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
Kan’onji Yuyuyu events
Fans of Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru traveled to Kan’onji, Kagawa Prefecture for what became an eventful weekend over September 3 and 4, as two promotional campaigns concluded and one special guest joined in the activities.
The highway rest area Michi-no-eki Toyohama (道の駅とよはま) marked the August 30 birthday of character Nogi Sonoko with a display and special parfaits from August 28 to September 4. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3
The stamp rally that began August 5 also wrapped up on September 4. As he had hinted at previously, series director Kishi Seiji (岸誠二) traveled to Kan’onji to complete the rally himself, bumping into fans, signing autographs, and leaving messages in pilgrimage exchange notebooks along the way.
— 監督 岸誠二(チームティルドーン所属) (@kishiseiji) September 3, 2022
Volunteers participating in Seichi Chichibu O-sōji Dai Sakusen! 2022 (聖地・ちちぶ お掃除大作戦！2022) performed litter pickup and graffiti cleaning at multiple locations in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture on September 4. The recurring event is organized by the Chichibu Anime Tourism Executive Committee (秩父アニメツーリズム実行委員会), which recruits fans of works in the Chichibu trilogy—Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai. (Anohana), Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda. (Kokosake), and Sora no Aosa o Shiru Hito yo (Soraao)—for various cleanup efforts in the city.
暑すぎず、雨も降らず丁度良い感じの中 トンネルのペンキ塗り ゴミ拾いができました。
— さくらニャンコ (@sakurayuji1) September 4, 2022
Eiden Deaimon event
The series of Eizan Electric Railway and Deaimon promotions that began April 16, covered previously here and here, will conclude on September 25 as scheduled. But before then, one final event has been added, the Eiden Deaimon Collabo Fest 2022 (えいでん×であいもん コラボフェスタ2022) on September 18. The event will be held at Yase-Hieizanguchi Station from 11:00 to 15:00 and include an exhibition of wrapping train 721, collaboration station name signs, character panels, illustration posters, collaboration headmarks, and handmade crafts by Eiden employees (I love these, by the way, they are always super cute). The event was scheduled to coincide with the Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair (京都国際マンガ・アニメフェア), also known as Kyomafu (京まふ), being held September 17 and 18. News release: Eizan Electric Railway (alternate)
Anohana character birthday
Chichibu City Tourism Division (秩父市観光課) will mark the September 18 birthday of Anohana character Honma Meiko “Menma” with a cake. The first 150 visitors can take a numbered ticket at the Chichibu City History and Cultural Tradition Hall (秩父市歴史文化伝承館) first floor elevator lobby beginning at 14:00. The second floor hall venue will open at 14:30 and cake will be served from 15:00.
Minobu Yuru Camp events
Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会) will host an overnight camping meetup for Yuru Camp fans at former Shimobe elementary and junior high schools in Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture on September 18 and 19. Interested individuals can register online until September 15. This will be a Schoolyard Camp × Bamboo Illumination (校庭キャンプ×竹あかり) workshop, at which participants can create their own decorative bamboo lanterns.
Three more future events were also announced. There will be a Schoolyard Camp on October 1 and 2, Weekday Schoolyard Camp on November 8 and 9, and Christmas Illumination Camp on December 24 and 25. More details will be announced later.
Tokorozawa Totoro forest conservancy
There was additional reporting on the Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture crowdfunding campaign to purchase and preserve 3.5 hectares of green space that includes the forest used as the basis for the setting of Tonari no Totoro, covered previously. The campaign officially opened September 1 using the Campfire platform, and as of the time of writing it has raised 24,173,500 of its 25 million JPY target. Media coverage: Game Watch, Sora News 24
Oyama no Kisoba
There was additional reporting on Oyama no Kisoba (おやまのきそば) in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, covered previously. Its predecessor Oyama Station Kisoba (小山駅きそば) was a well-known stand-up soba shop and Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru (5 Centimeters per Second) seichi. In addition, Ekimae Yokochō Utsunomiya Kisoba (駅前横丁 宇都宮きそば) in Utsunomiya, another shop that will similarly inherit some elements from the original, also opened September 1. Media coverage: Jōmō Shimbun
Nishinomiya Kita consolidation
Hyōgo Prefecture Board of Education announced on July 14 the names of 14 schools planned for consolidation in 2025. The list includes Nishinomiya Kita (西宮北) and Nishinomiya Kabutoyama (西宮甲山), which will be merged. The decision of whether to use the physical premises of one or the other, or build a new facility for the integrated school, will be announced by the end of this year. With Japan’s declining birthrate, consolidation of schools is not unusual, however there is heightened interest in this particular instance, because Nishinomiya Kita is the alma mater of author Tanigawa Nagaru (谷川流), and a setting of his Suzumiya Haruhi light novel series and subsequent anime adaptations. Media coverage: Kōbe Shimbun 1, Kōbe Shimbun 2 (print), Kōbe Shimbun 3
Minobu Yuru Camp engagement
Local tourism information site Mino Love published an interview with several members of the Gojōgaoka Activation Promotion Council (五条ヶ丘活性化推進協議会), a volunteer group that aims to provide welcoming experiences to Yuru Camp fans visiting Minobu, Yamanashi Prefecture. The council 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.
In the interview, they discuss the circumstances of the council’s formation, early efforts to engage both visitors and locals through the anime location wayfinding signs posted around town, and iteration of and improvements to the schoolyard events. The council’s long-term vision includes, while not forgetting its origins with Yuru Camp, reducing the prominence of the series in its outreach efforts and including activities of interest to a broader audience. Media coverage: Mino Love
Iwanuma Bakuten promotion
Kahoku Shimpō published an advertorial piece about efforts to promote and a local official’s expectation of tourism to Iwanuma, Miyagi Prefecture through the TV series Bakuten!! and theatrical film sequel Eiga Bakuten!! Media coverage: Kahoku Shimpō
Nanao Kimisomu promotion
In addition to the broadcast anime adaptation, a live-action film adaptation of Kimi wa Hōkago Insomnia is also in production. Both are planned for release in 2023 and, like the manga on which they are based, are set in Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture. The live-action production recently spent about a month filming on-location between July and August. In statements to press, co-lead Mori Nana indicated “I want you [the audience] to come for seichijunrei.” 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. It plans to develop promotions linked to both the anime and live-action adaptations. Media coverage: Hokkoku Shimbun, Comic Natalie, Sports Hōchi, Anime News Network, Crunchyroll News
Current Season Pilgrimage
@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage (updated: post 1, post 2) to Narihira and Oshiage, Sumida Ward; Nishi-Asakusa and Ueno, Taitō Ward; Dōgenzaka, Shibuya Ward; Shinjuku, Shinjuku Ward; Higashi-Azabu, Minato Ward (all Tokyo Metropolis) for Lycoris Recoil OP, Episode 5, Episode 8 and Episode 10.