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
Rules are a little looser in a shōtengai compared with a contemporary supermarket, though Japan in general is not really a bargaining society, in the way that almost everything is open to negotiation in a place like China. It’s telling how close Tōru feels with the shopkeepers in the arcade that she tries to haggle over the price of chicken.
Higashi-Nihonbashi (東日本橋), Chūō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
Ningyōchō Station (人形町駅)
IC transit card swipe
Tōbu Skytree Line (東武スカイツリーライン)
Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but I think Maidragon has been trying to say something about individuals who don’t conform to social norms, particularly around creating a family, rather exercising agency to surround themselves with people that bring meaning to their lives.
As Kobayashi considers her evolving relationship with Tōru and the other dragons, the camera looks around the inside of the train car. One one side there is an advertisement for some sort of pill you can take to deal with the stressful world.
On another panel, there is a message encouraging people to start families and have children. Anyone who’s been paying attention to the forces behind Japan’s declining birthrate can tell you that these issues are linked. Between long work hours and stressful work environments, disappearing job security, and persistent lack of childcare resources, people are turning away from the perceived restrictions of marriage and burden of raising children, replacing them with interests, hobbies and friendships (platonic and romantic). As time passes, there is less and less reverence for the hetero-normative nuclear family model held up as the exclusive path to success and happiness.
Koshigaya Station (越谷駅)
Kobayashi has mastered the advanced commuter skill of waking up from a snooze just at the moment one arrives at one’s train stop.
Coffee shop used as third place
Media and General Interest
Hirosaki Keizai Shimbun published an article about withdrawal of Flying Witch marketing collateral from transit vehicles and public places around the city at the end of the designated license period.
Three years after the original broadcast, P.A. Works officially recognized Kumano, Mie Prefecture as a model for the setting of Nagi no Asukara:
（続き）放送から３年の月日が経ちましたが、この場で『凪のあすから』の世界観を構築する一部のモデルとして三重県熊野市を中心とした南部を参考とさせて頂いている事を発表させて頂きます。今後とも舞台共々、『凪のあすから』の応援をお願い致します。（プロデューサー 永谷） #nagiasu
— 凪のあすから (@naginoasukara) March 31, 2017
The discovery of the Kumano locations in Nagiasu and ongoing unofficial fan engagement events held there during the intervening time are the work of @kai881.