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
July 18 marked three years since the arson attack at Kyoto Animation Studio 1. As in 2020 and 2021, the studio held an on-site memorial service for staff and families at the location of what had been Studio 1, and an online video memorial for the rest of the world. The video was available for playback only through the end of the day, though Asahi Shimbun published the full text.
Shōjōke-in (清浄華院), a Buddhist temple adjacent to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, held memorial services beginning at 18:00. This temple has carried out memorial services to mourn victims of large fires in Kyoto since the late Edo period, and did so for Kyoto Animation in the aftermath of the attack. Shōjōke-in, assisted by volunteers, continues to lead a service for Kyoani every month on the 18th. A mortuary tablet for Kyoto Animation is currently enshrined in the temple’s main hall. Visitors are invited to view it at any time during the hall open hours, from 08:00 to 17:00.
Kindai University professor and contents tourism research Okamoto Takeshi (岡本健 @animemitarou) hosted a YouTube livestream and chat in the evening on July 18, though it ended earlier than planned due to technical issues. He made a successful second attempt on July 20. Both are available for playback. In the streams, he presented material about Kyoto Animation and its relationship with seichijunrei, with particular focus on Washinomiya (Lucky Star) and Toyosato (K-On!), which were significant parts of his PhD thesis. But he emphasized that he hoped attendees would ask questions and share their thoughts about the studio. The livestream was a pretense to have fans get together virtually and observe the memorial.
Later parts of Okamoto’s discussion exhamined how various Kyoani seichi responded in the immediate aftermath of the attack. Many became satellite bases of action through collecting cash donations for the studio, accepting flowers and other offerings, organizing gatherings, and providing emotional support. Kindai University itself is a Kyoani seichi, as the model for Samezuka Academy in the series Free! Okamoto, with the help of students, launched the Kyoto Animation Support Project (京都アニメーション応援プロジェクト) there after the attack, to join in this network.
As in 2020 and 2021, in the days before and after the memorial there was substantial media coverage about Kyoto Animation and the attack. Most of this focused on the memorial itself and pending trial of the arsonist. But a few pieces revisited the relationship between Kyoto Animation and its seichi.
Asahi Shimbun published an article about the Lucky Star mikoshi in Washinomiya, Kissa Sando in Kashihara (Kyōkai no Kanata), and how they provide venues for fans to share thoughts with each other and communicate support for the studio.
Yomiuri Shimbun published an article about the pilgrimage exchange notebooks at Demachi Masugata Shōtengai in Kyoto (Tamako Market), unofficial character-themed cocktails served at Bar Kaguya in Uji (Hibike! Euphonium), and upcoming Keihan Railway promotions in Uji and Ōtsu. The Keihan campaign is a tie-in with Hibike! Euphonium, but the rail assets in Ōtsu that will be utilized are also part of the Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai! seichi.
Sankei Shimbun (print) published an article about progress made in rebuilding the studio after the attack, and surprise among observers at how quickly it has been able to resume production and announce plans for future works. It includes comments of support from butaitanbou-sha Ebisu (夷 @ye_bi_su), who is introduced as “39 year old certified accountant in Shimogyō Ward, Kyoto and Hibike! Euphonium fan who creates dōjinshi researching the series’ setting of Uji.”
Asahi Shimbun published an article about late director Takemoto Yasuhiro, noting the relationship between Lucky Star and the growth of interest in anime seichijunrei.
NHK (article 1, article 2) and NHK World (with English subtitles) published a video and text feature with the surviving husband and son (the eldest of two children) of late character designer Ikeda Shōko. Ikeda is most well-known for the characters of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu and Hibike! Euphonium. After talking about her life and approach to craft, in the second half of the feature they visit Uji. At the time of the Eupho television broadcasts, as a family they would go there together for what was essentially seichijunrei.
