By Steve & Tamami Laser; with Nahoko Osuka reporting from Japan
Automakers are rushing full-speed down the self-driving highway to introduce autonomous cars to the masses. Yet we often wonder what will happen to the emotional bond between people and cars? Can we get excited about self-driving pods without steering wheels or pedals? Will there be a place for car enthusiasts in the future?
Toyota Gazoo Racing attempts to answer these questions in a new lighthearted series of films titled “The World is One.” Released on the racing division of Toyota Motor Corp’s Japanese YouTube channel, the quartet of shorts recasts the same plot line in present day Japan, Australia and South Africa, and then transports us to a very different future in Japan.
The common thread that holds the series together is a 1983 Toyota Corolla Levin AE86, also known as “Hachiroku” (Japanese for the numbers “8” and “6”), the beloved compact with a global following that influenced the design of the present-day Toyota 86.
Let’s look at the future segment first. We’re transported to “New Tokyo City” (top) in an unspecified future date where something like global warming has morphed society. Futuristic buildings are located inside climate controlled domes. People wear “self-cleaning” bodysuits and go about their daily affairs where technology has taken over mundane chores.
Yet despite this paradigm shift, some things haven’t changed. The concept of love, for example, appears to survive. Our hero sees a beautiful girl, falls instantly in love, and then has his dream shattered to bits when he sees her with another guy. No worries, though, because there are lots of distractions in the future, like watching holograms of classic cars (above).
Perhaps the biggest thrill of all is going for a ride in a hover-converted Hachiroku. Yes, we know this looks somewhat like a scene from “Back to the Future.” But stay with us because there’s more to come in this clever series from Japan.
We don’t want to give away the entire story, so let’s move on, or should we say “back” to the present where things get a little (more) weird.
Yes, that’s right car fans. We’re watching a world of parallel auto enthusiast universes where events repeat themselves – to prove a point. That is, car fans speak a common language.
“The World Is One” short film series obviously took a great deal of planning and effort. We’ve known all along that cars are a common language. And we hope the love for driving…and classic cars…will never vanish. Thanks, Toyota Gazoo Racing.
Credits for “The World Is One” series include: Takanori Aiba, concept designer and art director. His work can also be seen at the “Shin Yokohama Noodle Museum,” and Hakone “Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince Museum.” Music Director Makihara Noriyuki is from Osaka Prefecture. His discography includes, “Nante another love,” and “Green Days.”
News sources: Toyota Gazoo Racing Div., Toyota Motor Corp.
Stills for this movie review courtesy the copyright holder, Toyota Gazoo Racing
Story (intro and commentary) © 2016 CarNichiWa.com