My Dress-Up Darling その着せ替え人形は恋をする

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

Usagiyama Mochitsuki Taikai 2022 Shinshun
The Usagiyama Mochitsuki Taikai (うさぎ山餅つき大会) that had been scheduled for February 5 at 12:00 in DeMachi event space at Demachi Masugata Shōtengai in Kyoto has been cancelled due to the developing Covid-19 situation. Shin Keihan (しんけーはん @shinkeihan6350) would still like to hold an event at a later time, when circumstances allow.

Monogatari Kankō
The next meeting of Monogatari Kankō (ものがたり観光), a seminar on various tourism contents specific to Uji and Fushimi areas in Kyoto Prefecture, will be held February 11 from 10:00 to 12:00 JST at Kyoto Bunkyō University (京都文教大学) and online. As in the past, the seminar is organized by professor of sociology Katayama Akihisa (片山明久 @bsaku0214), who specializes in content tourism research, cultural policy, and tourism sociology. There will be presentations by Katayama, butaitabou-sha Ebisu (夷 @ye_bi_su), who this time will focus on religion, industry and tourism in Fushimi, and a discussion between the two. In the past, the event has included analysis of Genji Monogatari, Hibike! Euphonium, tea, and other local culture contents. Attendance at the physical venue is capped and is currently at capacity. You can still register for that here, but it will be for placement on a standby list, awaiting cancellations. Registration for online attendance via Zoom meeting is here.

Chōshi Amagami seichijunrei
Chiba TV program Chiba Asa Live Morning Compass (ちば朝ライブ・モーニングこんぱす) produced a segment (screen captures: tweet 1, tweet 2) introducing seichijunrei to Chōshi, Chiba Prefecture for Amagami. The segment includes an interview with Gotō (五頭) from the Kibito Amagami Fan Club (輝日東アマガミファンクラブ), and Kase (加瀬), the head of Azuma Sushi (あづま寿司), which appears in the series and was the first shop in the city to host a pilgrimage exchange notebook.

Yorozū News published a follow-up interview with a representative of the Kibito Amagami Fan Club (who is not named, but I think is also Gotō) going into more depth on the same topics. Seichijunrei began with the first installment of the series, a PlayStation 2 game in 2009, and anime adaptation Amagami SS in 2010, and has grown gradually over the years to reach its current state of broader awareness. The Kibito representative feels that subtle efforts, primarily installing exchange notebooks and maps at local businesses and tourism offices, were more effective in encouraging visitors over that period of time than vigorous, city-wide promotion, and plans to continue this approach going forward.

Takehara Tamayura TV special
NHK produced a TV special (landing page) titled Anime Seichi Tabi Takehara: Hiroshima Tamayura no Butai e (アニメ聖地旅 竹原 ~広島「たまゆら」の舞台へ~), featuring vocalist Miyata Toshiya (宮田俊哉) from Kis-My-Ft2 touring Tamayura locations in Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture, accompanied and guided by director Satō Jun’ichi (佐藤順一). The special is narrated by Taketatsu Ayana (竹達彩奈), the voice actor for protagonist Sawatari Fū. Miyata is a long time fan of the series and this was his first experience traveling to Takehara. While visiting okonomiyaki shop Horikawa (ほり川), the model for Hoboro in the series, we hear from Ishimitsu (いしみつ @hrk_takehara), a Tamayura fan who emigrated to Takehara and now works at the restaurant. The program was broadcast on January 29 for the NHK Chūgoku region only, but is also available for playback with video-on-demand NHK+ until February 12. The landing page for the special also includes four preview videos and many production stills that give a good sense of program. Media coverage: Oricon News, Otakomu 1, Higashi-Hiroshima Digital, Anime Anime, Otakomu 2

Haruhi and Tatami locations
NHK and subsidiary Japan International Broadcasting produced an episode of English language program Explore Japan titled “Anime Dramatic Tours,” which uses the premise of a fictional travel agency providing a guided tour to introduce locations in Nishinomiya and Amagaski, Hyōgo Prefecture for the Suzumiya Haruhi series, and in Kyoto for Yojōhan Shinwa Taikei (The Tatami Galaxy). This is available for playback online. The Haruhi portion of the program includes visits to Cafe Dream, including introduction of the pilgrimage exchange notebook there and interview with owner Hosomi Akiko, Amagasaki Chūō Shōtengai, Shukugawa Park, Kōyōen Station and Hankyu trains, Haruhizaka, Shin-ike (Mikuru’s pond), and Hirota Jinja. The Tatami portion includes visits to the Kamogawa delta, Demachi Futaba, Tadasu no Mori, Daigokuden Honpo, Kyoto University, Yoshida Jinja, Kyoto Tower and Keage Incline, as well as interview with creator Tomihiko Morimi. Media coverage: Nishinomiya Style

Hamamatsu anime locations
Shizuoka Asahi TV program Look produced a segment (transcript and screen captures) introducing anime locations and the impact of anime tourism in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, including Tenryū-Futamata Station for Shin Evangelion Gekijōban, and Kanzanji Onsen and Bentenjima for Yuru Camp. The segment includes interviews with representatives of a shop in Kanzanji, the Maisaka-chō Tourism Association, Shizuoka Eiwa Gakuin University professor Mōri Yasuhide, and tourists who were visiting Bentenjima at the time of filming.

