The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

We Tried Giving a Tour of Nagarekawa: Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita OVA Review

“I don’t have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields.” —Dana Owens

On a hot summer’s day, Yukari pays Nanako a visit by morning. After Nanako makes some progress with her assignments, the two decide to spend the remainder of the day together and encounter the Awa Awa Girls, who ask for a tour of Nagarekawa. Together with Yui and Mirai, Nanako and Yukari take the Awa Awa Girls to several local restuarants and then, the swimming pool. The Awa Awa Girls learn that while Nagarekawa is unremarkable as far as sight-seeing goes, the area has hospitable citizens who give the city a welcome feeling. Released a week after Locodol concluded, the OVA gives off the very same warm, inviting feeling that the TV series did; while Nagarekawa may prima facie be an ordinary town, the Nagarekawa Girls are able to capture the sense of community and togetherness within the city, leaving the Awa Awa Girls impressed at the kind of impact the Nagarekawa Girls have on the city despite being a more low-key idol group.

  • Set shortly after the TV series ended, the Locodol OVA serves as a fitting close to the series and again demonstrates that anime does not need to be complex, thought-provoking or cynical in order to be enjoyable. While this does seem to be a trend in anime, each season is counterbalanced by plenty of excellent series, such as Locodol, to keep things warm and fluffy.

  • The chibi depictions of Nanako and Yukari are adorable. While I noted that such things were out of place in a drama such as Glasslip, chibi characters actually make sense in a comedy as such as Locodol.

  • The reason why this post came out significantly after the week I had mentioned in the Locodol final reflection was because of my graduate schedule, which stacks teaching (and preparation for classes) on top of my own coursework and thesis project. At least Nanako’s work can be finished with a bit of elbow-grease: the matters I deal with are decidedly less straightforwards, but it’s also more fun.

  • Nanako and Yukari encounter Yui and Mirai in the river; after having mistaken them for children spending an afternoon in the river, it turns out the two are training their movement, by offering the explanation that water provides more resistance than moving about in terra firma and therefo

  • Here is another view of the world’s smallest shrine: we recall that it’s actually the little statue to the left, rather than the miniature shrine on the right. Viewing it head on, it’s easier to see how it might be easy to mistake the miniature shrine on the right for the city’s shrine. This fact is supposed to emphasise the eccentricities in Nagarekawa that only local residents might be aware of.

  • Like Nanako, I take great pride in knowing that my home city has a great deal of greenery, and that I will always be within walking distance of a pathway to take a stroll along. Compared to our sister city up north, we’re also closer to the mountains.

  • Nanako’s idea of a local attraction is the local sweets restaurant, where she recommends the tanuki cakes for the Awa Awa Girls. Their meticulous construction means that Nanako cannot bear to see them eaten, but the Awa Awa Girls remark that they enjoyed them.

  • Nanako’s next destination is a tonkatsu place. Fried port cutlets are quite popular in Japan, and was originally fried beef, but present variations make use of pork. It seems counterintuitive that Nanako would choose a restaurant serving a main course after a dessert: it seems more intuitive to eat sweet things after the salty and savoury things in general.

  • It’s been a little more than a week since I attended an evening lecture on campus about the Superconducting Quantum Interference Device, which allows for the detection of incredibly small magnetic fields and has found application in fields as diverse as cosomology and medicine. Prior to the presentation, I had Korean BBQ chicken and a shrimp skewer with honey-glazed potatoes and noodles under a golden sunset while watching this episode. One of my courses requires that I attend and observe different seminars and lectures to gain a better understanding of research presentations.

  • As a result of my overwhelmingly hectic schedule, I’ve hardly had any time to relax over the past while: this past week, I was gearing up for a project proposal presentation in my data mining course, began the implementation of a random-walk function for my simulation and are in the process of completing several assignments, as well as grading other assignments for my tutorial section. At the time of writing, I am a little more than halfway done with the written portion of grading, and for the assignment, I will need to complete the assignment’s second half on k-means clustering.

