Based in Japan’s unrivaled hub of neo-anime culture and unwavering creativity, Sector One turns out some of the worlds most detailed Itasha designs. After 2 months of having their flagship location in Akihabara, I was invited to come take a look at their new demo car; the former RE-Amemiya built LW-7 FD3S.
Naoya-san, who goes by the pseudonym ‘Liese’, has been designing Itasha wraps for several years. It wasn’t until recently that he, and a few other partners, decided to turn it into a full-time business; and what better location to put their roots down than in the middle of Akihabara. Without question, ‘Akiba’ is the epicenter of all things anime, manga, and Japan’s futuristic pop-culture. The city is brimming with creative energy and unjudged enthusiasm for individuality. There’s an energy that can be felt in the air that is absent around any other part of Tokyo. It was the perfect location to showcase their work.
Visually, Itasha styled cars are very intriguing. Blending together the two worlds of Japanese pop-culture and automotive style is not really an easy task to pull off well. But when done correctly, the incorporation of the two becomes seamless and quite aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to do wrong. In steps Sector One.
By utilizing anywhere from 2 to 8 layers of various materials, Liese weaves together the shops clients desires with his own design expertise to ensure that regardless of how ridiculous a request is, it will end up looking good. Often times he will enlist the help of various freelance artists to custom draw characters to fit a particular vehicles body lines, or design specifications (this was actually done for their FD demo car). It’s easy to see the difference in quality with the installs that Sector One completes.
After the cars debut at the Itasha Style show in Osaka, the car went back to RE Amemiya to have a few maintenance related issues taken care of. This past week it was set to return to Akihabara so the day of, I packed up my equipment and headed out to Tokyo from my current place in Saitama.
Tucked away in a back street, Sector One manages to fit about 3 cars into a floor plan that was probably meant for one. That’s Ryo in the background, he is one of the partners.
The ‘Furin Volcano’ LW-7, built entirely in house at RE-Amemiya, has already gained notoriety on track hitting an impressive 56 second lap time at TC2000. Now in the hands of Sector One, after announcing this car will compete again in Attack next season, they have officially combined Itasha and Time Attack.
The general idea behind this build is achieving the fastest lap possible with just a simple boost up tune and maintaining OE reliability. Lightweight is the name of the game here, and RE was successful in cutting out a ton of weight, literally. Most of the body panels have been replaced with carbon alternatives; the hood, rear hatch, door panels, wing, etc. are all dry carbon. In fact, the front bumper and wide body kit are custom-made products with a smaller number of FRP plies than the regular off the shelf items. The car weighs in at a mere 970kg.
A custom valved set of Scoot coilovers with Swift springs (16kg) set the ride height perfectly. I was glad to see that Sector One maintained the low ride height, despite having to destroy the underside of the bumper getting in and out of their driveway – it’s a worthy sacrifice. All arms have been swapped out with pillowball bushings.
The car retains the RE GT-AD III Kit with Facer N-1 bumper and accompanying canards. RE rear diffuser, under panel and SPL GT-wing round out the classic look of the FD.
For all intents and purposes the car remains exactly as Amemiya intended. However, instead of being awash in that signature RE light blue color, it’s adorned in a crossover livery between time attack and Hololive.
What’s Hololive you ask? Well, buckle up, because I had no idea until a few weeks ago.
Hololive is a virtual YouTuber agency owned by Japanese tech entertainment company Cover Corporation. You read that right, Virtual YouTuber – Online entertainers that use virtual avatars generated with computers and that utilize real-time motion capture software to capture movement of the actual person behind the avatar. Who those actual people are is a mystery to me, I suppose it could be anyone, but over the past few years this trend has taken off exponentially.
The character that Sector One used for their demo car is ‘Marine Houshou’, one of Hololive’s most popular avatars. She’s like a horny pirate or something. Her (it’s?) Twitter account has over 1.3 million followers, and her YouTube is knocking on the door of 2 million alone. Needless to say this is big business for the corporations that own the rights to these avatars. Side note, if there are a few people that are well-versed in this world, and I get anything wrong, please correct me in the comments!
But the look works so well with this car, and I think a lot of that has to do with the avatar not really being the focal point. The wrap is 5 layers, including red chrome, forged carbon, a custom monochrome print, and the poly transfer. If it was just the avatar slapped on the side of the car it would probably be an eyesore – the true meaning of Itasha haha.
If I were speaking honestly, I actually like this design better than the RE blue. It combines so many varying elements very well.
Heading out to take some roller shots. We piled into Hide’s Prius while Liese drove the FD. Hide is an Itasha enthusiast and photographer specializing in these cars.
I got my start in photography by traveling to Japan and wandering the streets photographing people. For about 4 years, from 2006 to 2010 give or take, I came to Japan several times a year and didn’t even photograph cars believe it or not – just people. Looking back I think it helped me develop my own style that carried over into my work today.
Getting the chance to combine the two on this day was fun. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition in composition of the maids along with the Itasha style car. The entire scene is quintessential Japan. Wanted to spend more time here but I had dinner plans that I couldn’t really change.
The 13B-REW in the LW-7 makes a healthy 400ps on GCG twins with a mild boost up tune using an Apex Power FC and HKS EVC6-IR 2.4. Exhaust is handled by RE signature Power Expander manifold and RE RE Amemiya φ90 titanium Dolphin Tail Exhaust. An ORC twin plate clutch and OS Giken Super Lock Diff help get all 400 or so to the ground.
There’s no air conditioning either, so Liese was overheating a bit himself driving around on the warm Summer night.
We also randomly ran into our friend Yuta on the street. He was wearing one of our Dogfight x Attack shirts and he stopped to look at the FD. びっくりした! This is his Mini.
Back at the shop, we backed the FD back into the shop, hung out for a bit more and I made my way back home. I had a dinner that I was about an hour late for!
Snapped these shots of the Keihin-Tohoku line leaving Akihabara Station before I went underground to the TX.
Hope you enjoyed the article and photos – special thanks to Sector One, Liese, Ryo, and Hide. be sure to check us out on YouTube for more! If you enjoy, please consider subscribing.