Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- 冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた

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.

Durarara!! X2

(デュラララ!!×2 承 Durarara!!x2 Shou)
Watch: Crunchyroll • Hulu

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@tianlangxing made a pilgrimage to Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for the OP and Episode 1. Previously, he made comprehensive pilgrimages of Ikebukuro for the original broadcast season in 2010. The landing page for the series links to detailed pages for each episode, but also includes a general overview of the most frequently used locations, many of which appear in the first episode of the new season.

Opening Credits

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! returns to the air exactly five years after its first TV appearance. At the time, I wasn’t yet thinking about the kind of detailed observations that make up this review, but I do remember the realistic depiction of Ikebukuro Station (池袋駅) and its surrounding commercial district making quite an impression. It was one of the first times I had watched anime modeled on a location I had recently visited. The show calls explicit attention to its use of Ikebukuro (池袋), and it is the first I can recall coming up in conversation with friends in Japan who watch anime but are not involved in any seichijunrei-butaitanbou activity. I’m curious to see if I come away with a different impression of the story and its setting now that I will be looking at it through a very specific lens.

The opening credits and first episode are consistent with the area covered in the first season. Despite all of the action, we never leave the transit-oriented commercial district, one of many villages that make up Tokyo’s decentralized, multi-nodal distribution, often considered an accident of its history rather than deliberate urban design. @tianlangxing‘s map shows how the action zones fan out like petals from the rail station:

By one account, Ikebukuro is the third busiest train station in Japan and the world as measured by annual passenger volume, behind Shinjuku Station and Shibuya Station. Seibu Holdings (西武ホールディングス), a portfolio corporation with transportation and real estate assets, and Tobu Railway (東武鉄道), a rail operator that diversified into integrated retail, operate competing train lines and department stores out of Ikebukuro Station. Technically, Tobu Railway is part of the Tobu Group (東武グループ), however Tobu’s rail operation is its core business, while Seibu is a diversified company with rail operations as part. They are both examples of the large influence on urban development in Japan by companies that seek to maximize returns on railway operations through integrated development, creating transit villages like Ikebukuro. Though scenes in Durarara!! take place all around the area, a large number of the pedestrian zones and street activity come from the few blocks between the Seibu department store and east exit of Ikebukuro Station, and Sunshine City (サンシャインシティ), partially owned by Seibu, to the east.

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

A flashback from the first season takes us to a few of the earliest scenes from inside and near the station.

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Episode 1

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

The skyscraper is Sunshine 60 (サンシャイン60), the centerpiece of Sunshine City. In the foreground, the Toyota Autosalon Amlux Tokyo (トヨタ オートサロン アムラックス東京) showroom has closed, but the building remains a recognizable fixture of Ikebukuro’s skyline.

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space (東京芸術劇場)

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Ikebukuro Station east exit

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Tokyu Hands Ikebukuro branch (東急ハンズ池袋店)

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

The episode was a bit awkward in how it shifted back and forth between reviewing the main events of the first season and pumping up its trademark energy with Celty’s motorcycle chase, sinking into neither one too convincingly, but it suddenly tightened up in the final stretch, putting Mikado and Anri into a sequence that parallels how Durarara!! first introduced us to its world back in 2010. It’s a fun, deja vu moment for anyone who followed the original series.

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

With the recap out of the way, we should be able to go into more detail on specific locations as the pace settles into a regular groove. I’m looking forward to this one.

Durarara!! X2 デュラララ!!×2 承

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls

(アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ Aidorumasutā Shinderera Gāruzu)
Watch: Daisuki

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@rimatai made a pilgrimage to Tokyo (Shibuya; Sangenjaya, Setagawa Ward) and Yokohama for Episode 1.

@kibaichi made a pilgrimage to Shibuya and Sangenjaya for Episode 1.

@yusa_yusaani made a pilgrimage to Tokyo for Episode 1.

Opening Credits

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

This is my first time dipping my toes into any part of the Idolmaster franchise, so please forgive me for not being familiar with its conventions, location use or otherwise, as we embark. At first glance, it appears to incorporate many predictable Tokyo landmarks, but there are a few neighborhoods off the beaten path, as well. With the opening, we start of with a cut in an underground concourse of Shinjuku Station (新宿駅).

