Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

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.

Sound! Euphonium

(響け! ユーフォニアム Hibike! Yūfoniamu)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

As I settled in for this premiere—and watched my feeds for chatter and activity in the hours and days following the broadcast—it struck me that it felt as if it had been a while since the last time there was this much collective excitement from the pop culture tourism community with regard to a Kyoto Animation work. Tamako Love Story was a wonderful film, though we were all very well acquainted with the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai and other settings by then. The second seasons of Chūnibyō and Free! made some interesting excursions to locations off the beaten path, but their main settings were, for the most part, revisits to the initial installments. Amaburi was set almost entirely on the grounds of a fictional amusement park. It hasn’t been since Kyōkai no Kanata in 2013 Fall that we really had the opportunity to deeply explore unknown places. At the time of the broadcast, most of Kashihara hadn’t even been covered with Google Street View, harkening back to the days when butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting) was truly an adventure into uncharted territory.

Hibike! Euphonium takes us to Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, close to Kyoto City and well known among the fan community as the location of the Kyoto Animation studio, but otherwise unfamiliar and ripe for discovery. One wonders what kinds of self-referential gags they may have planned, like when Konata dragged everyone on a pilgrimage to the studio in Lucky Star. I’d be tempted to draw myself into the background, walking to work in the morning. We shall wait and see. In the meantime, the rapid burst of butaitanbou activity in the days after the broadcast, par for the course for most Kyoto Animation and P.A.Works series, sparked a lively discussion over Twitter among the community about whether being the first or fastest discoverer was the default metric by which to determine success in this kind of pursuit, or if other factors were equally meaningful. By nature of the medium, it was/is an open ended discussion, but the general themes that emerged were that it was ultimately up to the individual to determine his own motivation, and measure against that. For some, the notoriety that comes with speed is what drives them. Others are invested in the emotional content of the work, and reserve pilgrimage for the places they felt most meaningful in the context of the story. Yet others maintain that butaitanbou or seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 holy land pilgrimage) is simply a vehicle by which they learn of new places to explore and experience. Once there, absorbing the atmosphere and culture of the place is prioritized over the painstaking framing of the actual cuts from the animation. There’s no right answer, just the one that’s right for you.

Fortunately for us observers, the fastest explorers are also among the most diligent and comprehensive investigators, and they’ve set the bar high for how to go about plowing through the mountains of beautiful animation:

@ye_bi_su made a pilgrimage to Shimogamo Hangi-chō, Sakyō Ward, Kyoto City; Uji, Kyoto Prefecture; and the Nagoya Congress Center in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture for Episode 1.

@seki_saima (post), @etesuke (post 1, post 2), @kai881 (post), @kbt_tigers1985 (post), @thunder_cycle (post 1, post 2, post 3), and @mi_kawana (post 1, post 2, post 3) made pilgrimages to Uji, Kyoto Prefecture for Episode 1.

@SSEBTBM883 (post) and @gonta0822 (post) made pilgrimages to the Nagoya Congress Center in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture for Episode 1.

Opening Credits

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

The clock sits in a pocket park facing the southern end of Uji Bridge (following frame).

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Uji Bridge (宇治橋)

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Overlooking Uji from Hadoyama Ryokuchi Park (羽戸山緑地)

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

River embankment (土手 dote) and high voltage lines to the southeast of Rokujizō Station (六地蔵駅)

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Nagoya Congress Center (名古屋国際会議場)

Episode 1

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Kyoto Concert Hall (京都コンサートホール)

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Overlooking Uji from the summit of Buttokusan (仏徳山), also called Daikichiyama (大吉山), in Daikichiyamafuchi Park (大吉山風致公園)

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Ajirogi no michi (あじろぎの道) is a cherry tree lined walking path along the Uji River.

As a side note for the cinematically-inclined, we can see in shots like this heavy use of simulated chromatic aberration (color fringing) and very shallow depth-of-field. To my memory, the first instance of these effects appeared in the experimental interlude scenes of Kyoto Animation’s Nichijou, also directed by Ishihara Tatsuya. They were used more extensively in Hyōka and, along with telephoto lens camera shake effect, have since become defining features of the Kyoto Animation aesthetic. It’s sometimes hard to believe this is broadcast anime, as the production values reach closer and closer to their more expensive feature film counterparts.

