Rent-A-Girlfriend 彼女、お借りします

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

Wakayama Air meetup
Fans of Air gathered in Mihama, Wakayama Prefecture on September 5 for a meetup organized by University of Tokyo student Iwanaga Atsushi, who lived and worked at a guest house in the town during 2019 August. While in Mihama, Iwanaga interacted with many local residents, including the owner of a former clothes cleaning shop that appears in the background art of Air, who agreed to allow use of the vacant space to host the event. Iwanaga organized activities and provided guide materials that highlighted locations from the series, local points of interest, and recommended restaurants. September 8 was the 20th anniversary of the release of the Key/VisualArt’s visual novel Air, on which the 2005 Kyoto Animation adaptation was based. Media coverage: Hidaka Shimpō, Hidaka Shimpō (print)

Super Comic Treasure 2020
Chō Comic Treasure 2020 (超こみっくトレジャー2020) was held September 6 at INTEX Osaka in Nankokita, Suminoe Ward. Though departing from the established naming convention (this would have been Comic Treasure 36) and adding a superlative, this iteration of the event was actually smaller than previous, condensed from two halls to one, and with tables separated by greater distances as part of Covid-19 mitigation efforts. Several butaitanbou circles exhibited works.

@hanwasen_ensen published a review of new YuruYuri seichijunrei oriented dōjinshi covering both the series settings in Takaoka and Inama, Toyama Prefecture, as well as the recent marketing collaboration with Eizan Electric Railway in Kyoto.

Hitoyoshi and Natsume
Traffic flow has been restored over Nishizebashi (西瀬橋) through a temporary repair, after a portion of the bridge was destroyed by the heavy flooding and mudslides affecting Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto Prefecture and other Kyūshū areas in early July. Though the article is ostensibly about the local community, it mentions the use of the bridge in the setting of Natsume Yūjin-chō in both the headline and body text. Media coverage: NHK

Takayama Hyōka virtual reality
The Anime Tourism Association and video game developer Alpha Code will launch a free virtual reality tour of Takayama, Gifu Prefecture locations used in the setting of Hyōka at Kyoto International Manga Fair 2020 on September 19 and 20. The tour utilizes VR platform Blinky, also developed by Alpha Code, which is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Mixed Reality. Media coverage: MoguraVR, Anime News Network, Kankō Keizai Shimbun

Future Season Pilgrimage

@miyaken46 made a pilgrimage to Okayama Station in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture; Makuhari Messe in Mihama Ward, Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture; Higashi-Koganei Station in Koganei, Tokyo Metropolis for Ochikobore Fruit Tart PV.

Current Season Pilgrimage

@fragments_sue made a pilgrimage (post 1) to Ashikita, Kumamoto Prefecture for Hōkago Teibō Nisshi Episode 1 through Episode 8.

@zassyoku_guma made a pilgrimage (tweet thread) to Ashikita, Kumamoto Prefecture for Hōkago Teibō Nisshi Episode 4 through Episode 8.

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture for Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru. Kan Episode 5 through Episode 9.

@habusan made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Chiba City and Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture; Niiza, Saitama Prefecture; Higashikurume and Koganei, Tokyo Metropolis for Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatteiru. Kan Episode 2 through Episode 8.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture for Yesterday wo Utatte.

@hiro_senritu made a pilgrimage to Tokyo inner wards for Tenki no Ko.

@fureshima2223 made a pilgrimage to Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture for Yuru Camp.

@ad_motsu made a pilgrimage to Annaka, Nakanojō and Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture; Mitaka, Tokyo Metropolis for Hōkago no Pleiades.