New Game! ニューゲーム

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.

2016 Summer Season Overview

It’s another season premiere week! While the past spring has been on the quiet side with a few notable highlights, this summer looks to be a busy lineup for works with rich settings and high potential for pop culture tourism. With a large amount of content, I’ll continue to put works loosely into tiers, concentrating effort on the few I find most interesting, while still including highlights and news for others.

In the first tier, the popular front-runner will most likely be Love Live! Sunshine!! (Sunrise), set in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture. The original Love Live! School Idol Project two anime seasons were notable in that their broad popularity and easily reached location model in central Tokyo drew many general viewers into casual seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 holy land pilgrimage). Numazu is a bit off the beaten path and requires bus travel once in the coastal city, so my hunch is that overall pop culture tourism numbers may be lower, but the unique location may energize more of the core butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting) community. Or, perhaps this will be the tipping point that propels anime seichijunrei for regional locations squarely into the spotlight, who knows. Orange (Telecom Animation Film, TMS Entertainment) features a large amount of detailed artwork using Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture as its backdrop, is a bit more grounded with regard to story content, and is the one I’m most interested to see develop. Kuromukuro (P.A. Works) continues into its second cour of the studio’s nod to its home in Toyama Prefecture.

The second tier includes several shows that could turn out to be just as engaging, though at first glance appear not to emphasize heavily detailed settings to the same extent as the preceding. Two Tokyo-set shows, New Game! (Doga Kobo) in Asagaya, Suginami Ward, and Amaama to Inazuma (TMS Entertainment) in Musashisakai, Musashino, both include imagery from well-known shōtengai there. Kyūshū appears relatively infrequently in anime, so the Ōita setting of ReLIFE (TMS Entertainment) is cause for interest.

Several more shows will premiere this upcoming week. Planetarian: Chiisana Hoshi no Yume (David Production) and Amanchu! (J.C.Staff) are likely candidates for first tier review. Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! (Feel), Qualidea Code (A-1 Pictures), and Handa-kun (Diomedéa) will also be evaluated for inclusion.

Other series that may be of interest but I won’t cover week to week include Rewrite (8-bit) and Active Raid: Kidō Kyōshūshitsu Daihachigakari 2nd (Production IMS).

Love Live! Sunshine!!

(ラブライブ!サンシャイン!! Rabu Raibu! Sanshain)
Watch: CrunchyrollFunimation

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@touyoko_com (post) and @mashiro2009 (post) made pilgrimages to Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture for Episode 1.

@buzz_tawagoto made a pilgrimage to Akihabara, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis; and included previously collected images from Numazu for Episode 1.

@maxbreakerz2mei does not publish butaitanbou posts, but was the first person to make a detailed pilgrimage for Episode 1, sharing the adventure in real time as a stream of tweets.

@tyukyu2 has also been posting location photos on Twitter and created a highly detailed map for Numazu:

Opening Credits

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Yasuda-ya Ryokan (安田屋旅館)

The setting—Numazu (沼津), Shizuoka Prefecture—is new, but the plot formula appears largely unchanged. In this case, the idea of a regional school (versus one in the middle of the capital) in danger of being closed due to declining population actually jives quite well with reality.

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Adjacent to the Nagaisaki Junior High School bus stop (長井崎中学校バス停)

Episode 1

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Before we depart for Numazu though, we need our obligatory spin through the Akihabara (秋葉原) commercial district in Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis.

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Akihabara Station (秋葉原駅)

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Akihabara Crossfield

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Numazu Nagaisaki Junior High School (沼津市立長井崎中学校)

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Yasuda-ya Ryokan

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Making bus routes and schedules clear for visitors coming by public transit was a known concern discussed by local groups involved in tourism planning and promotion.

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Awashima Marine Park (あわしまマリンパーク)

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Awashima Marine Park Frog Museum (あわしまマリンパーク カエル館)

[Credit: @maxbreakerz2mei, Twitter]

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Dried fish is one specialty commercial product Numazu businesses hope will gain some visibility through the city’s association with the anime.

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Mito swimming beach (三津海水浴場)

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Nagaisaki Junior High School bus stop

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! ラブライブ!サンシャイン!!

Orange

(オレンジ Orenji)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@megtan made a pilgrimage to Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture for Episode 1. We haven’t heard from Megumegu for a while, but this is not his first foray into butaitanbou, having created the authoritative series of articles for Aku no Hana. His new post for Orange includes a very detailed map for Matsumoto that will be helpful to anyone interested in making a pilgrimage:

Episode 1

Orange オレンジ

Matsumoto (松本), Nagano Prefecture. The sheer number of cuts in the first episode is quite heavy. The sequences of static images in particular feel a little forced, but since a lot of care appears to have gone into the location research and painted backgrounds, I’m hopeful we’ll be able to explore the city more organically in subsequent episodes.

