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.
(ふらいんぐうぃっち Furaingu Uitchi)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Flying whale watching in Akudo (悪戸), Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture
Hirosaki Castle (弘前城)
Grade level railroad crossing just south of Chūō-Hirosaki Station (中央弘前駅)
Kōnan Railway Ōwani Line (弘南鉄道大鰐線)
Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri (弘前ねぷたまつり) is held annually from August 1 to August 7, and features large, fan-shaped paper and bamboo floats illuminated from within. The comparatively intimate though well-known event is one of a pair with the larger Aomori Nebuta Matsuri.
Drums and flutes accompany the procession of floats. Both matsuri retell historic military events, though while the Aomori festival evokes armies preparing for battle, Hirosaki’s depicts a triumphant return.
(田中くんはいつもけだるげ Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge)
The arcade entrance in the background is modeled on Ebisu-dōri Shōtengai (えびす通り商店街), one of many in downtown Hiroshima. However, the surrounding area depicted in the show differs from what’s on the ground. There are no arterial roads leading into either end of the arcade.
Streetlamp hardware matches that used on Aioi-dōri (相生通り), the main east-west arterial road through downtown.
Namiki-dōri (並木通り) in Enichi-chō (円一町), Mihara (三原), Hiroshima Prefecture
Neighboring district Miyaoki (宮沖)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Media and General Interest
Netorabo published an article about discussion revolving around a blog post by a group representing the dried fish foodstuff manufacturing industry in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture. Numazu is the setting for upcoming series Love Live! Sunshine!! The post points to the example of revitalization of Ōarai, Ibaraki Prefecture resulting from Girls und Panzer, and expresses hope that expected pop culture tourism in Numazu will be an antidote to sluggish sales. Responses to the post ranged from support for marketing collaborations, to caution that Ōarai is a unique case not easily replicable, to stern remonstrations that Ōarai’s success—or any successful use of anime for regional and local activation—is not an entitlement to be assumed, but a result that stems from enthusiastic and whole-hearted efforts of the community to welcome anime fans, organize events and promote the city.