The 13th Butaitanbou Summit was originally scheduled to be held during 2020 September in Ureshino, Saga Prefecture, with optional extended portions in Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture. This gathering is the annual all-hands meeting for the Butaitanbou-sha Community (舞台探訪者コミュニティ), or BTC, the highly engaged core of manga and anime-induced travel in Japan. As with events globally, Covid-19 necessitated many changes to protocol.
The 2020 event was postponed, though online submission of annual activity reports and voting for individual awards and work rankings were still held, with winners announced in an online ceremony on 2020 September 19.
The summit did go ahead on 2021 September 18, but with a few departures from the usual setup. Online submission of annual activity reports was done as usual. A skeleton crew and small group of attendees held a socially distanced event at the venue in Ureshino. The majority of us watched a live stream and communicated with people at the venue and online through live chat. In light of restrictions on travel, voting on individual awards for butaitanbou activity was not done this year, however work rankings were still tallied and announced. These are new manga and anime releases that we feel precipitated the best butaitanbou and travel experiences between 2020 April and 2021 March.
Tanbou Work Ranking (探訪作品ランキング)
8th: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Kan
7th: (tie) Fate/Grand Order (newsprint advertisement for mobile game) / Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!
6th: Josee to Tora to Sakanatachi
5th: (tie) Ochikobore Fruit Tart / Kamisama ni Natta Hi
4th: Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Dōkōkai
3rd: Saki (manga)
2nd: Hōkago Teibō Nisshi
1st: Yuru Camp Season 2
The extended events in Saga and Nagasaki also took place, though with fewer attendees than had been originally envisioned. Most of us followed these vicariously through social media updates.
Voting for the venue of the next summit was tight, with 23 cast for the winning proposal in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, and 20 for Komoro, Nagano Prefecture. Barring further pandemic-related major disruption, admittedly a heroic assumption, voting for individual awards to be presented in 2022 will consider activity over the two years beginning 2020 April.
2021 was far from the return to “normal” I think many of us had hoped for. But it was good to see everyone again, even if it was primarily through avatars and text-based tsukkomi, which is—basically what we do on Twitter all the time, anyway.