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
Cafe Dream Tanabata
As has become a new tradition, Haruhi fans have been visiting Cafe Dream (珈琲屋ドリーム) in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture to help decorate the shop inside and out for Tanabata. Many came on June 25 to prepare the bamboo branches in front of the cafe. Dream has put up bamboo branches and offered paper strips for customers to write wishes for about thirty years. After the release of the Suzumiya Haruhi series, fans joined in the festivities, often holding pilgrimage meetups at the cafe on the eve of Tanabata, which is celebrated July 7. Media coverage: Kōbe Shimbun. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3
— テスラ (@tesra1141) June 25, 2021
Official Haruhi goods
June 26, the day following the bamboo assembly at Cafe Dream, this year’s tie-up goods were made available for sale. Though the first light novel was published in 2003 and the original anime broadcast began in 2006, it was not until 2019 that rights holder Kadokawa finally acknowledged the use of Nishinomiya as the basis for the setting of the Suzumiya Haruhi series. This opened the door for licensed tie-up goods at local businesses. This year, Cafe Dream is offering character stickers printed locally by Hyōda Printing Industrial Arts (兵田印刷工芸). Fans came to affix paper strips to the bamboo, pickup goods and enjoy the promotional menu, which includes melon cream soda. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5
— 戸川 (@t0gapoyo) June 27, 2021
Lucky Star mikoshi
Supporters of the Lucky Star mikoshi (らき☆すた神輿) will join the Kuki City Tourism Association in presenting a display representing the city at a local products and tourism exhibition in Saitama City from July 1 to 31. A detailed history with photography of the paintings that cover the portable shrine has been published online.
Seichikaigi Expo 2021
Seichikaigi Expo 2021 (聖地会議EXPO2021夏) announced multiple additions to its schedule, including two free webinars on July 3. One is a discussion on finding and using data about seichijunrei that includes Okamoto Takeshi (Kindai University) and Teraya Tamaki (Anime Tourism Association). The other is a report on the Anime Regional Development School, a seminar offered by Kakizaki Shundō and Oda Yasuo. The expo, which will be held July 2 to 13 at event space shibuya-san in Tokyo and online, is organized by Seichikaigi, the contents tourism business self-published periodical by Shundō.
Chichibu is recruiting volunteers to help with weeding, cleaning and litter pickup around the old Chichibu Bridge (旧秩父橋) on July 11. The announcement was made from the anime seichi information page on the Chichibu Visitor’s Guide website. Complete details are here. In the past, fans of works in the Chichibu trilogy—Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana), Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda. (Kokosake), and Sora no Aosa o Shiru Hito yo (Soraao)—have participated in various cleanup efforts in the city.
Reappearing Buildings Part 5
This joke is getting old. There are now five series in which Kai’s buildings appear, Non Non Biyori, Sakura Quest, Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!, Zombie Land Saga Revenge, and now Super Cub. All I can think at this point is there must be some stock media library these are being pulled from. Previous discussion here, here, here and here.
Kawagoe anime architecture
Kamiya Toshikazu (神谷利一) was born and raised in Kawagoe, Saitama Prefecture, and now lives in neighboring Sayama, where he launched a one-person independent publishing company, Senba Shobō (仙波書房). His first title is book Kawagoe Buildings: Modern Architecture (川越の建物 近代建築編), which is an introduction to Taishō (1912-1926) and Shōwa (1926-1989) era buildings in Kawagoe, published May 31. The unique point of the book is its use of anime background style illustrations along with photographs of the buildings. For each of the buildings featured, appearances in film, anime, tokusatsu and live action drama are noted.
Kamiya was inspired to create this book after seeing Kawagoe locations and architecture depicted in Tsuki ga Kirei. He consulted with the series’ production studio Feel, who introduced him to background art studio Production-ai (プロダクション・アイ), which then worked with Kamiya to create the illustrations for the book. An exhibition of the original illustrations is being held on the third floor of Kawagoe Mine (川越マイン), in front of Kawagoe Station, until the end of August. Media coverage: Kawagoe Keizai Shimbun 1, Kawagoe Keizai Shimbun 2, Tokyo Shimbun
Note that Production-ai did not create background art for Tsuki ga Kirei, however it did do so for Banana Fish, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Fate/stay night, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works, Isshūkan Friends., Kita e., Love Hina, Maison Ikkoku, Natsume Yūjin-chō (S4), Ochikobore Fruit Tart, Rail Wars!, Sakurasō no Pet na Kanojo, Sōkyū no Fafner, Tenchi Muyō! Ryōōki (OAV3), Wake Up, Girls! and Yuru Camp (all).
