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 10

tari tari

This week the choir club makes their debut as part-time super heroes defending (and promoting) the vendors and wares of the western shotengai (shopping district). The shops lining the sloping street of the shotengai on the island of Enoshima tend to cater toward leisure shoppers and tourists. By contrast, this shopping district located on the handful of streets that weave through the space between Shonan Monorail Shonan-Enoshima Station and Enoshima Electric Railway Enoshima Station (Katase-Enoshima Station is also not far away) offers practical fare targeting local Fujisawa residents and commuters.

The current map from @Konatsu_TT. Many updates reflecting the current episode:

tari tari

tari tari

Note how the shopping streets flow right into the surrounding residential neighborhood. There is a concentrated cluster of businesses around the nexus of the rail stations, but shops spill over into the adjacent neighborhoods, dotting sidewalks and street corners with gradually decreasing frequency until finally giving over to the dense residential suburb they serve. The proximity of retail and services businesses to rail and residential areas, very limited street parking and dearth of parking lots (the handful of which have at most 10 spaces) elevate the preferability of alternate modes of transport.

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Wien takes his role as the Red Ranger a little too seriously, chasing after a purse snatcher that makes off with Konatsu’s bag. The upshot is that we get to see more of the transition from shotengai to residential zones.

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In the back of this frame is a fumikiri (grade level railroad crossing). We have plenty of these in the US, but whereas we’re usually in a car traveling through sparsely developed no man’s land, waiting (wondering why the two mile long freight train had to come now) while the gates are lowered, in Japan these crossings often dot densely developed urban and suburban neighborhoods that have plenty of foot and bicycle traffic. The lines that necessitate crossings often serve the neighborhoods through which they pass. The result is that transit infrastructure like this is much more of a natural part of community fabric. Gates like these and small local stations (which may be no more than a raised platform and rain cover) are tucked into the spaces between buildings and street ways. I’d like to think the lesson is that grandiose public infrastructure (with equally grandiose budgets) isn’t the answer to making transit a more preferred mode of transportation. Sometimes the simplest and humblest structures are the most endearing. Maybe I’m just a train otaku.

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tari tari

Evil doers will be thwarted by righteous fumikiri!

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Oh, hi Enoden. How are you today?

tari tari

Kokoro Connect

(ココロコネクト Kokoro Konekuto)

Episode 9

kokoro connect

Taichi and Yoshifumi linger and decompress at the end of the day. I mentioned dote as a reference in an earlier episode, but now we get to see one up front and center. These are earthen, grass covered embankments intended to protect nearby areas from flood waters. When not called into service, they are generally open to public access and host all manner of activity, from picnics and sports to general loafing around. For these two students, watching the sun set while sprawled out on the grass evokes memories of earlier, more lighthearted times.

kokoro connect

The city scape is closely modeled on Yokohama’s Tsuzuki Ward.

kokoro connect

kokoro connect

kokoro connect

kokoro connect

Humanity Has Declined

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

Episode 10

Humanity jumps back in time to Mediator’s posting to Camphorwood and first contact with Fairies.

humanity has declined

No time is wasted jumping into its hallmark social commentary, as we are confronted with the remnants of our acquisition and disposal culture.

humanity has declined

humanity has declined

Humans, hampered by dramatically declining population and loss of the infrastructure and industrial capabilities to produce manufactured goods on large scale, rely on Fairies, their successors, for many needs. Negotiating and building relationships with them is the task given to people like Mediator.

humanity has declined

When motivated, Fairies are capable of extraordinary material processing capabilities, such as building a gleaming metropolis from the wreckage and garbage stored in the dump.

humanity has declined

But the are also capricious—frequently disposing, destroying and abandoning things they have created on whims and changes of mood. Grandfather praises Mediator for having had such an impact on Fairies during her first contact, but cautions that she must learn to manage the hyper accelerated and emotionally unstable cycles to which they are prone. With regard to material culture and its impacts on the environment, Fairies are just like us, only far more capable and dangerous.

humanity has declined

Natsuyuki Rendezvous

(夏雪ランデブー)

Episode 10

natsuyuki rendezvous

This week has just a handful of flashbacks to places visited previously, but no new neighborhoods to explore.