TOKYO -- Pushing the envelope of product placement, two Nissan Motor Co. concept cars will appear in a feature-length animated science fiction thriller from a hot Japanese studio.
Placing concept cars in sci-fi movies set in the future is not new. Actor Will Smith drove an Audi concept in the 2004 live-action movie I, Robot. And automakers vie to get their vehicles featured in animated video games.
But anime films, which use a distinctly Japanese animation style, have a cult following. "These very exciting images will bring the Nissan brand to a new spectrum of customers," says Shiro Nakamura, Nissan's chief creative officer.
The Nissan Sport Concept, featured in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex -- Solid State Society, debuted at the 2005 New York auto show.
The Kuraza, which is featured in the film, debuted at the 2005 Detroit auto show.
The film will be available on DVD in the United States and Europe in 2007. It premieres in Japan this fall.
Production I.G., a major Japanese studio, produced the film. Ghost in the Shell, based on a graphic novel by Shirow Masamune, has been acclaimed as a major influence on the Matrix series of films. The studio also did the animation sequence in Kill Bill: Volume 1.
The studio used engineering data supplied by Nissan to make the cars in the film match those on the auto show circuit.
"The taillamps on an anime car are usually just vague, red lamps," says Teruhisa Ishikawa, a director at the studio. "This is a round taillamp with detailed lenses."
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