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

Takehara Shōkei no Michi
After a three year absence due to Covid-19, Takehara Shōkei no Michi (たけはら憧憬の路)—the Path of Longing—was held October 29 and 30 in Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture. The festival features thousands of bamboo lanterns and is depicted in depth in the Tamayura series.

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, tweet 15, tweet 16, tweet 17, tweet 18, tweet 19, tweet 20, tweet 21, tweet 22, tweet 23, tweet 24, tweet 25, tweet 26

Sakuragaike Quest tree cleanup
With the help of volunteers, Sakuragaike Quest (桜ヶ池クエスト) organized a routine logging of sick trees around Sakuragaike in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture on October 29. Sakuragaike Quest was formed as a response to P.A.Works series Sakura Quest, with the primary goal of fundraising for tree planting in the area to create the dense clusters of cherry blossoms depicted in the fictional work, which modeled its setting on multiple areas in Nanto. P.A.Works president Horikawa Kenji serves on the Sakuragaike Quest board as chairman of the executive committee. Horikawa was present at the event and participated in the work. Photos: tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3, tweet 4, tweet 5, tweet 6, tweet 7, tweet 8, tweet 9, tweet 10

Minobu Yuru Camp event
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 November 8 and 9. Interested individuals can register online until November 4.

Hannō Yama no Susume promotion
Hannō-shi Shōtengai (飯能市商店街), which is a federation of three different shōtengai in the central business district, is launching a Yama no Susume marketing promotion that will run from November 5 to 27. The campaign, which launches in conjunction with Hannō Matsuri (飯能まつり) on November 5 and 6, includes a stamp rally, character panels in the shōtengai, and official goods with new illustrations of characters in festival garb. News release: Yama no Susume official site

Quon Anime 88 Spot Tour
Promotional website Quon, which focuses on Japanese traditional crafts, launched a subsection it calls Anime 88 Spot Tour (アニメ八十八箇所巡り), in which it is publishing articles that link specific anime locations with local products from the associated regions. News release: Yohaku Office. Media coverage: Travel Watch

Encouragement of Climb: Next Summit

(ヤマノススメ Next Summit Yama no Susume Next Summit)

Series Introduction

In the season overview, I made a few broad-brush notes about the new season of Yama no Susume. To that I’ll add more specifics here.

We’ve moved from shorts in Season 1, to half-length episodes in Season 2 and Season 3, and after the initial four short story and compilation episodes of Next Summit (Season 4), we are now at full-length. I don’t know if it is representative of the rest of the season, but Episode 5 is two separate, mostly unconnected stories, so the pacing is not that different. We just have double the amount of everything, including background art, which makes it pretty intense to step through frame-by-frame to study details. A good problem to have, I suppose.

The ethnography angle, observing how people react to the show and head out for hikes, or even just a walk around Hannō, has always been a big part of my interest in the series. To best capture that, I’m going to shift the weekly publish day to Tuesdays (and try really hard to stick to that!), so that I can put a full six days including a weekend between when the show airs and when the review is published. This edition (491) will only cover the new material in Episode 1 through Episode 4. Episode 5 will be covered in the next edition (492), which should be out November 8, four days from now.

The art director and background art studios (see below) are a complete change from previous seasons. The art from those earlier volumes was always competent and appropriate, given what was probably a smaller budget. It could be economical at times, but turned up the detail and charm at key moments. What we are seeing now in Next Summit is a substantial step-up in quality.

The other major change, and the one that is a concern to me, is that Kadokawa is a member of the production committee. Furthermore, the Anime Tourism Association, which Kadokawa leads, is credited for information collection cooperation (取材協力), a distinction usually given to organizations and businesses that assist the production team with location hunting and may or may not be involved in cross-promotion. I don’t yet know what this means in practical terms.

On one hand, I think Yama no Susume and its spontaneously arising seichi are so well established at this point that it would take a really concerted effort to “ruin” things with overt commercialization. Fans began following in Aoi’s footsteps up mountains and forming connections in Hannō during the early days of the manga. Hannō City, having the benefit of the models of Lucky Star in Washinomiya and Anohana in Chichibu, responded to this with engagement efforts that reflected the shared interests of fans and the community, and seemed to have a keen sense for making promotional campaigns unique to the area, idiosyncratic, and not veering into overkill. All of this happened long before anyone had any idea the series would grow to the point where we find it now.

On the other hand, I do not have confidence that the Anime Tourism Association, or any large third-party organization applying a standardized approach, can replace naturally emerging relationships between people who are invested in a shared community. I worry about it being a homogenizing force and, given the depth of its involvement on this production, influencing creative decision making to prioritize tie-in promotion opportunities. I hope for the best, but I am watching closely.

To wrap on a lighter note, I just want to say how much I love the photos and bits of parenting absurdities Shiro (しろ @siro700) shares routinely on Twitter. There is no tolerance for “hardest job you’ll ever love” dogma when you are in the trenches will little kids. There are occasional special moments like mini Shiros visiting Times Mart for ice cream, telling dad they like Precure more than Yama no Susume, and falling asleep in the middle of the floor. But these are spread out over the long hard slog of what can only be described, as Shiro says, hell. It helps parents everywhere to model speaking candidly about what you go through every day.

