Stars Align 星合の空

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

Anime Seichijunrei “Book” Spot Sale 3
The third Anime Seichijunrei “Hon” Sokubaikai (アニメ聖地巡礼“本”即売会) was held November 17 at Kanda Myōjin, featuring traditionally published and self-published books and magazines about anime pilgrimage, and talks by prominent contents tourism researchers and writers. The intention of this event is to both create an opportunity to gather this content together outside of Comiket, and provide a venue for exchange between researchers, fans and other seichijunrei stakeholders. Mangaka Morita Takashi (森田崇) spoke about creating the setting of the manga adaptation of Lupin and leading a pilgrimage tour to Paris and Étretat, France. Production I.G archivist Yamakawa Michiko (山川道子) discussed the case study of entrusting preservation of production materials for Rinne no Lagrange to the city of Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, the series’ location model. Event organizer Kakizaki Shundō (柿崎俊道) gave a talk on seichijunrei. Kinki University contents tourism researcher Okamoto Takeshi (岡本健) served as moderator for the discussions.

Ankou Matsuri
Approximately 140,000 people, a new attendance record, participated in this year’s Ankou Matsuri (あんこう祭), held November 17 in Ōarai, Ibaraki Prefecture. The festival was first held in 1998 and for a little over a decade drew crowds of about 40,000 each year, dropping to 30,000 following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Attendance then jumped to 60,000 in 2012, a result attributed in large part to fans of Girls & Panzer, and has increased each year since then. Formal collaboration between the festival and the series began in 2013. For 2019, anime-related elements included character panels at Ōarai Station and certain businesses, a talk show with voice actors from the series on the main stage, a performance by the Ōarai High School Marching Band that included music from the series, a goods and figures sales area, cosplay, and an itasha show. Media coverage: Famitsu, Kyodo

Toyosato Keion Kōshien
The 9th Keiongaku Kōshien (軽音楽甲子園 Light Music Tournament) was held November 16 at the former Toyosato Elementary School in Toyosato, Shiga Prefecture. The school is a location model for Kyoto Animation series K-On! This was the first tournament held since the arson attack on Kyoto Animation. One of the performing bands mentioned thoughts about the studio during the performance. Media coverage: Mainichi Shimbun

Toyosato Christmas light up
The former Toyosato Elementary school has launched this year’s Christmas-themed illumination display, which will light up the school building and grounds from 5:00pm to 10:00pm until December 25. Media coverage: Kyoto Shimbun

Hibike! Euphonium Christmas concert
A Hibike! Euphonium themed Christmas concert hosted by Uji City and Keihan Railway, featuring local community groups and high school ensembles, was held December 15 at the Uji City Cultural Hall. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society. Among the performers, two notable groups are the Kitauji High School OB Wind Ensemble, which is a volunteer group of Eupho fans that meet periodically to play for enjoyment, and Kyoto Subaru High School, which collaborated with Kyoto Animation regarding the depiction of practice sessions and performances for the series’ second season. Kyoto Animation staff accompanied and photographed Subaru when it competed in the Kansai Wind Ensemble Competition in 2015. Media coverage: Kyoto Shimbun, Kyodo

Yurucamp meetup
Illumination Camp (イルミネーション・キャンプ), the second Yurucamp meetup and overnight camping event at former Shimobe Elementary School in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture, will be held December 21-22. This year the event will include a gift exchange, illumination (lighted decorations) contest, and free smores, toasted marshmallows and Minobu manju.

Irozuku art exhibition
An exhibition of artwork from Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara is being held at the former Mitsubishi 2nd Dockhouse, inside Glover Garden in Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture until 2020 January 5. The dockhouse and other locations in Glover Garden are among many Nagasaki locations featured in the series. Media coverage: Nagasaki Shimbun

Toaru Tachikawa event
Tama Monorail and the Tachikawa Tourism Association, working with organizer Groove Garage, will host an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of marketing collaborations between Tachikawa City and the Toaru Majutsu no Index / Toaru Kagaku no Railgun franchise on 2020 January 13. The event will feature a chartered ride on the Tama Monorail and talk show with voice actors Satō Rina (Misaka Mikoto) and Arai Satomi (Shirai Kuroko) on the platform at Tama-Center Station. More details

Current Season Pilgrimage

@tianlangxing made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Nakarokugō and Yaguchi, Ōta Ward; Ariake, Kōtō Ward (all Tokyo Metropolis) for Hoshiai no Sora Episode 10.

@kbt_tigers1985 made a pilgrimage to Kansai International Airport and Kyoto for Hōkago Saikoro Club Episode 10.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2) to Denenchōfu, Ōta Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Fruits Basket (2019).