Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid S 小林さんちのメイドラゴンS

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

Kyoani seichi fan relationships
July 18 marked two years since the arson attack at Kyoto Animation Studio 1. Among the media coverage and public expressions of remembrance and support, many points highlighted the relationships between the studio, the places that have become seichi through inclusion in its works, and the fans who support both.

Several Kyoani seichi sent out messages of support via their Twitter accounts: Toyosato Tourism Association (K-On!), Kamo Garden (Hyōka), Demachi Masugata Shōtengai (Tamako Market) and Kissa Sando (Kyōkai no Kanata).

At Demachi Masugata Shōtengai on July 15, Moriwaki Kiyotaka from The Museum of Kyoto delivered Tamako Market and Tamako Love Story key visual posters mounted on boards. Moriwaki was the liaison between Kyoto Animation and Masugata throughout the location hunting, production and broadcast periods. Kishimoto Hitoshi, one of the shop owners, indicated these had been requested by the former shōtengai president. (I think he is referring to Inoue Atsushi, who was president at the time of Tamako Market pre-production and broadcast.) It’s not clear if these are brand new posters or the ones that had previously been displayed at the museum, but in either event they are new to Masugata. They considered hanging them above Demachiza, the mini cinema in the arcade, but are concerned about the stability of the mount, so are looking for alternative locations. The decoration committee chairperson is out of town, so Kishimoto is holding them until next month. He set out the posters in his shop on July 18 for fans who came to the shōtengai. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3

NHK published an article that covers the onsite and online memorials, as well as interviews with friends and family of victims, and interviews with fans marking the date in Uji and elsewhere around Kansai. It includes a few statements from Nakaji Yoshihiro, owner of Hibike! Euphonium seichi Nakaji Bakery, who streamed the online memorial and observed the moment of silence at the shop.

Mainichi Shimbun began with noting the messages of support for the studio left in the exchange notebooks at the Uji City Tourism Center, where Hibike! Euphonium fans frequently stop to visit. It described how fans of Clannad supported the crowdfunding campaign launched by ryokan Kameishirō, also in Uji, which was necessary for it to remain a going concern during the height of Covid-19 travel restrictions. It concluded with statements from several representatives of the Demachi Masugata Shōtengai in Kyoto, who expressed pride in how the arcade was depicted in Tamako Market, gratitude for the resultant seichijunrei that breathed new life into the old shopping street, regret over the loss of life in the attack, a promise that Masugata will continue to think of and support Kyoto Animation, and the hope that domestic and overseas fans will resume visiting in greater numbers after the pandemic has passed.

Asahi Shimbun (print edition) interviewed two representatives of other Kyoani seichi. Shimada Yoshinori is owner of a confectioner near Washinomiya Jinja and chairs the Anime Seichi Promotion Project Assembly under the Kuki City Tourism Association. Shimada recently found an autographed drawing by Lucky Star director Takemoto Yasuhiro that had been overlooked and left in storage, and said that people in Washinomiya always feel connected to Kyoto Animation in their hearts. Hosomi Akiko is owner of Cafe Dream in Nishinomiya, a Suzumiya Haruhi seichi. Hosomi describes how fans from all over have used the shop as a meeting place, continuing through the 2017 move to a different location in the neighborhood. She says fans who come to the shop are always thinking about Kyoto Animation. In particular, the atmosphere in the shop became very heavy in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Some fans made silent prayers. Some cried. Hosomi recalled it was so heart-breaking she couldn’t look. Fans used the Haruhi exchange notebook she keeps in the shop to write out their thoughts. Over time, these notes became more hopeful and turned to thinking on how best to help the studio going forward. The article ends with a quote from one of these notes, “Even now there are people working hard to make a new Kyoani. Even though it’s only a little, I want to send courage from Nishinomiya.”

