Wake Up, Girls!

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.

Wake Up, Girls!

Watch: Crunchyroll

Episode 9

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls! goes into some serious subject matter this week, with most of the episode taking place in Kesennuma (気仙沼), a seaside city in Miyagi Prefecture that suffered extensive damage and loss of life in the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Though most of the debris has been cleaned up in many of these cities and towns, recovery—of many forms—is long from complete, nor even assured in many places. A Reuters article from earlier this week talks about the psychological trauma of residents in Rikuzentakata, Kesennuma’s neighboring city to the north.

Wake Up, Girls!

In an early scene, Kaya is waiting in the Sendai Subway as we begin the exposition of her backstory: growing up in Kesennuma, living with an aunt after her parents died, leaving Kesennuma after the 2011 disaster, and finding herself unable to cope with the aftermath, refusing to return to visit despite the urging of her aunt.

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

The girls travel by long distance bus to Kesennuma for a retreat, staying at the inn run by Kaya’s aunt.

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

The rubble has been mostly cleared away, leaving open fields of mud and water-filled foundations where buildings once stood.

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Back at the inn, everyone sits down for a meal featuring saury, one of the commercial fishing products for which the city is well known.

Wake Up, Girls!

Bar district setup in a temporary structure

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Kaya and Mayu’s internal conflicts both come to full light as the two talk through the night, sitting along the edge of Kesennuma Bay.

Wake Up, Girls!

Kaya’s employment at a ramen shop in Sendai

Wake Up, Girls!

Kaya’s childhood in Kesennuma

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

The flashback of Mayu’s relationship with the I-1 Club idol group begins with a shot of the Kaminarimon (雷門), the large outer gate marking the beginning of the road leading to Sensō-ji (浅草寺) in Asakusa. Senso-ji is the oldest temple in Tokyo.

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Nearby Azuma Bridge (吾妻橋), connecting Asakusa and Mukojima over the Sumida River

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

Wake Up, Girls!

The final scene is a poignant moment where Kaya is presented with a buoy that washed ashore in Alaska and was returned to Kesennuma, which belonged to a small boat named “Shōtōmaru”. A childhood friend of Kaya’s was part of the ship’s crew but went missing, presumably during the tsunami. Though of very different scale, the large fishing trawler “Kyotoku Maru No 18” was washed inland by the tsunami and became a symbol of both Kesennuma and all of Tōhoku in the aftermath. Plans to preserve the ship as a monument were abandoned in favor of scrapping it in 2013.

Wake Up, Girls!

Though much of the symbolism is the episode probably remains under the radar for viewers that don’t have much knowledge of the details of the disaster, for those that lived through it, it is a chilling reminder of the original trauma and the ongoing psychological toll of uncertainty around whether many of these places will ever return to their former states. As the Reuters article mentions, there is still much stigma associated with asking for help, particularly related to mental disorders. Kaya takes a marker and adds ganbappe (がんばっぺ)—meanings include “you can do it”, but also to “persevere”, “persist” and “hang on”—to the buoy. While various forms of ganbaru (頑張る)—Kaya’s is a nonstandard conjugation unique to Tōhoku region dialects—don’t have the same stiff upper lip connotations as gaman (我慢), taken together with her other actions this is still emblematic of this cultural norm to endure and work through hardship without revealing weakness. It’s extremely significant that, while she presents a stoic front, she also reveals her personal trauma to Mayu and the others. I think moments like this show the deepest and most complex side of Japanese animation. Far from being solely the domain of children’s programming, anime can present very complicated and intense emotions, in this case one that is very difficult for many to express in real life. Ganbatte, Kesennuma.

Golden Time

(ゴールデンタイム Gōruden Taimu)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@fureshima made a pilgrimage to the neighborhood surrounding Musashi-Koganei Station in Koganei, Tokyo Metropolis for Episode 20.

@teo_imperial made a pilgrimage to the high school that was the model for Banri and Linda’s school in Shizuoka. He doesn’t reveal the name or specific location, but notes that it is in the Kanto area.

Episode 21

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

After a new panic attack induced by his amnesia, Banri runs away from his apartment and back into the central business district nearby.

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Yana spots Banri while exiting the train station.

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Yana chases Banri through a street leading back to the denser, residential area. What’s interesting is that the street has first floor shop fronts on many of the buildings, creating a shōtengai-like extension of the commercial area extending into the residential neighborhood.

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Later, Banri takes the train to see Kōko, getting off at Shirokanedai Station (白金台駅).

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

Golden Time ゴールデンタイム

World Conquest Zvezda Plot

(世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~ Sekai Seifuku: Bōryaku no Zvezda)
Watch: CrunchyrollDaisuki

Episode 8

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

The recurring motif of this week’s episode is multi-layered public space. We’ve seen much of the central business district in Tachikawa (立川) appear in Sekai Sefuku, as well as Gatchaman Crowds and the Magical Index/Railgun franchise. However, the elevated pedestrian walkways and Tama Toshi Monrail Line (多摩都市モノレール線) are often depicted from a first-person perspective while located on them, or wide angle shots from a higher elevation. This episode brings the additional perspective of the spaces under that infrustructure.

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

This plaza under the monorail appeared quite often in Toaru Kagaku no Rērugan.

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

Though the monorail sits in the background for most of the episode, it suddenly jumps to the fore, becoming a key component of the battle scene near the end.

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

World Conquest Zvezda Plot 世界征服 ~謀略のズヴィズダー~

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren

(中二病でも恋がしたい!戀 Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@sky_dj_ made a pilgrimage to Kagoshima City for Episode 7.