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Todō Senior High School (莵道高校)

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Rokujizō Station (六地蔵駅)

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Wonderful attention to small details, such as the crossing signal button

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

IC transit card swipe. The PiTaPa (ピタパ) network is somewhat unusual in that it is post-paid and requires a credit check to open an account. Most other transit cards in Japan are prepaid, declining balance types. PiTaPa is interoperable with ICOCA and many smart transit cards from other major metropolitan areas.

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Keihan 13000 series (京阪13000系) trainset operating on the Keihan Uji Line (京阪宇治線). I’ve asked friends to help with observing the mechanical sounds of the trains on the Uji Line for comparison with the sound effects track. In Tamako Love Story, the sounds of the train platforms in Kyoto Station were live, on-site recordings, not stock sound files.

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Ajirogi no michi

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

The intersection where the manshon appears is south of Byōdō-in (平等院), however the structure itself comes from another location.

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Uji Jinja (宇治神社)

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Kyoto Prefectural Route 7, Kyoto-Uji (京都府道7号京都宇治線)

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

IC transit card swipe

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Kumiko’s morning commute begins with boarding a train at Uji Station (宇治駅)—there are two, this is the Keihan Railway station.

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Sound! Euphonium 響け! ユーフォニアム

Kumiko sits shoulder to shoulder with salarymen on their way to work. In her internal dialog throughout the episode, she wrestles with many common concerns of teenagers coming of age. But behaviors like unaccompanied use of public transit, shared by secondary school students everywhere in Japan, show a rather adult level of independence and interaction with the world relative to that of North American peers.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

(長門有希ちゃんの消失 Nagato Yuki-chan no Shōshitsu)
Watch: Funimation

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@thunder_cycle made a pilgrimage to Nishinomiya (post 1, post 2) and Amagasaki (post 3), Hyōgo Prefecture for Episode 1; and again to Nishinomiya (post 4) for Episode 2.

@keyboar made a pilgrimage to Amagasaki for Episode 1.

Episode 1

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

You may need to reset your brain for this one. Previous anime adaptations of manga Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu and light novel Suzumiya Haruhi no Shōshitsu were produced by Kyoto Animation. Though the studio was just beginning to develop its own style at the time, the high level of detail that went into those settings and background art are of a completely different nature than the market standard package we will get from studio Satelight, based on a manga spinoff from the original light novel series. That said, this is still a nostalgic return to old stomping grounds for franchise fans, who remember the unexpected waves of otaku descending on Nishinomiya (西宮), Hyōgo Prefecture. Those Kyoto Animation productions generated one of the earliest instances of anime pop culture tourism with enough volume to become known outside of interest circles. At the time, many in Nishinomiya were caught off guard by the sudden attention, and not all visitors were met with open arms, particularly those visiting the public high school. Perhaps as a result of those experiences, the butaitanbou community has since established a set of norms about not disturbing sensitive areas of local communities, not widely sharing the locations of schools and purely residential areas, and generally being good ambassadors in their encounters with residents. Way back when I watched Haruhi, I had no idea I was seeing a real community, so I’m looking forward to revisiting the hallowed grounds in Hanshin.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Nishinomiya-Kita High School (西宮北高等学校)

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Kōyōen Station (甲陽園駅)

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Nagato still lives in the same manshon. Asakura humming the Hare Hare Yukai melody as she prepares dinner was a nice nod and wink.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Amagasaki Chūō Shōtengai (尼崎中央商店街)

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Sanwa Hon-dōri Shōtengai (三和本通商店街). This shopping arcade, the multiple segments of the Amagasaki Chūō Shōtengai, and several other markets are clustered together and referred to collectively as Genki Machi (元気街), between two train stations at the center of Amagasaki.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The photo calendar in the butcher’s shop has an image of a slope in Kōyōen Honjō-chō (甲陽園本庄町), near the Kōyōen Elementary School (甲陽園小学校).

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Opening Credits

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Kita-Shukugawa Bridge (北夙川橋)

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Koshikiiwa Jinja Kita bus stop (越木岩神社北バス停)—formerly Shukugawa Tandaimae (旧夙川短大前)

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Ginsui Bridge (銀水橋)

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Episode 2

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Konbini in the small commercial district surrounding Kōyōen Station (甲陽園駅)

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Hinoike Park (樋之池公園)

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Nishinomiya-Kita High School

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

Hinoike Park

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan 長門有希ちゃんの消失

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!

(やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続 Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabu Kome wa Machigatteiru. Zoku)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

Update 2015/04/14: @rimatai made a pilgrimage to Kyoto for Episode 1 and Episode 2.

Episode 2

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

This week picks up the second half of the students’ school trip to Kyoto. They begin at Tōei Uzumasa Eigamura (東映太秦映画村), also called Toei Kyoto Studio Park, a film set for production of jidaigeki (時代劇 period dramas).

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

Update 2015/04/14: Ryōan-ji (龍安寺)

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社)

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

Arashiyama Station (嵐山駅)—there are two, this is the one on the Arashiyama Main Line (嵐山本線), a tram car operated by the Keifuku Electric Railway (京福電気鉄道).

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

Bamboo groves in Sagano

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

Togetsukyō Bridge (渡月橋)

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

Kyoto Station (京都駅)

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続

Hello!! Kinmoza

(ハロー!! きんいろモザイク Harō!! Kin’iro Mozaiku)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@ngwrb made pilgrimages to Keisei-Usui Station in Sakura and Mimomi area in Narashino (both Chiba Prefecture) for Episode 1.

Episode 1

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

The second installment of Kinmoza quickly reviews the primary setting from the first season, but treads no new ground. As before, Fosse Farmhouse, located just outside Bath, England, is the model for the Cartalet home. The bed and breakfast is operated by Caron Cooper, who spends part of each year in Japan, teaching British cooking techniques and tea etiquette.

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

If you blinked, you might have missed the cute nod to Fosse on the jam jar.

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Keisei-Usui Station (京成臼井駅) in Sakura (佐倉), Chiba Prefecture is the common meeting point for the cast each morning, before they board a train on their commute to school. Curiously, in the first season the actual train trips were never shown, but implied by the sequential appearance of Keisei-Usui Station and Mimomi Station.

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

All of the shots with students walking a tree shaded, protected sidewalk come from a stretch of road between Mimomi Station (実籾駅) and Mimomi Hongō Park (実籾本郷公園) in Narashino (習志野), Chiba Prefecture. The sidewalk and park comprise a portion of the students’ daily commute to school.

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Mimomi High School (千葉県立実籾高等学校) is just beyond the park.

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Keisei-Usui Station

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Near Mimomi Hongō Park

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Opening Credits

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Always glad to see that the running to school with toast hanging out of mouth trope is still alive and well.

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Nanaido Park (七井戸公園) in Sakura [Credit: @yamabito0, from Twitter)

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Keisei-Usui Station

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Keisei Main Line (京成本線), south side of the tracks adjacent to Mimomi Station

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Hello!! Kinmoza ハロー!! きんいろモザイク

Re-Kan!

( レーカン! Rēkan!)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Episode 2

Re-Kan! レーカン!

Sōka (草加), Saitama Prefecture

Re-Kan! レーカン!

Re-Kan! レーカン!

Re-Kan! レーカン!

Re-Kan! レーカン!

Re-Kan! レーカン!

Re-Kan! レーカン!

Re-Kan! レーカン!

Re-Kan! レーカン!

 

Special Items

@ssslocation made a pilgrimage to newly abandoned Kakinoki Station in Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture for Non Non Biyori Repeat, premiering 2015 July.

@lidges (post) and @kou1mori (post) made pilgrimages to to Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture for Tamayura ~Sotsugyō Shashin~ Me-Kizashi-.

@SSEBTBM883 made pilgrimages to (post 1) Arashiyama, Ukyō Ward, Kyoto for Saenai Hiroin no Sodatekata; and (post 2) Ōsu, Naka Ward, Nagoya for the manga source material Saenai Hiroin no Sodatekata~egoistic-lily~, Volume 2.

@aqcuaria made a pilgrimage to Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture for SHIROBAKO.

@MatsuYan made a pilgrimage to Fuchū, Tokyo Metropolis for Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso.

@teo_imperial made a pilgrimage to Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture for Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Rokodoru Yattemita.

@626shin made a cherry blossom pilgrimage to Bamboo Joy Highland in Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture for Tamayura: More Aggressive.

@yomikatajiyu made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2, post 3) to Minamitane, Tanegashima, Kagoshima Prefecture for Robotics;Notes.