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.
(コンクリート・レボルティオ～超人幻想～ Konkurīto Reborutio: Chōjin Gensō)
I think the child-like scenarios and melodrama in Concrete Revolutio mask many interesting bits of history and social commentary that make the show more sophisticated than it seems. In particular, this and several prior episodes demonstrate awareness of the power of governments, advertising firms and news media to shape public opinion. Half the work of the Superhuman Bureau appears to revolve around managing optics for controversial issues.
Nihonbashi (日本橋) is already overshadowed by the expressway, so this fictional era’s model comes from sometime during or after 1964.
At a mid-block zebra crossing with no signal, cars do not yield to waiting pedestrians until outside force is called in.
By my unscientific account, when environmental pollution is depicted in anime, it’s often in a setting that doesn’t exist, isn’t Japan, or at least is a future dystopian version of Japan that no one would mistake for the real world. Depicting Shōwa era pollution in urban areas and suffering of residents hits close to home.
Use of cafe as third place
A Concorde supersonic passenger jet. Just for fun.
Organized protests in public spaces aren’t unusual in anime, but as with the pollution earlier, the anti-government themes and tactics used in the protests in Concrete Revolutio are much more reminiscent of the real student protests of 1960s Japan than I’m accustomed to seeing. There’s a lot going on here.
(櫻子さんの足下には死体が埋まっている Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Two uses of cafes as third place
Plazas and temporarily pedestrianized streets fill with people for hanabi in Asahikawa (旭川), Hokkaidō Prefecture.
Asahi Bridge (旭橋)
The river embankment (土手 dote) is also pedestrian accessible.
Hiyori and classmates walk to school on the morning commute.
Lily-of-the-valley style shōtengai lighting fixture
An oldie but a goodie, appearing at least a few times in Monogatari Series Second Season, this is Kakinokizaka (柿の木坂), Meguro Ward, Tokyo Metropolis, along the Tōkyū Tōyoko Line (東急東横線) tracks between Toritsu-Daigaku Station (都立大学駅) and Gakugei-daigaku Station (学芸大学駅).
Grade level railroad crossing (踏切 fumikiri)