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

Hirosaki Flying Witch snow lanterns
Hirosaki Castle Snow Lantern Festival (弘前城雪燈籠まつり) in Aomori Prefecture had been scheduled for February 10 to 13 this year, but was cancelled due to the developing Covid-19 situation. In this event, sections of Hirosaki Park are designated as areas where volunteers build large freestanding lanterns with snow, finishing them with an illustration on paper screen that is backlit with an illuminant placed inside the “lantern,” similar to a real stone lantern.

Beginning in 2017, each year fans of Flying Witch have organized to build several lanterns, each completed with a hand-painted screen from artist Miura Yūki (三浦裕基 @miuranran34), pen name Miura Gakusen (三浦岳仙), that incorporates characters from the manga and anime series. Miura contributes art to full-size neputa, the fan-shaped floats with elaborate screens that are illuminated from within and paraded through the city during Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri (弘前ねぷたまつり), as well as the miniature neputa built recently (here and here) by the Witch Association Hirosaki Branch (魔女協会弘前支部)—a Flying Witch fan club based in the city.

Though the official components of the festival were cancelled and it was not possible to build lanterns, artists were still able to display backlit screens in a large snow wall. Miura unveiled two new screens for 2022, one a painting of Kowata Makoto, the other a dedication to the Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri, which will be 300 years old this year. These were installed next to a selection of Flying Witch screens from the previous few years.

Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3

Contents tourism symposium
Ōtemae University will host an online contents tourism symposium (コンテンツツーリズムにおける文化の継承-『聖地巡礼』の現場における実践から-) on February 26 from 13:00 to 18:00 JST. Participation is free and open to the public. Interested individuals can register in advance here.

Ohanamikai cancelled
Ohanamikai (緒花見会)—an annual Hanasaku Iroha fan-organized cherry blossom viewing party and litter cleanup at Nishigishi Station in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture—has been canceled for 2022 due to ongoing concerns about Covid-19.

Hokkaidō Ginsaji exhibition
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the serialization of Gin no Saji, the manga by Arakawa Hiromu later adapted as an anime and live action film, an exhibition of handwritten manuscripts and color keyframes will be held in Hokkaidō this summer and fall. This is the first time these production materials have been released for public exhibition. The event will run first at the Sapporo Art Park (札幌芸術の森美術館) from July 16 to September 11, then move to the Hokkaidō Obihiro Museum of Art from September 17 to December 4. Gin no Saji is about students at an agricultural high school and uses the Obihiro central business district and Hokkaidō Obihiro Agricultural High School as location models.

Chitanda Eru tobidashi
Chūnichi Shimbun published an article about the Chitanda Eru tobidashi at Honmachi Sanchōme Shōtengai (本町三丁目商店街) in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture. It explains the Ōmi, Shiga Prefecture origin of archetype tobidashi-bōya and their purpose of alerting drivers to the presence of children. It notes this one is based on the protagonist of Hyōka, produced as a hobby by an anime fan, and appeared first in Toyosato before being relocated to Takayama. The reason for the sudden interest in Takayama and Eru-taso is the awarding of the 2022 Naoki Prize to Takayama native and Hyōka author Yonezawa Honobu for his most recent novel, Kokurōjō. Hyōka was Yonezawa’s debut novel, written while living and working part-time in Takayama. The story is set in the city and was later adapted as a series by Kyoto Animation. Media coverage: Chūnichi Shimbun (print)

There is one point in the article on which there is a discrepancy between what the reporter writes and how the situation is understood by people directly involved. In the article, the reason given for Eru’s relocation was that in Toyosato she was “at risk of removal because of a lack of space” (手狭になり撤去の危機). However, Metalluca (めたるか @METALLUCA666) says this was not the case. Eru was created in 2012. Her original location in front of a sake brewery in Toyosato was far from the active part of town. As a result, few people were aware of her existence. People involved in Eru’s creation and maintenance wanted to reinstall her at a new location where she would be appreciated. She was temporarily sheltered inside Toyosato Elementary School for some repair work in 2015, and eventually brought to Takayama when the opportunity arose in 2017. This was the reason for the move. Metalluca would know. He designed her.

Nishinomiya Cafe Dream
Kōbe Shimbun interviewed management at several coffee shops in Hyōgo Prefecture about the current business environment, in which they are dealing with both price increases of input materials, particularly coffee beans and cooking oil, and loss of customers due to Covid-19. The first shop discussed is Cafe Dream (珈琲屋ドリーム) in Nishinomiya, which the reporter notes is a popular location for both locals and fans of the Suzumiya Haruhi series. Travel restrictions and preference for working from home has reduced customer numbers at cafes across the board. In particular, Dream’s customers would normally include fans traveling from inside and outside the prefecture, but this kind of movement is especially impacted under the current scenario. Media coverage: Kōbe Shimbun

Tsuchiura Patlabor collaboration
Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture and Kidō Keisatsu Patlabor collaborated on a marketing campaign that ran from January 14 to February 13. The campaign included an exhibition of illustrations and anime production materials, stamp rally and goods. Media coverage: Ibaraki Shimbun

Saga Zonsaga video
To promote the upcoming Zombie Land Saga film, a video has been released featuring voice actors Taneda Risa (Mizuno Ai) and Tanaka Minami (Hoshikawa Lily) visiting Saga Prefecture locations used in the series. Their tour includes stops in Karatsu (Karatsu City Museum of History and Folklore), Imari (Drive-in Tori, Kojima factory, Imari Bay), Ureshino (footbath, Ureshino Onsen, Cafe Moka), and Saga City (Saga TV, Saga Jinja). Media coverage: Dengeki Online, Otasuke, Crunchyroll News

Fuchū Chihayafuru video
Fūchu Tourism Association (府中観光協会) released a video on its YouTube channel introducing locations in the city that appear in the manga, narrated by voice actor Seto Asami, who performs the role of protagonist Chihaya Ayase in the anime adaptation. News release: Fūchu City Tourism Promotion Division. Media coverage: Straight Press

Iwanuma Bakuten promotion
Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture produced a “seichijunrei map,” character panels, and public relations video using funds from furusato nōzei (hometown tax) collected as part of its Bakuten!! collaboration. This is one of three 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. The series will get a film release in July. Media coverage: Kahoku Shimpō

Current Season Pilgrimage

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Ōmiya Station in Ōmiya Ward; Honchō and Atagochō, Iwatsuki Ward (all Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture) for Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi o Suru Episode 4 and Episode 6.

@ad_motsu made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture for Slow Loop Episode 6.

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

Past Season Pilgrimage

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Tōbu Zoo in Miyashino, Saitama Prefecture for Kemono Friends.

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage (post 5, post 6) to Takayama, Gifu Prefecture for Hyōka.

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage (post 2, post 3) to Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture for Tamayura.