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.
(たまこまーけっと Tamako Māketto)
Watch: Anime Network
In the week between episodes 1 and 2 there was a flurry of location spotting fan community activity, including from your reviewer.
Google Map Update
I may be missing small details here and there, but for the most part have caught up with all of the locations in episodes 1 and 2. Each point of interest in Kyoto that appears in the show should have a map pin. Pins describe the place as depicted in the show and, to the extent possible, what it is in real life, with links to relevant information when available. I sent the map to Scott Green, who writes content for Crunchyroll’s blog. He decided to run it in a news item this week about fan pilgrimages, which was pretty neat. Otaku level up ^_^
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Our favorite pilgrimage videographer (YouTube: tskobaya, Twitter: @ts_kobaya) is at it again, delivering both a Tamako Market video from Kyoto and a second edition of his Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! pilgrimage with a second visit to Ōtsu, which isn’t far from Kyoto. Here’s the Tamako Market video:
This is a straight walkthrough of the Masugata Shōtengai (桝形商店街):
Not to be left out of the fun, the Masugata Shōtengai’s own Twitter account (@kyoto_masugata) has been talking up the show, in between its regular announcements about events and promotions.
These sources have all be immensely helpful in putting together my own map and researching information for the reviews. So without further ado—
Midori and Kanna walk to school.
Tamako stops to run errands in Usagiyama Shōtengai (うさぎ山商店街) on the way home.
Tamako notices that Usagiyama Shōtengai hasn’t made any special preparations for upcoming Valentine’s Day.
Tamako plans to propose a Valentine’s Day promotion at the shōtengai members meeting that evening. She informs Mochizō via paper cup and string telephone across the lane. Though this is done for cuteness value, it also tells us something important about how compact the neighborhood is. In my childhood home in a US exurban bedroom community, a similar setup with a friend across the street would have needed to run 60ft from my window to the property edge, 50ft across the street, and another 60ft to the facing house. We might have had signal problems.
The public bath, Usa-yu (うさ湯), is the shōtengai meeting location. The bath seems to be a hub for community interaction.
Tamako’s idea gets an overwhelmingly positive response.
Mochizō volunteers to produce a video advertisement promoting the shōtengai and Valentine’s Day event. This young man knows where it’s at. His proposal is essentially the core product of the work I do with Third Place Media.
Everyone is on board, with the exception of Mamedai, Tamako’s father. He complains while being served lunch at Miyako Udon (みやこうどん).
Unbeknownst to him, preparations are already underway.
Filming for the commercial begins.
Midori feels uncomfortable, so takes refuge in the record shop/cafe (星とピエロ Hoshi to Piero).
The manager is one of my favorite characters. He appears aloof, but actually listens very carefully to patrons’ issues, offering coffee, music and Zen-like pearls of wisdom as a salve.
Tamako’s father eventually caves, preparing a test recipe for heart-shaped mochi filled with chocolate. It’s used mainly for comic effect, giving us a glimpse of a rarity in anime: tsundere dad. What it also highlights is a very key piece of strong neighborhoods and downtowns. Coordinating efforts among private business owners, particularly around things like opening hours, is one of the most powerful things a business district can do to drive footfall and create a lively place where people want to go, shop and eat.
Previewing the finished commercial
Tamako runs into Midori on the way to school. Fujinomori Station (藤森駅) is just behind those vending machines.
Gohei and Mamedai argue over who can claim to be the originator of the heart-shaped mochi. Makes me think of Ray’s Pizza in New York.
Most likely we’re somewhere in Tokyo. Not sure where, yet.
(ラブライブ! Rabu Raibu!)
Idol club training is underway. I’m still trying to figure out where Otonokizaka High School would be.
Physical endurance training happens on the steps leading up to Kanda Shrine (神田明神).
Sorata escorts Mashiro to her Christmas Eve party.
This looks familiar, but I can’t place it. Anyone recognize it?
Winter illuminations displays are a big deal in Japan, particularly in cities. Omotesando and Shinjuku are good places to find exceptionally sophisticated displays in Tokyo.
Sorata and Nanami go to a play while they wait for Mashiro.
Two friends stumble out of an izakaya.
After the play, Nanami and Sorata stroll the city in the snow.
Mashiro leaves the party early and waits for Sorata in front of the fountain and illuminations.
(絶園のテンペスト Zetsuen no Tenpesuto)
We’ve moved fully into the second half of the series and appear to have hit an inflection point. Now that the protracted battle with Samon at Mt. Fuji has ended, Hakaze has returned, and the Tree of Exodus has been contained, the world appears to have moved a bit back toward normal. For the moment, we’ll ignore the business with the Tree of Genesis. The change in tenor is reflected in the daily life scenes in the new opening credits, including public transit use (above and below).
The Mage of Exodus candidate rides the bus.
Hakaze and Yoshino tour a still abandoned Fujisawa.
Most people in the cities have gone back to business as usual.
Hakaze may be the Mage of Genesis, but she still takes the train.
Shine visitors return
(〜ダ・カーポ III〜 Da Kāpo III)
We get a thorough introduction to the Sakura Shōtengai, complete with signage that indicates what hours the shopping district is pedestrian only.
(俺の彼女と幼なじみが修羅場すぎる Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru)
Chiwa catches up to Masazu and Eita on the way home from school.
I’d love to know where this design for protected sidewalk railings originates. I see it often in Japanese cities.
More of Kotoura and Manabe walking to and from school.