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
Hirosaki Flying Witch emigrant
NHK TV program Professional: Shigoto no Ryūgi (プロフェッショナル仕事の流儀) aired an episode on the topic of oshi (推し活の流儀) on January 18. Oshi means to be a fan of something, but also implies active support and promotion of the interest. One of the individuals highlighted in the program was Taya Naoki (たやなおき @justtaiyaki), who emigrated to Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture not only because he was a fan of the Flying Witch manga and anime series, but specifically with the intention to promote both, which he felt he could best do by relocating there. He moved to the city from Tokyo in 2021 March, currently works in apple farming, and has a future goal to create tourism content based on the series. Screenshots: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3
Oyama Station soba seichi
The January 14 closing of stand-up soba shop Oyama Station Kisoba (小山駅きそば) was announced in 2021 December, covered previously. In the weeks leading up to the final day, fans of the shop, including those who learned of it through association with Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru (5 Centimeters per Second), visited for one last meal. After the closure was announced, there were lines with waits of up to one hour for the noodles, even on weekdays. Media coverage: Asahi Shimbun, Kyodo
Minobu Yuru Camp gas station support
There was additional reporting on the Yuru Camp fan campaign to support Misawaya Petroleum (三沢屋石油) on National Route 300 in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture, covered previously. Media coverage: Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun. Photos: tweet 1
Penguindrum location hunting
To mark the 10th anniversary of Mawaru Penguindrum and celebrate upcoming compilation film Re:cycle of Penguindrum, on its official blog background art creator Studio Pablo published a detailed post about location hunting for the series in Ogikubo and Kamiogi, Suginami Ward, Tokyo Metropolis. The studio itself is also in Ogikubo.
Nikkō Puraore promotion
Shimotsuke Shimbun published an article about promotional activities in Nikkō, Tochigi Prefecture for Puraore! Pride of Orange. The content and tone of the story veer into advertorial. It includes interviews with representatives of several local businesses that are offering collaboration services or products, such as the onsen ryokan Shikiōtoro, and emphases the appearance of those facilities and the products in the show itself. Though the article was published in 2021 November, shortly after broadcast began, local business representatives were already referring to locations included in the show as “seichi.” One representative expressed an expectation that the economic effect of the anime would be large, and that they saw it as a way to liven up the area this winter. Media coverage: Shimotsuke Shimbun
Okina (竹取の翁 @writer_okina), a marketing planner who works for a game developer and periodically publishes articles about contents tourism, reacted to the article and the series in general with strong criticism (tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3). He notes that, while local efforts to welcome visitors is by itself laudable, the overt selling aspect of the show and associated promotional content—he uses the term corporate coloring (企業色出し)—reflects clumsiness on the part of the show-runner. Rather than approach the project with the aim to cultivate meaningful content that could potentially inspire someone to go on an anime pilgrimage, then work with the local area to craft a plan to engage with those visitors, the goal of the show seemed simply to be to create seichijunrei content. It was if no one among the show staff had themselves experienced seichijunrei for other works.
Ōno 2.43 exhibition
Cocono Art Place (COCONO アートプレイス) in Ōno, Fukui Prefecture is hosting an exhibition of keyframes and character panels for 2.43: Seiin Kōkō Danshi Barē-bu from January 8 to March 27. Media coverage: Fukui Keizai Shimbun
Odaiba Love Live tour bus
In a tourism promotion demonstration, Navitime Japan, working with a long list of business partners and under the auspices of the Japan Tourism Agency, will operate Tokimeki Odaiba Bus With You on January 22 and 23. This is a reservation only tour bus service that will visit locations used in Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Dōkōkai. The bus will run nine loops on each of the two days, featuring a wrapped vehicle that has in-car announcements recorded by voice actor Yano Hinaki in the role of character Takasaki Yū. Tours under the demonstration project are free, but tickets must be reserved in advance here. News release: Navitime Japan. Media coverage: Travel Watch
Shōnan Pancake Love Live collaboration
Shōnan Pancake Venus Fort branch (湘南パンケーキ ヴィーナスフォート店) in Aomi, Kōtō Ward, Tokyo Metropolis will offer a Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Dōkōkai collaboration menu item, the multi-color pancake tower that appears in Episode 8, from January 14 to February 16.
Navitime seichijunrei app and services
Navitime Japan has offered select information about anime locations through the “Anime Spot Feature” (アニメスポット特集) sections on its website Navitime Travel since 2019. On 2021 November 17, the company announced it had expanded the number of series offered through this section to 20, and launched a new product, Alkoo by Navitime, which includes 80 walking courses covering anime, manga and game locations. Media coverage: Impress Watch, Anime Anime, Geo News, Kura Tech, Netorabo