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
Lucky Star character birthday
There was additional reporting on the Lucky Star Hīragi twins character birthday events in Washinomiya, Kuki, Saitama Prefecture on July 3 and 7, covered previously. Media coverage: WebNewtype
Lucky Star Mikoshi in Radio Washinomiya
To look back over the June 4 procession of the Lucky Star mikoshi, the first in three years, as well as the July 3 and 7 Hīragi twins character birthday events, a special broadcast of Lucky Star Mikoshi in Radio Washinomiya (らき☆すた神輿 in ラジオ鷲宮) will be livestreamed via Niconico on July 16 from 19:00 to 21:00 JST. Before the broadcast, listeners can send opinions and impressions to the email address indicated in both the announcement and the description on the livestream page.
Yamanashi Yuru Camp talk event
An additional staff talk event, held in conjunction with an Eiga Yuru Camp screening at Toho Cinemas Kofu in Shōwa, Yamanashi Prefecture on July 16, has been added to the film promotion schedule. This talk will feature just two people, Ōgaki Chiaki voice actor Hara Sayuri (原紗友里), and Mukawa Kiyoshiro (武川清志朗) from the Yamanashi Tourism Promotion Organization (やまなし観光推進機構). In the film, Chiaki works for this organization. Hara and Mukawa both appeared previously alongside other cast and staff at the talk event in Tokyo on July 5. In this new talk, they plan to focus on location hunting during Yuru Camp production and the reality of working for this kind of organization.
Yamanashi Antarctic exhibition
Yamanashi Prefectural Museum (山梨県立博物館) will hold a special exhibition on the history of Antarctic exploration (たんけん！はっけん！南極展 壮大な自然と人々の物語) from July 16 to September 5. It will include an exhibit on Sora yori mo Tōi Basho and coincide with a weekly rebroadcast of the series on Yamanashi Broadcasting System that began May 31.
Kōfu Super Cub exhibition and reading
Yamanashi Prefectural Library (山梨県立図書館) in Kōfu will hold a Super Cub exhibition and reading (TVアニメ「スーパーカブ」小さな展示会＆朗読会) from August 10 to 17. The exhibition will be available each day and include original keyframes from the OP and ED, reproductions of keyframes from episodes, setting materials and storyboards, as well as scripts and actual Super Cub vehicles. The readings will be comprised of content not included in the TV series. Kumada Akane, who sings the Super Cub opening theme and is also a voice actor, will give readings and after talks on August 13. Voice actors Yomichi Yuki (Koguma), Nanase Ayaka (Reiko) and Hioka Natsumi (Eniwa Shii) will reprise their roles in readings and after talks on August 14. There will be three readings each day, at 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00, and the content will be different each time. Media coverage: Comic Natalie, Animate Times, Mantanweb, Crunchyroll News
Nagano Tsurune locations
Nagano Broadcasting Systems published a report on the history of kyūdō (弓道) in Shinano Province, now Nagano Prefecture, and the use of locations in the region as references for the Kyoto Animation adaptation of Tsurune: Kazemai Kōkō Kyūdō-bu. The TV series premiered in 2018 October and has inspired some high school students in Nagano to join their school kyūdō clubs. An anime film, Gekijōban Tsurune: Hajimari no Issha, will premiere August 19. Media coverage: Nagano Broadcasting Systems
Kamiichi Ōkami Kodomo milestone
Hana no Ie (花の家), a traditional house in Kamiichi, Toyama Prefecture that was used as a primary setting in Hosoda Mamoru 2012 film Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, on July 9 recorded the 100,000th visitor since the premiere. Media coverage: Kita Nippon Shimbun (alternate 1, alternate 2)
Nanao Hōkago Insomnia promotion
Citizens group Nanao Machiaruki Center (七尾まちあるきセンター) began work on training local guides and preparing a map for Kimi wa Hōkago Insomnia manga locations in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture. Anime and live-action adaptations of the series were announced as greenlit in January. The intention of the center is to promote awareness of the series among Nanao locals, to better position the city to be receptive to visitors on pilgrimages. In April, it received the 500,000 JPY grand prize in a local regional revitalization project competition for its proposal to carry out this work. Media coverage: Hokkoku Shimbun
Comment: I have reservations about local governments or promotion organizations referring to themselves as seichi. I think that designation is best left to fans to use at their discretion. Not every location model becomes a seichi. That said, I think this approach of spreading awareness from within and attempting to incorporate the work into local lore through machizukuri, is much more genuine than the aloof “any work will do” attitude of many recent tourism marketing campaigns that use anime.
Kōchi Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime promotion
Niyodo Blue Tourism Council (仁淀ブルー観光協議会) is holding a Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime Instagram hashtag campaign from July 8 to November 30. Participants are required to follow the tourism council’s Instagram account, post photos of locations from the Niyodo River area in Kōchi Prefecture that appear in the official guide map, and use a specified hashtag. Original goods will be distributed to participants by lottery, and the tourism council may repost photos it likes.
Tatebayashi Yorimoi promotion
Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture held an advisory board meeting, in which city leaders listen to the opinions of stakeholders, on the theme of tourism on July 8. One attendee voiced the view that “It is important for fans who visit for seichijunrei to become fans of the local area.” The article does not indicate if Sora yori mo Tōi Basho was mentioned by name. Media coverage: Jōmō Shimbun
Comment: The article is sparse, so I don’t want to make assumptions about what else may or may not have been said. However, generally speaking it has become a recurring phenomenon that locals are rushing to push this idea of “becoming fans of the area,” frequently before the broadcast of new anime has even started, while the work itself is mentioned only as an afterthought or not at all. This leads me to wonder if, for these interest groups, the work and characters are inconsequential. Over time, anime fans may indeed become fans of the area, but their initial encounter with it and path to deepening that relationship is mediated by the work. Local officials and promotion organizations ignore this at their peril. A few days ago, Kakizaki Shundo (柿崎俊道 @Syundow) had a bunch of thoughtful ideas (thread 1, thread 2) about how this should be done, and how it plays out in reality. I chimed in with my two cents.
Ube Evangelion promotion
A three meter tall statue of Evangelion Unit-01 has been installed in the lobby of Yamaguchi Ube Airport. This is one piece of the Evangelion jacking at the airport, which is part of the 2nd Machijū Evangelion (まちじゅうエヴァンゲリオン第2弾) marketing promotion. The campaign also includes collaboration menus at participating restaurants and a digital stamp rally built on the COCOAR platform. The promotion will run from July 8 to September 3, but the statue itself will remain until 2023 May. Media coverage: Jiji