tari tari

Welcome to this week’s review of notable instances of transit, place and culture as rendered in anime currently broadcast in Japan and simulcast internationally via the web. For a detailed outline of the approach, please refer to the explanation in the inaugural issue.

Tari Tari

Episode 8

tari tari

Tari Tari goes on a transit binge this week. First is a nighttime shot of the Shonan Monorail suspended track and supports.

tari tari

But it’s all Enoden after that.

tari tari

The choir club is unable to find a practice space at school, so instead relocates to Wien’s home via train.

tari tari

I grew up with the US suburb/exurb system of public school buses, affectionately referred to as yellow dragons. The first time I was in Japan, seeing not just high school students but much younger children walking and taking mass transit to school was something that took me some time to process. In Japan, education in navigating urban environments on foot begins as early as first grade, with approved walking routes, school staff supervision for part of the trip distance, and adorable yellow hats to increase their visibility and signal drivers to exercise more caution than normal.

tari tari

tari tari

tari tari

Small streets allow for through auto traffic, but at reduced speeds and with increased caution. Not sure what the rules are with regard to barreling through on a horse.

tari tari

tari tari

tari tari

tari tari

tari tari

Kokoro Connect

(ココロコネクト Kokoro Konekuto)

Episode 7

kokoro connect

It’s a light week for Kokoro Connect. As usual, the club members walk down through the commercial district at the end of the school day.

kokoro connect

Himeko waits on the platform for her train home.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous

(夏雪ランデブー)

Episode 8

natsuyuki rendezvous

Atsushi/Ryūsuke makes his escape. We see more of the neighborhood around Rokka’s flower shop and apartment. Note the scale on these streets. The lane is wide enough for a car to proceed with caution, the sidewalk consists of about 30cm of shoulder and another 30cm of the tiles covering the drainage channel. Storefronts come right up to the edge. A few interesting things happen in this situation. These kinds of streets generally encourage local and delivery traffic over through driving. Low speeds allow pedestrians and cyclists to use the center of the street when available, but safely move to the edges when cars pass. Stores, especially markets, push offerings on display as far out as the lane line. The space can be incredibly intimate, while still maintaining a high level of functionality.

natsuyuki rendezvous

natsuyuki rendezvous

natsuyuki rendezvous

natsuyuki rendezvous

Rokka treks out after nightfall to search for Atsushi/Ryūsuke. This sidewalk is slightly wider and separated by the street with a protective railing.

natsuyuki rendezvous

The railings are not continuous, which makes me think this is still a small neighborhood street, but may have points of increased activity, particularly near intersections with faster roads.

natsuyuki rendezvous

natsuyuki rendezvous

natsuyuki rendezvous

Rokka’s late night journey takes her to a mountain retreat to which she suspects Atsushi/Ryūsuke may have fled. It is incredible how far public transportation networks reach across Japan. Exceptionally remote areas may not be served by trains, though many still have buses which connect to the closest rail station. Only a very few hard to reach places and deeply rural parts of the country offer no alternatives to private automobiles.

natsuyuki rendezvous

We’ve seen it in just about every episode, but to complete the theme of the week, here’s the flower shop on its small street, with displays filling up the sidewalk/shoulder.

Humanity Has Declined

(人類は衰退しました Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita)

Episode 8

humanity has declined

We get a review of the previous episode’s events, with additional details added and something of a resolution (or what qualifies as one by Humanity’s standards). Most interesting is the back story for the returning assistant. He is said to have come from a tribe that completely died out, leaving him to grow up alone. Lack of interaction with others is identified as as large factor contributing to his taciturn nature and lack of memorable personality. His absence is said to have been a journey of personal discovery though meeting new people and new places, from which he could triangulate his own sense of self. The treatment in this story is a bit flippant, but I think there is a lot of valuable planning insights that can come out of the idea that we are social beings and need to build communities that serve that end.

humanity has declined