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Takeshita-dōri (竹下通り) in Harajuku

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Intersection where Harajuku (原宿) and Omotesandō (表参道) meet

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Pedestrian bridge around the east side of Shibuya Station (渋谷駅)

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

NTV Plaza (日テレプラザ) in Shiodome (汐留)

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Kagurazaka (神楽坂) from Iidabashi (飯田橋)

Episode 1

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Shibuya (渋谷) scramble crossing

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Studio Alta (スタジオアルタ) building, outside the east exit of Shinjuku Station

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

National Convention Hall (国立大ホール) at Pacifico Yokohama (パシフィコ横浜)

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Pukarisan Bridge (ぷかりさん橋)

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁舎) in Shinjuku

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Yoyogi (代々木), Shibuya Ward

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Sangenjaya (三軒茶屋), Setagaya Ward

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Shibuya Station, in front of the Hachikō exit (ハチ公口)

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The street scene where students are walking to school is near Konnō Hachiman-gū (金王八幡宮), in the formal Shibuya municipality (not the commercial center near the station, commonly referred to as Shibuya).

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

From Takamatsukuri Inari Jinja (玉造稲荷神社), part of the Konnō complex grounds

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Ikebukuro Station (池袋駅)

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Setagaya Maruyama Park (世田谷丸山公園) in Sangenjaya

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

The Idol M@ster Cinderella Girls アイドルマスターシンデレラガールズ

Kamisama Kiss Season 2

(神様はじめました◎ Kamisama Hajimemashita)
Watch: Funimation

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@Roan_Inish made a pilgrimage to Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture for the OP and Episode 1.

Opening Credits

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Kamisama Hajimemashita is also back for a second installment, wasting no time diving into its familiar haunts around Kawagoe (川越), Saitama Prefecture. This is the Toki no kane (時の鐘 Bell of Time), one of the primary tourism sites.

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Saitama Resona Bank (埼玉りそな銀行), Kawagoe branch

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

In the background, Shimano Coffee Taishōkan (シマノコーヒー 大正館)

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Fujimi Yagura Ato (富士見櫓跡), one of the few remaining structures of Kawagoe Castle (川越城)

Episode 1

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Miyoshino Jinja (三芳野神社)

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Seibu Shinjuku Line (西武新宿線)

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Kashiya Yokochō (菓子屋横丁 Confectioner Alley)

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

This is an entrance to remnants of Nakanomon horiato (中ノ門堀跡), the moat around what was Kawagoe Castle. Though there is no stop in this actual location, with only a handful of stops on the commuter rail lines that run mostly through the commercial center, buses are the primary means of transit within Kawagoe.

Kamisama Kiss Season 2 神様はじめました◎

SHIROBAKO

(シロバコ)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@ssslocation made a pilgrimage to Musashi-Sakai and Sekizen in Musashino, Tokyo Metropolis for the second OP and Episode 13.

@kibaichi made a pilgrimage to the Hamamatsu Air Park in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture for Episode 13.

@fureshima made a pilgrimage to Kichijōji and Musashi-Sakai in Musashino for Episode 12.

Opening Credits 2

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

Intersection near the Sakai Purification Plant (境浄水場) in Musashino. Now I know what those strange blue rectangles are on a Google Map.

Episode 13

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

Skippu-dōri Shotengai (すきっぷ通り商店街)

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

Takizawa Lounge Room (談話室滝沢)

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

Musashino Place (武蔵野プレイス). The public library and meeting space, along with its outdoor grounds, is adjacent to Musashi-Sakai Station (武蔵境駅).

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

Musashi-Sakai Station south exit

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

Matsutei (松亭)

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

Air Park (エアーパーク) in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, formally the JASDF Hamamatsu Air Base Publication Center (航空自衛隊浜松広報館)

SHIROBAKO シロバコ

Your lie in April

(四月は君の嘘 Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)
Watch: CrunchyrollHulu

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@ssslocation made a pilgrimage to the Ekoda Sengen Jinja in Nerima Ward, Tokyo for Episode 12.

@teo_imperial made a pilgrimage to the main hall of the Nerima Cultural Center in Nerima (municipality), Nerima Ward for multiple episodes.

Episode 12

Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘

Ekoda Sengen Jinja (江古田浅間神社) in Kotake, Nerima Ward

Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘

Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘

Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘

Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘

Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘

The cake shop run by Kaori’s family is the last business to remain open in the evening, in what appears to be a small neighborhood shōtengai.

Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘

Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘

Your lie in April 四月は君の嘘

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend-

(冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた Saenai Hiroin no Sodatekata)
Watch: CrunchyrollHulu

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@ngwrb made a pilgrimage to Takada, Toshima Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for the OP.

Opening Credits

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- 冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた

Though this initial episode 00 drops us in a mid-story excursion out of town, the opening credits and PV materials hint that our setting will focus on a stretch of the Toden Arakawa Line (都電荒川線), one of only two extant streetcar lines in Tokyo, as it passes through a neighborhood east of Ikebukuro in Toshima Ward.

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- 冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- 冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた

This grade level crossing (踏切 fumikiri) is near the Gakushūin-shita tram stop (学習院下停留場) in Takada (高田).

