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
Takaoka Kimisui collaboration
Kita Nippon Shimbun published an article about a marketing collaboration between Kimi no Suizō wo Tabetai and Man’yōsen tram operator in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture. The trams and locations in Takaoka feature in the setting of the film. The campaign includes commemorative tickets and train announcements recorded by the voice actors. Takaoka City will also launch a campaign to support tourism for the film, including an official pilgrimage map and digital stamp rally using augmented-reality smartphone app COCOAR2.
Kaigake and Chūnibyō
Chūnichi Shimbun published an article about persistent tourism interest in the former Kaigake Elementary School in Hino, Shiga Prefecture. The 1930 built wooden school building is managed by a nonprofit organization, is used as a film set for live-action films and TV series, and is part of the setting of Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!
Anime Seichijunrei “Book” Spot Sale
The event Anime Seichijunrei “Hon” Sokubaikai (アニメ聖地巡礼“本”即売会) on September 24 at the Tokyo City Eye Performance Zone will feature traditionally published and self-published books and magazines, and talks by prominent contents tourism researchers and writers.
Comic Treasure 32
Butaitanbou and seichijunrei were represented at Comic Treasure (こみっくトレジャー), a dōjinshi convention held twice annually in Osaka:
— 夷（ゑびす）@「聖地移住」通販中 (@ye_bi_su) September 2, 2018
— セキ@次走未定 (@seki_saima) September 2, 2018
— ノリ＠金沢百万石まつり (@norinorimax1969) September 2, 2018
— 常夏@5/14-15バンナムフェス2両日現地 (@tokonatu1224) September 2, 2018
Longtime anime pilgrims are accustomed to the cycle of loss and renewal, as real world scenes that appeared in works change over time. Some say appreciating that change is a barometer indicating a place is alive and healthy, and cherishing the gradual evolution, is the ultimate expression of affection for these locations. Yet, it is still jarring when part of the landscape is torn away without warning, as in accidents and natural disasters. A little like the sudden loss of an old friend you only see from time to time, you wish you had gotten one last chance to see them before they were gone.
A large willow tree at the west end of Demachi-bashi in Kyoto marked the end of the Saba-Kaidō (鯖街道), the traditional route by which marine products traveled from Fukui to the traditional capital. It appears in the backgrounds in Tamako Market and Uchōten Kazoku. For the many people who reach the area via Demachiyanagi Station and a walk across the Kamo River, passing the tree gave a sense of having finally arrived in Demachi. Perhaps the remnant will live on and put out new branches, but for the moment what’s left is a shadow of its former self:
— 出町座 (@demachiza) September 4, 2018
Shimogamo Jinja is an UNESCO World Heritage site and on of the primary settings of Uchōten Kazoku. The shrine has put out a call for volunteers to help clean up debris:
— 下鴨神社 (@kamomioyajinja) September 4, 2018
Togetsu-kyō is one of Kyoto’s most well-know tourism sites and appears in many anime series. My favorite is Uchōten Kazoku. Strong winds took the railing right off the bridge:
— みぐ＠獣大好き (@migumaru) September 4, 2018
Fushimi Inari Taisha is another historic location and top tourism site in Kyoto. It plays the starring role in Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. The large main torii is still standing, though there is damage to many of the smaller sites on the grounds:
— nobo (@nobo_kyoto) September 4, 2018
The torii at Uji Jinja, a photogenic touchstone for Hibike! Euphonium, collapsed in the wind:
— suzu-bon 只々祈ってます。 (@suzu_bon_) September 4, 2018
Heavy debris landed in another Eupho setting in a different part of Uji, near Mimurodo Station:
— あすか@7/1は映画ゆるキャン△ (@soundeuphoasuka) September 4, 2018
With the severity of the storm, I anticipate we’ll learn of other affected locations as people discover them. Though the death-toll was thankfully very low, the large scale damage to property and impact on transit in the wake of the storm mean people in Kansai will be recovering from this for some time. Let’s cheer them on as they bounce back.
Fan Pilgrimage Update
With exception of a few minor architectural features borrowed from the Sagamihara Green Pool (さがみはらグリーンプール), this facility and the cityscape around it are Yokohama International Swimming Pool (横浜国際プール) in Kitayamata, Tsuzuki Ward, Yokohama.
Haneda Airport (羽田空港)
(ヤマノススメ サードシーズン Yama no Susume Sādo Shīzun)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Though this column deliberately avoids discussion of sakuga, the animation in this episode was so superb I thought it worth pointing out. Expressive faces and subtle body movements bubble up throughout, making it feel almost like a different show, in the best way possible. The art comes right along for the ride, with unusual and impactful composition, as well as expert use of light that both supports the narrative and creates a sense of real space. With exception of Aoi reprising Hinata’s trip to Ikebukuro, all scenes are from Hannō, Saitama Prefecture.
We’re used to seeing wider, flatter landscapes like this one of Donkichi-bashi (とんちき橋) in Hannō Central Park (飯能中央公園).
Whereas this cut of light falling over the wall and the characters only partially in frame forces us to focus our attention on one particular part of the environment that gives a sense of depth.
We’ve seen Kannonji (観音寺) many times before, but it feels more three-dimensional with foreground objects and narrower field-of-view.
Hannō Central Community Center (飯能中央地区行政センター)
Hannō Ōdōri Shōtengai (飯能大通り商店街)
Sunshine City (サンシャインシティ) in Higashi-Ikebukuro, Toshima Ward, Tokyo Metropolis
The view of Fujisan from the Seibu Ikebukuro Line (西武池袋線) is an opening for Aoi to share here mountain climbing interest with her new group of friends.
The light changes direction and intensity as the train winds through the west side of Tokyo and into Saitama, helpfully timed to support changes in the mood, but also adding realism to the experience of riding the line in the late afternoon.
Hannō Station (飯能駅) is usually drawn clear and bright. Muddy light, shadows and composition emphasize Hinata’s feelings of distance from Aoi.
Reflection in the glass is a nice touch, one often overlooked or skipped.
There are so many great details this week, worth a rewatch just to enjoy them.