Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

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.

Mekakucity Actors

(メカクシティアクターズ Mekakushiti Akutāzu)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@sky_dj_ made a pilgrimage to the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge connecting Honshu and Shikoku, and Tennōji-ekimae Station in Osaka for Episode 1 and Episode 2.

Opening Credits

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

The first episode withheld both credits sequences, so we’re seeing them for the first time this week. The only notable appearance in the opening is the Studio Alta (スタジオアルタ) building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. This is a common landmark for meeting others near the east entrance to Shinjuku Station.

Ending Credits

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

The ending is live footage of a train moving through residential neighborhoods, with animated elements added in a separate layer.

Episode 2

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Right off the bat, we get what appears to be confirmation that we’re working with the same bag of tricks used in the Monogatari franchise. Backgrounds play with urban motifs, exaggerating infrastructure and design elements for visual effect. Real world locations are often used as visual models, but as in Monogatari they are plucked from random and far flung places across Japan (and beyond), blended together to create the composite background. This first frame is Tennōji-ekimae Station (天王寺駅前駅) in Osaka. This is one of the terminal tram stops on the Uemachi Line (上町線), operated by the Hankai Tramway (阪堺電気軌道).

Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi アベノ橋魔法☆商店街

I happened to also be watching the 2002 series Abenobashi Mahō Shōtengai (アベノ橋魔法☆商店街), which depicts the same location.

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Playing with traffic signals

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Beginning with this frame and continuing through almost the remainder of the outdoor scenes in the episode, the background is loosely modeled on places in and near Odaiba Seaside Park (お台場海浜公園 Odaiba-kaihinkōen) in Tokyo. Here is a walking tour of the area that includes extensive photography. In this frame, the tunnel leads under the Yurikamome Line viaduct (which becomes an express busway in the show) to the Maruetsu (マルエツ) supermarket adjacent to Odaiba-kaihinkōen Station (お台場海浜公園駅).

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

This is the Tokyo Bay facing side of Decks Tokyo Beach (デックス東京ビーチ), a large shopping center that includes multiple indoor theme parks. The Decks complex, adjacent properties and the train station are all mostly connected by elevated walkways and stairs.

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Mekakucity Actors メカクシティアクターズ

Just near the end of the episode is this week’s wild card, a shot from Dalian (大连), in Liaoning Province, China. It depicts two under construction towers rising above a neighborhood along Changjiang Road (长江路), just to the west of Zhongshan Square (中山广场). The construction progress is more or less a match to the 2013 October street view image from Baidu Maps.

20140427-mekakucityactors-dalian

The location was first identified by Weibo user @一方通行10049, making its way from China to Japan via @chanimaru, who blogs about Chinese animation, ultimately arriving in the butaitanbou community via @teo_imperial.

Love Live! School Idol Project

(ラブライブ! School idol project Rabu Raibu! Sukūru aidoru purojekuto)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Episode 3 (Season 2)

Love Live! School Idol Project ラブライブ! School idol project

Akihabara (秋葉原)

Love Live! School Idol Project ラブライブ! School idol project

Love Live! School Idol Project ラブライブ! School idol project

Love Live! School Idol Project ラブライブ! School idol project

Love Live! School Idol Project ラブライブ! School idol project

Love Live! School Idol Project ラブライブ! School idol project

Love Live! School Idol Project ラブライブ! School idol project

Love Live! School Idol Project ラブライブ! School idol project

Love Live! School Idol Project ラブライブ! School idol project

One Week Friends

(一週間フレンズ。 Isshūkan Furenzu.)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@kibaichi updated his pilgrimage to the Minamidaira neighborhood in Hino, Tokyo Metropolis to include cuts from Episode 3.

@hauyashi made a pilgrimage to Hino, Tama and Fuchū (Tokyo Metropolis) for Episode 1 and Episode 2, as well as additional artwork from the official website.

@habusan is working on a “Season Guide” wiki. Work appears on his own blog and a group collaboration site.

Episode 3

One Week Friends 一週間フレンズ。

Yūki and Shōgo commute home after school, walking through the residential neighborhood adjacent to Minamidaira Station (南平駅) in Hino, Tokyo Metropolis.

One Week Friends 一週間フレンズ。

Brynhildr in the Darkness

(極黒のブリュンヒルデ Gokukoku no Buryunhirude)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@Beetle787 made a pilgrimage to Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture for the OP and Episode 1 through Episode 3.

Episode 3

Brynhildr in the Darkness 極黒のブリュンヒルデ

Alpico Kōtsū Kamikōchi Line (アルピコ交通上高地線)

Brynhildr in the Darkness 極黒のブリュンヒルデ

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior

(僕らはみんな河合荘 Bokura wa Minna Kawai-Sō)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@allora1207 made a pilgrimage to Keisuikan, a cafe in Gifu used as a model in the manga source material, and which appears briefly in the OP.

Tamako Love Story

(たまこラブストーリー)

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@los_endos_ submitted a comprehensive report of the day long screening of the complete season of Tamako Market followed by a discussion panel with Kyoto Animation staff, held on 2014 April 19 at The Museum of Kyoto. Addition writing on the Tamako Market event from the blog 超記憶術ブログ@K-ON!!

@lidges made a pilgrimage to Kyoto locations that appeared in Tamako Love Story. As this is a theater release, he made the round up based solely on memory.

@allora1207 visited Demachi Masugata Shōtengai immediately after seeing Tamako Love Story on its opening day, while @tsuruga_mega made visits to Kyoto Animation studios, the shōtengai and the area along the Lake Biwa canal near Fujinomori Station. @buzz_tawagoto used archive photos to create a preliminary pilgrimage for the film. Many who saw the film later attended a special exhibition held at Hirakata Park, though almost all stopped for a visit at Demachi Masugata Shōtengai either before or after.

 

Special Items

@paffue made a pilgrimage to Sapporo for the PV of Francesca, scheduled for Summer 2014.

@ssslocation made a preliminary visit to Shiodome in Minato Ward, Tokyo for the PV of Aldnoah.Zero, scheduled to premiere 2014 July.

@teravich made a pilgrimage to Mikuni, Sakai, Fukui Prefecture for the PV of Glass Lip.

User lsh_er on the group blog 舞台探訪まとめWiki has started a full season catalog for selector infected WIXOSS.

@paffue made a pilgrimage to Naha, Okinawa Prefecture for Seitokai Yakuindomo*.

@honeesaba made a pilgrimage to the former village of Miyamori in Tōno, Iwate Prefecture for Saki Zenkoku-hen.

@paffue made pilgrimages to Kifune Jinja in Sakyō Ward, Kyoto and Ochanomizu, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo for Monogatari Series Second Season.

@shira_ry made a pilgrimage to multiple Tokyo locations for Miss Monochrome -The Animation-.

@cairn_07 made a pilgrimage to Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture for Anohana

@paffue made a pilgrimage to Okinawa for Azumanga Daiō.