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SDF show their playful side: Moe-style attack helicopter wows crowds

19 Comments
By Philip Kendall

“It just goes to show that we really do live in a peaceful country.”

A quote from an Internet user sums up the mood perfectly after Japan’s Self Defense Forces unveil a unique attack helicopter covered with manga-influenced designs and colors.

Presented as part of an air show in Chiba Prefecture, the quirky new helicopter quickly stole the show, with hundreds of people taking photos and video to share on the internet.

Whether we’d ever see a helicopter like this fly into battle or not, there’s no denying that it has an awful lot of charm.

The SDF was established shortly after the end of World War II, and, like many armies around the world, is comprised of ground, air and naval forces that serve to protect the country. Mention the Japanese “army” to the average Japanese citizen and you will more often than not be corrected, as have I on multiple occasions, and informed that “Japan does not have an army; only a self-defense force.”

The JSDF are sworn to become involved only in peace-keeping and defensive missions, and, due to sanctions imposed on the country after the war, cannot form a “traditional military force”.

But that doesn’t stop them being awesome.

Last weekend, as a part of Kisarazu City’s aviation festival, the JSDF presented their new AH-1S Cobra helicopter, for use in (defensive!) tank-busting operations, which soon became the star of the show thanks to its unexpected “moe style” artwork and the introduction of an original flame-haired character going by the name of Kisarazu Akane, after the city.

While the term “moe” is forever changing and tricky to define, it is most often used to describe a feeling of passion and burning - usually for something pretty like a “moekko” (a combination of moe and the word for “young girl” or “daughter”), and denoting a kind of good-looking girl that men burn with desire for.

So to see anime style designs on the side of an army Self Defense Force helicopter is a little unusual to say the least.

Diehard anime and manga fans in Japan are renowned for their “itasha” (literally painful car) vehicles, which are decorated with character designs to the point that driving one through a busy area often results in crowds of people standing slack-jawed and snapping photos.

To the fans, these “itasha” creations are nothing short of spectacular, but to the average passerby the cars are literally painful to look at, hence the moniker they receive.

Similarly, with the JSDF’s sweet new ride finding fame just hours after its initial unveiling and with videos like the one above receiving more than 40,000 hits so far, Japanese netizens are already playfully dubbing the helicopter “ita-heli” in a nod to anime fans’ gaudy sets of wheels.

In true otaku style, the JSDF’s presentation came complete with an a cosplay model, dressed as the new character Kisarazu Akane herself, prompting a flurry of excitement as excited attendees and press alike demanded a photo opportunityas soon as the official explanation of the new helicopter had ended.

It’s hard to imagine any army in the West launching a pretty, long-haired character of their own, let alone a “cute” anti-tank helicopter- a machine whose main purpose, let’s not forget, it to blow big scary things up.

Only in Japan, right?

Source: R25

© RocketNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


19 Comments
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With a design like that they could be my wingman anytime.

I'd notch up more kills too - any enemy would be a sitting duck admiring the design for too long.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

And to think that some of our tax goes to pay for this stupidity.

Stuff like this are the reason why Japan is seen as an immature country by the rest of the world.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

The Chinese have got to be laughing their asses off!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

It just goes to show that we really do live in a peaceful country.

I would say it just goes to show that we really do live in a country that has little collective interest in constructive self-reflection; making a healthier, more expressive, and fulfilling society; making a contribution to social progress; or taking responsibility for its own self defense.

Fixating on cuteness is a substitute for thinking.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

It just goes to show that we really do live in a peaceful country.

I would say it just goes to show that we really do live in a country that has little collective interest in constructive self-reflection; making a healthier, more expressive, and fulfilling society; making a contribution to social progress; or taking responsibility for its own self defense.

I think both of you have just extrapolated in ways you want to, based on one helicopter re-painted for an aviation festival.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Japan’s Self Defense Forces unveil a unique attack helicopter covered with manga-influenced designs and colors

.Harajuku camouflage?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not just the Japanese, but the South Koreans, and Chinese too, use these cutesy characters to create a more likeable image amongst the young (and impressionable otaku) toward the police, fire service, miltary branches, etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"The Chinese have got to be laughing their asses off!"

Heck, I'm laughing my ass off!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Ah, I see people are suffering from a sense of humour bypass again... very sad.

This really is no different than painting a fighter up with tiger stripes for air shows... or any of the display teams with brightly coloured aircraft. It's an airshow for pity's sake... where kids go to see big mecha, so why not have cute characters and models.

Cheez...

8 ( +9 / -1 )

SDF,s budget seems to be in need of a good screening if they waste it on stuff like this.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

New tactic vs the Chinese army... make them laugh at the SDF til they drop dead.

Next thing we here about will be missiles that leave rainbow sparkles as they fly!

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Why are they aiding in the morale boost of our potential enemies?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

So other countries never do anything like this? Sheesh, what's wrong with a bit of fun to relieve tension.

Would be good if the Koreas (both of them) and China lightened up too.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This painting on the side of the SDF helicopters is a globally practiced art. Every country with a sense of pride paints their aircraft. Australia, U.S, and even China paint with special paint schemes.

I think that this is fun and enjoyable! Military does not have to be all tight cheeked. Oh and to the people laughing and saying "this helicopter will kill the Chinese with laughter" try flying a ancient Chinese helicopter in front of this U.S designed chopper that's been winning the wars......

0 ( +2 / -2 )

ReformedBasherOct. 21, 2012 - 12:09AM JST Would be good if the Koreas (both of them) and China lightened up too.

Right. How about ... Americans will paint their aircraft in Starburst colors. Koreans will paint characters of their sexy MMOs. Chinese can do better. They can paint real C-Pop star images, and Russians can substitute all the stars with Cheburashka images. It is hard to say who will look more ridiculous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now, what they really need is a mech.

See how the Chinese like it when the MSDF deploys a Gundam to the Senkakus.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

See how the Chinese like it when the MSDF deploys a Gundam to the Senkakus.

Right on

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think its a waste of time, but at least its an adorably hilarious waste of a national military's time. They should only rely on humanitarian actions to show a good image to the public instead of this. As I recall from a film, "If you can spend enough money to kill people, you can also spend enough money to help people".

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's nothing. Wait until the Ospreys fly by covered in WWII images of beautiful women, which is just about the era of the effectiveness of the flying albatross.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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