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
Toyosato keion competition
Kyoto Shimbun published an article about the fifth annual light music club national competition, held at the former Toyosato Elementary School in Shiga Prefecture, the location model for the school in K-On!
Ōgaki Koe no Katachi map
Gifu Shimbun ran an article about an anime pilgrimage map for Koe no Katachi produced by the tourism association in Ōgaki, Gifu Prefecture. The map appears to be based on the manga, but a film adaptation directed by Yamada Naoko and produced by Kyoto Animation is in production.
Actor and singer Toshiya Miyata revealed his affinity for Kyoto Animation seichijunrei in a interview on the radio show Kisumai Radio (キスマイRadio).
It has been a quiet week for locations in anime. Let’s enjoy some Monogatari background art. The power lines, utility poles and other infrastructure get interesting treatment in night scenes. While lighting is generally realistic for other background elements, these items are silhouetted in offwhite, like a photo negative. This is one of many ways the show’s art draws our attention to the hardware of daily life that is so commonplace we usually ignore it.
Our favorite concrete plaza and vintage Monogatari setting, Namishiro/Rōhaku (浪白) Park. Appearance of this location goes back long before the Weekly Review began. A quick search seems to indicate it is a synthetic setting that may include individual items or design elements from real places, for example this.
Do not irritate Hiyori when she is trying to walk to school on her morning commute.
But feel free to strike up a conversation on the train.
There is a neat sequence that uses images of the city as it evolved over centuries, to illustrate Yato’s existence spanning different periods of history. The first image looks to be Edo period or earlier, with narrow streets, small blocks and structures all or mostly one story high.
The ji (治) on the sign is probably Meiji (明治) 20, or 1887, which fits with the Western architecture influences and taller buildings.
Modern day Shinjuku (新宿) central business district
Ōizumi-gakuen Station (大泉学園駅) in Higashi-ōizumi, Nerima Ward
(コンクリート・レボルティオ～超人幻想～ Konkurīto Reborutio: Chōjin Gensō)
At first, I mistook the non-linear storyline in Concrete Revolutio as being episodic. It’s now clear that we’ve been putting together various pieces of a sociopolitical commentary on activism in Japan. The setting remains Shōwa period inspired, but the issues could be conflated with current debate surrounding Japan’s military and foreign policy, and media management/censorship could come straight from today’s press environment. The student protesters are idealistic, but tractable. The establishment knows this and uses its strong control over the media to shape public perception. The Superhuman Bureau treads between the two, supporting non-violent protest but also trading favors with establishment. At this point, no one is truly evil, but no one is completely clean, either.
In the current media environment, especially US media, I’ve lowered my expectations so much that I jump for joy at anything that shows the slightest whiff of nuance.
The building used in this scene is the Old Memorial Hall (明治大学旧記念館) from the Shōwa period on the Surugadai campus of Meiji University (明治大学) in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis. [Credit: @teo_imperial, Twitter]
@ssslocation made a pilgrimage to Tama Central Park in Tama, Tokyo Metropolis for early marketing images from Gurasu no Hana to Kowasu Sekai, a theatrical film produced by A-1 Pictures, scheduled to premiere 2016 January.