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.
Fan Pilgrimage Update
More Monogatari signature location blending this week. All of these initial nighttime shots roll off in a quick sequence. We begin at Shakujii-kōen Station (石神井公園駅) in Nerima, Tokyo Metropolis.
Now we’ve moved to Sunroad Shōtengai (サンロード商店街) in Kichijōji (吉祥寺).
This is the Keio section of Kichijōji Station (吉祥寺駅), the terminus of the Keio Inokashira Line.
? (maybe Mitaka)
The arched bridge is Temmabashi (天満橋), crossing the Okawa River in Osaka.
Still don’t know!
Again, Kaiki’s background theme incorporates the torii from Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) in Kyoto. As he sits with Ononoki on the station platform, the rolling billboard behind them cycles through other Kyoto landmarks and locations that appeared in earlier episodes.
Just to keep you on your toes, what begins as another Kaiki torii monologue becomes an actual visit to the inner sections of Fushimi Inari Taisha.
(ホワイトアルバム2 Howaito Arubamu 2)
As always, the elevated train passing through the neighborhood is our location cue for Kitahara’s apartment.
Kazusa and Setsuna meet at the burger shop, their preferred third place.
I like that the animation doesn’t cut corners with the background action, showing patrons interacting with merchants and other pedestrian activity in the street below.
Kitahara searches for Tōma amid the street activity.
Notable is that, while we often see pedestrians depicted strolling in this area at all times of the day, it’s not actually closed to car traffic. There is a single traffic lane and sidewalks, but norms allow for pedestrians to safely use the whole space when there are no vehicles passing through.
A closer shot of the embankment (土手 dote) along the river
The Chūō Line (中央本線) continues its mad dash into the center of what was once Tokyo.
Shinjuku Station (新宿駅)
Outside the Shinjuku Station east exit
Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower (モード学園コクーンタワー)
The series’ key visual, a shot of Mitaka Station (三鷹駅) through the street from the south
At the conclusion of the episode/series, the Coppelion head out for their next mission, due south along the east side of Shinjuku Station.
(境界の彼方 Kyōkai no Kanata)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Navitime, a leading provider of maps and route search applications in Japan, released a ranking of the top anime pilgrimage locations by search volume in 2013. At the top of the list are Kanda Shrine in Tokyo for Love Live!, Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto for Uchōten Kazoku, and Aqua World in Ōarai for Girls und Panzer.
Rakuten Women covered an event held in Ikebukuro, Tokyo promoting anime pilgrimage (聖地巡礼 seichijunrei) to casual anime fans. Regional and local governments are increasingly looking at seichijunrei as a possible tourism draw.
Japan web portal developer DIP Corporation announced it will release a smartphone app in Spring 2014 that will collect location data relevant to anime pilgrimage and allow users to explore those places virtually via Google Street View. The concept has received an ambivalent reaction from many in the core seichijunrei community. For dedicated practitioners, finding and going to the actual place is the whole point of the exercise.
@lidges published a summary of all his 2013 anime pilgrimages, 35 in all, including the two from this week (below). This extensive coverage is made more impressive by the fact that his home is in Shikoku. Most of these expeditions require a considerable amount of travel for him.