There’s only one place you’ll find a pristine 1957 BMW Isetta 300 cosplaying as a character from 1988 Miyazaki classic My Neighbour Totoro, and I don’t mean my personal garage. The Forza Horizon series has long been a place where anime fans and car enthusiasts come together, and Forza Horizon 5 is no different. Let’s check out some of the finest custom anime liveries in the game so far.
In real life, one doesn’t spend several hundred thousand dollars on a high-performance racing machine and then paint it to look like a Crunchyroll advertisement threw up all over the place…unless they’re into Japan’s Itasha scene, which is exactly that. In contrast, Forza Horizon 5 is a safe place to practice putting animated characters all over expensive vehicles without messing with your insurance premiums.
To scope Forza weebs’ latest creations, pick a car, any car, and when the custom design option pops up, filter the list with the description “anime” or choose the keyword “cartoon.” I have yet to encounter a car that hasn’t had at least one anime-style option.
The Obligatory Panel Van
If ever there was a vehicle that cried out for a colourful anime wrap, it’s the panel van. Here we have a 1983 GMC Vandura dressed up in a vintage Ghost Sweeper Mikami outfit, courtesy of creator Fluttershy6666. The design is such a bright contrast to the van’s default grey colour, elevating it from a vehicle you wouldn’t want to follow you home at night to a vehicle you really, really wouldn’t want to follow you home at night.
The Love Bug
You don’t have to know the anime to appreciate the aesthetic. I have never heard of Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata, the show from which creator Eternaliving pulled this image of the character Megumi Kato, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the way she seems to be giving this 1970 Volkswagen Bug a big old hug, like it’s a giant metal body pillow.
The Demon-Slaying Spyder
I have to admit, one of the first things I did after completing the Forza Horizon 5 opening was hunt for a car with Demon Slayer character Nezuko on it. While I probably wouldn’t make it very far carrying my demon sister on my back, I can see myself going places with my demon sister plastered across the side of my 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder, as imagined by livery creator Torama6722. If she can fit in a backpack she can certainly fit in the passenger seat of an expensive sports car.
Creator Asphalt “Junk e” captures a little slice of my childhood with their Hello Kitty-covered Datsun 510. Before Nissan phased out the line in 1986, I was fascinated by these boxy Japanese imports. The cars kickstarted my fascination with Japanese culture, and when Sanrio shops began popping up in malls in the U.S., that fascination jumped to Hello Kitty, the iconic, mouthless mascot who is not a cat. Combining the two into one sensible Forza Horizon 5 ride is just perfect.
The Touhou Trans Am
One of my favourite screens captured for this gallery, this 1977 Firebird Trans Am looks much better decked out in artwork from the Touhou Project. Livery creator PeskySprintcar combines a dangerous muscle car with dangerous youkai Nue Houjuu to create one sleek and deadly machine. Mind the motion blur, I had a hard time staying still driving this car around.
The Anime Chief
If only we could upload custom liveries to Halo Infinite, right? For this lovely light blue Warthog creator Venom50th showcases Rias Gremory from High Scool DxD, Mai Kawakami from Myriad Colours Phantom World, and I believe that is my beloved Hatsune Miku on the hood. Sadly, this vehicle lacks any hard points, so there’s no mounting a turret and taking out the competition, anime style.
The Fated Gremlin
I needed a 1973 AMC Gremlin. The compact little piece of garbage, released in the year of my birth, holds a special place in my heart. Fate character Astolfo obviously holds a special place in the heart of livery creator EmiliaLuden. If I were ever to own a Gremlin, I would like to own one with pink rims and one of the Twelve Paladins of Charlemagne on the hood.
Of Course Hatsune Miku Makes The Cut
My ongoing fascination with the character and musical stylings of Japan’s first and foremost virtual idol means I have a ton of Hatsune Miku-looking cars in Forza Horizon 5. The Vocaloid princess shared the spotlight on the Warthog a few slides back, but on creator Savour Pureone’s 2017 Ford GT she is the star.
Also, special shoutout to this 2020 Ford Super Duty F-450 from designer Venom50th, one of my favourite pickups in the game.
The Understated Nami
Anime livery designs don’t have to be bright and flashy. Take this 2015 Audi RS 6 Avant, designed by Mr Infinity. It takes Nami, an outrageous character from the outrageous One Piece, and presents her in a tasteful, understated black, orange, and cream design. I would hang this car on my wall, if only for the confused looks on the faces of my friends and family.
The 15 Million Credit Pikachu
I cannot currently afford a 1997 McLaren F1 GT in real life or in-game, but if I could I would definitely dress it up in this Pikachu skin from creator Bidle. I love that Pikachu’s face isn’t just on the front of the car, but on the sides as well, as if multiple Pikachu were so jazzed to be part of this incredibly expensive vehicle they merged into one. This is what anime-covered cars are all about.
And that’s a wrap, or somewhere around a dozen anime- and manga-inspired wraps, covering classic and modern vehicles in colourful characters with big eyes and spiky hair. With more than 500 cars available in Forza Horizon 5 at launch, there’s bound to be a design or two that tickles your fancy. Share your favourites (or your own creations) in the comments below, and happy driving.