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.
Media and General Interest
Kōbe Ghost in the Shell tourism
The Asashi Shimbun published an article about plans to promote tourism to Kōbe, Hyōgo Prefecture based on its resemblance to the fictional setting of Ghost in the Shell. Series creator Shirō Masamune was born in Kōbe.
(響け! ユーフォニアム Hibike! Yūfoniamu)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
@ts_kobaya made a video pilgrimage to Uji, Kyoto and Nagoya for the OP and Episode 1 through Episode 4.
Todō Senior High School (莵道高校). Students begin the walk home from school on their evening commute, as the band stays after for rehearsal.
Rokujizō Station (六地蔵駅)
After rehearsal, Sapphire, Kumiko and Hazuki walk to the train station on their evening commute home.
Keihan Uji Line is reflected in the Yamashina River (山科川) as it crosses the viaduct.
Hazuki disembarks at Ōbaku Station (黄檗駅). Photorealistic depiction of trains and stations, including actual corporate logos, is usually a sign of some involvement or cooperation from the railway operator in the location hunting phase of anime production. Sure enough, step through the ending credits and you’ll find the Keihan Electric Railway (京阪電気鉄道株式会社) listed under the acknowledgement section along with The Museum of Kyoto, Uji Commerce and Tourism Division, Yamaha and others.
Moreover, the level of detail in the artwork in these scenes of the stations and train is quite incredible for broadcast anime. While not filled out to the same extent as a Shinkai feature film, there are finishing touches everywhere. You have to play back and freeze frames several times to consciously observe all of them.
I’ve also been chatting with Kansai friends since the series began about the transit background sounds. Though I want to confirm with railfans among the group when we meet for the butaitanbou community annual summit in July, the rail sounds in Eupho, particularly aboard the trains, seem to be onsite recordings from the Keihan Uji Line, not stock clips. We noticed this detail in the Kyoto Station scene from Tamako Love Story, as well.
Keihan 13000 series (京阪13000系)
Kumiko unexpectedly discovers she is alone on the train with Kōsaka, forcing a social encounter that ultimately eases some of the tension between them.
IC transit card swipes at Keihan Uji Station (京阪宇治駅)
Bus and taxi rotary in front of Keihan Uji Station
Kyoto Animation has a penchant for these golden hues. No sunset? No problem. Just find some sodium vapor lamps.
Cinematography side note: Unlike newer florescent and LED street lamps, the output intensity of sodium vapor lights is comparatively low. To shoot this scene with a camera would require a very large aperture to make use of available light, which is reflected in a razor thin depth-of-field leaving only Kumiko and Kōsaka in focus.
Uji Bridge (宇治橋) east end
Todō Senior High School
Yamashiro Sports Park (山城総合運動公園), referred to casually as Taiyōgaoka (太陽が丘)
( レーカン! Rēkan!)
This episode features three different scenes set in busy pedestrian shopping streets. There are quite a few shōtengai in Sōka (草加), Saitama Prefecture, though I wasn’t able to match these backgrounds conclusively to any of the ones in the center of the city.
Group dinner at a famiresu
(ハロー!! きんいろモザイク Harō!! Kin’iro Mozaiku)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
LaLaport TOKYO-BAY (ららぽーとTOKYO-BAY) in Funabashi (船橋), Chiba Prefecture
Mimomi (実籾), Narashino, Chiba Prefecture. Students begin the walk home on the evening commute.
Someino (染井野), Sakura, Chiba Prefecture
(やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている。続 Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabu Kome wa Machigatteiru. Zoku)
Takasu Community Center (高洲コミュニティセンター) in Mihama Ward (美浜区), Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture