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.
(小林さんちのメイドラゴン Kobayashi-san Chi no Meidoragon)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Tōru and Kobayashi walk to and wait at the Koshigaya Station west exit intersection (越谷駅西口交差点) on their way to shop for groceries in the center of town.
Without the help of simulated lens bokeh and lateral chromatic aberration, infrastructure elements aren’t quite as exciting as in other recent KyoAni works, but there is still a good amount of detail in these tight shots.
In real life, the barriers, trees and coffee shop are outside the Koshigaya Station west exit as depicted here. The covered shōtengai is not. The appearance is fairly generic and it may not be a real arcade, but I noted some similarities with the Karahori Shōtengai in Osaka. The street view images for Karahori were taken during off hours when shutters are down, but I have an archive of photography from a walk I took in the arcade in 2015. Most of the links I found were minor, things like sign fonts and awning colors, nothing I would consider conclusive. But since Animation Do (Kyoto Animation’s Osaka studio) is just a few subway stops away, I figured it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibilities.
Shōtengai are explicitly commercial space and urban commons. Train stations are ostensibly transit infrastructure, but I believe that when they are planned well they can also be civic space. In Japan, train stations and shōtengai are frequently co-located, which works as a bulwark against sprawl, allows less dependence on private cars, and facilitates social interactions. These are some of the core areas I research both in the real world and through this anime review. The Usagiyama Shōtengai in Tamako Market and its real world counterpart the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai were the focus of a deep dive analysis I did in 2014 that led to my being invited into the butaitanbou community.
Kobayashi is surprised that Tōru doesn’t plan to shop at the big box shopping center closer to the station. Tōru compares the shōtengai to bazaars and prefers their festive atmosphere.
The pointed arch of the arcade roof is an interesting coincidence, though isn’t particularly unique. The closest thing I found to a solid link between this and Karahori is the gentle curve they share at the end of the first segment of the street:
The joke running for the duration of this scene is that Kobayashi (the human) is comparatively unsocial, whereas Tōru (the dragon) is on warm terms with the many acquaintances she has made in her frequent visits to this commons, though she has difficultly interpreting and appreciating the emotional content of these interactions.
Tōru’s canvas shopping bag has an Usagiyama Shōtengai logo.
Everybody knows Tōru.
Even in this comparatively simple setting, I enjoy how the animation pushes the viewer deeper into the experience of urban commons through forced perspective.
Koshigaya Station west exit intersection
Tōru and Kobayashi return home walking south on Saitama Prefectural Route 161, Koshigaya Kawaguchi Route (埼玉県道161号越谷川口線).
Koshigaya Station west exit intersection
Tōru leads Kanna on a walk to Koshigaya Station (越谷駅) as she attempts to explain how the human world works to the young dragon.
When Kanna asks why Kobayashi doesn’t use a car, Tōru relays Kobayashi’s aversion to loan payments and vehicle inspections, though she herself doesn’t really understand what those are. They agree that commuting by dragon would be superior to both cars and public transit.
Tobu Skytree Line (東武スカイツリーライン)
Higashi-Nihonbashi intersection (東日本橋交差点) in Chūō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
Koshigaya Station west exit
Higashi-Koshigaya Nana-chōme Shīnoki Park (東越谷七丁目しいの木公園)
The crepe truck and ice cream stand are situated at the Koshigaya Station east exit, where the pair observe crowd movement and have a discussion through most of the second half of the episode.
As the two talk, a variety of cuts of the milieu of interactions happening around them conveys the atmosphere of the public spaces in and around the station, which come to life as students and workers arrive home on their evening commutes.
Koshigaya Twincity (越谷ツインシティ) shopping center is co-located with the station.
This is an accurate rendition of a satellite image for this area. That’s Higashi-Koshigaya on the inside of the curve in the river. Koshigaya Station is at the bottom left corner.
Elementary school children in Japan often wear yellow hats for their commute to and from school, walking and/or taking public transit, partially or fully unaccompanied. The hats make them easier to identify and remind others to look out for the wearers’ safety.
(3月のライオン Sangatsu no Raion)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (東京体育館)
Shinkawa (新川), Chūō Ward
Japan Shōgi Association
Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium
Komagata Bridge (駒形橋)
Azuma Bridge (吾妻橋)
Kototoi Bridge (言問橋)
I can’t make out the first kanji. Anyone know this bridge?
Media and General Interest
Nihon Keizai Shimbun published an article about using seichijunrei to increase inbound tourism to Japan.
The annual National Anime Seichijunrei Summit (全国アニメ聖地巡礼サミット) was held this year in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture on January 22. The summit features presentations on anime-induced tourism by academic researchers, anime industry professionals and tourism organizations. As in the past, there was a strict no-photography policy at the event, making it challenging to get a sense for the content from afar, but attendees have published a handful of reports. @tamurakatuhiro summarized the keynote address and a talk on K-On! events in Toyosato. @19sangaku published a general report (part 1, part 2), with emphasis on portions pertaining to Saki. Nara TV included a segment about the summit during the evening news broadcast:
— ewi（いーうぃ）@社会復帰中 (@ewi) January 22, 2017
Saitama Shimbun published an article about a snack stand near Washimiya Station which has been a favorite fan meeting space in Kuki, Saitama Prefecture since the broadcast of Lucky Star ten years ago. @bluetwintail is a Lucky Star seichijunrei scholar and snapped this photo of the shop exterior:
— 刑部長門守伊月（いづき） (@bluetwintail) January 23, 2017
Sankei Shimbun published an article about a cultural property in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture evaluating how to increase visitor capacity in response to tourism interest induced by its use as a setting in Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni.
Gifu Shimbun published an article about reporters from Taiwan visiting Hida, Gifu Prefecture to produce articles introducing Kimi no Na wa. pilgrimage to Taiwanese fans.
ITmedia published an article about JK Tokai’s limited edition TOICA transit cards featuring art from Kimi no Na wa. The cards will be available from January 30.
Future Season Pilgrimage
Other Current Season Pilgrimage
Past Season Pilgrimage
@touyoko_com (post) attended the 2017 Hida-Furukawa Santera Mairi and the special exhibition of Shinkai Makoto film art the Hida City Museum of Art, capturing images of Kimi no Na wa. settings blanketed in snow while there.