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
Seichikaigi Expo 2021
Seichikaigi, the contents tourism business self-published periodical by Kakizaki Shundō, has announced dates for Seichikaigi Expo 2021 (聖地会議EXPO2021夏), which will be held July 2 to 13 at event space shibuya-san in Tokyo. The event plan includes exhibitions of cosplay photography and production materials from Rinne no Lagrange.
Minobu Yuru Camp event
Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会) will host an overnight camping meetup for Yuru Camp fans at former Shimobe elementary and junior high schools in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture on July 17 and 18. More details will be announced later.
Nam Hai background art
Saigoneer published a feature story and accompanying video on Nam Hai Art Company, a Ho Chi Minh City based support studio that works almost exclusively on background art for Japanese anime productions. The piece highlights Nam Hai’s contributions to Tenki no Ko and Shingeki no Kyojin. Media coverage: Saigoneer
The story doesn’t go into much detail about the rest of Nam Hai’s work, which is too bad, because it has a quite large portfolio and, like many support studios, doesn’t get enough recognition for the impact it has had. It has produced background art or provided background art assistance in many works that have been popular among butaitanbou-sha and seichijunrei-sha, including BanG Dream! (S2,S3), Flying Witch, Girls & Panzer (film), Golden Time, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gō, Kakushigoto, Long Riders!, Love Live! (all), Love Live! Sunshine!! (all), Non Non Biyori (all), Orange, Oreimo (S2), Penguin Highway, Saekano (all), Shōjo-tachi wa Kōya o Mezasu, Sora no Method, Sora yori mo Tōi Basho, Super Cub, Tenki no Ko, Tsurune, Wonder Egg Priority, Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta and Zombie Land Saga (all). Nam Hai has a close relationship with Japan based background art studio Kusanagi (草薙). The precise nature of this relationship isn’t clear to me, but the two often work together.
Chichibu Anohana special
As part of multiple activities celebrating the 10th anniversary of Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana), a TV special will air June 27 featuring voice actors Kayano Ai (Menma), Tomatsu Haruka (Anaru) and Hayami Saori (Tsuruko) touring Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture and talking about memories from the production. Media coverage: Comic Natalie, AV Watch, Crunchyroll News
Iwaki Hula Fulla Dance production participation
A release date for film Hula Fulla Dance has been announced, December 3. The film is one of three anime works under Zutto Ōen. Project 2011+10… (ずっとおうえん。プロジェクト 2011+10…), itself part of broader efforts by Fuji TV to support disaster recovery in the Tōhoku region following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The Iwaki, Miyagi Prefecture setting had been announced previously, but along with the premiere date it was revealed Iwaki mayor Shimizu Toshio (清水敏男) will participate in the production as a voice actor. Media coverage: Comic Natalie, Cinema Today, Anime News Network, Crunchyroll News
Nishinomiya Haruhi seichijunrei
Tanimura Kaname (谷村要)—an associate professor at Ōtemae Univerisity in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture who specializes in information sociology and fan culture—published an article in Animage Plus attempting to suggest reasons for the large box office success of Gekijōban Kimetsu no Yaiba Mugen Ressha-hen, though that’s not why this has been included in the weekly. In a tangent noting the impact of online video distribution on the media consumption environment, Tanimura explains how low barriers to access allow fans from all generations to encounter franchises long after the traditional broadcast television window has passed, resulting in phenomena such as young viewers watching Suzumiya Haruhi for the first time and making pilgrimages to Nishinomiya, though it has been 15 years since the original broadcast. Media coverage: Animage Plus
Saga Zonsaga bus
Franchouchou-gō (フランシュシュ号) is a wrapped bus at the center of the marketing collaboration between the Saga City Transportation Bureau and Zombie Land Saga, operating from 2020 August 8 to 2021 December 31. Though there are no new developments, there was recent additional reporting after a tweet with photos of the bus interior went viral. The collaboration was previously discussed here. Media coverage: Otakomu, Crunchyroll News, J-Town Net
Saga Zonsaga Animate pop-up
Animate Mallage Saga (アニメイトモラージュ佐賀) will host a pop-up “Zombie Land Saga Revenge Only Shop” from June 26 to July 11. During the same time period, Animate Akihabara main shop will also host an Only Shop on its seventh floor, and seven branches across Japan will host support shops. Media coverage: Saga Shimbun
Saga Zonsaga manhole covers
Rolling installation of Zombie Land Saga manhole covers featuring Franchouchou members that began April 22 is now complete. As per plan, 14 designs in total were distributed among six cities in Saga Prefecture—Saga City, Imari, Karatsu, Kashima, Tosu and Ureshino. Media coverage: Asahi Shimbun
Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri
There was additional reporting on upcoming book 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～), planned for release in 2021 August. The content of the book was covered previously. Media coverage: Comic Natalie, Animate Times, Anime Hack, Eiga.com