The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

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.

The Flowers of Evil

(惡の華 Aku no Hana)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Episode 1

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

If the first thing that strikes you about the opening scenes is how eerily realistic the background art and character movement seem, you’re not alone. Animation in The Flowers of Evil is created by a method called rotoscoping, in which live action footage is filmed for reference, then traced by animators to create the final version. While it doesn’t dive full into the uncanny valley, it’s jarring enough to make one feel uneasy, which seems to be the intention. In this show, people at a distance are drawn without faces, while the street scene backgrounds are rendered in incredible detail.

The city, Kiryū (桐生) in Gunma Prefecture, is the hometown of the story creator Shūzō Oshimi, though The Flowers of Evil is not autobiographical. Kiryū had been known for its silk textile manufacturing as far back as the 8th Century (yes, you read that right). Since the end of the bubble era in the early 1990s, the city has succumbed to a similar fate as many of its peers, as declining demand for its output, declining population and drainage of what talent remained to Tokyo sap it of vitality and leave neighborhoods to decay. All of this comes through clearly in the show, which makes it a notable departure from typical clean and shiny renditions of cosmopolitan centers often found in anime. The visual elements combined with the minimalist soundtrack very effectively convey the despair and, at times, foreboding lurking under the surface. We’ll be watching this one, for sure.

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

That’s some great rust. This is the kind of ugly Japan that Spike Japan loved to photograph and write about.

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

Typical narrow streets found in urban and suburban Japan. Normally, these require a give and take between auto traffic and other transportation modes, but there’s so little life left here that it’s a non-issue.

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

The Flowers of Evil 惡の華

Oreimo

(俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

The gears are already turning for pilgrimage activity among the Oreimo/train otaku club. @yutonyanBT has a season 2, episode 1 post out, as does @buzz_tawagoto (post). @tianlangxing has updated what looks like a comprehensive season 1 pilgrimage with new scenes. @habusan has created a map of all the Chiba Urban Monorail sightings in the show, to help you plan your own pilgrimage. All of these posts feature extensive photography and discussion about the train, the world’s longest suspended monorail, which has wholeheartedly engaged in promotional campaigns that include Oreimo train carriage wrappings and limited edition tickets. The trains are so loaded up with advertising material, even the route map now has Kirino and Kuroneko in monorail staff uniforms and the warning plaques about moving between carriages during operation feature a safety message from Stardust☆Witch Meruru.


(Photo by @tianlangxing)


(Photo by @yutonyanBT)

Episode 1

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

It’s back. Kyousuke, Kirino, the Akihabara (秋葉原) retail district, Chiba Urban Monorail (千葉都市モノレール) and the rest return for a second season. It seems that the old Radio Kaikan building (on the right) has been left intact, as it would have been at the time the original light novel, manga and anime season 1 were published.

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Akihabara UDX

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Behind Kirino is the JR Yamanote Line (山手線) platform on the north side of Akihabara Station (秋葉原駅).

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Kirino’s map of the gaming stores she plans to visit shows the train station anchoring the retail district that fans out across Soto-Kanda (外神田).

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

The street scenes in Akihabara that show shoppers standing in the middle of Chūō-dōri are based on the real life Sunday afternoon hokōsha tengoku (歩行者天国), lit. ‘pedestrian paradise’, when the street is closed to car traffic.

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Line 2 of the Chiba Urban Monorail passes through Chiba Park (千葉公園).

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Chiba Port Tower (千葉ポートタワー) in Chiba Port Park (千葉ポートパーク).

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

Oreimo 俺の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

The Devil is a Part-Timer!

(はたらく魔王さま! Hataraku Maō-sama)
Watch: Funimation

Fan Pilgrimage Update

A pilgrimage from @rimatai covers the locations in Shinjuku and Shibuya wards that appear in episode 1. I thought that the “MgRonalds” burger joint looked familiar when the series premiered last week. It turns out to be based on a Mos Burger near Hatagaya Station (幡ヶ谷駅), right down the street from my friend’s favorite watering hole. I highly recommend Miyazaki Shōten for fantastic yakitori ^_^

Episode 2

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

We get many more bearings this week. We knew that Satan had landed in Sasazuka (笹塚). The burger joint is in Hatagaya (幡ヶ谷). Emilia lives in Eifukuchō (永福町)—home of the very famous Taishoken ramen.

