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
Kimetsu no Yaiba seichijunrei
Fans of Kimetsu no Yaiba have been identifying and traveling to shrines that contain the characters for Kamado (竈門) in their names, associating it with the family name of protagonist Kamado Tanjirō (竈門 炭治郎), as well as to other locations with tenuous connections, none of which are used as settings in the works. Most of these are in Kyūshū. Media coverage: Yomiuri Shimbun, Nikkan Sports
Noto Railway Yuwaku support
Noto Railway in Anamizu, Ishikawa Prefecture will run trains with Hanasaku Iroha wrappings and Yuwaku Onsen Recovery Campaign (湯涌温泉リカバリーキャンペーン) headmarks until the end of this year. The wrappings have been around for many years, but the new headmarks were planned by Hanairo fans, with the cooperation of Noto, as a gesture of support for Yuwaku, where the annual Bonbori Matsuri was cancelled this year due to Covid-19. Media coverage: Hokkoku Shimbun
Shiragawa-gō Higurashi shed
A Twitter user posited that anyone who visits and takes a photo of a particular shed in Shirakawa-gō, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its thatched roof houses, must be an otaku on seichijunrei for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. The internet responded with examples of how and why this might not necessarily be true. Apparently, random unsupported comments on social media now pass for news. Media coverage: J-Town Net
Yuyuyu mountaintop torii
A photographer published photos of the mountaintop torii at Takaya Jinja (高屋神社) in Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture, which many on social media commented that the images appeared as if they came from an anime. In its story, Netorabo notes this location is used as a setting in Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru. Media coverage: Netorabo
Hōsei University geography professor and chair of the Contents Tourism Society (コンテンツツーリズム学会) Masabuchi Toshiyuki, writing for Tōyō Keizai Shimbun, published an article about how the density of arts and culture amenities, particularly live houses and jazz cafes, in Kichijōji, Musashino, Tokyo Metropolis has, since the 1960s, caused mangaka and other creatives to gravitate to the neighborhood. Mangaka then, in turn, often depict Kichijōji as a setting in their works.
Nishinomiya Junkudō Haruhi book covers
Junkudō Bookstore Nishinomiya shop (ジュンク堂書店西宮店) will offer book covers with images of Nishinomiya locations used in the setting of the Suzumiya Haruhi series as a promotion with Suzumiya Haruhi no Chokkan, the 12th volume of the light novel series, when it is published on November 25. Media coverage: Kōbe Shimbun
Shibukawa Initial D bus tour
A bus tour of locations used in the setting of Initial D, launched on October 17, was the first of multiple tour routes to be offered under a Shibukawa, Gunma Prefecture micro-tourism campaign designed to highlight interesting places close to home, while long-distance travel is still significantly depressed as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic. Media coverage: Jōmō Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Tokyo Shimbun
(神様になった日 Kamisama ni Natta Hi)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
A real life counterpart of the Datenshi ramen shop doesn’t exist, but the shop wasn’t conjured out of thin air, either. The precise location is implied with an overhead cut at the very end of the episode, placing the shop just about in the middle of the Fruit-kōen-iriguchi intersection (フルーツ公園入口交差点), along National Route 140 (国道140号). In the show, the bisecting road that creates the intersection isn’t drawn.
The shop itself appears to draw design elements from two different restaurants in the vicinity. Manrikiya (万力屋) is a ramen shop, and its wood paneling and general shape seem to inform the exterior of Datenshi. Washoku Kansai (和食 寛菜) is a Japanese cafeteria style restaurant which, if you squint, seems to have inspired the pre-makeover signboard. [Credit: @tesra1141, Twitter; @yamabito0, Twitter]
Not only does Kamisama ni Natta Hi return to Maeda’s signature bag of tricks and narrative style, with this extended scene in Motomachi (元町), Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, we’re also revisiting past settings. This is the Yokohama Motomachi Shōtengai (横浜元町商店街), which also brands itself with English loanwords as the Yokohama Motomachi Shopping Street (横浜元町ショッピングストリート), a merchant association of shops along Motomachi-dōri (元町通り), previously used as a setting in Kanon.
Motomachi Park (元町公園)
Other Current Season Pilgrimage
@ad_motsu made a pilgrimage (new post, updated post) to Daiba and the Rainbow Promenade in Minato Ward; Aomi, Ariake, Toyosu, Shinonome and Tomioka, Kōtō Ward for Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Dōkōkai Episode 3.