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
Sado Aiuta screening
Theatrical film Ai no Utagoe o Kikasete premiered in 2021 October in Japan. The townscape scenes of its fictional setting are based primarily on Sadogashima, an island off the coast of Niigata Prefecture. The city that comprises the island is called Sado. Though a few butaitanbou-sha investigated and a small number of fans visited for seichijunrei, this information is not widely known.
Aiuta did not screen on the island during its release period, but a fan expressed on social media a desire to see the film at cafe and mini-theater Gashima Cinema (ガシマシネマ), located in Sado. After investigating and understanding the relationship between Sado and the film, the cafe manager arranged to have it screened. Showings are scheduled at 14:00 from March 2 to 13, and 10:00 from March 16 to April 1. Director Yoshiura Yasuhiro expressed joy at learning that the film would be screened on Sadogashima. Media coverage: Niigata Nippō
Minobu litter cleanup
Following the partial reopening of a section of National Route 300 in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture, which had been closed due to landslides, the Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会) organized a litter clean up along the road. This was intended both to create a more attractive environment for receiving visitors, as well as thanks for the Yuru Camp fan campaign to support Misawaya Petroleum (三沢屋石油), covered previously here and here. The council is a volunteer group that aims to provide welcoming experiences to Yuru Camp fans visiting Minobu. It regularly hosts camping meetups at former Shimobe elementary and junior high schools, creates and distributes location maps, and performs weeding and cleaning in the town. Media coverage: YBS Wide News. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2
— たかよでぃ△ (@takayody1000) February 27, 2022
WUG character birthday
As an unofficial birthday celebration for Wake Up, Girls! character Kikuma Kaya, Cafe Bijou (喫茶ビジュゥ) in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture will offer cake decorated in her green cheer color. This is actually a traditional Swedish princess cake, which is typically wrapped in green colored marzipan. Kayatan’s birthday is March 1. The cake will be available throughout March. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2
Comment: Cafe Bijou’s WUG menu items are like Chez Inoue’s Haruhi cookies, a small but heartfelt gesture to fans and completely unofficial. Because you don’t need to sit down and hammer out IP rights and monetization negotiation with a production committee to make a green cake or orange cookies with pandas, thank goodness.
Yorimoi character birthday
A fan-organized Sora yori mo Tōi Basho character birthday for Tamaki Mari originally planned for March 19 in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture has been moved to April 16 due to the present Covid-19 situation.
Takehara Tamayura event
A “Tamayura Alumni Association Event” (たまゆら同窓会イベント) was originally planned to be a physical event in Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture in 2020, which would have commemorated the 10th anniversary of the series. Due to Covid-19, the event was delayed and an online nomikai organized by the owner of the Horikawa okonomiyaki shop in Takehara was held 2020 September 12. Fans who purchased a Complete Blu-ray Box set, released on 2020 October 10, received a priority lottery application ticket for the event, though at the time a date had still not been decided. Eventually the physical event was scheduled for 2021 October 10, then later rescheduled to 2022 April 24. This has now been postponed again, also due to Covid-19. Media coverage: Otakomu 1, Anime News Network 1, Otakomu 2, Anime News Network 2
Iwatsuki Kisekoi doll maker
March 3 was Hina Matsuri (雛祭り). Among obligatory media coverage of hina doll exhibitions, there was additional reporting on Suzuki Keishō (鈴木慶章), his modern dolls, and his part in helping create Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi o Suru, covered previously. This new interview goes into much more detail about the features of the dolls, with extensive photography to illustrate. Media coverage: Huffington Post Japan
Anime Tourism Association white papers
I’m getting to these late. Unlike in 2018 and 2019, Anime Tourism Association did not announce these white papers on its website, so I learned of them long after the matter.
The Association published Anime Tourism White Paper 2020 (アニメツーリズム白書2020) on 2020 April 10, which includes tourism case studies and an Association activity report based on events of 2019, and a list of local governments for each of the locations selected for the 2020 edition of the Anime Seichi 88 list. This paper also includes a special section on expansion of the scope of anime tourism through media mix.
Anime Tourism White Paper 2021 (アニメツーリズム白書2021) was published on 2021 April 22, which includes case studies and a report based on events of 2020, and basic data about local governments and tourism information for each of the locations selected for the 2021 edition of the Anime Seichi 88 list. This paper also includes a special section on inbound tourists and tourism in general after Covid-19, and a message about the present and future goals of the Association.
Due to Covid-19, no voting for the 2021 edition of the Anime Seichi 88 list took place. Instead, the 2020 selections were repeated as the 2021 selections. As a result, the omission of basic data and tourism information from the 2020 paper is resolved by the 2021 paper.
Warabi Cramer promotion
City officials and businesses in Warabi, Saitama Prefecture have been taking measures to drive regional revitalization utilizing Sayonara Watashi no Cramer since the series aired in 2021 April, primarily through promotion of locations used in the series and official tie-up goods sales. Warabi plans to hold a study session in March with local businesses and fans of the series on “attracting new tourists through seichijunrei.” It also added 2 million JPY to the city budget for the development of new tie-up goods.
The article continues with brief discussion of other anime tourism case studies in the prefecture, emphasizing sales figures for past tie-up products and, in the case of Kawagoe, plans to develop a pipeline for promotional goods so they are ready for sale during broadcasts for new anime series, not launched afterward. Media coverage: Yomiuri Shimbun
Tatebayashi Yorimoi local promotion
The front cover of the 2022 March 1 issue of Kōhō Tatebayashi (広報館林2022年3月1日号), the city published free local newsletter distributed to residents, features the new illustration of the four main characters of Sora yori mo Tōi Basho created by staff at studio Madhouse for use in the city’s public relations communications, which was covered previously. The issue also includes two short articles pertaining to Yorimoi. One is about the illustration itself. The other is about the wrapping bus, also covered previously. @fureshima2223 published screenshots of the relevant sections for archival purposes.
Future Season Pilgrimage
@niceboathime made a pilgrimage to Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture for Love Live! Virtual School Idol PV. This was just announced and it is not yet known what media the final form will use, but there is definitely a lot of excitement about the location already.
Current Season Pilgrimage
@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to (split off and updated post) Sakuragichō, Ōmiya Ward, Saitama City and Yashio, Saitama Prefecture; (new post) Katasekaigan, Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture for Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi o Suru Episode 8.