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
Kyoani seichi reactions
Public figures and business owners in Kyoto Animation pilgrimage locations—including Ogaya Shinzō (Demachi Masugata Shōtengai), Yamada Atsushi (Toyosato-chō Industry Promotion Division), Kanei Akane (Uji City Tourist Information Center), Kanemaru Kōdai (Kameishirō), a representative of the Nishinomiya Tourism Association, and Hosomi Akiko “Mama-san” (Cafe Dream)—made statements to the press regarding the formal arrest on May 27 of the arsonist who attacked the studio. Media coverage: Sankei Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun
— 西宮北高校が舞台！涼宮ハルヒ情報局 (@kitakoh_haruhi) May 29, 2020
The former Toyosato Elementary School (豊郷小学校旧校舎群)—pilgrimage location for K-On!—which had been closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic, reopened on June 1 with reduced hours and limited to visitors from within Shiga Prefecture. From June 20, food service and full access to all visitors resumed.
Konata Izumi birthday
Fans gathered at Jungle Kinenbi (ジャングル記念日)—a Lucky Star themed snack bar in Washinomiya, Kuki, Saitama Prefecture—for the birthday of character Konata Izumi on May 28. Normally, the annual gathering would bring together fans from around the country, but to accommodate Covid-19 restrictions on long-distance travel, a video teleconference terminal was setup at the restaurant to allow people to attend remotely and interact with those on premises. Media coverage: Saitama Shimbun
Hiiragi sisters birthday and fundraiser
Though special concessions had to be made to limit public gatherings in line with Covid-19 countermeasures, the city of Kuki and Lucky Star fans celebrated the character birthdays of twin sisters Hiiragi Kagami and Hiiragi Tsukasa with a variety of events from July 5 to July 7. The birthday is officially July 7, but is generally celebrated on the weekend closest to the day. The large attendance events could not be held, but instead perennial host Fukuhara Kaori (福原香織)—Tsukasa’s voice actor—broadcast a virtual event via Zoom conference and Twitter dispatches (tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3).
Additionally, the Kuki City Chamber of Commerce and Lucky Star fans worked together to collect funds to support local Covid-19 countermeasures, offering birthday cookies to fans who traveled to Kuki on their own accord and made a donation. The centerpiece of the campaign was the Amabie Blue Impulse One (アマビエブルーインパルスワン), a swan-shaped paddleboat modified to look like folk legend Amabie, intended to draw a few laughs and attention to the cause. On July 7, fans marched the boat from the Washinomiya branch of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry to Kuki City Hall, presenting the 126,184 yen collected and a supply of face masks to Mayor Umeda Shūichi. Media coverage Saitama Shimbun, With News
— 福原香織 (@FukuharaKaori) July 5, 2020
— 刑部伊月（いづき） (@bluetwintail) July 5, 2020
— えるる＠鷲宮（らき☆すた） (@erukuma) July 13, 2020
Lucky Star manhole covers
Kuki installed eight manhole covers depicting characters from Lucky Star, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the merger of three towns which formed the present city. Media coverage: Sankei Shimbun
Iwami Santec reopening
Santec (サンテック) is a general store in Iwami, Tottori Prefecture that features a large section of licensed goods for Free! It is also a social touch point for fans visiting Iwami on anime pilgrimages. The store had been closed, then reopened with limited hours, due to restrictions related to Covid-19 countermeasures. Normally the goods are only available for in-store sales, but in light of the current situation Kyoto Animation approved mail order sales. This will both help Santec stay afloat and allow access to fans that are unable to visit in person due to travel restrictions.
Kameishirō (亀石楼), a traditional ryokan in Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, launched a crowdfunding campaign on May 1 to help it bridge over the sudden loss of revenue resulting from the Covid-19 epidemic. The campaign specifically employs the ryokan’s connection to seichijunrei, highlighting its role as a setting in Clannad After Story and proximity to locations from Hibike! Euphonium. As of June 10, the campaign exceeded its target amount of 3 million yen, receiving 3,689,500 yen in total donations from 322 individuals, including Chinese fans who translated the campaign webpage and collected donations. Media coverage: Asahi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun (alternate)
Current Season Pilgrimage
@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Kasairinkai Park in Rinkaichō, Edogawa Ward, Tokyo Metropolis; Chiba Station in Chūō Ward, Takasu and Takahama, Mihama Ward (all Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture) for Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru. Kan OP and Episode 1.