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
Cafe Dream Tanabata
Tanabata is always a special time at Cafe Dream in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture. The cafe has put up bamboo branches and offered paper strips for customers to write wishes for about thirty years. After the release of the Suzumiya Haruhi series, fans joined in the festivities, often holding pilgrimage meetups at the cafe on the eve of Tanabata. This is the first observance of Tanabata since the 2019 July arson attack on Kyoto Animation. Visitors have been using the strips to write words of support for the studio. Media coverage: Kyoto Shimbun, Kōbe Shimbun, Nishinomiya Style
— 【HYODA】兵田印刷ソリューション部長 (@hyodasolution) June 27, 2020
— 西宮北高校が舞台！涼宮ハルヒ情報局 (@kitakoh_haruhi) June 27, 2020
Official Haruhi goods
Though the first light novel was published in 2003 and the original anime broadcast began in 2006, it was not until 2019 that rights holder Kadokawa finally acknowledged the use of Nishinomiya as the basis for the setting of the Suzumiya Haruhi series. This opened the door for licensed tie-up goods at local businesses. In 2019, visitors to Cafe Dream around Tanabata season could purchase a limited run clear file with designs that included scenes from the anime and photographs of the original cafe location, which was where the scenes were set. This year, Cafe Dream is offering character badges featuring Nagato, Mikuru and Haruhi.
— 社貝人 (@yukarinochi2202) June 28, 2020
— きーぼー (@keyboar) June 28, 2020
Chez Inoue Haruhi Tanabata cookies
As always, Nishinomiya bakery Chez Inoue is selling a seasonal run of cookies shaped and iced as the orange, panda adorned t-shirt Haruhi wears on Tanabata evening in the Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody episode of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu. Chez Inoue’s cookies and many other unofficial Haruhi anime pilgrim engagement efforts by local businesses long predate the organized, polished and relatively well-funded commercial promotion of anime tourism that is now becoming ubiquitous.
— テスラ (@tesra1141) June 17, 2020
Future Season Pilgrimage
@Roan_Inish made a pilgrimage to Nagatachō, Chiyoda Ward; Minamiaoyama, Minato Ward (both Tokyo Metropolis) for Mahōka Kōkō no Rettōsei: Raihōsha-hen. The locations are indicated in the light novel arcs on which the upcoming new anime season is based.
Current Season Pilgrimage
@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Takanawa, Minato Ward; Kamimeguro and Aobadai, Meguro Ward; Hachiyamachō and Sarugakuchō, Shibuya Ward; Shinjuku, Kawadachō and Wakamatsuchō, Shinjuku Ward (all Tokyo Metropolis) for Kakushigoto.