Misaki no Mayoiga Mainichi Film Award
Misaki no Mayoiga won Best Animation Film at the 76th Mainichi Film Awards. The winners were announced January 20 and a ceremony is scheduled February 15 at Meguro Persimmon Hall in Tokyo. The film is set in Ōtsuchi and Tōno, Iwate Prefecture, and is one of several anime works under Zutto Ōen. Project 2011+10… (ずっとおうえん。プロジェクト 2011+10…), itself part of broader efforts by Fuji TV to support disaster recovery in the Tōhoku region following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Media coverage: Oricon News, Mantanweb, Crunchyroll News, Anime News Network

Bizen Fujiwara Hajime collaboration
NHK World published a video report in English on the use of Idolmaster Cinderella Girls mobile game character Fujiwara Hajime as a mascot for Inbe, the district in Bizen, Okayama Prefecture that is the main production base for Bizenware pottery. In the character’s backstory, she is a potter from Okayama. The relationship was made official and posters featuring the character were put on display beginning in 2021 October. Media coverage: NHK World

Comment: What I’m curious about, and the story doesn’t discuss, is if fans first went there spontaneously, or if the promotional campaign started things. One of the interviewees says he has already visited 10 times when this report was made in 2021 November, so I’m guessing it’s the former. The Idolmaster franchise has a rich history of fans designating various places as seichi based on shared names or character backstories.

On a separate note, in a case of what I suspect was an editor gone wild, this video was repackaged elsewhere on the NHK World site with the headline “Pottery Town Gains Anime Pilgrimage Boost” and phrase “making an anime pilgrimage” in its description. It has since disappeared from the site, but is archived here. My guess is this was an attempt to translate the term seichijunrei, which can refer to travel induced by manga, anime, games, or other media. But “anime pilgrimage” as a translation is misleading if it’s actually a different medium. There is an Idolmaster Cinderella Girls anime adaptation, but Fujiwara Hajime is a game-only character, so it’s kind of complicated. With these sprawling media mix franchises, it’s sometimes hard to say where the dividing lines are. Maybe that’s the intention.

Keiyō Line Oregairu collaboration
JR East and Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. are collaborating on a two-part digital stamp rally that includes locations from the series accessible via the Keiyō Line (京葉線) in Chiba Prefecture. The first part ran from 2021 December 17 to 2022 January 27. The second part will run from January 28 to March 14. The set of locations changes between the parts. Character panels and other decorations will be on display at the rail stations included in the rally. Media coverage: Mantanweb, Crunchyroll News

Shizuoka Yuru Camp collaboration
Yuru Camp x Shizuokaken (『ゆるキャン△』×静岡県)—a multi-legged marketing collaboration between Shizuoka Prefecture and Yuru Camp—added a new event, a digital stamp rally in the western part of the prefecture (リンとなでしこの静岡西部の旅スタンプラリー) that will run from January 21 to March 21. I’m not clear on the significance, but unlike all previous events, the information about this one is hosted on a separate domain, https://yurucamp-shizuoka-seibu.com, rather than the main site, https://yurucamp-shizuoka.com. The “Rin Course” includes locations in Omaezaki, Kakegawa, Iwata and Hamamatsu. The “Rin and Nadeshiko Course” includes locations in Kosai and Hamamatsu. Character panels will be on display at some of the rally points.

Tenhama Yuru Camp collaboration
Tenryū Hamanako Railroad (天竜浜名湖鉄道) and Yuru Camp are collaborating on a promotion (dedicated site, announcement) featuring character panels and original voice recordings at five stations on the Tenryū Hamanako Line (天竜浜名湖線) in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture from February 1 to 20. Each panel includes a QR code that triggers playback of lines recorded by the character’s voice actor in an AR smartphone application. Though not a requirement, the intent of the promotion is to encourage visitors to buy special one-day rail passes that feature Yuru Camp illustrations, and patronize the museums, historical sites and businesses near the stations. Media coverage: TV Shizuoka

Yokosuka Slow Loop collaboration
The Yokokoska’s Kitchen menus and items, as well as the Finding Sea-nyan augmented reality game, two parts of the marketing promotions being offered through the collaboration of Slow Loop, the Yokosuka Tourism Association, and Yokosuka Subculture Promotion and Utilization Committee, had originally been scheduled to run until March 31. They have been extended to May 15.

Saga Zonsaga manhole covers
The was additional reporting, in English from NHK World, on the installation of Zombie Land Saga manhole covers featuring Franchouchou members that took place from 2021 April to June, covered previously (here, here and here). The original page hosting the video report is no longer available, but the material is still accessible at the NHK World Facebook page.

Comment: I’m puzzled by the onscreen text caption, “These characters may look the same but their individuality appears in their facial expressions, eyes, and fingertips.” Even as chibi style manhole cover designs, the Zonsaga characters are deliberately very different from each other.

Zonsaga moped license plates
There was additional reporting on Saga Prefecture issuing moped license plates featuring Zombie Land Saga characters, covered previously (here, here). Media coverage: Asahi Shimbun

Karatsu Zonsaga bikeshare
There was additional reporting on the Zombie Land Saga itachari rentals launched by bikeshare service PiPPA and Anime Tourism Association in 2021 December, covered previously. Media coverage: Yorozū News

Current Season Pilgrimage

@ad_motsu (updated post) and @miyaken46 (post) made pilgrimages to Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture for Slow Loop Episode 4.

@tad55kawasaki made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2, post 3) to Tonoshō, Kagawa Prefecture for Karakai Jōzu no Takagi-san 3 Episode 4.

@york21c made a pilgrimage to Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture for Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon S OVA Episode 13.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@dotproducer made a pilgrimage to Saga Prefecture for Zombie Land Saga Revenge.

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Ōmiya Ward, Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture; Okayama Station in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture for Ochikobore Fruit Tart.

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage to Hida, Gifu Prefecture for Kimi no Na wa.

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage to Kumano, Mie Prefecture for Nagi no Asukara.

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage to Nanto, Toyama Prefecture for YuruYuri♪♪

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2, post 3) to Takayama, Gifu Prefecture for Hyōka.