Episode 00

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- 冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた

Approaching Sakuradaira Station (佐久平駅) on the Nagano Shinkansen (長野新幹線)

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- 冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- 冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- 冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた

No explanation is given as to how we got from the shinkansen to this mountain pass. I’m mainly interested to see how the show treats the areas along the Arakawa Line, something Amnesia touched on but didn’t really do justice, what with being too busy putting the heroine in cages. Guess we’ll have to keep watching.

Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- 冴えない彼女(ヒロイン)の育てかた

Tokyo Ghoul √A

(東京喰種トーキョーグール√A Tōkyō Gūru √A)
Watch: Funimation

Episode 1

Tokyo Ghoul √A 東京喰種トーキョーグール√A

Before all hell broke loose, the first season of Tokyo Ghoul featured some detailed artwork of some great but not often depicted neighborhoods in the western suburbs of Tokyo. With the first episode of this season devoted to wrapping the cliffhanger battle, we don’t know yet what direction things will go.

Tokyo Ghoul √A 東京喰種トーキョーグール√A

Tokyo Ghoul √A 東京喰種トーキョーグール√A

Tokyo Ghoul √A 東京喰種トーキョーグール√A

Tokyo Ghoul √A 東京喰種トーキョーグール√A

Tokyo Ghoul √A 東京喰種トーキョーグール√A

Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50-

(少年ハリウッド -HOLLY STAGE FOR 50-)
Watch: Funimation

Episode 14

(Though a new season, the official site and Twitter account appear to be continuing the episode numbering with the next in sequence.)

Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50- 少年ハリウッド -HOLLY STAGE FOR 50-

Harajuku Station (原宿駅)

The Hollywood Tokyo boys are back for a new installment. Though the first season never ventured beyond Harajuku (原宿) and Omotesandō (表参道), it covered them with far greater depth than the token appearances that these popular areas often make in anime. I’m hoping the trend continues.

Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50- 少年ハリウッド -HOLLY STAGE FOR 50-

While Harajuku in manga and anime almost always gets reduced to Takeshita-dōri, Shonen Hollywood often meanders through the mixed residential and commercial office blocks nestled between the main roads. These areas are quite peaceful and often an unexpected contrast with the glitzier spaces nearby.

Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50- 少年ハリウッド -HOLLY STAGE FOR 50-

Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50- 少年ハリウッド -HOLLY STAGE FOR 50-

Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50- 少年ハリウッド -HOLLY STAGE FOR 50-

Shonen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50- 少年ハリウッド -HOLLY STAGE FOR 50-

Harajuku Station

Special Items

Moriwaki Kiyotaka, the Senior Curator of the Kyoto Film Archive and key collaborator in location hunting for Tamako Market, shared the full text of his 2014 December 10 article in the Kyoto Shimbun (not included in the online edition), which notes an award given to director Yamada Naoko and describes community life of the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai in the two years since it featured as the background for the Kyoto Animation work.

The Sankei Shimbun published an article that discusses opportunities and pitfalls with regard to anime holy land pilgrimage and contents tourism. It notes instances when the sudden popularity of small towns unprepared for outside visitors has led to apprehension, and conversely, anime produced for the express purpose of local revitalization that have fallen flat or resulted in fan backlash. It recommends that local promotion groups with an interest in contents tourism evaluate works individually and understand the needs of visiting fans, rather than applying a blanket approach, which often reverts to goods sales.

@rimatai made a pilgrimage to Shinjuku, Tokyo for Kurosu Anju Tenshi to Ryū no Rondo.

@ssslocation made a pilgrimage to Ōtsuka Park, Rekisen Park and Motomachi Park in Bunkyō Ward, Tokyo for Yuri Kuma Arashi.

@habusan created two “Field Guides” (main guide, Nanki-Shirahama Onsen), detailed wayfinding directions for a representative selection of locations, for Yama no Susume Second Season.

@fureshima made a pilgrimage to Hannō, Saitama Prefecture for Yama no Susume Second Season.

@lidges published an updated pilgrimage (new permalink) to Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture that now covers a representative selection for the entire season of Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru.

@Bf109K1 made a pilgrimage to Kan’onji and Mitoyo, Kagawa Prefecture, and Misasa, Tottori Prefecture for Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru.

@SSEBTBM883 made a pilgrimage to Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture for Inō-Batoru wa Nichijō-kei no Naka de.

@rimatai made a pilgrimage to Shinjuku, Tokyo for selector spread WIXOSS.

@ngwrb made a pilgrimage to Kichijōji, Musashino and Shinjuku, and a pilgrimage to Jiyūgaoka, Meguro Ward (all Tokyo Metropolis) for Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works.

@rimatai made a pilgrimage to Kichijōji and Jiyūgaoka for Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works.

@fragments_sue made a pilgrimage to Harajuku, Shibuya Ward and Chōfu, Tokyo Metropolis for Mizuiro Jidai.