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
2016 anime trends
Sankei Shimbun published an article reviewing 2016 trends in anime. It discusses the most popular works, the role of social media in amplifying awareness, and the further expansion of interest in anime beyond core otaku fanbases. The review mentions pop culture tourism to Hida, Gifu Prefecture for Kimi no Na wa. and Kadokawa’s Anime Tourism 88-Stop Pilgrimage campaign.
Butaitanbou Community presence grows a bit at each successive Comiket. For 2016 Winter Comiket, several BTC members/circles consolidated dōjinshi around one table, which included Volume 2 of Tanbōro (探訪路), a collaborative effort and official publication of the community, edited by @RON_crmo0313.
— ハブさん。 (@habusan) December 30, 2016
(響け！ユーフォニアム2 Hibike! Yūfoniamu 2)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Seven Eleven Uji Ōbaku Park shop (セブンイレブン宇治黄檗公園店)
With only Eupho left finishing up the last week of 2016, it was nice to have the air clear to savor one last episode of one of my favorite shows to come along in a while. Given the focus of this column, the care given to the backgrounds and world creation is obviously appreciated, but that has become par for almost all Kyoto Animation works, and Eupho offered much more beyond that. I was also a musician in secondary school, and continued as a professional for several years early in my career. The show’s focus on conflict and camaraderie within the group, and in particular the sense of loss when saying goodbye to departing members, felt very real. Increasingly nuanced, naturalistic voice acting, especially by Kurosawa Tomoya (Kumiko), showed that you can create powerful anime without actors speaking like it’s an anime. Though I pay special attention to the art for the purpose of creating these reviews, when the storytelling in Eupho is especially good, the backgrounds tend to melt into the general atmosphere, supporting the narrative, which is as it should be. I’m all open for trying new things, and I suspect with next season’s Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon we’re going to see something rather different from the studio, but if there is such a thing as contemporary KyoAni style, I hope Eupho is indicative of the direction it will trend.
Uji Bridge (宇治橋)
Kisen Bridge (喜撰橋)
Just north of Mimurodo Station (三室戸駅)
I came across interesting comments about this cut, and the series in general, with regard to the vantage points from which the Keihan trains are depicted in Eupho. Locations like this are often not right off the main road. Some require a fair amount of scouting and exploring, the kind of effort that puts you deep into enthusiast territory. Some observers speculated that there must be a train otaku on Kyoto Animation’s staff.
Keihan Rokujizō Station (京阪六地蔵駅)
Todō Senior High School (莵道高校)