Episode 9

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren 中二病でも恋がしたい!戀

Obligatory beach episode. While this is generally cause for a pass from the perspective of an urbanism analysis, because this is a Kyoto Animation production, the pilgrimage and stage exploring community will be sure to determine its precise location, using the train that appears near the end of the episode as a starting point.

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren 中二病でも恋がしたい!戀

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren 中二病でも恋がしたい!戀

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren 中二病でも恋がしたい!戀

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren 中二病でも恋がしたい!戀

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren 中二病でも恋がしたい!戀

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren 中二病でも恋がしたい!戀

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren 中二病でも恋がしたい!戀

Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! Ren 中二病でも恋がしたい!戀

Seitokai Yakuindomo*

(生徒会役員共*)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Episode 9

Seitokai Yakuindomo* 生徒会役員共*

Students walk to school on their morning commute.

Seitokai Yakuindomo* 生徒会役員共*

Seitokai Yakuindomo* 生徒会役員共*

The student council sees off an alumna at the commercial center that surrounds Sagami-Ōno Station (相模大野駅) in Sagamihara (相模原), Kanagawa Prefecture.

Seitokai Yakuindomo* 生徒会役員共*

Seitokai Yakuindomo* 生徒会役員共*

Billboards advertise restaurants in the vicinity of the train station.

Saki: The Nationals

(咲-Saki-全国編 Saki: Zenkoku-hen)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@nobucafe made a pilgrimage to Namba and Jan Jan Yokochō in Naniwa Ward, Osaka for Episode 1 and Episode 7.

Episode 8

Saki: The Nationals 咲-Saki-全国編

The backstory for Miyamori Girls High School takes us to the former village of Miyamori (宮守), absorbed in 2005 by the city of Tōno, Iwate Prefecture. In the first frame, the unusual shaped arches are part of the viaduct carrying the JR East Kamaishi Line (釜石線) as it enters the village.

Saki: The Nationals 咲-Saki-全国編

Miyamori Station (宮守駅)

Saki: The Nationals 咲-Saki-全国編

Saki: The Nationals 咲-Saki-全国編

Covered bicycle parking area

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha

(いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。)
Watch: Funimation

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@lidges (post) and @ye_bi_su (post) made pilgrimages to Izumo Taisha in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture for Episode 8.

@ye_bi_su (post), @kbt_tigers1985 (post) and @R_ada_cchi (post) made pilgrimages to Fushimi Inari Taisha for Episode 7.

@lidges made significant updates to a previous pilgrimage to Fushimi Inari Taisha, adding cuts though Episode 7.

@lidges also made a pilgrimage to Izumo Taisha in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture based on the manga source material.

@teravich made a pilgrimage to Wadahama beach on the Wakasa Bay in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture for Episode 6.

@tsumuri_f5 made a pilgrimage to Fushimi Inari Taisha and stations along the Keihan Main Line in Kyoto, covering the OP, Episode 1, and general photography (of very high caliber) of the shrine grounds and all of the marketing collateral that appears in Keihan stations as part of a promotional tie up with the show.

Episode 8

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Mistress Uka’s arranged dates take us on a field trip to Izumo Taisha (出雲大社) in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

In the show, though they specifically identify the destination as the city of Izumo, the shrine name itself is replaced with Ōkuni Taisha (大国大社), but neither the new name or location choice are random. Ōkuninushi (大国主) is the patron Shinto deity of Izumo Taisha and known as the kami of marriage, among other things.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Izumo Taisha-mae Station (出雲大社前駅)

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha いなり、こんこん、恋いろは。

Noragami

(ノラガミ)
Watch: Funimation

Episode 9

Noragami ノラガミ

Daikoku scours nearby shrines in search of other shinki to help Yato and Yukine. I’ll come back with an update if I come across anyone who takes the time to figure out which specific ones appear in the show, but I think the important thing to note is how the shrines continue to mesh with their surrounding neighborhoods despite the rapid urbanization that followed World War II. While many of the smaller shrines may not have a resident priest, they almost always have some sort of caretaker that ensures they remain as living history and relevant components of the neighborhood fabric.

Noragami ノラガミ

Noragami ノラガミ

Noragami ノラガミ

Noragami ノラガミ

Noragami ノラガミ

Noragami ノラガミ

Noragami ノラガミ

No-Rin

(のうりん Nōrin)
Watch: Funimation

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@Beetle787 made significant updates to a previous pilgrimage to Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture, now covering Episode 1 through Episode 6.

Hamatora

(ハマトラ)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@paffue made a pilgrimage to Naha, Okinawa Prefecture for Episode 8.

 

Special Items

The Chunichi Shimbun ran an article about pilgrimages to the Hōrai Bridge in Shimada, Shizuoka Prefecture for Golden Time.

@sky_dj_ made a return visit and significant updates to his previous pilgrimage to Kumano, Mie Prefecture for Nagi no Asukara.

@kai881 also made a return pilgrimage to Kumano to investigate more location models for Nagi no Asukara. He came across a blog post by local residents near Hadasu Station in Kumano, that have been going over to take a look at the pilgrimage notes left at the site. Someone has even placed a “salt water is available” sign in the enclosure. (^_^)

@rimatai made a pilgrimage to Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture for Go! Go! 575.

@paffue made a pilgrimage to Naha, Okinawa Prefecture for Super Sonico The Animation.

The blog AkibaPhotography featured a pilgrimage to Onomichi for Tamayura: More Aggressive.

@megtan made a pilgrimage (post 1, 2, 3) to Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture for Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai.

@keyboar writes additional analysis, including a review of overseas fan reaction, on the closing of the Saizeriya in Kita-Shukugawa, Nishinomiya, which appeared in the film Suzumiya Haruhi no Shōshitsu.