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
Noto Railway Hanairo last run
Noto Railway (のと鉄道) in Ishikawa Prefecture has for many years collaborated with Hanasaku Iroha in marketing tie-ups that included multiple cars wrapped with illustrations from the broadcast series and film sequel, Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home. One of those cars, the NT202, made its final run before the wrappings were scheduled to be removed on May 23. The wrapping on the NT202 had been in place since 2013 March. Fans of the series, supporters of the railway, and tori-tetsu were on hand at various points along the Nanao Line (七尾線) to witness and record the car on its final day. The NT202 will continue to operate without a wrapping, and wrappings on the NT204 remain in place for now. May 23 was the final opportunity to see both the wrapped NT202 as a single car, as well as the two-car service with NT202 and NT204 coupled together.
Two-car photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5, tweet 6, tweet 7, tweet 8, tweet 9, tweet 10, tweet 11, tweet 12, tweet 13, tweet 14, tweet 15, tweet 16, tweet 17, tweet 18, tweet 19, tweet 20, tweet 21, tweet 22
Single-car photos: tweet 1
2013 vs 2021 comparison: tweet 1
— 吉田 匡 (@yoshi_data) May 23, 2021
Eiden K-On! collaboration
Eizan Electric Railway (叡山電鉄), or Eiden, launched its Kirara x Kirara Project (きらら×きららプロジェクト), a series of marketing collaborations between the local tourism oriented rail line and Hōbunsha’s Manga Time Kirara (まんがタイムきらら) magazine and derivative works, on 2011 June 6. The very first collaboration promoted Eiga K-On! which, like the broadcast series, includes the rail line, some of its stations, and surrounding neighborhoods in its setting. Collaborations would go on to include many different works, most of which have no seichijunrei connection to Eiden, but nonetheless are popular attractions for anime pilgrims when traveling in the area, and anime fans in general.
A 10th anniversary collaboration (きらら×きららプロジェクト10周年) will feature the K-On! manga and spinoff series K-On! Shuffle, launch June 6, and run for exactly one year. As is standard for these collaborations, large illustrations will be posted inside the carriages and headmarks will be mounted to the front and back of the trains. Additionally, can badges featuring original illustrations from current and past campaigns will be sold as gashapon at Demachiyanagi Station. On July 3, Eiden will exhibit headmarks from past collaborations, a different set of two on each round trip, swapping them out at the Yase-Hieizanguchi Station terminus. Media coverage: News release, Comic Natalie, @Press, Travel Watch, Crunchyroll News
Kan’onji Yuyuyu dōjinshi event
Yusha-bū Kokoroe 17 (勇者部心得、じゅうなーなっ！), the latest installment of Yūsha-bu Mankai (勇者部満開)—a Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru fan-organized exchange event and dōjinshi spot sale—will be held July 23 at High Staff Hall in Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture.
Nanto Kuromukuro crowdfunding event
Parubooks, the publishing imprint of P.A.Works’ regional development arm PARUS, will organize a crowdfunding campaign to support release of a printed version of the 2018 ebook novel sequel to Kuromkuro (クロムクロ 秒速29万kmの亡霊). The campaign will run from June 9 to August 7, with a goal to raise 3 million JPY. Benefits exchanged for the highest two donation tiers, at 50,000 and 30,000 JPY, include a ticket to a live event featuring cast, staff, and P.A.Works founder and president Horikawa Kenji at Nanto City Creator Plaza (南砺市クリエイタープラザ), also known as Sakura Crea (桜クリエ), on September 19. There will be a Kuromukuro themed collaboration cafe at Cafe Trian, also located at Sakura Crea, from June 10 to October 31. Media coverage: Parubooks, Comic Natalie, Animate Times, Anime Recorder, Crunchyroll News
The language used on the Parubooks and BUNCA sites is really trying to drill the idea that the special event and collaboration cafe are both in Toyama Prefecture, thus they are “at the location” where Kuromukuro is set (作品の舞台). However, the devil is in the details. The event and cafe are in Nanto, adjacent to the P.A.Works studio. Kuromukuro is set in Toyama (city) and Tateyama. There is literally only one cut of Kuromukuro in Nanto, when they cheekily send an alien pylon through the studio roof. I love P.A.Works, and I thought Kuromukuro was lots of fun. I even went all the way to Nanto late at night just to take a photo of a silly notice they posted in front of the studio after the in-show attack. But I think they are trying too hard to force a link that doesn’t really exist.
Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri
Parubooks plans to release Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri 2011-2021: 10 Years of History with Anime “Hanasaku Iroha” (湯涌ぼんぼり祭り2011-2021 ～アニメ｢花咲くいろは｣と歩んだ10年～) in 2021 August. This will be a soft cover book that examines the festival, which began as a fictional event in P.A.Works series Hanasaku Iroha, from the perspectives of researchers, tourists, fans, and people directly involved with the festival. It will include an archive of photographs from and original illustrations created for the festival over the past decade.
Anime railroad collaborations
Kurihara Kageri (栗原景), a writer and journalist specializing in travel and railways, published Anime and Railroad Business (アニメと鉄道ビジネス) in 2020 December. The book analyzes recent anime and rail operator marketing collaborations, including Kimetsu no Yaiba steam locomotives from JR East and JR Kyushu, children’s series Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion, and Seibu Railway’s strategy of using the presence of many animation studios along its lines as a starting point for small-scale tie up activities with rail stations and shōtengai close to them. Media coverage: Davinci News
Anime railroad scenes
Magazine Tabi to Tetsudō (旅と鉄道) released a second special edition of Anime to Tetsudō (完全保存版 アニメと鉄道2) on April 17. This issue features railway scenes from Tenki no Ko, multiple Kyoto Animation works, Seishun Buta Yarō series, and Yurucamp, as well as scenes and interviews with directors Nagai Tatsuyuki (Sora no Aosa o Shiru Hito yo) and Hosada Mamoru (Mirai no Mirai). Media coverage: Official site, press release, Anime Anime, Rail Lab
Current Season Pilgrimage
@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Tennōzu Fureai-bashi (viewed from Kōnan, Minato Ward) for SSSS.Dynazenon. The update also includes archive images taken at the time of butaitanbou for SSSS.Gridman in Kamiogi and Nishiogikita, Suginami Ward; Shakujii Park in Nerima Ward; Senjuakebonochō, Adachi Ward. All locations are Tokyo Metropolis. This update brings coverage up through Episode 9.