Bocchi the Rock! ぼっち・ざ・ろっく!

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

Usagiyama Mochitsuki Taikai 2022 Fall
Usagiyama Mochitsuki Taikai 2022 Fall (うさぎ山餅つき大会2022秋) was held October 10 in DeMachi (Deまち) event space at Demachi Masugata Shōtengai (出町桝形商店街) in Kyoto. This is a Tamako Market fan-organized mochi pounding event hosted by Shin Keihan (しんけーはん @shinkeihan6350), often scheduled in the fall to coincide with a Mochizō character birthday celebration.

Photos: 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

Hanairo talk event
To celebrate the holding of the 10th Yuwaku Bonbori Matsuri (第10回湯涌ぼんぼり祭り), P.A. Works president Horikawa Kenji (堀川憲司 @horiken2000) and art director Higashiji Kazuki (東地和生 @Higashiji) will broadcast a live stream talk about Hanasaku Iroha on October 14 at 19:00 JST. They invite fans to send questions and thoughts for the pair to consider, as either replies or quote retweets on the original announcement, follow-up announcement, or Higashiji’s message.

Toyosato illumination
The former Toyosato Elementary School (豊郷小学校旧校舎群) in Toyosato, Shiga Prefecture, a K-On! seichi, will launch its annual wintertime light display (豊郷小学校旧校舎群ライトアップ&イルミネーション2022) on November 12. On launch day, merchants from the town set up stalls on school grounds beginning at 16:00, and a lighting ceremony will be held at 17:30. The school and grounds will be lit every night from 17:00 to 22:00 until December 25.

Suwa Yuru Camp dōjinshi event
Himitsu Dōjin Sokubaikai Blanket 10 (秘密同人即売会ブランケット10), a Yuru Camp dōjinshi sales event, will be held as part of joint dōjinshi event Sunrise Creation 2023 Suwa Winter (サンライズクリエイション2023 諏訪の冬) in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture on 2023 January 8. Circles can apply online to participate until December 12. Multiple locations in Suwa appear in the first season of Yuru Camp.

Garupan 10th anniversary
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Girls & Panzer created a special website that serves as a launch point for content and events that will be made available online or at physical venues over the next year. One piece of content that has already been released is a video titled “Girls & Panzer” 10th Anniversary PV (「ガールズ&パンツァー」10周年記念PV). Though framed as a retrospective look at the series’ release history, nearly all of the footage for its seven minute runtime is of events in Ōarai, Ibaraki Prefecture. Media coverage: Edge Line, Crunchyroll News

Kasukabe Shin-chan exhibition
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Crayon Shin-chan, the Itō Yōkadō Kasukabe shop in Saitama Prefecture has set up an exhibition on its third floor, and temporarily changed signage to read “Satō Koko no Kadō” (サトーココノカドー), as it is called in the series. This is part of the Family City Project (家族都市プロジェクト), a joint marketing effort between Akita, Saitama and Kumamoto prefectures to promote their connections to the series’ setting or character backstories. Media coverage: Go Guy Net, Nihon Keizai Shimbun

Sanjō DIY promotion
Do It Yourself!! is an original anime that premiered October 6. The series is set in Sanjō, Niigata Prefecture, which promotes itself as “Monozukuri no Machi” (ものづくりのまち town of manufacturing/craftsmanship). Main character Yua Serufu voice actor Inagaki Konomi (稲垣好) is a native of the prefecture and this appears to be her first starring role in an anime.

On October 5, the day before the earliest terrestrial broadcast, Sanjō Navi, the Sanjō City official tourism site, published a special page that revealed locations used in the anime, and includes descriptions of and links to adjacent local tourism spots. The Sanjō City and DIY social media accounts are also sharing this information.

On October 7, Inagaki and Sanjō mayor Takizawa Ryō (滝沢亮) gave interviews to the media. Inagaki noted the series’ use of the local cityscape, including shops and restaurants, and said, “I would be happy if many people come to Sanjō.” Takizawa is quoted as saying, “I think fans’ seichijunrei will be interesting, and I want to use DIY as an opportunity to share Sanjō’s manufacturing prowess with the whole country.” Media coverage: Niigata Sōgō Television

On October 8, Takizawa appeared on a local television show to promote DIY and the city’s tourism push, in a segment that begins at 2:41 and goes for about seven minutes.

