she given a detailed brief? Did the manga evolve through a brainstorming sessions or through various draft stages or some other method of working?

No detailed brief was given to Sonia. We wanted her to have as much freedom as possible to interpret how Aygo would fit into a Manga context.

Toyota Aygo Artwork

At the MCM London Comic you were giving out free copies of the Aygo manga. What feedback did you get about the manga?

The feedback on the limited-edition Manga was fantastic. Only 1,500 copies were printed, and are now out there with fans. I think that many fans particularly appreciated the lengths we'd gone to in printing the Manga.

Are you aware of Itasha? Did you consider using something similar to promote the Aygo?

This kind of treatment was considered as part of the launch event at Comic Con, but we wanted to show fans that the hero car in the adventure was one that they could go into a Toyota centre and buy today.

Looking at the manga, it's clear that the production quality is very high. There are some nice touches in there such as a semi-transparent inner cover and additional red colour ink used for emphasis. Whose ideas were these little touches?

The project was directed by Guy Bird, who worked closely with Sonia and the printers to ensure the best quality. The spot colour used was particularly important as this is the colour of the special edition x-cite grade that we exhibited at Comic Con.

Was printing done in Japan or elsewhere?

Printing was done here in London.

The manga itself lacks any dialogue, is this so it can also be distributed around Europe and the rest of the world?

This was a consideration, yes. The Manga is easy to understand whatever country you're in, making it easy to spread.

Toyota are going to launch an animated short based on this manga. Can you go into more detail about this? Who animated it?

The animation has been created by a London-based team, using a '2.5D' perspective to add another level to the adventure. Sonia has worked closely with the team to ensure consistency between the still and animated version is maintained. We hope to release this animated version on 13th November on Toyota's Youtube channel, ToyotaUKTV.

Thanks again for your time Nik. It's always interesting to see how production of manga based marketing campaigns work.

------------------------

Otaku News would like to thank Nik Pearson at Toyota UK for taking time out to answer our questions.

Otaku News

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