Welcome to this week’s review of notable instances of transit, place and culture as rendered in anime currently broadcast in Japan and simulcast internationally via the web. For a detailed outline of the approach, please refer to the explanation in the inaugural issue. Links to streaming sources are included when available, though not all may have current episode available at the time this column is published.
Fan Pilgrimage Update
We pickup where the previous episode finished, at Sendai Station (仙台駅). An elevated pedestrian terrace runs along the west side of the station and has multiple branches that extend out over the taxi and bus lanes, into the central business district focused around Aoba-dōri (青葉通).
Sendai Station is bombarded with marketing materials from the I-1 Club idol group.
Sen’ichi-ya (仙壱屋) yakitori [Tabelog]
The backstory for I-1 Club puts the group’s origin in the Oshiage neighborhood of Sumida Ward, Tokyo. Other than Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) and some office buildings close to the river, this part of the city is primarily low-rise residential districts.
Sendai City Youth Cultural Center (仙台青年文化センター)
Correction 2014/02/23: I had originally thought this was the Sunmall Ichiban-chō Shōtengai (サンモール一番町商店街), but it’s actually the Hapina Nakakechō Shōtengai (ハピナ名掛丁商店街), near Sendai Station.
Members of Wake Up, Girls! make rounds of local businesses and public spaces around the city in an effort to generate interest in their upcoming performance.
A wide, zelkova tree-shaded greenway divides the two sides of Jōzenji-dōri (定禅寺通). Tree-lined boulevards that weave through the city are a signature image of Sendai, earning it the nickname “City of Trees” (杜の都 Mori no Miyako). In the winter, the trees along Jōzenji-dōri and Aoba-dōri become the hosts for hundreds of thousands of string lights in the Sendai Pageant of Starlight (SENDAI光のページェント) [official website].
The I-1 Club Sendai theater doesn’t appear to be based on any actual buildings in the city, but I’ll get back to you if I learn otherwise.
Wake Up, Girls! gives its first formal concert at MACANA, an intimate performance space and bar that generally hosts punk rock groups and other independent music.
Correction 2014/02/15: The entrance to MACANA is not on Aoba-dōri, but inside the Sunmall Ichiban-chō Shōtengai (サンモール一番町商店街)
Sendai Castle (仙台城)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
@ts_kobaya has created a video pilgrimage to Fushimi Inari Taisha:
I had said I would ease off screen captures of Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) as the season progressed, both because it would become redundant and because it’s a special kind of public space that’s not really the core focus of this column. It turns out that promise is rather hard to keep when Production IMS gives the famous shrine such a thoughtful and detailed treatment.
Correction 2015/07/03: Though the episode depicts a summer festival, it is not Obon as previously indicated, but Yoi-miya Matsuri (宵宮祭), an event unique to this shrine and held every July. Yoi-miya is followed by Motomiya Matsuri (本宮祭) the subsequent day.
The Shinto god (kami) Inari (稲荷) takes many different forms. In the show, the kami is rendered as the single female human form, Uka-no-Mitama-no-Kami (宇迦之御魂神), though she alludes to the fluid/multitudinous definition of Inari by referring to herself in first-person plural. Because Inari is the kami of foxes, among several other things, statues are frequently found in Inari shrines. Foxes in turn serve as her familiars, or divine servants, as depicted in the show. The “konkon” in the show title is onomatopoeia for the sound of a fox call. Sub-shrines dedicated to Inari are very popular, accounting for over one third of the shrines with full-time resident priests in all of Japan, but this is the original.
In addition to statues of foxes, Inari shrines are strongly associated with vermillion torii (鳥居), which get a glowing boost from the red lanterns strung up for Obon.
Fushimi Inari Taisha has unique ema (絵馬) shaped as the faces of foxes.
Sumizome and Inari meet at Fushimi-Inari Station (伏見稲荷駅) and walk through the residential neighborhood to attend the festivities at the shrine.
