If You Like Cartoons And Cars, You’ll Love The $175,000 Devilman Crybaby Coupe

The one-off Devilman Crybaby Orochi was inspired by a Japanese anime.PHOTO BY PETER LYON

Want to enter a contest for one of the rarest cars in the world? If you like Japanese anime, adore one-off sports cars and have a spare $175,000, then the Devilman Crybaby Orochi by Mitsuoka Motors might just be for you.

Huh? Mitsuoka Motors? Never heard of them? Back in 1968, Mitsuoka started life as a used car dealer and replica car builder, converting medium-sized Nissans to resemble Daimlers, and tiny Daihatsus to look like Rileys. In its home country of Japan, Mitsuoka is best known as the manufacturer of the Viewt, a compact car that borrowed the chassis and powertrain from a Nissan March but looked uncannily like a shrunken Jaguar Mk 2 in the sheet metal.

After designing and building its own chassis, that sat under a Caterham-like sports car called the Zero 1, and passed all of Japan’s stringent crash regulations, Mitsuoka Motors was recognized as Japan’s 10th carmaker in 1996. Since then, the company has taken standard Toyota Corollas, Nissan Silvias and Honda Accords, replaced the bodies with its own uniquely styled designs and named them Galue, Nouera, and Ryoga.

Controversial to say the least, all of these cars boast front-end designs that have been heavily influenced—some would say rip-offs—by the likes of Rolls Royce and Jaguar. But they sell. Founder Susumu Mitsuoka realized early on that there were many Japanese buyers who were looking for something different, something unique, but that had Japanese reliability. His cars filled that void.

The radical exterior design was inspired by a serpent of Japanese mythology.PHOTO BY PETER LYON

The highlight of Mitsuoka’s lineup was the Honda NSX-inspired Orochi coupe which went on sale in 2006. Taking strong design hints from a serpent, which is what the name Orochi means, the coupe features similar proportions to those of a Ferrari. From the nose to the rear window, the Orochi does have supercar proportions. Just don’t expect it to pack supercar performance.

Sitting on its own bespoke spaceframe, the coupe employs a surprisingly meager 231hp 3.3-liter V6 engine with 327Nm of torque from a Lexus RX that’s been artfully mounted in a mid-engined layout with a 5-speed automatic gearbox. I drove it when it first came out and found it to be unexpectedly comfortable inside with typically smooth Lexus ride quality. Employing that modest V6, it’s not explosive but will get you up to speed quick enough. Inside, there’s plenty of leather, and build quality is impressive, but it fails to match the drama and excitement of the exterior.

What Mitsuoka launched earlier this month was a special one-off Devilman Crybaby Orochi to celebrate a double 50th anniversary. It’s been five decades since the car company established itself in 1968, and it’s also 50 years since well-known manga exponent Go Nagai began his work as a cartoonist.

The name originates from a famous Japanese anime that can be seen on Netflix worldwide.PHOTO BY PETER LYON

The animated series “Devilman Crybaby” is directed by Masaaki Yuasa and based on a classic manga by Go Nagai. The story centers around Akira Fudo, who harnesses the power of a demon to become the Devilman and save humans from hostile demons, along with Ryo Asuka, who drives an Orochi in the series. For those wishing to check out Devilman, the series is currently streaming worldwide on Netflix.

In celebrating its collaboration with the manga series, Mitsuoka invited Takahisa Atsuji, who handled art direction for the anime, to co-design the Devilman Crybaby with Takanori Aoki, stylist of the original Orochi. To rival the anime’s color combination, a deep red and black twin color scheme and livery was incorporated on the Orochi with a specially designed rear wing and logos.

Mitsuoka says that anyone interested in buying this one-off coupe can access their website until November 15, and add their name to a list from which a winner will be drawn in early December. The price? Mistuoka referred back to its 50-year heritage and focused on the date 1968. That’s right, the Devilman Crybaby Orochi will set you back 19,680,000 yen or around $175,000.