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 sacred site pilgrimage) and butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting)—on this website referred to collectively as anime pilgrimage—which are forms of place-based engagement induced by the use of real locations in show settings.
This week the choir club makes their debut as part-time super heroes defending (and promoting) the vendors and wares of the western shotengai (shopping district). The shops lining the sloping street of the shotengai on the island of Enoshima tend to cater toward leisure shoppers and tourists. By contrast, this shopping district located on the handful of streets that weave through the space between Shonan Monorail Shonan-Enoshima Station and Enoshima Electric Railway Enoshima Station (Katase-Enoshima Station is also not far away) offers practical fare targeting local Fujisawa residents and commuters.
Note how the shopping streets flow right into the surrounding residential neighborhood. There is a concentrated cluster of businesses around the nexus of the rail stations, but shops spill over into the adjacent neighborhoods, dotting sidewalks and street corners with gradually decreasing frequency until finally giving over to the dense residential suburb they serve. The proximity of retail and services businesses to rail and residential areas, very limited street parking and dearth of parking lots (the handful of which have at most 10 spaces) elevate the preferability of alternate modes of transport.
Wien takes his role as the Red Ranger a little too seriously, chasing after a purse snatcher that makes off with Konatsu’s bag. The upshot is that we get to see more of the transition from shotengai to residential zones.
In the back of this frame is a fumikiri (grade level railroad crossing). We have plenty of these in the US, but whereas we’re usually in a car traveling through sparsely developed no man’s land, waiting (wondering why the two mile long freight train had to come now) while the gates are lowered, in Japan these crossings often dot densely developed urban and suburban neighborhoods that have plenty of foot and bicycle traffic. The lines that necessitate crossings often serve the neighborhoods through which they pass. The result is that transit infrastructure like this is much more of a natural part of community fabric. Gates like these and small local stations (which may be no more than a raised platform and rain cover) are tucked into the spaces between buildings and street ways. I’d like to think the lesson is that grandiose public infrastructure (with equally grandiose budgets) isn’t the answer to making transit a more preferred mode of transportation. Sometimes the simplest and humblest structures are the most endearing. Maybe I’m just a train otaku.
Evil doers will be thwarted by righteous fumikiri!
Oh, hi Enoden. How are you today?
(ココロコネクト Kokoro Konekuto)
Taichi and Yoshifumi linger and decompress at the end of the day. I mentioned dote as a reference in an earlier episode, but now we get to see one up front and center. These are earthen, grass covered embankments intended to protect nearby areas from flood waters. When not called into service, they are generally open to public access and host all manner of activity, from picnics and sports to general loafing around. For these two students, watching the sun set while sprawled out on the grass evokes memories of earlier, more lighthearted times.
The city scape is closely modeled on Yokohama’s Tsuzuki Ward.
(人類は衰退しました Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita)
Humanity jumps back in time to Mediator’s posting to Camphorwood and first contact with Fairies.
No time is wasted jumping into its hallmark social commentary, as we are confronted with the remnants of our acquisition and disposal culture.
Humans, hampered by dramatically declining population and loss of the infrastructure and industrial capabilities to produce manufactured goods on large scale, rely on Fairies, their successors, for many needs. Negotiating and building relationships with them is the task given to people like Mediator.
When motivated, Fairies are capable of extraordinary material processing capabilities, such as building a gleaming metropolis from the wreckage and garbage stored in the dump.
But the are also capricious—frequently disposing, destroying and abandoning things they have created on whims and changes of mood. Grandfather praises Mediator for having had such an impact on Fairies during her first contact, but cautions that she must learn to manage the hyper accelerated and emotionally unstable cycles to which they are prone. With regard to material culture and its impacts on the environment, Fairies are just like us, only far more capable and dangerous.
(夏雪ランデブー Natsuyuki Randebū)
This week has just a handful of flashbacks to places visited previously, but no new neighborhoods to explore.