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
Cafe Dream Tanabata
Haruhi fans have been visiting Cafe Dream (珈琲屋ドリーム) in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture to help decorate the shop inside and out for Tanabata. Many came on July 2 to prepare the bamboo branches in front of the cafe and to be among the first to affix their strips. Dream has put up bamboo branches and offered paper strips for customers to write wishes for about thirty years. After the release of the Suzumiya Haruhi series, fans joined in the festivities, often holding pilgrimage meetups at the cafe on the eve of Tanabata, which is celebrated July 7.
— イチ (@hibike_nozomizo) July 2, 2022
Shōdoshima Mushi Okuri
Mushi Okuri (虫送り) is an event held in the terraced rice fields of Hitoyama and Nakayama in Shōdoshima-chō, Kagawa Prefecture. In the local tradition, at dusk the participants, mostly children, carry handmade torches along the paths through the fields under the guidance of a Buddhist monk leading a prayer for a good harvest. The idea is the torch light attracts and then “sends off the insects” out to sea, protecting the crops. The Mushi Okuri in Nakayama Senmaida (中山千枚田) was depicted in Gekijōban Karakai Jōzu no Takagi-san and used as the film’s key visual. After cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, it was held for the first time in three years on July 2. Many Takagi-san fans participated in the festivities this year. Quite a few of them are friends of mine, and I can vouch they are all children at heart!
Photos: thread, tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5, tweet 6, tweet 7, tweet 8, tweet 9, tweet 10, tweet 11, tweet 12, tweet 13, tweet 14, tweet 15, tweet 16, tweet 17, tweet 18, tweet 19, tweet 20, tweet 21
— リジス@C100 8/13 東ハ28b (@lidges) July 3, 2022
Minobu Yuru Camp event
Yuru Camp fans gathered at former Shimobe elementary and junior high schools in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture on July 2 and 3 for an overnight camping meetup organized by the Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会). This was a Camping Sports Experience × Schoolyard Camp (キャンプスポーツ体験×校庭キャンプ), at which participants are can participate in light outdoor games for children and adults.
Lucky Star character birthday
The character birthday for Lucky Star Hīragi twins Kagami and Tsukasa has for many years involved much fanfare in Washinomiya. After two years of scaled down and primarily online substitutions for live events due to Covid-19, this year was a partial return to on-site festivities. The actual birthday is July 7. The main event was held July 3, the Sunday prior, but activities for visitors were available both days. The high level outline of the proceedings is available on the Kuki City Chamber of Commerce Washinomiya Branch website.
This year returned to an on-site event with perennial featured guest and Tsukasa voice actor Fukuhara Kaori (福原香織), with limited space for attendees, but also retained the livestream for remove viewing. The recording is available for playback, but because of how Nico Nico works, you either have to have reserved the “time shift” in advance, or sign up for a premium account to access it retroactively. To help mitigate potential Covid spread at the venue, the event was framed as a lecture, with Fukuhara as the “teacher” and attendees as the quietly listening “students.” After Fukuhara feigned a connection problem while trying to contact Yoshimizu Kagami (美水かがみ) by phone to ask a question during the event, the mangaka suddenly appeared on stage in a surprise visit.
The big announcement this year was the launch of the first fundraising round for the Tsukasa Project (つかさ☆プロジェク), a crowdfunding campaign planning multiple projects, the first of which is creating a kigurumi for Tsukasa. Washinomiya has had a Kagami kigurumi for appearances at public events since 2014, but due to budget constraints, a second costume for Tsukasa had not been part of the plan, until this was announced last year. This first round of the campaign is being hosted with Campfire, and is planned to run from July 7 to August 10, with a target of 2.4 million JPY.
Elsewhere in Washinomiya, visitors had a choice of multiple activities. At Ōtori Chaya Denden (大酉茶屋 田々), next to Washinomiya Jinja, illustrated mini birthday cakes made by local confectioner Edelweiss (洋菓子倶楽部エーデルワイス) were available for sale. A participatory game called Ukenobe Kaisen (受述回線) involved searching for individuals wandering the streets in Washinomiya, based on clues they announced in real time via Twitter. At the Kuki City Chamber of Commerce Washinomiya Branch, Tanabata bamboo branches and paper strips were placed outside the office both days, and birthday cards could be picked up by visitors any day from July 3 to 7.
— 福原香織 (@FukuharaKaori) July 3, 2022
Free! seichijunrei survey
A fourth year student in economics at Yamaguchi University is writing their bachelor thesis on the theme of anime as a tourism resource. They are conducting a survey of fans of Free! to understand the relationship between the series and seichijunrei that it induces. The survey is available online. Data submitted is anonymous and will only be used in connection with this thesis.
Yuru Camp promotion
Multiple tie-up marketing promotions launched concurrent with the July 1 theatrical premiere of Eiga Yuru Camp.
The Kōhō Minobu 2022 July edition (広報みのぶ 2022年7月号), the town’s public relations newsletter, features front and back cover color illustrations and a special section about the film. @fureshima2223 screencapped the contents and published them in a blog post for archival purposes.
