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
Hitoyoshi Natsume fan support
Ōkaki Bishamondō (大柿毘沙門堂) is a small Buddhist temple among many locations in Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto Prefecture and elsewhere in the Kyūshū region that sustained severe damage due to flooding and mudslides in 2020 July, covered previously. Neighborhood association chairman Hitotsubashi Kunihiro (一橋国広) and architect Kubota Takanori (久保田貴紀), who specializes in preservation and restoration of historic buildings, launched a crowdfunding campaign that specifically appealed to fans of Natsume Yūjin-chō, many of whom were already familiar with the location from the series and seichijunrei to the area. The campaign began 2021 May 27 and raised 3.38 million yen from 227 donors in the first month, exceeding its target funding amount. Restoration work will begin in September and is planned for completion by the end of the year. Media coverage: Yomiuri Shimbun
Super Cub location hunt
The Blu-ray box for Super Cub was released August 25. The book that comes with the set includes a commentary on location hunting for the series. The disc extras include a location hunting video.
Contents tourism paper conference
The Academy of Contents Tourism (コンテンツツーリズム学会) put out a call for submissions of academic research on contents tourism for a paper presentation conference on November 7. The only requirement for eligibility is the author must be a member of the Academy or plan to join by the conference date. Otherwise, no specific affiliation is required or excluded. Application registration deadline is September 30. Following the conference, final papers must be submitted by the end of December and undergo peer review before publishing by the Academy, planned for 2022 March.
The executive committee of the Animonozukuri Award (アニものづくりアワード) announced it received a record 202 submissions and published the list of nominated works for the 2021 awards. The grand prix and prize winning works for each category will be announced September 19 in Kyoto. The regional revitalization (地方創生部門) category, which is new this year, includes many promotional tie-ups with anime series. Media coverage: @Press
Animonozukuri Award recognizes anime, manga and character content collaboration tie-ups with other industries, and has been held since 2017, though the 2020 awards were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s awards cover the period 2019 January 1 to 2021 June 30, and include activities submitted to the postponed 2020 awards by default. In 2021 September, the award will for the first time be presented as part of the Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair (京都国際マンガ・アニメフェア), also known as Kyomafu (京まふ). The new regional revitalization category targets initiatives that use anime, manga or characters to promote local industry and tourism, including public relations activities, tourism marketing, collaborations between traditional crafts and media contents intellectual property, business related to seichijunrei, and events.
Toyama Hosoda ambassadorship
Director Hosoda Mamoru (細田守) was appointed Toyama Film Ambassador (とやま映画大使) by the prefecture governor in a virtual ceremony held August 9. The role will entail public relations activities that communicate the charm of the area through films set there. Hosoda is originally from Kamiichi, Toyama Prefecture. His anime film Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki is set in Kamiichi and Tateyama. Media coverage: Mainichi Shimbun
Evangelion railroad locations
Travel magazine Tabi to Tetsudō (旅と鉄道) published a special edition titled Shin Evangelion to Tetsudō (シン・エヴァンゲリオンと鉄道) on July 27. This is a guide to railway locations and rolling stock used as the basis for settings in Shin Evangelion Gekijōban. Media coverage: Official site, Netorabo
Yowapeda actor pilgrimage
As part of a segment produced for variety show Seiyū Seichi Tour (声優聖地めぐり), three voice actors from Yowamushi Pedal cycled a route between Enoshima and Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture featured in the series. Media coverage: Hominis
Super Cub actor pilgrimage
Yomichi Yuki (夜道雪), the voice actor for main character Koguma in Super Cub, published a video on her YouTube channel of her visit by motorcycle to the Fujisan Subashiri-guchi 5th Station (富士山須走口5合目), part of which includes roads traveled by Reiko in the series. Her visit was unannounced and staff at mountain lodge Kikuya (山荘菊屋) were surprised to see her. Media coverage: Netorabo
Ōgaki Koe no Katachi locations
Gifu Shimbun published a short piece and accompanying video about the Four Seasons Square (四季の広場) in Ōgaki, as part of a series on 140 scenic spots in Gifu Prefecture. The waterfall tunnel and walking paths in the square were built in 1986 as part of a greening project along the Suimon River. The piece mentions that the square appears in film and on the key visual for Koe no Katachi, and that anime fans continue to visit for seichijunrei. Media coverage: Gifu Shimbun
Kōzushima Love Live! locations
Tourism blog Tripin published an introduction to the Salvia Maru (3rd generation) and locations in Kōzushima, Ōshima Subprefecture, Tokyo Metropolis that appeared in Love Live! Superstar!! Episode 5. Media coverage: Tripin
(小林さんちのメイドラゴンS Kobayashi-san Chi no Meidoragon S)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Koshigaya (越谷市), Saitama Prefecture. Except where noted otherwise, the rest of the Maid Dragon locations in Episode 8 are in Koshigaya, either literally or notionally.
I’m pleasantly surprised by how often we get to see the Oborozuka Shōtengai this season. In the past, this was primarily Tōru’s domain, a space in which to demonstrate her integration into human society. Now it seems almost all of the main cast pass through routinely.
Ilulu has settled into her role at Oboro Shōten, the traditional candy shop. The shop is becoming a social node among the main cast.
Motoara River (元荒川)
A lost/abandoned item at the shop puts into motion Ilulu’s quest to reunite it with its owner, sending her and Take around to various parts of the city in search of clues.
Next to the Koshigaya Station east entrance
Koshigaya Station (越谷駅)
Ilulu’s last-ditch smell tracking effort leads her along the Motoara River embankment, to this point.
In the end, communicating with local businesses leads to a doll repair shop and ultimately the item’s owner.
(白い砂のアクアトープ Shiroi Suna no Akuatōpu)
Fan Pilgrimage Update
Ganjū-eki Nanjō (がんじゅう駅・南城), the local tourism information center in Chinen (知念), Nanjō (南城市), Okinawa Prefecture. All of the Aquatope locations in Episode 8 are in Chinen. At the time of writing there is a display of Aquatope character panels at the tourism center.
Azama Sun Sun Beach (あざまサンサンビーチ)
As far as anyone can tell, the clinic building is fictional.
However, the overhead cut puts the building in a location overlooking the southern one-third of Chinen coastline, theoretically around the location of Okinawa Prison. [Credit: @fragments_sue, Twitter]