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.
(神様はじめました Kamisama Hajimemashita)
Kawagoe gets a starring role in this final episode, as Tomoe and Mizuki run around the town looking for the fleeing Nanami.
Warehouse District (蔵造りの町並み Kurazukuri no Machinami)
Mizuki gets up close and personal with the Bell of Time (時の鐘 Toki no kane).
He also takes advantage of the excursion to sample all of the local specialty treats in Candy Alley (菓子屋横丁 Kashiya Yokochō).
Mizuki with a Kawagoe sweet potato
Nanami sulks in the park as the Seibu Shinjuku Line goes past one last time.
Nanami resolves to return to the shrine and fight the miasma.
Nanami prevails, clearing the way for the planned matsuri.
A non-Tokyo based setting, strong female protagonist, plenty of trains, places and a heaping scoop of traditional Japanese culture made this show a pleasure to watch. Bravo.
(好きっていいなよ。 Suki-tte Ii na yo.)
The final installment revolves around Mei and Yamato doing what they normally do, meandering around Hachiōji while awkwardly trying to sort out their feelings for each other.
Yamato’s neighborhood, with its painted sidewalks
Like many romance dramas in manga and anime, this one, almost by necessity, is also about place. The walks home from school, impromptu cafe meetings, and sudden running off after someone else just wouldn’t work the same if the story were set somewhere that required cars, especially if parents were the ones doing the driving.
(コード: ブレイカー Kōdo:Bureikā)
In a flashback, Ogami and Hitomi spur on the dote (土手).
Obligatory Tokyo Skytree shot
The Code:Breakers visit Sakura to bid farewells.
Toki says his goodbye on the bus.
Ogami’s parting gift is bouquets of pale blue flowers left in the park where Sakura first met him. Despite a not very compelling plot, wooden dialog and overacting, the recurring elements of urbanism made Code:Breaker an interesting ride… sort of ^_^