Background Art

Art Director Miyakoshi Ayumi (宮越 歩) previously served as art director for Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom?, and worked on background art for Devil Survivor 2 The Animation, Kamisama Dolls, Katana Maidens: Toji no Miko, Tsukigakirei, and Wonder Egg Priority.

Team Till Dawn in Suginami Ward, Tokyo Metropolis handles background art in the OP, new short stories in Episode 1 through Episode 4, and new episodes from Episode 5 forward. The studio previously worked on background art for Devil Survivor 2 The Animation, Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom?, Hello World, Higurashi: When They Cry – GOU, Kamisama Dolls, Katana Maidens: Toji no Miko, Psycho-Pass 3, Tsukigakirei, Wonder Egg Priority, Yuki Yuna is a Hero (TV series and film), and is working on this season’s More Than a Married Couple, But Not Lovers.

Pierrot (ぴえろ) also worked on background art in the Episode 4 short story.

Animator Yoshinari Kō (吉成 鋼), known as “Aninari,” single-handedly creates the ED sequences, which change each episode. @Yuyucow has commentary on these (Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 4, Episode 5).

Fan Pilgrimage Update

@Deep_adultweet made a pilgrimage to (post 1) Fuji-Q Highland in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture; (updated post) Hannō, Saitama Prefecture for Yama no Susume Next Summit Episode 4.

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage to Toranomon and Atago, Minato Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Yama no Susume Next Summit Episode 3.

Opening Credits

Except where noted otherwise, the Yama no Susume locations in the OP are in Hannō (飯能市), Saitama Prefecture.

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Seibō Gakuen Junior & Senior High School (聖望学園中学校・高等学校)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Higashi-Hannō Station (東飯能駅)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Hannō Central Park (飯能中央公園)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Near Higashi-Hannō No. 2 fumikiri (東飯能2号踏切)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Kannonji (観音寺)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Hannō Central Park

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Tenranzan (天覧山)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Fujisan (富士山) in Shizuoka Prefecture and Yamanashi Prefecture

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Hannō Station (飯能駅)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Fujisan

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Yumesaika Suzuki (夢彩菓すずき)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Fujisan

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Episode 1

Except where noted otherwise, the Yama no Susume locations in Episode 1 are in Hannō (飯能市), Saitama Prefecture.

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Hannō-gawara (飯能河原), the wide and mostly dry riverbed of the Iruma-gawa (入間川)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Kannonji (観音寺)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Donkichi-bashi (とんちき橋) in Hannō Central Park (飯能中央公園)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Hannō City Library (飯能市立図書館)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Hannō Central Park

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Saitama Prefectural Route 28 (埼玉県道28号), near Kannonji

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Saitama Prefectural Route 28, near Hannō Municipal Museum (飯能市立博物館)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Tanigawadake (谷川岳) at the border of Gunma Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture [Credit: @habusan, tweet]

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Tenranzan (天覧山)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Episode 2

All of the Yama no Susume locations in Episode 2 are in Hannō (飯能市), Saitama Prefecture.

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Stormwater pond at Daini Tenranzan (第二天覧山) [Credit: @teo_imperial, tweet, post]

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Wareiwa-bashi (割岩橋)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Episode 3

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Higashi-Ikebukuro (東池袋), Toshima Ward, Tokyo Metropolis

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Ikebukuro Station (池袋駅)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Yamanote Line (山手線)

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Toranomon (虎ノ門), Minato Ward, Tokyo Metropolis

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Kamiyachō Station (神谷町駅) in Toranomon

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Atago (愛宕), Minato Ward, Tokyo Metropolis

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Atago Jinja (愛宕神社) in Atago

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Toranomon Hills Station (虎ノ門ヒルズ駅) in Toranomon

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Episode 4

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Fuji-Q Highland (富士急ハイランド) in Fujiyoshida (富士吉田市), Yamanashi Prefecture

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Hannō Station (飯能駅) in Hannō (飯能市), Saitama Prefecture

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Tove Jansson Akebono Children’s Forest Park (トーベ・ヤンソンあけぼの子どもの森公園) in Hannō

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Encouragement of Climb Yama no Susume ヤマノススメ Next Summit

Other Current Season Pilgrimage

@sunrain96 made a pilgrimage to Matsunoki and Shimokitazawa (Kitazawa), Suginami Ward, Tokyo Metropolis; Kanazawa-Hakkei (Seto), Kanazawa Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture for Bocchi the Rock! OP and Episode 1.

@flyingbird1124 made a pilgrimage (updated post) to Atago, Minato Ward, Tokyo Metropolis for Ren’ai Flops Episode 2.

@mikehattsu made a pilgrimage to (post 1) Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku Ward; (post 2) Kanda-Surugadai, Chiyoda Ward (preceding Tokyo Metropolis); (post 3) Kōbe, Hyōgo Prefecture for Suzume no Tojimari PV.

Past Season Pilgrimage

@niceboathime made a pilgrimage (post 2) to Tōyako, Iburi Subprefecture, Hokkaidō Prefecture for Sora no Method.

@niceboathime made pilgrimage to Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture during Shōkei no Michi (in 2015) for Tamayura: Hitotose.

@hiro_senritu made a pilgrimage to Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture for Sōkyū no Fafner.