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
Seichijunrei longitudinal study
Tōyō Keizai Shimbun published an article by contents tourism researcher Okamoto Takeshi, tracing the arc of seichijunrei from its origin as a niche subculture, through significant expansion with widespread use of the internet as a communication and dissemination tool, to its increasing commercialization and use as tourism driver. Few people have spent more time studying or understand anime pilgrimage better than Okamoto. The story is full of important details and nuance that is often not part of mainstream media coverage of the subculture, and two key points stand out. One is that the uneasiness sometimes experienced by local residents and cases of antipathy toward anime tourism often have a root cause of lack of information. People tend to fear things they do not understand. However, where there have been proactive measures taken by both fans and local government to establish opportunities for social interaction and communication between locals and visitors, this can flip the dynamic on its head and create a positive environment for long-term engagement. Significantly, the problem and its solution are not fundamentally different for traditional tourism. The second idea is that, while traditional tourism tends to emphasize the aspects of traveling to a place, learning about it and experiencing it, seichijunrei is different in that fans are both driven by and seek to enhance an emotional connection to a place. Regions that want to attract anime tourism need to appropriately respond to this emotional component, and those that do so successfully may encourage longer stays and repeat visits.
Anime fans were in attendance at this year’s Kawagoe Matsuri, held October 20-21 in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture. The festival is depicted extensively in Tsuki ga Kirei. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3. Video: tweet 1
(ツルネ ―風舞高校弓道部― Tsurune: Kazemai Kōkō Kyūdō-bu)
Though there are a handful of anime series set in other, generally more rural parts of Nagano Prefecture, the capital city itself doesn’t appear often. Tsurune draws largely on Nagano City for its cityscape and several archery facilities, though there is already one location from Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture and the credits indicate the cooperation of organizations in Nara Prefecture. There may be a fair amount of composite settings to decipher.
Art Director Ochiai Shōko (落合 翔子) is serving in this role for the first time, and has worked on background art for many important series, first at studio Bamboo and then with Kyoto Animation. Series as a Bamboo employee include Anohana, Bakemonogatari, The Eccentric Family, Hanasaku Iroha, and Steins;Gate. She has been involved with background art on almost all Kyoto Animation series and films beginning with Free! Eternal Summer in 2014.
Tsurune is unusual in that the background art team is comprised entirely of Kyoto Animation in-house artists, with no assistance from frequent partners Anime Workshop Basara and Studio Blue, though the latter is heavily involved with in-between and finish animation.
Fan Pilgrimage Update
@ssslocation has been on top of Tsurune since the earliest marketing images were available. He was the first to identify Nagano as the setting and made a preliminary investigation visit prior to the first episode. He published a gallery of images from this visit, and is working on a second gallery of images that match up with scenes from Episode 1.
So far, everything we know about the Nagano setting comes from these three butaitanbou-sha. I’m curious to see who else might become involved once we get to the first weekend after the broadcast.
The OP and first episode already introduce us to several dōjō (道場 training hall), and though they share many similarities, once you focus on some of the details you can keep them straight.
The simple dōjō with the red roof and trees surrounding it is part of Nagano Prefectural Nagano High School (長野県長野高等学校) in Uematsu (上松). This is north of the Nagano central business district, but still within the urban part of the city.
Just south of the Yokoyamako Park intersection (横山小公園交差点)
Kirihara Station (桐原駅)
The rounded red tiles on the dōjō and matoba (的場), the building that houses the targets, is another identifying feature of the Nagano High School training hall.
The much larger venue used for competition scenes is the kyūdōba (弓道場) at Nagano Sports Park (長野運動公園) in Yoshida (吉田), to the east of the city center. The roofs have straight red planks.
Nagano High School
Nagano Sports Park
This road is in Uematsu, not far to the west of Nagano High School.
Ōjōji Park (往生地公園) in Ōjōji (往生地). There seems to be a discrepancy with the kanji in the park name. The official city website uses 地 (ground), which is consistent with the municipality name, though quite a few other sources, including popular map and navigation services, use 寺 (temple). This is north of the Nagano central business district.
The residential street is in Nakagosho (中御所), adjacent to the central business district on the west side, though it looks quite different in real life. The houses aren’t actually there.
At a first glance, the school campus is a blend of buildings from Nagano Prefectural Nagano High School with the approaching street and front gate of Nagano Prefectural Nagano Nishi High School (長野県長野西高等学校) in Hakoshimizu (箱清水). The latter is just north of the city center, between Ōjōji Park and Nagano High School. The credits indicate the formal cooperation of Nagano High School, but also Nara Prefectural Nishi no Kyō High School (奈良県立西の京高等学校) kyūdō club and the Nara Prefecture Kyūdō League. Perhaps the composite setting is even more complex than it appears.
If you compare the scenes from the episode and marketing images with a map, it appears that the artwork is only using part of the Nagano High School campus and has rearranged it a bit.
Hakoshimizu intersection (箱清水交差点)
Nagano High School
Nagano Sports Park
Not yet confirmed, but it’s possible this is the Chikuma-shi Kyūdōba (千曲市弓道場) in Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture.
This bridge is just south of the Asakawa Higashijō intersection (浅川東条交差点), at the edge of the municipality of the same name.
But the big surprise is that the archery range on the shrine grounds is actually Kenroku-en Kyūdōba (兼六園弓道場), one of the facilities at the Ishikawa Prefectural Budōkan (石川県立武道館) in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture.
That’s as much as I’ve been able to distill from the raw data feed at the moment. It’s still very early in the discovery phase and this is not a familiar location for butaitanbou-sha, so there’s a lot of information to parse and leads to investigate. We’ll understand more in the coming weeks.
(色づく世界の明日から Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Approach to the back gate of Nagasaki Minami High School (長崎南高等学校) in Kamikoshima (上小島)
Small road adjacent to Nagasaki City Ōura Elementary School (長崎市立大浦小学校) in Uedamachi (上田町)
Other Current Season Pilgrimage
Seishun Buta Yarō wa Bunny Girl-senpai no Yume o Minai
(Fujisawa and Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture; Ōgaki, Gifu Prefecture)
@miyaken46 made a pilgrimage to Ōgaki, Fujisawa and Kamakura for Episode 3.
@touyoko_com (post) and @rica0867 (post) made pilgrimages to Fujisawa for Episode 3.
@touyoko_com made a pilgrimage to Ōgaki for Episode 2 and Episode 3.
@miyaken46 made a pilgrimage to Fujisawa, Kamakura and Ōgaki for Episode 2.
@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Fujisawa and Kamakura for the OP and Episode 1 through Episode 3.