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.
2019 Winter Season Overview
Welcome back to a new season of anime settings and background art! For this round, the weekly review is going to be a little different from what you’re used to. For the first time since I started writing this report in 2012, I don’t feel there are any series that present a compelling case for detailed analysis each week. This is not to say that the shows in this winter’s lineup are bad or uninteresting, but they feel more like a collection of side dishes, none rising to the level of main course. It is telling that, while people are briefly noting interesting details as they arise, the level of activation among butaitanbou-sha is very low, even by cold weather standards.
While it’s always possible some series may blossom late, I think this season it will be sufficient to just have a general sense of what’s going on, rather than getting down in the weeds with particular shows. There won’t be screencap analysis, but everything else is unchanged. Media and general interest, and reports on pilgrimage activity will continue as always. If something particularly notable and exceptional arises in a particular show, I may include a special section to cover it.
I’ll be keeping my eyes on several series, and there are three at the top of my watch list:
Girly Air Force (Satelight) is set in Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture. It’s deep into military and fantasy themes, with many scenes taking place inside Komatsu Air Base, though parts of the city are also used. It does have a subtle feeling of tourism promotion, with characters making rounds of the city to appear briefly in front of “postcard” locations and local businesses.
Kemurikusa (Yaoyorozu) I had planned to watch just for fun, assuming it was a fictional setting, but the first area in the post-apocalyptic world is actually modeled on Hashima, nicknamed Gunkanjima (Battleship Island) in Nagasaki Prefecture, and the OP uses imagery from Umeda Station in Osaka.
Boogiepop wa Warawanai (Madhouse) has thus far used only a handful of Tokyo locations during transitions, but I’m hoping this may be a late bloomer. I’m more interested in the storytelling and soundtrack.
The shows in the rest of the pack each have location notes of interest. I may watch one or two and monitor the rest via online discussions:
Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita! (Doga Kobo) includes a neighborhood Sakuragaoka, Tama, Tokyo Metropolis. This may be an opportunity to sate nostalgia for Mimi o Sumaseba and Isshūkan Friends. pilgrimage.
BanG Dream! 2nd Season (Sanzigen) has a new studio and the backgrounds seem less detailed, though we are once again treated to the Toden Arakawa Line as it threads through Kita, Toshima and Shinjuku wards, and pathways along the Kanda River in Tokyo.
W’z (GoHands) is a direct sequel to Hand Shakers. It returns to the same Osaka setting, and unfortunately resumes the same vertigo-inducing animation style to go with it.
Go-Tōbun no Hanayome (Tezuka Productions) uses a few street scenes from Ōtamachi, Tōkai, Aichi Prefecture during transitions.
Circlet Princess (Silver Link) includes scenes in futuristic versions of Yūrakuchō and Marunouchi in Chiyoda Ward; and Machida (all Tokyo Metropolis).
Date A Live III (J.C.Staff) is set in Machida, Tokyo Metropolis.
Domestic na Kanojo (Diomedéa) uses several Tokyo locations in its OP, including Shibuya, Omotesandō and Ebisu, and there is a scene in Takadanobaba in the first episode.
Mahō Shōjo Tokushusen Asuka (Liden Films) includes scenes in Shibuya, Iidabashi, Kagurazaka and other Tokyo locations.
Revisions (Shirogumi) is Shibuya beset by disaster and active conflict.
Egao no Daika (Tatsunoko Production) uses Sendagaya, Jinnan and other areas in Shibuya Ward as part of a simulation, but is set in a future fictional world.
Media and General Interest
Kyoto Animation released the first two parts of a short video series featuring Hibike! Euphonium voice actors exploring locations used in the series. The first segment covers riding the Keihan Uji Line into Uji:
The second segment covers from Keihan Uji Station to Uji Bridge:
Sankei Shimbun published an interview with Sakata Atsushi from the Kuki City Commerce and Industry Association, reflecting on pop culture tourism for Lucky Star.
Hanako published an article about shrines that appear in Hanasaku Iroha and Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru.
Comic Treasure 33
Butaitanbou and seichijunrei circles were represented at Comic Treasure (こみっくトレジャー), a dōjinshi convention held twice annually in Osaka:
— ふ○きち(仮) (@fucchi02) January 20, 2019
— 夷（ゑびす）@聖地移住本制作中 (@ye_bi_su) January 20, 2019
— セキ (@seki_saima) January 20, 2019
— Cun(ツン)🐧：〜勇者部満開No２４～以降遠征は手術後〜 (@cunqi) January 20, 2019
こみトレ33、5号館ノ36aサークル「「SECRET VERSION」の設営が完了しました。新刊は劇場版アニメ「君の膵臓をたべたい」の舞台、高岡（射水含む）の聖地巡礼本「膵臓が食べたくなる高岡の本」です。600円で頒布します。626木札キーホルダーもあるよ！www pic.twitter.com/yTmW8ZzgZV
— ノリ＠リモート業務なし (@norinorimax1969) January 20, 2019
BS Fes 2
Butaitanbou circles were also at BS Fes (BS祭), a smaller and very new dōjinshi event held at Tokyo Big Sight:
BS祭 砲雷撃戦 と-23 さざなみ壊変
新刊 呂500潜水調査爆死本に加えて、すでに中国では進めていた電子決済に日本でも本格参入します！ pic.twitter.com/kq3A1YZZ74
— かずぴー@C98新刊配信中 (@kazupi) January 20, 2019
— 刑部長門守伊月（いづき） (@bluetwintail) January 20, 2019
(ツルネ ―風舞高校弓道部― Tsurune: Kazemai Kōkō Kyūdō-bu)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Nagano Sports Park (長野運動公園) in Yoshida (吉田), Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture
We never did figure out the model for Saionji-sensei’s training hall, or if one even exists.
Nagano Sports Park
Current Season Pilgrimage
Past Season Pilgrimage
The official website of Glover Garden in Nagasaki published an article about pilgrimage locations on the grounds for Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara.