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
Oneti 20th anniversary
January 10 was the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Onegai Teacher! Though it was not among the earliest works that induced what we now refer to as butaitanbou and seichijunrei, Oneti was one of the most memorable of the second wave appearing in the mid-1990s and early 2000s. This coincided with growing availability of consumer internet service and its use as a platform for information sharing about location models that we now regard as commonplace. For many butaitanbou-sha active during the 2000s and early 2010s, Oneti was frequently their first memory of awareness about real location use in anime, and visits to Ōmachi, Nagano Prefecture were often one of their first seichijunrei experiences.
The official account of Kizakiko Camp (tweet 1, tweet 2), camp manager Tocchī (tweet), Y Shop Nishi manager Yukkī (tweet), and series composer Nakazawa Tomoyuki, who is originally from Nagano Prefecture (tweet), all shared messages to mark the occasion and say a little about what the series has meant to them. Butaitanbou-sha Matsuyama (tweet) cycled around Ōmachi for a visit to key locations.
— まつやま@旅人 (@Bf109K1) January 10, 2022
Natsumachi 10th anniversary
January 10 was the 10th anniversary of the premiere of Ano Natsu de Matteru. Natsumachi is set in Komoro, Nagano Prefecture and is also a very important work, both at the time and now. It came in the middle of what some of us call the “golden age” of anime pilgrimage, from 2010 to 2015, when anime background art was rapidly advancing in quality and complexity, butaitanbou and seichijunrei subculture were especially vibrant, and aggressive promotion and commodification of these practices through anime tourism had not yet arrived.
Notably, the Komoro Natsumachi Omotenashi Project (小諸市なつまちおもてなしプロジェクト), the city’s official initiative for managing engagement with anime fans, was formed as a response to seichijunrei, not in anticipation of it. Within weeks of launch, it held an opinion exchange meeting with fans to explore interests and needs, and though the blessing or direct involvement of rights holders eventually became part of the mix, the Project has always made a point of allowing the mutual interests of fans and locals to drive the agenda.
Komoro Natsumachi Omotesando Project (tweet), Komoro City Library (tweet), souvenir shop Miyasaka (tweet), Coffee Komoro (tweet), voice actors Asumi Kana (tweet) and Ishihara Kaori (tweet), and composer Nakazawa Tomoyuki (tweet) all shared messages to mark the occasion. Locally based shipping company Maruhiro, which has two of the trucks in its fleet covered with Natsumachi graphics, parked one of the vehicles at the edge of its lot with the graphics facing the road (tweet).
— 小諸市なつまちおもてなしプロジェクト (@komoro_NOP) January 10, 2022
Chichibu Anohana emigrant
Asahi Shimbun published an article about Utsumi Masato (内海正人), a fan of Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana), who emigrated to Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture because of the series. Utsumi is a member of the Yoshida Ryūsei Preservation Society (吉田龍勢保存会). Through educational outreach and a “Mini Ryūsei Festival” held each year in Feburary, he is helping to preserve and pass on the handmade fireworks and other traditions of the Ryūsei Matsuri (龍勢祭), which have a history of over 400 years and were incorporated into the story of Anohana. Media coverage: Asahi Shimbun
Hamamatsu Evangelion collaboration
Enshū Railway (遠州鉄道), Tenryū Hamanako Railroad (天竜浜名湖鉄道), Hamamatsu City and Shin Evangelion Gekijōban launched a series of promotional collaborations in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture that began in 2021 November, some of which will run until 2022 May. All of these activities are collectively referred to as the Human Boarding Project (人類乗車計画), a reference to the series’ Human Instrumentality Project (人類補完計画).
Enshū Railway revealed two fully wrapped and internally decorated trains, which went on display at Shin-Hamamatsu Station, as well as decorations and advertising displays at Shin-Hamamatsu Station and Nishi-Kajima Station on November 8. It offered an advance release of original goods from November 12 to 14. The goods were available for general release, commemorative tickets were offered, and the wrapped trains went into service beginning November 17.
Tenryū Hamanako Railroad launched its own wrapped train in a departure ceremony on November 17, which included demonstrating operation of the train turntable at Tenryū-Futamata Station with the wrapped vehicle. Renaming of the station as Daisanmura (第3村 or だいさんむら), the name of the setting in the film based on the station, sales of commemorative tickets, and original goods pop-up shop Evangelion Store x Tenhamaya (EVANGELIONSTORE×てんはまや) launched the same day. The station renaming and pop-up shop were previously offered for a limited time in 2021 August.
After the departure ceremony, all trains involved in the promotion were moved to Nishi-Kajima Station, where the two rail operators have a transfer point between their networks, and parked together for an extended stop in the late morning, to allow visitors to see all the trains together. The Tenhama train began regular service on November 19.
A stamp rally that includes 10 types of stamps and character panels at 20 locations around Hamamatsu launched December 1. Participants who complete the rally, by collecting at least one of each type of stamp, receive a free ticket to the Turntable & Railroad History Museum Tour at Tenryū-Futamata Station.
Enshū Railway station decorations, Tenryū Hamanako Railroad pop-up shop, stamp rally and Daisanmura renaming will run until 2022 January 31. Enshū Railway wrapped trains will run until 2022 May 31. Tenryū Hamanako Railroad has not indicated the duration of service for its wrapped vehicle.
Media coverage: Tetsudō Fan 1, Shizuoka Shimbun 1, SBS TV 1 (video), Rail Lab, Shizuoka Shimbun 2, Tetsudō Fan 2, SBS TV 2 (story), SBS TV 2 (video), Netorabo, Shizuoka Shimbun 3, Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Shizuoka Shimbun 4
Ube Evangelion collaboration
Ube City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, JR West, and Shin Evangelion Gekijōban are collaborating on a series of promotional campaigns in the city under the banner of Machijū Evangelion (まちじゅうエヴァンゲリオン), centered around Ubeshinkawa Station, which is used as a setting in the film. The campaign is meant both as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the city’s incorporation and a tourism marketing campaign leveraging its connection to Evangelion and director Anno Hideaki. to A free commemorative physical stamp was installed at the station and passengers were able to retain their platform tickets as mementos of their visit beginning 2021 December 24. A smartphone based stamp rally with ten locations around the city launched the same day. An exhibition of Evangelion figures at the Tokiwa Museum will begin in 2022 March. Media coverage: Asahi Shimbun, NHK, Yamaguchi Ube Keizai Shimbun, Yomiuri Shimbun
Izumo Shaman King collaboration
Izumo Tourism Association (出雲観光協会) and Shaman King will collaborate on tourism promotion campaign Meratabi in Kamigami no Kuni Izumo (メラ旅 in 神々の国出雲) from January 1 to 31. The campaign will include a digital stamp rally, collaboration menus at local restaurants, and official goods. News release: Fellows. Media coverage: Comic Natalie, Nijimen