A Kizuna Ai ita-bus sounds like a great idea, until you find out it’s an aqua bus too.
Recently the winter iteration of Comiket, Japan’s largest gathering of dojinshi manga and anime art creators (and cosplayers), was held, and Tokyo bus operator Sky Bus had a great idea. Since some of its buses run in the area around Comiket’s venue, the Tokyo Big Sight convention center, why not plaster some of its buses with gigantic graphics of Kizuna Ai, Japan’s most popular virtual YouTuber and a beloved idol of the otaku community?
RT>水陸両用ということなのか…？ #キズナアイ https://t.co/zhPTXgsgIt
40あwるc (@fsb40r1997) December 28, 2018
And so the Kizuna Ai ita-buses (not to be confused with personal-use itasha anime art cars) were born. One featured Ai with a sophisticated smile, but the real treat for fans was the one showed her in her most commonly seen mood, as she energetically waves and calls out in greeting.
じゅんき (@junjunki87) December 31, 2018
The finished product looked great, with professional-level craftsmanship and an extra-large automotive canvas. However, there was one problem.
You might notice that the bus itself has an unusual shape. That’s because this particular model, which Sky Bus calls the Sky Duck, is an amphibious vehicle that occasionally hops off the road and into the waters of Tokyo Bay. On the plus side, that means that in addition to being an ita-bus, the Kizuna Ai version is also an ita-boat. However, it also means that once the bus hits the water…
惰莉愛 (@Dahliandros) December 30, 2018
…it looks like Ai is drowning!
この水陸両用キズナアイ 溺れて助けを求めているように見える… 川の中に石が…ある… 拾いに…行こう…(幻聴) https://t.co/xdTr1XDCPN
ふたばて【公式】 (@ftbtrnk) December 19, 2018
On dry land, Ai’s blushing cheeks, outstretched hand, and enlarged eyes combine to lend her an aura of shy but pure-hearted energy. But with the waterline coming up past her chin, her body language takes on a different atmosphere, as it looks like she’s screaming for help, imploring someone, anyone, to grab her hand and pull her to the safety of solid ground.
テラ (@ksksinari) December 30, 2018
The second-version bus didn’t really have the same problem, as Ai’s calmer and more composed expression makes it clear that she’s in no danger (or at least that she’s accepted and made peace with her impending death).
今日で最後だった水陸両用キズナアイさん(スカイダックお台場コース・キズナアイラッピング仕様)のお写真 陸に上がるときの掛け声が、「このバス外から見るとアイちゃんが溺れてるように見えるらしいので、『がんばれーアイちゃーん！』と言いま… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
ナトリウム(アニメ系) (@natoriumu_anime) December 30, 2018
While it may have been an honest mistake, a few Twitter users have voiced their suspicion that the “drowning Ai” bus was designed that way on purpose, with