Kita e., Love Hina, Maison Ikkoku and Tenchi Muyō! are among the earliest anime that became popular seichijunrei works.
International contents tourism
Researchers Yamamura Takayoshi (山村高淑) and Philip Seaton published Contents Tourism and Pop Culture Fandom: Transnational Tourist Experiences in 2020 January. The English language textbook expands on their existing body of contents tourism work to include global case studies. A Japanese translation (コンテンツツーリズム メディアを横断するコンテンツと越境するファンダム) was published in 2021 March. Though the emphasis of the book is contents tourism beyond anime pilgrimage, one of the case studies looks at tourism to Maienfeld, Switzerland induced by Alps no Shōjo Heidi, the anime adaptation of Johanna Spyri’s Heidi, the first known example of anime seichijunrei.
Numazu Love Live emigration
Yokota Yuki (横田祐季), an undergraduate in the University of Tokyo Department of Interdisciplinary Sciences, made a presentation on emigration of Love Live! Sunshine!! fans to Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Association of Japanese Geographers (2020年度日本地理学会春季学術大会). An abstract of the presentation, Place Attachment of Anime Fan and Their Migration Process after Anime Pilgrimage (聖地巡礼を通じたアニメファンの地域愛着と聖地移住のプロセス), is available online. Yokota’s study determined that at least 50 fans have emigrated to Numazu since 2016. With data collected through questionnaires and interviews, the study analyses factors that influence the formation of attachment to a local area through seichijunrei, as well as those that lead to a decision to emigrate following seichijunrei experiences.
Chichibu Railway Anohana collaboration
Chichibu Railway began running the “Super Peace Busters Train” (超平和バスターズトレイン), a completely wrapped trainset featuring characters from the Chichibu trilogy—Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana), Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda. (Kokosake), and Sora no Aosa o Shiru Hito yo (Soraao)—on April 3, covered previously. Adding to this, commemorative tickets and goods utilizing the designs on the train will be available from July 7, and a stamp rally will run from 2021 July 17 to 2022 March 31. Media coverage: @Press, Netorabo
Takayama Jujutsu Kaisen bus
Nōhi Bus (濃飛バス) in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture will offer a Ryōmen Sukuna set ticket (両面宿儺セットきっぷ) to facilitate Jujutsu Kaisen seichijunrei from June 21 to November 30. The bus will make multiple stops at locations related to the demon, who is said to have been born in Nyuukawa-chō, Takayama. Jujutsu Kaisen fans have been making pilgrimages to Senkōji (千光寺) in Nyuukawa-chō Shimobo, because the temple enshrines a stone statue of Sukuna. Media coverage: Shunkan Ryokō Shimbun
Ōno 2.43 collaboration
Character panels from 2.43: Seiin Kōkō Danshi Barē-bu have been setup for display at Michi-no-eki Echizen Ōno Arashima no Sato (道の駅 越前おおの 荒島の郷) in Ōno, Fukui Prefecture. Media coverage: Chūnichi Shimbun
Asakusa Kimetsu no Yaiba collaboration
A collaboration between Kimetsu no Yaiba and Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo Metropolis which will run from June 16 to September 26 has been announced. A website and Twitter account have been created, but there is no additional information available at the time of writing. Media coverage: Crunchyroll News
Seki Toji no Miko locations
Tore Tabi—a website managed by JR Group affiliated Kōtsū Shinbunsha—published an article introducing Seki, Gifu Prefecture locations featured in Toji no Miko. The article was written with the cooperation of and quotes advertising copy from the Anime Tourism Association. Media coverage: Tore Tabi
Enoden Aobuta figure
Shibuya Scramble Figure will release a figure of Sakurajima Mai from Seishun Buta Yarō wa Bunny Girl-senpai no Yume o Minai together with stand comprised of a 3D background depicting the Enoshima Electric Railway train and fumikiri. Media coverage: Dengeki Hobby
Current Season Pilgrimage
@nadukari_h made a pilgrimage following the journey in Super Cub Episode 12 as far as Lake Biwa in Ōtsu, Shiga Prefecture. For now, it is recorded only as a stream of tweets, but hopefully he will have to chance to compile everything into a post at some point. In the meantime, he has published a Google Map tracking the entire trip from Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture to Cape Sata in Minamiōsumi, Kagoshima Prefecture.