Fushimi Inari Taisha is famous for its paths lined with thousands of torii that lead to the inner shrine. Inari is regarded first and foremost as the kami of agriculture and industry, and each of the torii at the main shrine is donated by a business.
Inari is also the kami of sake. Must be rough to be a Shinto god.
This concludes your mega-dose of Kyoto scenery porn!
(ゴールデンタイム Gōruden Taimu)
The flood protection embankment (土手 dote) along the river is utilized as public space during Obon (お盆) festivities.
Banri travels home to Shizuoka via the Tōkaidō Shinkansen (東海道新幹線).
Oka’s new apartment
Linda also prepares to travel to Shizuoka, checking her shinkansen ticket the day prior. This is an accurate rendering of a real ticket and has a few notable pieces of information. Shinkansen tickets have two components, the base fare (乗車券 jōshaken) and express supplement (特急券 tokkyūken), reserved seat or green car fee as appropriate. You have the option to buy them as one ticket, but Linda has the two as separate pieces. The above frame is the base fare and the departure location indicates “within the Tokyo wards” (not Tokyo Station, where the shinkansen stops). When leaving or arriving in Tokyo via the high speed train, you get a bonus trip from/to anywhere inside the 23 special wards that make up the former City of Tokyo, on any line operated by JR East. The ¥3,260 fee is the actual fare as of this writing.
The second ticket is the shinkansen express supplement. The ¥2,410 fee is also current as of this writing.
Though the group initially dismissed the trendy Daikanyama cafe where Oka works as too rarefied for their tastes, it appears to have become one of their frequent third places.
(中二病でも恋がしたい!戀 Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Everyone waits on the small platform at Anō Station (穴太駅) for the commute home after school.
(ウィザード・バリスターズ〜弁魔士セシル Wizādo Barisutāzu – Benmashi Seshiru)
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police apprehend a wizard at Nippori Station (日暮里駅).
Butterfly barristers frequently visit clients held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (警視庁) headquarters in Kasumigaseki.
Yato teaches Yukine his phantom defensive technique at a neighborhood bus stand.
Hiyori and Yato argue in a narrow residential street over who is better suited to look after Yukine.
Wide, protected sidewalks flank an arterial road.
Update 2014/02/12: Aeon Mall Musashimurayama (イオンモールむさし村山)
Pedestrian plaza outside the shopping mall
Wide sidewalks and commercial buildings flank an arterial road.
While walking through the city at dusk, Yukine encounters the spirit of a young girl recently killed in a hit-and-run crime. Unlike him, she doesn’t yet realize that she has died.
Hiyori approaches Shinjuku via rooftops, searching for Yukine.
NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building (NTTドコモ代々木ビル)
The Shinjuku Southern Terrace (新宿サザンテラス) is a pedestrian plaza along the southwest side of Shinjuku Station, above the Odakyū Odawara Line. Among the businesses flanking the terrace is the first Krispy Kreme Doughnuts to open in Japan.
Yokohama Chinatown (横浜中華街)
Yokohama Minatomirai Manyo Club (横浜みなとみらい 万葉倶楽部)
The Zvezda team emerges from the underground labyrinth to wide sidewalks with protective railings in Tachikawa (立川).
Train station platform kiosk
The very first cut of the episode reaffirms the urban setting of the students’ school and home life.
A member of the judo club takes a diversionary jog into a main commercial street.
Fan Pilgrimage Update
@ts_kobaya made a video pilgrimage to the Kure Maritime Museum in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture to see ships that appear in Kantai Collection, an online game that will be adapted as an anime in 2014:
To the surprise of many, it turns out Nagi no Asukara is actually modeled on real locations, Kumano and the former town of Kiinagashima (now absorbed into Kihoku) in Mie Prefecture. @kai881 was the intrepid adventurer who, with a little help from comrades, went about the identification legwork and reports back on his pilgrimage.