Minobu Yuru Camp event
Yuru Camp fans gathered at former Shimobe elementary and junior high schools in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture on July 17 and 18 for an overnight camping meetup and school tour organized by the Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会). Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5

Chichibu Anohana events
Several new activities in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture celebrating the 10th anniversary of Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana) have been announced. These add to other activities that have been announced previously, are in progress, or have concluded.

New illustrations marking the 10th anniversary have been released (PDF) and will be used in various ways through celebration activities and goods.

Several local alcohol makers will offer limited quantities of products with labels that feature the anniversary illustrations (PDF).

A stamp rally will be held in Chichibu from July 22 to August 31. Individuals who complete the rally will receive a commemorative badge. An exhibition that includes a model of the secret base and a statue of Menma will be held from July 22 to September 26 at the Chichibu Local Products Center (秩父地場産センター), which is part of Chichibu Railway’s Chichibu Station. Details for the stamp rally and exhibition are available at the Chichibu Visitor’s Guide website (PDF).

The steam locomotive SL Paleo Express (SLパレオエクスプレス) will, for one day only on August 1, run with a head mark featuring the anniversary illustration. As with all of its services, seats for the steam locomotive are all reserved and require advance reservation. Additionally, the “Super Peace Busters Train” (超平和バスターズトレイン), which has been in service since April 3, will from July 31 to August 29 operate with a fixed schedule on Saturdays and holidays. This just means that on those days it will be easier for interested riders to plan to ride one of the services at a specific time, rather than hoping to catch one by chance. The train will continue to operate as normal on other days, and will continue service until at least 2022 March. Detailed information about the special trains is available at the Chichibu Railway website (PDF). Media coverage: Comic Natalie, Crunchyroll News*

Finally, a set of special events featuring series voice actors will be held at Chichibunomiya Memorial Civic Hall (秩父宮記念市民会館) and the Chichibu City Hall parking lot (秩父市役所前駐車場) on August 28. Tickets are 4,000 JPY each. They will be distributed by lottery with an entry period from July 24 to 31 and notification on August 6. The events will also be streamed online. Details on tickets for the livestream will be released at a later date.

The “Super Peace Busters Train,” a completely wrapped trainset, began running April 3, covered previously. Commemorative tickets and goods utilizing the designs on the train were available from July 7, and a stamp rally will run from 2021 July 17 to 2022 March 3, covered previously. Details for that collaboration are available on the Chichibu Railway website. A TV special featuring the voice cast aired June 27, covered previously. A weeding, cleaning and litter pickup around the old Chichibu Bridge (旧秩父橋) was held on July 11, covered previously.

*Crunchyroll News misstates that the steam locomotive will run for the duration of the collaboration. It misstates the dates for the “Super Peace Busters Train” special Saturday/holiday schedule as July 29 to August 29, and misstates that the train only operates during this period. It misattributes events associated with the one day steam locomotive service as being connected to the “Super Peace Busters Train,” and misstates that they are being held in stations and for the duration of the collaboration.

Zonsaga TV special
TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting will air a special program on July 23 featuring a tour of several Zombie Land Saga locations in Saga City and Imari, Saga Prefecture. Voice actor Hondo Kaede (Minamoto Sakura) provides narration for the special. Media coverage: Press release, Animate Times

Manoyama Research Society
The seventh convening of the Manoyama Research Society (間野山研究学会) will be held August 8 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), and online. The academic conference takes its name from the fictional city in P.A. Works series Sakura Quest, is based in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture (the real-world model of that series and location of P.A. Works studio), and organizes events that discuss contents tourism and regional revitalization. The August meeting is open to the public (though targeted at researchers), with registration required for both onsite and online participation, and a fee of 2000-2500 JPY depending on venue choice and affiliation. The headline events are a keynote speech by Makino Tomoe (牧野友衛), representative director of the Meta Tourism Promotion Organization, and a panel discussion on post-Covid new tourism models from the perspective of anime seichi, featuring Yamashita Shin’ichirō (山下新一郎), chairman of the Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri executive committee, Makino, and other panelists.

