Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

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. Links to streaming sources are included when available, though not all may have current episode available at the time this column is published.

Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

(中二病でも恋がしたい! Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai!)
Watch: Anime Network

The @lidges map:

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Episodes 8 and 9

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Rikka can’t bear to stay at her hometown after the confrontation with sister Toka, and flees back to Ōtsu by late evening train. Here she waits for the JR West Obama Line to stop at Higashi Mihama Station.

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

This is the 125 series EMU (electric multiple unit) train, manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

The several hour trip home affords Rikka and Yūta quiet time to talk openly about personal matters without distraction. It marks an inflection point in their developing relationship.

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Arriving late and with no food at home, they settle for konbini onigiri and green tea for dinner.

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Which really isn’t that bad when you can enjoy them while admiring city lights reflected on the water from a riverside park.

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!

Grade level railroad crossing (踏切 fumikiri) and Anō Station

My Little Monster

(となりの怪物くん Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Episode 9

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Haru and Shizuku stroll down a narrow residential street. Notice the narrow shoulder, “missing” sidewalk, and how they use the center of the street when no cars are present. In Japan, on a street this size cars are expected to proceed with caution. Cars, bicyclists and people all share and yield the same space to each other as appropriate. In a blog post this week, Danny Choo shares photos of streets like this around his neighborhood in Musashikoyama. He makes an interesting comment about how novel this seemed to him when he first moved from the UK to Tokyo, as he had been accustomed to significantly larger pavement area. (Sounds like another country I know.)

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Though this stream cuts through a portion of the city, frequent use of foot crossings at regular intervals reflects the importance of pedestrian connectivity.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

A new third place arrives this week. Sasayan and Asako hit the books at a sit down doughnut shop. (Perhaps inspired by Mister Donut?) When I was a visiting student at Hitotsubashi ICS we used to do the same at a place on Yasukuni-dōri in Jinbōchō called and on and, which served these over-the-top haute cuisine donuts. It was an attempt by Mister Donut parent company Duskin Co., Ltd. to go upmarket with a branded micro-chain (also here), though its website is no longer available so I’m not sure of its current fate. The setting was stylish, while remaining comfortable and low-key. The intent was for you to stay as long as desired and, hopefully, saunter back to the counter now and then for a caffeine and sugar replenishment.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Shizuku takes a public bus from the library back to her neighborhood.

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun My Little Monster

Say “I love you”

(好きっていいなよ。 Suki-tte Ii na yo.)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Episode 8

Suki-tte Ii na yo. Say "I love you"

Aiko gives Yamato a talking to on the pedestrian bridge crossing the waterway near school.

Suki-tte Ii na yo. Say "I love you"

Suki-tte Ii na yo. Say "I love you"

More small streets (see this week’s Monster, above)

Suki-tte Ii na yo. Say "I love you"

The view from behind the counter reveals an important aspect of the bakery display strategy. The most eye catching goods are placed on the table directly in front of the large glass doors, where they are most visible to the foot traffic outside.

Suki-tte Ii na yo. Say "I love you"

Suki-tte Ii na yo. Say "I love you"

Suki-tte Ii na yo. Say "I love you"

Simple designs built into the protective fence between sidewalk and road add character and functionality. For contrast, see Jersey barriers.

Suki-tte Ii na yo. Say "I love you"

This is the part of the show where we’re supposed to go, “Awwwww.”

Code:Breaker

(コード: ブレイカー Kōdo:Bureikā)
Watch: FunimationHulu

Episode 8

Kōdo:Bureikā Code:Breaker

Can you name this spot? After looking at a Tokyo map for 30 minutes I still can’t place it.

Kōdo:Bureikā Code:Breaker

Pedestrian promenade along the waterway

Kōdo:Bureikā Code:Breaker

This bridge is Prefecture Route 463 crossing the Sumida River from Shinkawa 2-chome to Tsukuda 2-chome. Tokyo Skytree is in the distant background.

Kōdo:Bureikā Code:Breaker

Ample pedestrian lanes on both sides of this and many of the bridges that cross the river.

Girls und Panzer

Episode 7

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

This show highlights Ibaraki Prefecture port town Ōarai. We haven’t covered it here previously as much of the action takes place aboard a floating high school, though students occasionally take ferries back to town to visit their families. A trip back from visiting Mako’s grandmother at the hospital gives us an up close look at Kashima Rinkai Railway Ōarai Kashima Line, which runs from Mito Station to Kashima-Jingū Station. Rolling stock is the Kashima Rinkai Railway 6000 series DMU (diesel multiple unit).

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Arrival at Ōarai Station

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Konbini inside the station

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

A local bus operated by Ibaraki Kotsu takes them back to the dock to board a ferry.

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

Gāruzu ando Pantsā Girls und Panzer

The bus company, the town itself and convenience store chain Sunkus have all actively promoted the series’ showcasing of real places from around the town. Though outside of the Tōhoku region, Ōarai still sustained substantial amounts of damage and remained submerged for some time after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the eastern part of Japan. It’s very heartening to observe how the the town has not only bounced back, but is so very proud that its neighborhoods are being “visited” by broadcast television viewers. Scott Green has been covering much of this activity at Crunchyroll:

“Girls und Panzer” Locations and Cakes in Real Life

Oarai High School Marching Band Performs “Girls und Panzer” Tribute

This use of real communities in animation and the interplay between them is something I don’t observe much in US pop culture. Do you think there’s a market for this here?

Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo

Episode 7

Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo The Pet Girl of Sakura Hall

More shotengai this week

Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo The Pet Girl of Sakura Hall

Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo The Pet Girl of Sakura Hall

Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo The Pet Girl of Sakura Hall

Sakura-sō no Pet na Kanojo The Pet Girl of Sakura Hall

Sword Art Online

Episode 21

Sōdo Āto Onrain Sword Art Online

When not logged into Alfheim Online, Kirito and Suguha move around by bus. Admittedly, not as cool as flying with fairy wings in virtual reality. The schedule indicates the bus destination is Shin-Tokorozawa Station east exit, but I couldn’t figure out the stop where the two board. SAO superfans with time to kill, your quest awaits.

Sōdo Āto Onrain Sword Art Online

Sōdo Āto Onrain Sword Art Online

Sōdo Āto Onrain Sword Art Online