On October 9, a public screening of Episode 1 was followed by a talk event with Inagaki in Sanjō. Character panels were set up in Tsubame-Sanjō Station. This was also the premiere of the series on local terrestrial television, where it airs Sundays at 9:30 in the morning. Media coverage: Niigata Sōgō Television

A locally made line of foodstuffs called the Tsubame-Sanjō Tetsu Series (燕三条鉄シリーズ) launched a group of tie-in products with Do It Yourself!! branding that includes ice cream, manjū and coffee. The packaging features depictions of various tools, and both the packaging and many of the foods themselves are “iron” grey colored. Media coverage: Niigata Nippō

Hitoyoshi Natsume promotion
Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto prefecture installed light projections of Natsume Yūjin-chō character silhouettes that appear on the pavement and sides of buildings on Kijiyamachi-dori (鍛冶屋町通り) in the evenings from 18:00 to 22:00. This is part of efforts to revitalize areas affected by the 2020 flooding in Kumamoto Prefecture. A lighting ceremony was held on October 7. Media coverage: Nishi Nippon Shimbun

Wakayama Summer Time promotion
There was additional reporting on the Summer Time Render exhibition held at Wakayama Civic Library (和歌山市民図書館) in Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture, covered previously. Though the original announcement indicated it would only run from July 1 to 22, it appears to have continued throughout the duration of the the broadcast and will conclude on October 14. Media coverage: Yomiuri Shimbun

Higashimurayama Joshimuda promotion
Kadokawa will launch a marketing promotion consisting of a stamp rally that combines Joshi Kōsei no Mudazukai locations in Higashimurayama, Tokyo Metropolis with the corporation’s Tokorozawa Sakura Town retail and entertainment complex in Saitama Prefecture. The campaign will run from November 11 to December 11. News release: Kadokawa, Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association, Higashimurayama City. Media coverage: Newscast, Comic Newtype, Dengeki Hobby, Go Guy Net

Kōchi Prefecture Anime Project
Kōchi Prefecture Anime Project (高知県アニメプロジェクト) is a prefecture-led initiative to drive regional revitalization by attracting anime creators and related companies to relocate and establish an industry cluster in Kōchi. It held its first meeting on October 11 at the prefectural office. It is an outgrowth of the Kōchi Anime Creator Seichi Project (高知アニメクリエイター聖地プロジェクト), which launched in January, is led by the Kōchi Shinkin Bank (高知信用金庫), and shares a similar set of target objectives. Though professional training and anime production are the primary focus of the project, in his remarks prefectural governor Hamada Seiji (浜田省司) also commented that in the future he would like to “produce a feature-length anime set in Kōchi and promote tourism by encouraging fans to visit for seichijunrei.” Media coverage: NHK, Kōchi Sun Sun Broadcasting, TV Kōchi Broadcasting, Kōchi Broadcasting, Kōchi Shimbun

Nanjō Aquatope tour
Meitetsu Kankō Service (名鉄観光サービス) and Nanjō, Okinawa Prefecture are recruiting for a monitor tour—low-cost prototype tours meant for operators to test itineraries and collect feedback before a full-scale rollout—that will include Shiroi Suna no Aquatope locations in the city. Recruitment will take place from October 22 to November 5, and will have a capacity of about 20 people. The monitor tour includes hotel and rental car, but not airfare, and is funded by furusato nōzei (hometown tax) donations made to Nanjō by Aquatope fans in 2021. News release: Nanjō City

Yuru Camp guide
JTB Publishing will publish Rurubu Yuru Camp Camp Gohan: Mokusei Cutting Board Book (るるぶ ゆるキャン△キャンプごはん 木製カッティングボードBOOK), the imprint’s fourth in a series of guides featuring the Yuru Camp series, on November 29. The first and second guides, published in 2020 and 2021, focused on locations that appeared in the anime. The third guide, published in 2022, covered camping knowledge. This new volume emphasizes camp food recipes and, as the title implies, includes a wooden cutting board. It also contains an interview with Kagamihara Nadeshiko voice actor Hanamori Yumiri. Media coverage: AV Watch, Travel Watch, Anime Anime

Future Season Pilgrimage

@kimamanidance made a pilgrimage to Kanda-Surugadai, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Suzume no Tojimari.

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage (post 1, post 2) to Nanao, Ishikawa Prefecture for Kimi wa Hōkago Insomnia PV and key visual.

Current Season Pilgrimage

@Deep_adultweet made a pilgrimage to Hannō, Saitama Prefecture for Yama no Susume Next Summit OP and Episode 1.

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Kanazawa-Hakkei (Seto), Kanazawa Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture; Matsunoki and Shimokitazawa (Kitazawa), Suginami Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Bocchi the Rock! OP and Episode 1.

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage to Sanjō, Niigata Prefecture for Do It Yourself!! Episode 1.

@ad_motsu made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Shibuya, Yoyogi Park (Yoyogi-Kamizonochō) and Jingūmae, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Love Live! Superstar!! Season 2 Episode 12.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Izu, Nishiizu and Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture for Yuru Camp Season 2.

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage (post 2) to Shiojiri, Nagano Prefecture for Yuru Camp.

@hiro_senritu made a pilgrimage to Kagoshima City, Kagoshima Prefecture for Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren.