March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Welcome to this week’s review of notable instances of public transit use and urban design, as well as discussion of place identity and culture, through anime currently broadcast or screening in Japan and simulcast internationally via the web. This review also documents seichijunrei (聖地巡礼 holy land pilgrimage) and butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting), which are pop culture tourism and place-based engagement induced by the use of real locations in show settings.

2017 Winter Season Overview

Happy new year! This season looks to be a little different from most, in that there are no clear front runners with regard to setting and pop culture tourism. There are many works that feature real location settings, but only a handful appear to include them as part of a solid overall package. As a result, I’m going to adjust my approach a little bit. Generally, I review and provide detailed background for five to six shows. This winter, I’ll review three, but continue to curate butaitanbou content for all shows, as well as media coverage of anime-induced tourism. Readers have told me they enjoy hearing about seichijunrei-butaitanbou subculture. I’ve also wanted to share more of my observations on this, through both the weekly review and writing more articles about my first-hand experiences with pilgrimage and the fan community. I’ll use this opportunity to direct more time and brain space to that branch.

Kobayashi-san Chi no Meidoragon is Kyoto Animation, but not the contemporary KyoAni we’re familiar with. Gone are the photo-realistic backgrounds, filters and camera lens effects, complex character shading, and other high production value elements we’re used to. The show is set in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture. A non-Kansai setting in a KyoAni work generally means less ebullient overall pop culture tourism interest, and different people from among the butaitanbou community leading the exploratory effort. I think it’s good to switch things up from time to time, and am looking forward to this. Detailed reviews will begin starting from next week’s issue.

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū returns for a second season, Sukeroku Futatabi-hen. I thought Studio Deen did an excellent job depicting the Asakusa entertainment district and other locations during the Shōwa era, and expect more of the same for this new installment.

3-Gatsu no Lion continues into its second cour. Though the work’s location compass is well-established, the ever-modulating visual treatment by Shaft keeps it fresh.

There are many other works that may be of interest, but I will not review in detail: Minami Kamakura Kōkō Joshi Jitensha-Bu (J.C.Staff, A.C.G.T), Kamakura; Masamune-kun no Revenge (Silver Link), Mitaka; Hand Shakers (GoHands), Osaka; Fūka (Diomedéa), Tokyo; Gabriel DropOut (Doga Kobo), Hamamatsu; ChäoS;Child (Silver Link), Tokyo; and Seiren (Studio Gokumi), Tokyo.

March comes in like a lion

(3月のライオン Sangatsu no Raion)

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@Roan_Inish made pilgrimages to (post 1, post 2) Sendagaya for Episode 10; and (post 3) Shinkawa, Tsukuda, Tsukishima and Sendagaya for Episode 12.

Second Cour Opening

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

View north from the mouth of the Sumida River (隅田川)

The new opening credits and first episode of the second cour look back at most of the locations used so far in the series.

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Sotobori (外堀)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Shinkawa (新川)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Kotobuki-dō in Nihonbashi-Ningyōchō (日本橋人形町)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Tsukuda (佃)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Episode 12

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Sumiyoshi Jinja (住吉神社) in Tsukuda

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Tsukishima Nishi-Naka-dōri Shōtengai (月島西仲通り商店街)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Chūō Bridge (中央大橋) from Tsukuda side

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Kamejima River flood gate (亀島川水門) from Shinkawa

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Shinkawa

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Chūō Bridge

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Shinkawa

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Shinkawa

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Kamejima River flood gate

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Shinkawa

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Chūō Bridge

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Japan Shōgi Association (日本将棋連盟) in Sendagaya (千駄ヶ谷)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Toei Subway Ōedo Line (都営地下鉄大江戸線)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Tsukuda (small) Bridge (佃小橋)

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

Chūō Bridge

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

March comes in like a lion 3月のライオン

The episode’s end card by VOFAN depicts Hinata in Jiufen (九份), Xinbei, Taiwan. This is the same location said to have inspired the setting of Miyazaki film Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away). VOFAN is Taiwanese and best know for his Bakemonogatari light novel illustrations.

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen

(昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-)

Episode 1

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Almost all of the first season was set during and in the period following World War II. There is no precise indication of the years for Yotaro’s apprenticeship, but going by the mentions of a bubble economy in the first episode of the second season, it’s probably somewhere late Shōwa (1980s) or very early Heisei (1989 on).

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Komagata Bridge (駒形橋)

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Azuma Bridge (吾妻橋)

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

In the background is a previous incarnation of the headquarters of Asahi Breweries (アサヒビール). The rising sun signage has since been replaced by the Asahi Flame sculpture, affectionately referred to as “the golden turd” (金のうんこ).

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen 昭和元禄落語心中 -助六再び篇-

 

Special Items

Media and General Interest

Yomiuri Shimbun published an article featuring the owner of Cafe Dream in Nishinomiya, Hosokai Akiko, talking about the history between the restaurant and Suzumiya Haruhi series. She recollects the light novel author Tanigawa Nagaru visiting, asking permission to take photos inside the cafe as visualization aids while he worked on the story. She talks about the waves of Haruhi fans that have come to visit the cafe, now many years after the anime adaptation broadcast. She describes the unusual sight of so many young people frequenting a comparatively old-fashioned establishment, the artifacts they have installed (such as the pilgrimage exchange notebook), and the affection fans continue to show for the cafe and the neighborhood around it. The article writer concludes with a general explanation of anime seichijunrei, noting the increasing leveraging of this phenomenon by municipalities in marketing and promotion campaigns. (I was genuinely impressed by the depth and nuance of this article, particularly its emphasis on the personal experience of a community pillar. It is still rare to come across well-researched and thoughtful coverage of anime-induced tourism in mainstream media.)

@kbt_tigers1985 published an account and photos from the Haruhi 10 year anniversary party at Cafe Dream, also mentioned in the preceding article.

Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni director Katabuchi Sunao issued a request on Twitter and through the film’s official site for fans to not make pilgrimages to the neighborhood in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture used as the model for the protagonist’s family home, for fans who have already visited to not upload photos and information to the internet, and for media to not introduce the location as a tourism destination. Media coverage: J-Cast News, Netorabo, Huffington Post. Oricon Style published an article about pilgrimage to Kure for the film. The article originally included a photo of the residential neighborhood in question, which has since been removed and a short message parroting Katabuchi has been appended. (I gather that the Katabuchi request is a preemptive effort to avoid incidents with visitors causing nuisance for local residents. It is not unusual to hear of a request of this nature, often emanating from the butaitanbou community itself, which will either withhold information from public forums or at least caution pilgrims to be aware of the environment and exercise courtesy. However, the paternalistic tone and absolute nature of this new request set it apart from most.)

yomiDr. published an article explaining seichijunrei from the perspective of cognitive psychology. It describes how anime tourism has shifted from being just a way to engage with the creative work, to becoming a platform through which people feel connections to others through a shared physical behavior and goal, and in some cases, meeting others with shared interests face-to-face through the activity.

Speakers.jp published an interview with anime directure Yamamoto Yutaka covering many topics, including seichijunrei. Yamamoto indicates surprise in the amount of growth in anime tourism over the past ten years, and predicts it will be increasingly considered as input at the creation phase, though expresses concern that this will affect the quality of work produced. He also notes lack of clarity on the issue of municipalities using anime intellectual property when it features their location, and that more direct communication with tourism divisions is needed.

Chunichi Shimbun (article), Gifu Shimbun (article) and Netorabo (article) published stories about creation of a collective tourism marketing union, initiated by Hida mayor Tsuzuku Junya, with the goal to facilitate joint marketing opportunities between cities in Gifu Prefecture, leveraging the recent spate of popular animated works featuring Gifu settings and resultant pop culture tourism.

Yomiuri Shimbun (article) and Asahi Shimbun (article) published stories about a promotional campaign by Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture leveraging Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru to drive more pop culture tourism to the city.

withnews published an article covering many aspects of Yūri!!! on Ice production and fan response, including pilgrimage by domestic tourists and Korean and Chinese visitors to Karatsu, Saga Prefecture.

Saga Shimbun published an article about anime pilgrimage to Karatsu for Yūri!!! on Ice, and how this fits with broader goals of the city tourism promotion division.

Gifu Shimbun published an article about an exhibition of Kimi no Na wa. artwork, previously held in creator Shinkai Makoto’s hometown Koumi, Nagano Prefecture, now moving to the City Art Museum in Hida-Furukawachō, used as the model for one of the two primary settings in the film. Hida mayor Tsuzuku Junya tweeted from the exhibition:

Gifu Shimbun published an article about new marriage and birth registration applications in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture featuring artwork from Koe no Katachi, which uses the city as its setting.

Gifu Shimbun published an article about a new website created by Gifu City to promote tourism for Bokura wa Minna Kawai-sō, a manga and anime adaptation that use the city as their setting.

Kyoto City has awarded the first of new special ambassador of goodwill appointments for cultural works that promote the city to Uchoten Kazoku. The designation was publicly presented at a special event at Shimogamo Jinja promoting the second season of the anime. Media coverage: Kyoto Shimbun, Comic Natalie (1), Comic Natalie (2), Walker Plus. Shimogamo is used as the home of the protagonist family in the show setting, and this was the first anime related event to be held at the UNESCO World Heritage Site:

Other Current Season Pilgrimage

@Barnirun made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4, post 5) to Osaka City and suburbs for the PV to Hand Shakers.

@paffue made a past pilgrimage to Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture for the manga version of Minami Kamakura Kōkō Joshi Jitensha-Bu.

@tenohira17 made a pilgrimage to Mitaka, Tokyo metropolis for the PV to Masamune-kun no Revenge.

@SSEBTBM883 made a pilgrimage to Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture for Gabriel Dropout.

@aga3104_keyaki made a pilgrimage to Hamamatsu and Mori, Shizuoka Prefecture for the manga version of Gabriel Dropout.

@touyoko_com made a pilgrimage to Akasaka, Minato Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Seiren.

@kortoku made a pilgrimage to the Nippon Budōkan in Chiyoda Ward and Shibuya for Fuuka.

@paffue compiled archive images from Hibiya, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for locations that appear in Little Witch Academia.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@mikehattsu made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4) to Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture for Koe no Katachi.

@touyoko_com made pilgrimages to Amagasaki, Hyōgo Prefecture and Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture for Hibike! Euphonium Season 2.

@mikehattsu made a pilgrimage to Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture for Hibike! Euphonium Season 1 and Season 2.

@taiyaki0628 made a pilgrimage to Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture for Yūri!!! on ICE.

@fureshima made a pilgrimage to Musashino and Mitaka, Tokyo Metropolis for Stella no Mahō.

@paffue made a pilgrimage to Ikuno Station in Engaru, Hokkaidō Prefecture for New Game!

@mikehattsu made a pilgrimage to the P.A.Works head studio in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture for Kuromukuro.

@paffue made a pilgrimage to Kamishihoro, Hokkaidō Prefecture for Girls und Panzer Gekijōban.

@mikehattsu made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2, post 3) to Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture for Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Rokodoru Yattemita.

@anime_pq made a pilgrimage to the Kamo Hanashōbuen in Kakegawa, Shizuoka Prefecture for Hyōka.

@mikehattsu made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2, post 3) to Nanto, Toyama Prefecture for True Tears.

@Roan_Inish made a pilgrimage to Hibiya Park in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Honey and Clover.