Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique

My interests have not really brought me into the car scene as my interests laid more in video games, anime, and Japanese culture.

Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique
Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique
Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique
Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique
Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique
Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique
Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique
Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique
Ben Williams - 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique

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Hi, I’m Ben Williams, 

I’m 33 from the South Coast of the UK and I’m the proud driver of this 2018 Renault Clio Dynamique itasha featuring Lisbeth & Silica from the anime Sword Art Online. 

Check out my Instagram @kisama784.

There is nothing especially special about me really, just a humble retail manager who, throughout the current pandemic, has been “supporting the nation” in various ways.

My interests have not really brought me into the car scene as my interests laid more in video games, anime, and Japanese culture.

I only really got interested in the car scene when I saw my first itasha back in 2016 on the website  I used to check out that site every now and then but 1 day stopped visiting it for some reason.

Fast forward to winter 2018 and I was at a McDonalds getting some food after work.  I pulled up next to a convertible with the hard top on and noticed in the rear window was a sticker that stood out to me which said “Kawaii Dorifuto”.  I had always seen cars with various stickers on them from fun stickers to stickers that supported points of view.  Seeing this sticker though made me look up more online, which led me to finding anime sticker groups on Facebook.

When I joined the group, then I got to see all the great designs people had put onto their cars and that got me interested in getting an itasha but I was going to wait till I got a car I wanted to do it on.

I thought that would be far in the future since, at the time, I enjoyed driving but a car to me was something that got me from A to B.  During this time, I was driving a 2006 Mitsubishi Colt, which is my true first car, that I had been given by my parents to learn to drive in.  I had it for a good few years but it was written off by my insurance company when I got in a minor traffic incident which forced me to need a new car.

Now some people, I imagine, would ask me “Why this car?” or “what drew you to a Renault Clio of all things to get as your first big purchase?”
When asked this I can’t really give a definitive answer to it really.  I just happened to come across it in my search to replace my old car after the traffic incident.  I had searched all my local dealerships, saw this car but continued looking only to return to it again after my long search.  I cannot say what ranked it above other cars I saw but I’d like to think that at the time I was already planning out what design I was going to get put on it.

That was the beginning of 2019 and I loved that car every day I drove it for a full year! Then we were hit with the current pandemic.

At that point in my life I had always done things for other people and not really done something that was purely for myself.

That is when I said to myself "You've been thinking about this for a while now, just do it. Don't worry what people will say to you, just do something for yourself for once".

“You have always kept your interests to yourself in fear of what others would think of you for them. You have wanted to do this for a while now. Screw what others think about it. This is for you, not them so just do it.”

Once I had that made that choice, my Clio’s journey moved quickly from what it was to what it is today.

In my various Itasha Facebook groups I had come across some amazing designs from a small team called Setsuna Designs.  As soon as they were accepting commissions, I knew I had to get them to do my design.

These guys wowed me from the first draft, right to final design.  They were passionate about the project as it was a subject that was close to their hearts, and they knew itasha culture inside out.

Took the final design to a local wrap company and by the beginning of August she was complete!

Once the wrap was installed, I debuted it to the itasha Facebook groups I had joined and was so pleased with the reception it had received by the wider community.

All the comments I have received both online and in person have made me so proud to have the privilege to drive my itasha and filled me with such joy and a big smile every time I get behind the wheel!

Since then I have enjoyed being a part of the itasha community and spread my story with them in the hopes of inspiring others to have that ‘to hell with it, just do it’ realisation and do something that is 100% just for their enjoyment. When I posted my car's journey I was approached by a small UK itasha group called Baka Itasha (@baka.itasha on Instagram).

They formed the group because of their love for itasha and with the hope of seeing the itasha scene grow more in the UK. This resonated with my wanting to bring the joys of itasha to more people, so I accepted their invite and joined their group.

My plans for the future are to eventually meet up with the rest of my group and, when anime events start up again, eventually take my pride and joy to events so I can show more and more people that you don’t need a flashy car to be able to turn it into a itasha, as long as you love the car you have and have a passion for whatever subject you decide to put on your car then that’s all that matters!

It doesn’t have to be anime either.  In Japan people do itasha of their favourite video games, bands, sports teams, TV shows, etc. You name it and there is probably an itasha for it and that is what so great about the community. Everyone accepts you wholeheartedly since they share the passion.

Now I am sure you're all wondering what makes my car unique from the next car, and my answer to you would be this. Apart from the wrap design it is a standard 2018 Renault Clio.  I’ve not modded it in any way apart from the wrap itself.

But to me it’s more the spirit of the car that is unique about it. I have had the privilege of watching it evolve from its humble beginnings to what it is now.

That is not to say the project is complete as you guys know full well a car project is never truly complete. But for now, I am happy with where she currently stands.

Shout outs to: 

@baka.itasha – UK itasha group I am a part of.

@Setsuna Designs – The guys who designed my wrap.

@thinkwraps – for printing and installing the wrap.

@kisama784 – my Instagram

And lastly thank you Stance Auto for giving me the opportunity to tell my story to a wider audience and allowing me to support them in spreading the world of itasha to more people!

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