Since the 1950s, the motorcycle in Japan has been a symbol of youthful rebellion and action, and it hasn't lost its popularity. The Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association reports in 2013, motorcycle sales increased by 4.8 percent from 2012. Modern anime has been around almost as long, and it should come as no surprise many famous anime characters ride motorcycles.
"Great Teacher Onizuka"Eikichi Onizuka is the main character of “Great Teacher Onizuka.” Formerly a member of a Japanese motorcycle gang, or “bosozoku,” he has cleaned up his act and has decided he wants to be the greatest teacher ever.
For many decades in Japan, motorcycles were heavily associated with “bosozoku,” though Tofugu reports their numbers have dropped from an all-time high of 42,510 in 1982, to an all-time low of 9,064 in 2011. Throughout the series, Onizuka is seen riding his red Kawasaki Z750RS ZII, proving he has maintained his passion for motorcycles since riding with his bike gang, the “Oni-baku.” There are still Kawasaki Z750RS ZIIs out there if you are looking to emulate the coolest teacher in anime, and Japanese tire manufacturer Nitto produces compatible tires.
Photo by Nevilleg via Wikimedia Commons
"Kino's Journey: The Beautiful World"“Kino's Journey: The Beautiful World” follows the adventures of a young girl named Kino and her talking motorcycle, Hermes, as they travel across a fantastic world full of many unique countries, cities and people. Hermes is a Brough Superior, considered the Rolls Royce of motorcycles. The Brough Superior was a rare bike loved by racers such as T. E. Lawrence and made by George Brough in Brough's small facility.
If you are looking to find your own Brough Superior to take on your own adventures, you should start saving now. Gizmag notes new Superiors cost more than a house in the '20s, and now cost nearly half a million dollars.
Photo by Joe MiGo via Wikimedia Commons
"FLCL"Haruko Haruhara is a spastic and exuberant member of the Galactic Space Patrol Brotherhood and one of the main characters of the exceedingly strange series “FLCL.” In the first episode of “FLCL” (pronounced “foo-lee-coo-lee”), she runs down 12-year-old Naota with her Piaggio Vespa SS 180, gives him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and smashes him across the back of the head with a bright blue Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar, making quite the first impression.
While her guitar might shoot bullets and rockets, open interdimensional portals and act as her weapon of choice, her iconic ride is her Vespa Super Sport 180. T.H.E.M. Anime reviews considers “FLCL” to be one of the most unique, innovative and bizarre animes ever produced, citing horned preteens, TV-headed robots and its lack of a meaningful plot.
Photo by Christian Scheja via Wikimedia Commons
While not technically a motorcycle, the Super Sport 180 from “FLCL” is a real bike that was popular in the 1960s, and Haruko's bike is instantly recognizable to most anime fans. Considering how Haruko's bike seems to be in perfect condition, it seems unlikely she is actually the 19-year-old she claims to be, but if that's the only thing you think is weird in “FLCL,” you probably weren't paying attention.