To promote the film release and commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun, Yuru Camp purchased a full page color advertisement in the July 1 paper. A copy can be ordered through the back issue service offered by the newspaper. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3
Michi-no-eki Shimobe Auto Camp: Yuru Camp no Sato (道の駅しもべオートキャンプ場〜ゆるキャン△の里〜), a real campsite created by the Yuru Camp marketing and public relations team, covered previously here and here, began taking reservations on July 1 and will formally open on July 16. An announcement was made on the Yuru Camp official site, and the campsite online reservation portal is now open.
Tokyo Akishima Mori Park (東京・昭島 モリパーク) launched a marketing promotion that includes a stamp rally and character panel exhibition beginning July 1, and original goods sales beginning July 17, all ending August 15. @fureshima2223 visited the exhibition and published a report with photography.
Fujikyū Group (富士急グループ) launched a marketing promotion that will include character panels, stamp rally, original goods, collaboration menus in the Yamanakako area and Fujisan 5th Station, as well as in-vehicle decorations on the Fujikyūkō Line and road bus Fujikko-gō, and commemorative tickets for the Fujikyūkō Line and sightseeing boat Hakuchō no Mizūmi from July 1 to 31.
The Yamanashi Prefecture, Shizuoka Prefecture and JR Central (JR東海) campaign that includes transit passes, in-car decoration, and mystery solving game, announced previously, held its departure ceremony at Minobu Station on July 4. Media coverage: NHK, NHK 2, SBS, SBS 2, Asahi Shimbun. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5
A staff talk event held in conjunction with a film screening at Shinjuku Piccadilly on July 5 included Mukawa Kiyoshiro (武川清志朗) from the Yamanashi Tourism Promotion Organization (やまなし観光推進機構). Akiba Sōken mentions this in its report on the film’s extensive goods sales and other tie-up marketing promotions.
Wakayama Summer Time exhibition
An exhibition of Summer Time Render character panels, reproduction keyframes, and messages from voice actors will be held at Wakayama Civic Library (和歌山市民図書館) in Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture from July 1 to 22. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2
Kōzushima Love Live bus
A Love Live! Superstar!! wrapping bus will operate on a regular fixed-route in Kōzushima, Ōshima Subprefecture, Tokyo Metropolis, including a stop at Kōzushima Port, from July 15 to September 25. After this period, the vehicle will be used as tour bus on designated days.
Keihan Eupho promotion
Keihan Electric Railway (京阪電気鉄道) and Hibike! Euphonium are launching a marketing promotion that will run from 2022 August 1 to 2024 February 15. The campaign will include multiple parts of varying duration.
On the Keihan lines, which refers to the Keihan Main Line, Keihan Nakanoshima Line, Keihan Uji Line and a few others in that network, a one-day commemorative ticket will be offered, and on one 13000 series train set of the Uji Line headmarks will be displayed, a new one each month, from 2022 August 1 to November 30. The one-day pass is valid until 2023 March 31.
On the Ōtsu lines, which refers to the Keihan Keishin Line and Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line, a similar one-day pass will be offered during the same period as the Keihan lines campaign, and one 600 series train set of the Ishiyama Sakamoto Line will feature full train wrapping and headmarks from 2022 August 1 to 2024 February 15. Prior to launch, a photo session with the wrapping train at the Nishigōri Garage in Ōtsu, which requires advance registration, will be held July 30 and 31. News Release: Keihan Electric Railway (alternate). Media coverage: Mantanweb, Tetsudo.com, Crunchyroll News
Rurubu Evangelion guide
JTB Publishing published Rurubu Evangelion (るるぶエヴァンゲリオン), a travel guide to locations in Hakone, Hamamatsu and Ube that have appeared in the series, on July 6. News release: JTB Publishing. Media coverage: Comic Natalie, Animage Plus, Famitsu.com, AV Watch, Game Watch, Den Fami Nico Gamer, Real Sound, Crunchyroll News, Anime Anime, ITmedia, IGN Japan
Odaiba Love Live bus tour
Up Star (アップスター) will operate a bus tour of Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Dōkōkai locations in the Tokyo Waterfront City (東京臨海副都心) area and other parts of Odaiba, utilizing its American style schoolbuses, which will play music from the Nijigasaki PV videos throughout the 45 minute route. The tour will operate on July 16, 17, 23 and 24, with six runs each day, and cost 2,000 JPY per ticket.
Hirosaki local goods
Anime goods shop Animedia Blanco (アニメディア ブランコ) in Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture consulted with emigrant and Flying Witch evangelist Taya Naoki (たやなおき @justtaiyaki) on developing a set of original keychains based on Hirosaki bus stop signs and local landmarks. These are not official Flying Witch goods, however the choices of locations and motifs are obvious nods and winks to fans of the series. Media coverage: Hirosaki Keizai Shimbun, Radio Aomori Broadcasting