Asteroid in Love 恋する小惑星

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

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, was held December 21-22. This year the event will included a gift exchange, illumination (lighted decorations) contest, and free smores, toasted marshmallows and Minobu manju.

Independent seichijunrei survey
Voting is open for the 2020 Anime, Manga, Game Butai 100 (アニメ・マンガ・ゲーム舞台百選 2020), a biennial transparent ranking of seichijunrei works and locations by popular vote, hosted by Toyama University contents tourism researcher Ōishi Gen. Gen is also the curator of the Butaitanbou Archive.

In contrast to the Anime Tourism Association Japanese Anime 88-Spots list, the Butai 100 has no internal screening and selection, it is a direct vote. Submissions are accepted until January 12, and are cast by tweeting the hashtag “#アニメ・マンガ・ゲーム舞台百選” followed by a list of 10 location/work name pairs. Results of the 2018 and 2016 surveys are available online.

Kyoto Animation documentary
Yomiuri TV produced a documentary about Kyoto Animation, exploring a broad range of topics covering artistic and business aspects of the studio and its works. Location hunting collaborator Moriwaki Kiyotaka, Demachi Masugata Shōtengai business owner Kishimoto, and butaitanbou-sha Ebisu are among the group of interviewees.

Realism in Kyoto Animation works
Bunshun published an article exploring methods used by Kyoto Animation to create a sense of realism in its output, as well as giving a general history of the company, its structure, and key staff members. It discusses the use of real location settings, specifically mentioning location hunting in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture for Hyōka.

Kyoto Animation connection with Kyoto and Shiga locations
Kyoto Shimbun published an article about the relationship between Kyoto Animation and locations in Kyoto and Shiga prefectures created through the studio’s works and sustained through seichijunrei. It includes a series of interviews with visitors on anime pilgrimages in Uji (Hibike! Euphonium) and Toyosato (K-On!), and the owner of Nishiki-yu in Kyoto (Tamako Market) following the 2019 July 18 arson attack.

Chihayafuru collaborations in Awara
Yahoo News Japan published an article by Koarai Ryō (小新井涼), PhD candidate at Hokkaidō University Graduate School of International Media, Communication, and Tourism Studies, about the history of marketing collaborations for the Chihayafuru media mix series in Awara, Fukui Prefecture. Promotions began in 2014 after the broadcast of the anime adaptation second series, and have included high profile campaigns featuring voice actors, support for the on-location filming of the live-action adaptation, ongoing efforts such as an official guidebook, and active engagement of the city’s Regional Tourism Promotion department and local residents in planning future activities.

Tenki no Ko and Tabata Station
Mainichi Shimbun published an article about the use of Tabata Station in Kita Ward, Tokyo as a setting in Tenki no Ko, then continuing on to discuss the topography in this area of the city. The steep cliff that overlooks the rail lines is at the edge of the Musashino Plateau, a large tableland on which much of Tokyo and part of Saitama Prefecture is built. The stretch between Tabata and Ueno is where the cliff can be seen most clearly.

Shinkai and west Tokyo
Urban Life Metro published an article discussing Shinkai Makoto’s fondness for creating settings based on locations on the west side of Tokyo.

Yorimoi and Tatebayashi
Mainichi Shimbun published an article about anime pilgrimage to Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture for Sora yori mo Tōi Basho, which continues two years after the original broadcast. It discusses examples of how the series prompted local residents to reexamine familiar places and reflect on what the city means to them, as well as seek out or create opportunities to engage with visitors.

Love Live! Sunshine!! and Numazu
Money Post published an article about the economic benefits and problems brought by the sudden increase of and sustained tourism flows to Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture related to Love Live! Sunshine!!

Yuyuyu and Kan’onji
Sankei Shimbun published an article about anime pilgrimage to Takaya Jinja in Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture for Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru. The shrine main building and torii are located at the summit of Inazumisan, about 400 meters above sea level, reachable by climbing the set of stairs up the mountain.

Hakodate seichijunrei
Hokkaidō Shimbun published an article about the economic effects of manga and anime tourism in Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture, focusing specifically on smartphone-based augmented reality stamp rallies developed by Japan Airlines Hakodate branch.

Banana Fish and the New York Public Library
New York Post published an article about Japanese visitors to the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library on tours organized by Kinki Nippon Tourist Kanto for Banana Fish. Tech Insight published a translation and reaction piece.

Current Season Pilgrimage

@626shin (post) and @flyingbird1124 (post) made pilgrimages to Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture for Koisuru Asteroid OP, ED and Episode 1.

@hiroina_7916ltd (post) and @flyingbird1124 (post) made pilgrimages to Kyoto for Chihayafuru 3 Episode 7 through Episode 9.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Hiroshima City and Akiōta, Hiroshima Prefecture for Rifle is Beautiful.

@teo_imperial made a hatsumōde pilgrimage to Kumano-gū in Kodaira, Tokyo Metropolis for Joshi Kōsei no Mudazukai.

@tianlangxing made a hatsumōde pilgrimage (updated post) to Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture for Gekijōban Seishun Buta Yarō wa Yume Miru Shōjo no Yume o Minai.

@626shin made a hatsumōde pilgrimage to Shirahata Jinja in Fujisawa and Kuzuharaoka Jinja in Kamakura (both Kanagawa Prefecture) for Just Because!

@tianlangxing made a hatsumōde pilgrimage (updated post) to Kuzuharaoka Jinja for Just Because!

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Mitaka, Tokyo Metropolis for Koimonogatari.

@Roan_Inish made a pilgrimage to the Meiji-mura open-air architectural museum in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture for Fate/Zero.

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Kawaguchi, Saitama Prefecture for Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magica.

@honeshabri made a pilgrimage to Rome, Italy for Strike Witches 2.

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Igusa and Shimoigusa, Suginami Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Bakemonogatari.

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2) to multiple Tokyo locations for Idolmaster Xenoglossia.