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
Yōkoso Festival (ようこそフェスティバル) is a Hibike! Euphonium fan organized event which, in its first convening in 2018, included dōjinshi sales, cosplay, itasha displays, concert and a stamp rally. The second convening was held September 26 and 27, with the main event at the Uji City Cultural Center (宇治市文化センター) as before, but with scaled down size, temperature checks, barriers, social distancing and mask wearing requirements due to Covid-19.
At the main event on September 26, the dōjinshi and itashi returned. Though cosplay was permitted, viewed from afar it wasn’t apparent that any was happening. On September 26 and 27, there was a gallery showing of fan photography of locations in Uji held at event space Naka Uji yorin (中宇治yorin). Over 350 attended over the course of the two days. Travel restrictions limited participation at the event to people in Japan, but overseas fans also contributed behind-the-scenes assistance and materials for display.
— セカイ (@sekai9821) September 27, 2020
ワンオペで全然ツイートできてませんでしたが…ようこそフェスティバル おまつりマーケット参加しております！ pic.twitter.com/2HZ91zC2IP
— セキ (@seki_saima) September 26, 2020
— 土性いお (@doshow_VN) September 26, 2020
— K.N. (@Kei_N_ykhm) September 26, 2020
— ねこむろ (@dw_nkmr) September 27, 2020
Lucky Star & Maesetsu! Dōjinshi Sokubaikai (らき☆すた＆まえせつ！同人誌即売会)—commonly referred to as LuckyFes (らき☆ふぇす)—will be held November 22 at three venues in Washinomiya, Kuki, Saitama Prefecture. This is a dōjinshi event specifically targeting Lucky Star and (as of this year) Maesetsu! derived contents. Circles interested to participate will be able to register from October 1 to November 1.
Fan donations to seichi
Hetare Gundam (へたれガンダム Loser Gundam) is a diminutive and disproportioned model of the RX-78-2 Gundam created by an amateur iron worker in Hiraishi, Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture. The installation had become a local attraction and counted many fans, including the district mayor, but was vandalized in June when its beam rifle was stolen. In response, fans began producing and donating replacement weapons, some anonymously leaving them with the statue. Social media buzz surrounding the donations begat yet more weapons, and a stand had to be built to store all of them.
In its coverage, Yomiuri Shimbun interviewed several of the donators, finding a range of motivations from having pity for the Gundam (personifying the statue), to creating social media buzz, to contributing to the community. Contents tourism researcher Okamoto Takeshi was interviewed for comment on this series of actions. He explains that anime fans often feel they have benefited from the influence of the works, and the debt of gratitude they sense motivates them to take action. He uses an anecdote involving the series K-On! and the former Toyosato Elementary School to illustrate the point. Fans had initially donated music instruments to be kept in the school, which was used as the model for the school in the series. But when some of these instruments were stolen, fans responded by donating even more instruments and K-On! goods. Media coverage: Yomiuri Shimbun, The Japan News, Crunchyroll News 1, Crunchyroll News 2
Initial D seichijunrei
Deview published an interview with gravure idol and race queen Suzuno Yakumo (鈴乃八雲), in which she attributes her interest in cars and racing to her childhood attachment to Initial D, to which she had been introduced by her father. While an elementary school student, Suzunon went on a seichijunrei trip to Gunma.
Saga Zonsaga collaboration
Saga Prefecture Tourism Federation (佐賀県観光連盟) will launch a tourism marketing collaboration with Zombie Land Saga running from October 30 to 2021 January 31. The campaign is somewhat scaled down compared to the version deployed in 2019, but will still include a stamp rally—physical stamps have been replaced with a QR code based smartphone app—with stamps at approximately 200 locations comprising tourist facilities, shops and lodging facilities, and prizes that include original anime goods, lodging coupons and local products. Media coverage: Asobō Saga, Saga Shimbun, Comic Natalie, Crunchyroll News
Saga Zonsaga PR videos
Saga Prefecture produced a series of tourism promotional videos titled Burari Zombie Land Saga (ぶらりゾンビランドサガ！) featuring Zonsaga voice actors Tano Asami (Nikaidō Saki) and Kinugawa Rika (Yūgiri), available at the prefecture’s official YouTube channel. Media coverage: Saga Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun
FGO newspaper advertisements
To mark the fifth anniversary of its release, mobile game Fate/Grand Order purchased full page color advertisements in local newspapers in each of Japan’s 47 prefectures. Each advertisement is unique, featuring a game character superimposed on a photograph of a notable local place. Many people purchased the issues carrying the advertisements to keep as mementos, leading to significant sales boost for the newspapers. Media coverage: Nikkei Cross Trend
Not mentioned in the article, butaitanbou-sha have been identifying and traveling to the locations captured in the advertisements. Most locations are easily identified with a little bit of research, though a few are rather obscure.
Future Season Pilgrimage
@miyaken46 made a pilgrimage to Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture; Koganei, Tokyo Metropolis for Ochikobore Fruit Tart Episode 1. Though the official premiere date is October 12, AT-X aired a special broadcast of Episode 1 without the OP and ED on September 25.
Current Season Pilgrimage
Past Season Pilgrimage
@Roan_Inish made a pilgrimage to the LABI Shinjuku East Exit Building in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Kimi no Na wa. The store will close October 4, though the Yunika Vision display is expected to remain as new tenants occupy the building.