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
Kitauji Scenery exhibition
Yōkoso Festival (ようこそフェスティバル)—a Hibike! Euphonium fan organized event that has in the past included dōjinshi sales, cosplay, itasha displays, concert and a stamp rally in Uji—on February 28 launched a spinoff event, Kitauji Scenery (きたうじシーナリー), a gallery exhibition of photography and illustrations at event space Naka Uji yorin (中宇治yorin). The duration for the exhibition is indicated as “2021 cherry blossom season” (2021年 桜の季節). The works can also be viewed online, as individual entries in the “News” section of the site.
Uji Sound Festa
Uji Tourism Association published the third and final video that replaces the Sound Festa (サウンドフェスタ) component of the Uji City x Hibike! Euphonium Uji Winter Fest (宇治市×「響け！ユーフォニアム」 宇治ウィンターフェスタ). The last segment features music performances by students from Uji Junior High School. The first two videos were released last week.
Toyosato full reopening
K-On! seichi former Toyosato Elementary School (豊郷小学校旧校舎群) has been variously closed and open with restrictions since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Though mask wearing and hand disinfection requirements will remain in place, all other restrictions on entry have been eliminated as of March 2. The first floor of the building is open to the public for the first time in about a year.
Yamakan Hakubo interview
In 2019 October, director Yamamoto Yutaka (山本寛) gave an interview in which he described the planning and production of Hakubo. The film is set in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, which was intensely impacted by the nuclear accident in neighboring Ōkuma in 2011. As in other interviews, Yamamoto reiterates that with Hakubo, and indeed all of the works in what he calls the “Tōhoku triology”, inducing seichijunrei was an explicit goal. He talks about the factors that played into the balance between accurately depicting real life events and lingering trauma of the accident with positive portrayals that emphasize the beauty of the region. Yamamoto goes on to relay impressions from early screenings of the film, first in Fukushima Prefecture and later in larger metropolitan areas. The closer the audience was to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the more intense their reactions and recognition of the mental state of character Yūsuke, who moves from Ōkuma to Iwaki in the aftermath of the accident. Media coverage: Eiga.com
Franchouchou live concert
Contents tourism researcher Kawashima Tarō published a recap of various marketing campaigns utilizing Zombie Land Saga in Saga Prefecture cities during and since the 2018 Fall series broadcast, as well as events leading up to the Franchouchou live performance February 27. During the performance, the April 8 premiere date for the second season, Zombie Land Saga Revenge, was announced. Media coverage: Yahoo News Japan
Kamisama Yamanashi locations
Bike no News published an article introducing pilgrimage locations in Yamanashi City, Yamanashi Prefecture for Kamisama ni Natta Hi. Media coverage: Bike no News
Yuru Camp VR game
VR game Yuru Camp Virtual Camp (ゆるキャン△ VIRTUAL CAMP) by developer Gemdrops (ジェムドロップ) now has a release date for the Lake Motosu version, March 4. The game will be available for VR equipment on multiple devices and platforms, feature audio content recorded by voice actors from the series, support text in multiple languages, and include settings based on Lake Motosu and Fumotoppara campgrounds. The Fumotoppara version is planned for release in April. Media coverage: Famitsu.com, Otakomu, Anime News Network, Gematsu, Crunchyroll News
(ゆるキャン△ SEASON2 Yurukyan Season 2)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Since we left her, Nadeshiko has walked from Fujikawa Station toward her final destination in Fuji (富士市), Shizuoka Prefecture
Nodayama Kenkō Ryokuchi Park (野田山健康緑地公園) in Fuji. Note that the campground area in the park is currently closed for redevelopment, scheduled to reopen 2021 Summer.
Meanwhile, Rin continues her trip around Hayakawa (早川町), Yamanashi Prefecture.
Kaiun Tunnel (開運隧道) in Narada (奈良田), Hayakawa
Amehata (雨畑), Hayakawa. This bridge.
Amehata Dam (雨畑ダム)
Amehata Lake (雨畑湖)
Rindō Ikawa Amehata Line (林道井川雨畑線). The scenic road is regularly closed during winter, and at the time of writing is also under assessment for shoulder and slope integrity due to recent typhoons. A reopen date has not been decided.
Amehata suspension bridge (雨畑の吊り橋)
Hayakawa Gibier (早川ジビエ) in Kusashio (草塩), Hayakawa
The deer at Amehata Villa is taxidermy. The mustachioed cat is very much alive.
Nanbu (南部町), Yamanashi Prefecture
Nodayama Kenkō Ryokuchi Park
(のんのんびより のんすとっぷ Non Non Biyori Nonsutoppu)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Niigata Prefectural Niitsu Minami High School (新潟県立新津南高等学校) in Akiha Ward, Niigata City, Niigata Prefecture
I like that the one-car train always makes it into these otherwise static wide shots. It makes me think of the trolley moving through the model town in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.