Love Live character birthday
A horde of little demons gathered at a birthday celebration for Love Live! Sunshine!! character Tsushima Yoshiko, organized by the Agetsuchi Shōtengai (あげつち商店街) and held at the River Side Hotel in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture on July 13. Fallen angel voice actor Kobayashi Aika (小林愛香) was the featured guest. Due to restrictions related to Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021, this is the first time in three years Yohane’s birthday in Numazu has been observed with a large group event.
Happy Bithday ✨YOHANE pic.twitter.com/WDwUiJmEmq
— 沼津あげつち商店街 (@agetsuchi_ss) July 13, 2022
Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri
Fans of Hanasaku Iroha gathered in Yuwaku Onsen, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture on July 17 for the lantern lighting ceremony that begins the three month period before Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri (湯涌ぼんぼり祭り), the fictional festival from the series that studio P.A.Works and the hot spring village worked together to create as a real world event. The ceremony is normally open to the public, but due to concerns related to Covid-19, this year it was limited to the 350 individual sponsors of the lanterns and anyone staying in Yuwako Onsen on the day of the event. The lanterns will be lit every evening until the festival, which this year will be celebrated on October 22. The ceremony was livestreamed on the festival’s official YouTube channel and is available for playback. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5. Video: tweet 1
As a promotional tie-in with the festival, Hokuriku Railroad (北陸鉄道) will offer commemorative tickets for the bus line it operates between Kanazawa Station and Yuwaku Onsen from July 17 to October 23. The tickets feature the key visual from this year’s festival poster and indicate a fictional destination of Yunosagi Onsen, the name of the hot spring village in the series. News release: Hokuriku Railroad
— inoue1024 (@inoue1024) July 17, 2022
Minobu Yuru Camp event
Yuru Camp fans gathered at former Shimobe elementary and junior high schools in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture on July 17 and 18 for an overnight camping meetup organized by the Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会).
Kan’onji Yuyuyu dōjinshi event
Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru dōjinshi circles and fans gathered for Yusha-bū Kokoroe 20 (勇者部心得 にじゅーっ！), the latest installment of Yūsha-bu Mankai (勇者部満開)—a fan-organized exchange event and dōjinshi spot sale—on July 18 at High Staff Hall (ハイスタッフホール) in Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture.
Hokkaidō Ginsaji exhibition
An exhibition of handwritten manuscripts and color keyframes to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the serialization of Gin no Saji, announced in early 2022, is now underway. 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 (北海道立帯広美術館) from September 17 to December 4. To compliment the exhibition, character panels will be installed at Hachiken Station (from which the protagonist takes his name), Sapporo Station and Shin-Sapporo Station in Sapporo from July 15 to September 9, and Obihiro Station in Obihiro from July 15 to December 2. Media coverage: Sapporo List
The 40th Shōdoshima Matsuri (第40回小豆島まつり), the first convening of the festival in three years, will be held in Tonoshō-chō, Kagawa Prefecture on August 7. It will include a stage event with Karakai Jōzu no Takagi-san director Akagi Hiroaki (赤城博昭), Takagi-san voice actor Takahashi Rie (高橋李依), and series theme performer Ōhara Yuiko (大原ゆい子). The three will hold a talk show, and Takahashi and Ōhara will give a music performance. Media coverage: Comic Natalie, Crunchroll News
Komoro Natsumachi illustration
Ano Natsu de Matteru premiered in 2012 January. Each year since, the Komoro Tourism Bureau (こもろ観光局) has commissioned an illustration of the cast drawn at a location in the city, for use in tourism promotion campaigns and official goods. For 2022, the tenth anniversary, the illustration recreates the first anniversary version, with the characters aged up. The new illustration will be used in the gifts given to Natsumachi Ren (なつまち連) participants at the 50th Komoro Citizens Festival “Dokansho” (第50回こもろ市民まつり「ドカンショ」) on August 6.
