A small city car like the Toyota Aygo wouldn’t usually show up on our enthusiast-oriented radar, but we’ve got to be honest; it’s hit the nail on the head design-wise. The car’s performance might not set the world alight, but its bold styling has been a hit with customers; of the Aygo/108/C1 triplets, the Toyota’s the one I see cruising about most often in the wild.
When I reviewed the car I commented on its manga-like styling, something chief engineer David Terai, an avid manga fan himself, was keen to incorporate. And in an attempt to sell its car to da yoof, Toyota commissioned artist Sonia Leong to devise a comic with the Aygo as the star.
I was invited to Comic Con London a few weeks back to take a look at the first physical copy of the comic, and to chat with Leong about her creation. After I’d navigated my way through the incredible cosplayers, received a hug from Pikachu and high-fived a storm trooper, I finally found the Toyota booth.
As I sit down with Leong for a chat, a model appears wearing the outfit worn by the comic book’s leading lady, complete with signature swords (made of foam, reassuringly). It’s immediately clear that Leong is passionate about her art as she describes the moment she was first showed the car.
“The headlights stuck out to me, that triangular eye shape is very common in manga. Then I noticed the ‘X’ at the front and my first thought was to turn them into swords!” Leong then decided to incorporate the Aygo’s focus on customisation through a transformation, from simple city car to crime-fighting hero.
Naturally with this being a Toyota comic, I had to ask about Initial D: “Of course, I’m aware of the cult following of Initial D, especially with the car almost being the main character,” Leong told me, “so it was interesting to look at how they achieved that.”
Adventure One, as the name indicates, is the first in a series of Aygo-centric manga comics to be produced by Leong. If you’ve watched the animated show and now want to download the comic, click here.