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Toyota turned the Prius' parts into anime characters

Because you really needed a cute personification of your hybrid car's suspension.

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If you were running a big Japanese car manufacturer, how would you make your technology accessible to the public? Toyota has a rather strange answer: turn it into anime characters. The company has launched an "Impossible Girls" promo campaign for the new Prius where components and features are anthropomorphized as sometimes cute, sometimes mysterious cartoons. Yes, you too can relate to a cyborg representation of your hybrid car's wishbone suspension or water pump.

This kind of marketing strategy isn't new in Japan -- even Microsoft turned Internet Explorer into an anime mascot a few years ago. It's meant to appeal to the (typically young) fans of anime and manga who might otherwise write off a product as stiff and boring. Still, it's an odd move. What's the likelihood that the target audience for anime will be shopping for a fairly expensive, family-oriented sedan? At least this beats the "lifestyle" shots and technical run-downs that usually pass for advertising in the automotive world.

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