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 takes a break from the constant stream of luscious scenery and gives a glimpse of the work that goes into creating and nurturing lively communities. This board of community members, including local business owners, meets periodically to plan promotional events for the shotengai (shopping district).
In an interesting coincidence, I had just been to a meeting of the South Orange special improvement district board (more on that in an upcoming post) a few days prior to this broadcast. I’m going to recommend we include tea and okashi at the next session.
The choir club is roped into dressing in costume as Tari Tari’s version of Super Sentai (Power Rangers to those of you in the US) as part of the promotional event.
Curry Yellow! Meat Red!
The current map from @Konatsu_TT:
(ココロコネクト Kokoro Konekuto)
It’s another mostly indoor week on Kokoro Connect, but we do get a few new angles of the pedestrian square at the center of the commercial district near Yamaboshi Kita subway station.
(人類は衰退しました Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita)
This week’s Humanity plays out like an alternate, delightfully wacky version of Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff. Stuff walks through the limitations and externalities (pollution, health impacts, etc.) of our prevailing linear system of goods production, from extraction of natural resources through manufacturing, sale, use and disposal.
Humanity’s fairies are particularly adept at such a system. When a breakaway contingent led by Mediator goes off to found a new island civilization, they waste no time converting forest and other natural resources to productive use. Products churned out on the first day include basics like food and shelter.
But by day two they have already advance to “civilized” appliances, like deluxe washlet toilets.
Electricity generation is achieved (produced from pineapples, no less).
Hot water plumbing.
Rapidly expanding agriculture.
Periodic insert scenes show the continuous destruction of natural habitat.
The first hint of trouble comes when the development of cacao crops doesn’t go as planned. Mediator casually nods to the growing industrial pollution problem, but quickly casts concern aside.
How can you worry when you can genetically modify plants to grow Pocky!
The fairies are so satisfied with their seeming success they demand, and are granted, permission to build monuments in celebration.
This turns out to be the tipping point, degrading the soil past the point where it can support plant growth. An order goes out to ration electricity and take down the monuments, but the time for preventative action has long since passed.
Mediator makes a comment near the end that really speaks volumes to how we’ve gotten ourselves into such a troubling position in our own world. She cajoles the despondent fairies into abandoning the nation, saying “We’ll move on to some new place and start the whole painful process over again.” We’re saying something similar when we ship our production (and associated pollution) offshore. Our current system doesn’t become benign when it gets relocated from Flint, Michigan to Shanghai, China. The problem just moved.
Significant plot development this week. I won’t spoil it, but if you’ve been watching you can probably guess! Rokka recalls Atsushi’s wish that she discard all of his things when he passes, including the flower shop. She describes the shop, pictured in her mind as a burst of curbside color in its quiet neighborhood at golden hour, as overflowing with her husband’s love. It’s because of this that she doesn’t even countenance the idea of selling the shop
When we talk about the performance of our built environment, we often describe behaviors in objective, mathematical terms: capacity, volume, throughput, and so on. It would present measurement challenges, but couldn’t we also talk about the ability of a place to facilitate our own expression of love, for whatever or whomever it may be? Can a place be intrinsically lovable? If so, what makes it so, and how do we get more of it?