The fifth anniversary illustration from 2017 has been displayed on three trucks operated by Komoro-based shipping companies, one at Chikuma Unyu and the other two at Maruhiro. The truck wrappings were supposed to be retired in 2022 March, but after restrictions on travel due to Covid-19 over the past two years, the companies agreed to run them one more year so visitors will have an opportunity to see them. This year’s Dokansho will likely be the last time the trucks are displayed at the festival. News release: Komoro Tourism Bureau. Media coverage: Anime Anime, Crunchyroll News
Kōzushima Love Live bus
The Love Live! Superstar!! wrapping bus in Kōzushima, Ōshima Subprefecture, Tokyo Metropolis was unveiled in a ceremony at Kōzushima Port and began its first day of operation, with a special schedule, on July 15. It will run a regular fixed-route from July 16 to September 25. After this period, the vehicle will be used as tour bus on designated days. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2. Video: tweet 1
Yamanashi Yuru Camp promotion
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, here and here, formally opened on July 16. Bookings can be made at the campsite online reservation portal. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the roadside station and campsite on opening day. Ōgaki Chiaki voice actor Hara Sayuri (原紗友里) participated in the ceremony. Media coverage: Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun (print), NHK. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4. Video: tweet 1
After the ceremony, Hara moved to Kōfu for a talk event with 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 discussed location hunting during Yuru Camp production and the reality of working for this kind of organization. Media coverage: Yamanashi Nichinichi Shimbun. Photos: tweet 1
Nanao Kimisomu promotion
To commemorate the decision in early 2022 to greenlight an anime adaptation of Kimi wa Hōkago Insomnia, the series’ main characters were featured on posters and leaflets advertising the 81st Nanao Port Festival (第81回七尾港まつり) in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture on July 17. The city has previously used art from the manga on the cover of its furusato nōzei (hometown tax) catalog, and a local machizukuri (town making) group has been organizing events targeting seichijunrei.
Nishinomiya Haruhi promotion
Hanshin Electric Railway (阪神電気鉄道), with planning managed by Nishinomiya-based Hyōda Printing Industrial Arts (兵田印刷工芸), and the cooperation of Hanshin Bus, Urban Renaissance Agency, Kadokawa, and Anime Tourism Association, is launching a Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu marketing promotion that will run from July 23 to September 25 in Nishinomiya, Hyōgo Prefecture. The campaign will include a digital stamp rally, augmented realty location-based smartphone game, wrappings and in car decorations on Mukogawa Line (武庫川線) trains as well as Nishinomiya Yamate Line (西宮山手線) and Jurinji Line (鷲林寺線) buses, and commemorative tickets for the Mukogawa Line that will be available beginning August 1.
There will also be multiple exhibitions and events, including decorations on the “red body car” (赤胴車) at the Mukogawa Danchi (武庫川団地), and a special display of scenes from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yūutsu at the Kōshien History Museum (甲子園歴史館) that is included with general admission. On September 18, a baseball game at Hanshin Kōshien Stadium (阪神甲子園球場) between the Hanshin Tigers and Tokyo Yakult Swallows, being promoted as the Suzumiya Haruhi All-Star Game (涼宮ハルヒの球宴), will include a ceremonial first pitch by Nagato Yuki voice actor Chihara Minori (茅原実里), a message from Suzumiya Haruhi voice actor Hirano Aya (平野綾), and original goods.
Before the game, 100 participants selected by lottery will be able to attend a talk show featuring Chihara, anime producer Itō Atsushi, and music producer Saitō Shigeru. To enter the lottery, interested individuals must pay for admission to the Kōshien History Museum, scan a QR code at the special exhibition to access the application form, and enter information as directed, no later than August 31.
Current Season Pilgrimage
@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Udagawachō, Shibuya Ward; Oshiage, Yokokawa and Kinshi, Sumida Ward; Sumiyoshi, Kōtō Ward; Yanaka, Adachi Ward; Horikiri and Kosuge, Katsushika Ward; Rinkaichō, Edogawa Ward (all Tokyo Metropolis) for Lycoris Recoil OP, Episode 1 and Episode 2.