Map by @rimatai:

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

Pedestrian overcrossing

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

Eifukuchō Station (永福町駅)

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

Commuting back to Eifukuchō after work, Emilia exits the train station and walks through a shōtengai where she can pickup household supplies and groceries on the way home. This is what transit oriented development looks like.

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

I couldn’t pinpoint the exact spot, but if you follow this shōtengai going north, you ought to find the location depicted in the show:

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

People walk in the narrow street in front of the MgRonald’s without fear of being hit by auto traffic.

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

Fumikiri

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

After being attacked, Satan suggests they both flee to Sasazuku Station (笹塚駅), where they know they will still be able to find other people at the evening hour.

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

There are three lanes here: auto traffic, bicycles and a very generous sidewalk, all separated into dedicated spaces and protected with trees and planters. Beautiful.

The Devil is a Part-Timer! はたらく魔王さま!

Aiura

(あいうら)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@rimatai sends a pilgrimage from Kamakura, which provided a few of the street scenes that appear in episode 1. He also notes that the bus stop where Ayuko boards was found in Nakanojo, Agatsuma District, Gunma Prefecture.

Episode 1

Aiura あいうら

Aiura あいうら

Aiura あいうら

Aiura あいうら

Lively street scene, possibly shōtengai

Aiura あいうら

Public transit training for preschoolers

Aiura あいうら

Aiura あいうら

RDG Red Data Girl

(RDG レッドデータガール RDG Reddo Dēta Gāru)
Watch: Funimation

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@FateViVid made a visit to Totsukawa (十津川) in Nara Prefecture to see the village and Tamaki Shrine (玉置神社). The village is known as the largest in Japan as measured by land area, and the shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage site. [SPOILER ALERT: the pilgrimage covers episode 3, but only episode 1 has streamed in the US].

Episode 1

RDG Red Data Girl RDG レッドデータガール

Tamaki Shrine (玉置神社)

RDG Red Data Girl RDG レッドデータガール

RDG Red Data Girl RDG レッドデータガール

Totsukawa Village (十津川村)

RDG Red Data Girl RDG レッドデータガール

Photo Kano

(フォトカノ Foto Kano)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@butaiwalker sends a pilgrimage of the embankment (土手 dote) along the Arakawa River as it passes through Kiyose (清瀬), a city in the northwest part of Tokyo Prefecture.

Episode 1

Photo Kano フォトカノ

Photo Kano フォトカノ

Kazuya and other students walk to school along the embankment.

Photo Kano フォトカノ

Photo Kano フォトカノ

Photo Kano フォトカノ

Photo Kano フォトカノ

Photo Kano フォトカノ

The number on the sign notes the distance to the sea, if you’d be inclined to walk along the embankment.

Muromi-san

(波打際のむろみさん Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Episode 1

Muromi-san 波打際のむろみさん

I’m not quite sure what to make of this one, yet. Since I started writing this column, I’ve always wanted to include attitudes toward environment (the natural environment) as presented in these shows, but so far have only had small nuggets here and there. In the first episode, Muromi-san is portrayed as a blunt, libidinous, somewhat flaky, Hakata dialect speaking, climate change denying mermaid. I think it’s just trying to be ironic, but I’ll keep watching and get back to you when I figure out if we’re supposed to take this seriously ^_^

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

(やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

While there wasn’t much to see in episode 1, @ngwrb published a brief episode 2 pilgrimage.

 

Special Items

@los_endos_ was quick enough to take a few captures of a morning news broadcast in Kansai that talked about visitors to Kyoto for Tamako Market, here and here. Most notable is that the graphic behind the news anchors uses the term ‘pilgrimage’ (聖地巡礼 seichijunrei), as per the parlance of the fandom.

Two more Tamako Market pilgrimages from @kbt_tigers1985 (post) and @ye_bi_su (post) that take advantage of the season to include many beautiful cherry blossoms.

The Yuwaku onsen town will hold its third annual “bonbori”, an event inspired by a fictional festival that occurs in Hanasaku Iroha.

Nyaruko-san pilgrimage from @paffue.

GIRLS und PANZER pilgrimage to Ōarai from @Bf109K1.

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou pilgrimage riding the Shinkansen to Hakata Station from @Beetle787.

A few updates complete an already very comprehensive Chunibyo pilgrimage from @nobucafe.

The Ambition of Oda Nobuna pilgrimage to the Imperial Palace and Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto from @nobucafe.

Haganai pilgrimage to Gifu and Nagoya from @Bf109K1.

K-On! pilgrimage to Toyosato from @Bf109K1.