In the past, there was a tradition in the U.S. military to paint pin-ups on aircrafts. Today, that tradition lives on in Japan. But there's an important difference: they're not cheesecakes pin-ups. They're anime girls. The annual festival at the Japanese Self defence Force's Kisarazu base allowed visitors to check out the aircrafts and vehicles.
One chopper from the 4th Anti Tank Helicopter Unit was covered with "Kisarazu Akane". The 1st lieutenant is an "image character" for a unit on the base — a yura kyara, if you will, with missiles.
On 2ch, the reaction to this has varied, with some wondering if it's OK to entrust these folks with Japan's defence. Others pointed out that these anime girls are similar to the aircraft pin-ups of yore in that they're not entirely serious.
In recent years, however, that sort of saucy nose art has been deemed offensive in the West. That doesn't seem to be much of a concern in Japan: At the Kisarazu event, there was a cosplaying Akane on hand and even a sheet that listed her vital statistics. Her bust-waist-hip measurements were listed as a "national secret".
This anime girl style painting on a military vehicle doesn't seem to be widespread in Japan yet — nothing like the pin-ups on American aircrafts during WWII were. However, last year, the same division also had an anime girl on one of its anti-tank helicopters.
This year marks that unit's twentieth anniversary. Besides the otaku friendly helicopter, there were geeked out vehicles, too, and even Akane Kisarazu stickers, buttons, and other goods. Several Japanese sites were on hand to enjoy the festivities. You can check out more photos in the links below.
木更津茜＆痛コブラwデモ 木更津航空祭2012 [日々のストレス溜まりまくり]
痛ヘリ [chinokenblog ver.3 (仮)]