Orange オレンジ

Susukigawa Ryokuchi Park (薄川緑地)

Orange オレンジ

Jōyama (城山) area

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

From a vantage point at the east entrance of Matsumoto Station, looking east on Prefecture Route 63. The main commercial street divides the Chūō (中央) area to the north from Fukashi (深志) area to the south, both of which comprise the city’s central business district.

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Chūō Nishi Park (中央西公園), also known as Flower Clock Park (花時計公園)

Orange オレンジ

Intersection in front of the Nakamachi Warehouse Museum (中町蔵の会館)

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

In front of Yohashira Jinja (四柱神社)

Orange オレンジ

Entrance to Agata no Mori Park (あがたの森公園)

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Susukigawa Ryokuchi Park

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Agata no Mori Park

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Former Matsumoto High School (旧制松本高等学校)

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Orange オレンジ

Mount Kōbō Tomb (弘法山古墳)

Kuromukuro

(クロムクロ)

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@ankou_anko made a pilgrimage to Tateyama and Kurobe, Toyama Prefecture for Episode 7 through Episode 13.

@sprout333 hiked to the location on Mount Harinoki that appeared in Episode 11:

Episode 13

Kuromukuro クロムクロ

Though the ‘Toyama Mall’ depicted in the show does not exist, @ankou_anko discovered that it borrows design elements from two buildings both in Kurobe (黒部), Toyama Prefecture, the Toyama Technical Institute Shinkawa Center (富山県技術専門学院新川センター) and Kurobe City International Cultural Center Colare (黒部市国際文化センターコラーレ).

Kuromukuro クロムクロ

Indeed, all of the street scenes from this week’s episode come from the commercial district in Kurobe.

Kuromukuro クロムクロ

Kuromukuro クロムクロ

Kuromukuro クロムクロ

Kuromukuro クロムクロ

Kuromukuro クロムクロ

Kuromukuro クロムクロ

Kuromukuro クロムクロ

New Game!

(ニューゲーム Nyū Gēmu)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Episode 1

New Game! ニューゲーム

The opening sequence quickly outlines the transition of main character Aoba from student (tree lined river embankments and uniforms) to working adult (transit card, crowded trains and suits), though many Tokyo children are already quite familiar with the public transit routine as high school students.

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

IC transit card swipe

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

Keiō Line (京王線) bound for Shinjuku Station

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

Chūō-Sōbu Line (中央・総武緩行線)

New Game! ニューゲーム

Asagaya Station (阿佐ヶ谷駅)

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

Lunch break takes Aoba and new coworkers for a walk near the office, beginning at the Minami Asagaya Suzuran-dōri Shōtengai (南阿佐谷すずらん通り商店街).

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

Suzuran leads into the south end of the Asagaya Pearl Center Shōtengai (阿佐谷パールセンター商店街).

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

New Game! ニューゲーム

Misty Asagaya (Misty 阿佐ヶ谷) in the Asagaya Pearl Center Shōtengai

[Credit: @coga, Twitter]

New Game! ニューゲーム

Sweetness and Lightning

(甘々と稲妻 Amaama to Inazuma)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Opening Credits

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

An abstract street made of children’s toys becomes the Sukippu-dōri Shōtengai (すきっぷ通り商店街) and entrance to Musashi-Sakai Station (武蔵境駅) just behind it.

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

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. The arcade and library in Musashino, Tokyo Metropolis appeared frequently in the P.A. Works series SHIROBAKO.

Episode 1

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

My hunch is Inokashira Park (井の頭恩賜公園), but will update if I learn otherwise.

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

Sukippu-dōri Shōtengai

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

Ending Credits

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

Sweetness and Lightening 甘々と稲妻

ReLIFE

(リライフ Riraifu)
Watch: Crunchyroll

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@taiyaki0628 made a pilgrimage to Ōita City, Ōita Prefecture for Episode 1.

Opening Credits

ReLife リライフ

Ōita Uenogaoka High School (大分県立大分上野丘高等学校) in Ōita City (大分市), Ōita Prefecture

ReLife リライフ

Episode 1

ReLife リライフ

Though ostensibly set in Ōita, the train design used in the opening scene looks a lot like the Seibu 2000 series (西武2000系) trains formerly used on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.

[Credit: @MatsuYan, Twitter]

ReLife リライフ

ReLife リライフ

Izakaya used as third place

ReLife リライフ

Ōita Uenogaoka High School

ReLife リライフ

ReLife リライフ

ReLife リライフ

ReLife リライフ

 

Special Items

Future Season Pilgrimage

@york21c made a pilgrimage to Yoyogi, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Kizumonogatari II Nekketsu-hen.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@fureshima made a pilgrimage to (post 1) Kyonan; and (post 2) Zenshōji, Midori Ward, Chiba City (both Chiba Prefecture) for Dagashi Kashi.

@ktism1228s made a pilgrimage to Mashike, Hokkaidō Prefecture for Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru.

@touyoko_com updated a previous pilgrimage to Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture for Yosuga no Sora.

@touyoko_com made a pilgrimage to Yokohama and Sotogahama, Aomori Prefecture for Clannad After Story.

@cairn_07 made a pilgrimage to Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.