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Some of Japan’s top automakers, with a reputation for quality performance wrapped in often bland design, are turning to the country’s pop culture to give them the “J-factor” and help set them apart in a world of growing look-alikes.

Designers of Nissan Motor’s GT-R supercar, for example, borrowed from the popular “Gundam” sci-fi anime franchise to give the pug-nosed $100,000 model a mechanical, robot-like appearance, with a squared-off rear and round tail lamps.

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