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 holy land pilgrimage) and butaitanbou (舞台探訪 scene hunting), which are pop culture tourism and place-based engagement induced by the use of real locations in show settings.
Long time no see! A planned one week break from the weekly turned into a much longer hiatus. This issue is a digest version of the second half of the 2017 Fall season. The subsequent issue will bring us up to current with the 2018 Winter season and will be out as soon as I can work through it. Things will be back to normal after that.
Some of you know that I have two young children. The older one entered first grade in the fall and the other just started his Terrible Twos, so the fog of busyness, stress and fatigue that is a universal constant of parenthood has become more intense than usual. I had wanted to take a week off just to handle some mundane errands, flu shots, visa renewals—nothing major. At the same time, a lot of deferred maintenance, cleaning and organizing—some of which had been accumulating since the second baby was born—all caught up to me. I decided I would clear it all out in one swoop, which needed a couple more weeks, then return fresh. But away from the daily routine of watching shows and logging information for the weekly review, my mind had bandwidth to stew on my longer term plans for anime tourism study, plans I’ve had for a while but that keep getting pushed down the road without really growing.
Quite a few people have suggested writing a book. I know this is a good platform for many subject matter experts to demonstrate knowledge and layout a thesis of some kind. In my heart, though, I’d really like it to be something that uses richer storytelling tools and would be something that only I could make. I want it to be a documentary film. I’ve brought this up with close friends in the butaitanbou community in private meetings over the past couple of years. Getting their input and probing for interest level in giving an interview or working together isn’t something I want to rush. But I’ve also used my busyness as an excuse to not pursue it with more vigor. There is also a lot of work I need to do by myself, such as concept development, preliminary storyboarding, camera and gear selection, budget, etc. These take time and deep thought. I decided to take some more time to at least lay some groundwork for this solo planning. I’m still far from finished, but am happy with the progress I made and think I have enough momentum now to keep it moving.
In the past, I’ve done multi-week cumulative issues of the weekly review when I’ve taken vacations. This one is a little different in a few ways. Because there is so much content, I gave each series its own page and link to them below. The screenshot captions are not as deep as usual, though I’ve included train stations, well-known landmarks, and any other places that were easy to lookup without digging around. There is no commentary. I abandoned the second half of Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shō, not because of the mediocre production value (which we knew about from the start), but because Sendai almost never appears in the show! I also won’t include the six episode second season of Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru. I like the show, but Kan’onji has a very minimal role in this follow up. Most of what does appear I’ve covered before, when the first season was broadcast.
Going forward, I’ll be thinking about additional workflow optimizations (after doing this for five years, I’ve found most of the easy ones), but also structural changes to the weekly review that would allow me to keep it going in some form or another, without burning myself out, and still leave plenty of time for other things that need attention. The documentary is my big hairy audacious goal, but I also have photography for articles about my own seichijunrei adventures going back to 2015 that I’ve yet to write, and Japan shōtengai photos going back to 2014 that have yet to see the light of day. I’d like to get to those before my memory of them starts to become hazy, and I think you’ll enjoy seeing and reading them too.
Media and General Interest
Nikkei Trendy published an article about the history of anime-induced tourism in Saitama Prefecture, more broadly the recent growth in formal collaborations between anime productions and local government throughout Japan, and commercial tours and other products targeting this market.
Mainichi Shimbun published an article about the continued use of Cafe Dream in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture as a third place by both Japanese and overseas fans of the Suzumiya Haruhi series, despite the restaurant’s relocation from the original physical premises used as a model for the setting of the works.
Nishi Nippon Shimbun published an article about anime pilgrimage to Tanegashima for Kimi no Na wa., Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru, and Robotics;Notes.
Netorabo published a report from the 2017 Ōarai Ankō Matsuri. The regional festival has grown significantly in recent years due to the influx of anime pilgrims for Girls und Panzer.
Saitama Shimbun published an article about hatsumōde visits to Washinomiya Jinja by Lucky Star fans.
Click the titles to go to the subpage for each series:
Other Current Season Pilgrimage
@Surwill made a pilgrimage to Ōarai, Ibaraki Prefecture; Ariake, Kōtō Ward and Akihabara (Soto-Kanda), Taitō Ward (both Tokyo Metropolis) for Anime-Gataris, including a detailed analysis of the anime pilgrimage subculture points discussed in the show.
Past Season Pilgrimage
@mikehattsu made pilgrimages to (post 1) Sendagi, Bunkyō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis; Ōgaki, Gifu Prefecture (post 2, post 3, post 4, post 5, post 6, post 7, post 8); Yōrō, Gifu Prefecture (post 9, post 10); and Nagashima Spa Land in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture (post 11, post 12) for Koe no Katachi.
@mikehattsu made pilgrimages to Narita Airport, Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Kyoto (post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4, post 5, post 6, post 7), Uji, and Yuragawa Bridge in Miyazu, Kyoto Prefecture for the K-On! series.