Super Cub promotional materials
In February, the local police department in Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture worked with the published of Super Cub to create crime prevention and traffic safety posters featuring the main character from the series. The posters are not for sale. The July issue of Nanairo (なないろ), a free local news pamphlet distributed in the region, was a special feature on Super Cub, including screenshots and photographs of real locations in Hokuto used in the anime adaptation. Back issues of Nanairo, including the 2021 July Volume 95 in question, are available as free downloads at the publisher’s website. The police poster and physical copies of Nanairo have both been found offered for sale at online auction websites. There are reports of large quantities of the pamphlet being taken from shops and other distribution locations. Media coverage: Mainichi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun (English), Bengoshi Dot Com

Osaka Wakayama Bokurema map
Bokutachi no Remake released an official map of locations in Osaka Prefecture and Wakayama Prefecture, including detailed descriptions of scenes from the manga with which they are associated. Some of these have already appeared in the anime, some presumably will appear later. Printed copies of the map are available at multiple bookstores across Osaka.

Kōchi Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime promotion
Upcoming Hodosa Mamoru film Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime is set in the Niyodo River (仁淀川) basin area in Kōchi Prefecture, including the city of Ochi. Ochi opened an exhibition of posters and background art from the film on July 14, in anticipation of the July 16 premiere. This exhibition will rotate on a tour of six municipalities in the river basin, concluding October 11. Representatives of the prefecture stated they have expectations of a boost to tourism promotion from the film, estimating 4 billion yen in additional revenue. Media coverage: NHK

Ochi is preparing a special free bus service to the Asao submersible bridge (浅尾沈下橋) that will run from the premiere day July 16 to September 30. The bus is wrapped with images from the film. The schedule and additional information are available here.

Takasaki Aeon Cider promotion
Cider no Yō ni Kotoba ga Wakiagaru will premiere in Japan on July 22. The film is set in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture and includes scenes at Aeon Mall Takasaki (イオンモール高崎). This branch of large nationwide shopping center developer Aeon will hold a joint promotional event with Takasaki OPA, another shopping center, from July 22 to 25 in anticipation of an increase in seichijunrei visitors it expects. Individuals who complete the stamp rally distributed between the two buildings will be entered into a lottery to win a shopping voucher. Media coverage: Jōmō Shimbun

Saitama manga anime locations
In collaboration with the Anime Tourism Association, Saitama Prefecture launched Go! Saitama (Go! 埼玉), a website listing manga and anime series set within its borders. As of the time of writing, there appears to be no guidance material on the site itself. It is only a portal with links that lead to the Anime Tourism Association and Choco Tabi Saitama. The latter is a site introducing manga set in the prefecture, managed by the Saitama Products and Tourism Association.

Current Season Pilgrimage

@lidges published on-location pilgrimage photos and a Street View tour of locations in Ino, Ochi and Kōchi City, Kōchi Prefecture for Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime. He plans to revisit in August for additional exploration and to replace the Street View images with new photos.

@york21c made a pilgrimage to Nihonbashi-Hamachō, Chūō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon S Episode 2.

@etesuke made a pilgrimage to Kishi and Kanan, Osaka Prefecture; Kudoyama and Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture for Bokutachi no Remake ED and Episode 2.

@ad_motsu made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Yoyogi Park (Yoyogi-Kamizonochō, Jinnan) and Harajuku (Jingūmae), Shibuya Ward; Omotesandō (Jingūmae, Kita-Aoyama), Shibuya Ward and Minato Ward (all Tokyo Metropolis) for Love Live! Superstar!! Episode 2.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@miyaken46 made a pilgrimage to Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture; Suwa, Shiojiri and Kiso, Nagano Prefecture for Super Cub Episode 12.

@_xckb made a pilgrimage to Inzai, Funabashi, Kashiwa and Abiko, Chiba Prefecture; Tone, Ibaraki Prefecture for Wonder Egg Priority Special Episode.