Tamako Love Story, the film sequel to the 2013 TV series Tamako Market, opened in theaters across Japan on Saturday, 2014 April 26. In this work, Kyoto Animation explores some of the story elements left relatively unexplored in the broadcast.

The premiere also meant an opportunity for the seichijunrei-butaitanbou community (anime pop culture tourism) to rekindle some of the magic of bonding over the shared goal of documenting the “holy land”, the Kyoto neighborhoods incorporated wholesale into the show background art. Though multiple locations are used, the center of gravity in the Tamako Market universe is its covered pedestrian shopping arcade Usagiyama Shōtengai and its real world counterpart, the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai. I recently completed an extensive research project documenting community life and seichijunrei activity at Masugata.

During the weekend of the premiere, a formal exhibition held at Hirakata Park in Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture featured cels and orginal artwork from the film. This was part of the official celebration to commemorate the release, complete with limited edition tickets, a Keihan Railway stamp rally, and gifts for attendees. However, for butaitanbou practitioners the real afterparty was back in Kyoto, where it was more or less a foregone conclusion that everyone would pass through Masugata Shōtengai at some point before or after a screening. For its part, Masugata was ready and waiting with a warm reception. This post is a round up of some of the best reports and snapshots from the weekend.

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@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.

@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.

MOVIX

For local fans, the Kyoto MOVIX was the place to be Saturday morning.

Hirakata Park

Moriwaki Kiyotaka from The Museum of Kyoto has a set of photos that includes some of the cels and artwork. Hirakata Park appeared in the second season of Kyoto Animation’s Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! and word on the street is that it’s also the visual model for their upcoming 2014 Fall series Amagi Brilliant Park.

Fujinomori Station

Back in Kyoto, a few fans stopped by Fujinomori Station on the Keihan Main Line. This area appears frequently in the TV series and was used in the key visual and preview for the film.

Kamo River Delta

Coming up into Demachi, some ventured across the turtle-shaped stones in the Kamo River, which also appeared in the film preview.

Demachi Masugata Shōtengai

Moriwaki Kiyotaka has an additional set of photos from Saturday morning in the arcade.

Kaneko Yūki, the voice actress for the character Midori, made a visit to the arcade the evening before the opening.

Character Panels

Celebrities at the arcade included life-size panels of the female characters of the main cast, provided by Kyoto Animation.

T-Shirts

Self Kishimoto-ya got a green light to print up a pile of special t-shirts depicting Midori, Tamako and Kanna.

Sagaki

But the main event was clearly the shop Sagaki and its proprietor Inoue Atsushi, who is also the Masugata business cooperative president. In front of Sagaki, a board had been setup for fans to attach reactions and thanks for the film, to be later collected and sent to Kyoto Animation.

Inoue was one of the first to leave a note.

Someone seemed to think there might be non-Japanese reading visitors also stopping by the board.

Chibikara

The karaage stand was not open on Saturday, and a notice posted on its shutters indicated that Sunday would be its final day of business at Masugata. Fans made a point to return Sunday to wish the owner well. Another branch elsewhere in Kyoto will remain open.

Waka Saba-chan

Waka Saba-chan is the large foam mackerel that usually hangs from the arcade roof. I say usually, because it seems to have acquired unusual mobility as of late. Two weeks ago, it was taken out for a day of cherry blossom viewing on the Kamo River bank.

On Saturday, the mackerel was in its usual location at the west end of the center section.

However, on Sunday morning mischief again appeared to be afoot.

The mackerel was moved to the west end, near Sagaki and the other shops that were most heavily used in the show.

All of the moving around appears to have left the mackerel with some injuries.

Hananami

As during the TV broadcast, the second floor cafe and bar that was the model for the show’s Hoshi to Piero was the place to take a rest, get a meal and meet with others.

Other

The other shoe has fallen. Kamogawa Makoto has disappeared from her perch on the second floor above the arcade, where she was exiled shortly after Tamako Market began airing.

Endosu bumped into Moriwaki and his dog.

Kobaya partook in mackerel sushi at Masugata’s famous Masugata-ya (different kanji: 満寿形屋).

The shopping arcade Twitter account thanked all of the extra visitors at the end of Saturday.

What appears to be a fan made panel of Dera had been floating around the arcade all weekend. On Sunday, it was out in front of the west entrance with Choi.

Gorugo-san, where are you going with Dera?

The lanterns and red and blue banners have already been put up in preparation for this year’s Spirit Festival.

Night falls over Demachi, and a busy weekend comes to an end.

今日も元気だ!