Over the course of this OVA, the messages are familiar: where one goes is secondary to who one spend their time with, there are local treasures that people may often miss even if they live in an area, and it takes a bit of open-mindedness to discover these. Nanako, when asked to pick a good spot in Nagarekawa, winds up choosing local dining establishments because she sees them as special to the area. Similarly, when the Awa Awa Girls ask about an amusement park in Nagarekawa, Yukari’s suggestion takes them to the swimming pool. She feels that the pool merits mention because it is a popular spot in Nagarekawa, and despite some reservation from the Awa Awa Girls, they manage to have fun in the spirit of the moment nonetheless: while the locations that the Awa Awa Girls visit can hardly be considered as local attractions (to the same scope as the Heritage Park or Telus Spark Science Centre, to name a few), they are places where locals go to have fun, and as some travellers note, the joy of travelling isn’t always associated visiting high-profile destinations; some spots frequented by the locals have their own unique charm and may give an immersive, meaningful experience in an area that attractions might not.

  • Being a graduate student means being unimaginably busy, and as time wears on, I imagine it will be increasingly difficult for me to blog (or even play Battlefield 3). However, anime as such as Locodol present exactly the sort of thing that a busy student needs to relax. Here, Saori displays an uncanny level of preparedness and mentions that she’s brought enough swimsuits for everyone.

  • So beings a (friendly) competition between the Awa Awa Girls and the Nagarekawa Girls. The competition itself opens with the respective teams naming off different things they enjoy about working for their Locodol unit or their home cities. Since we’re here, some reasons why my current city dominates our provincial capital to the north include: better access to the mountains, more cultural things like museums and concert halls, more greenery, a city layout that makes more sense, a better football team, a better hockey team (so far!)…I concede that they have the better medical school, though.

  • Because I was reasonably conservative with the fanservice shots throughout Locodol, I will take advantage of the OVA to feature a few more fanservice shots purely for the reader’s amusement.

  • The Awa Awa Girls compete with the Nagarekawa Girls with a more serious mindset, calling back to mind the kind of training and work environment they’re used to. However, as the competition wears on, it becomes clear that the Nagarekawa Girls just aren’t interested in winning or coming out on top; it’s about making people happy, and in realising this, the Awa Awa Girls have seen Nagarekawa’s greatest specialty, hospitality.

  • The Nagarekawa Girls soon draw a small crowd from the children who’ve seen their performances and begin to play with them. Having fun in the moment is said to be the Nagarekawa way, and shortly after, the Awa Awa Girls join in.

  • The Awa Awa Girls bid everyone farewell, having had a wonderful day in Nagarekawa and realising that the city’s charm comes from its citizens, rather than any specialities within the region. They invite Nanako and the others to visit their city at some point in the future, and consider performing locally to become closer their own city’s folk.

  • The confectionery store owner drops by with sweets for the Nagarekawa Girls and the Awa Awa Girls, thanking the former for their efforts in the town’s summer festival. For their efforts, the Nagarekawa Girls have become an integral part of their city, and Locodol takes the spin on idols differently by suggesting that hit albums and sold-out concerts might not be as rewarding or meaningful as becoming closer to one’s hometown and neighbors.

  • Locodol is quite far removed from something like Wake Up, Girls! and IdolM@Ster, taking on a completely different atmosphere and narrative that seems to make the show enjoyable even for individuals who dislike the idol genre.

  • Nanako and the others thank the cleaning staff for taking care of their costumes. Nanako remarks that the kind of warmth and happiness she experiences as a Locodol is one reason why she wishes to continue working in the field.

  • That’s pretty much it for this post. Depending on how much work I manage to get done over the next while, I’ll attempt to get a Sword Art Online II halfway point talk out, along with a Battlefield 3-style talk about Sinon’s loadout and how well that has worked for me. As well, I’ve been working on a Madoka Magica talk behind the scenes.

Once the OVA’s drawn to a close, the whole of Locodol is finally over. Locodol might not be intended to be anything innovative or ground-breaking, nor does it strive for the scale that most of the summer 2014 triple-A titles have, but this is where its charm lies. Instead of having traditional idols, Locodol was able to create idols from ordinary high school students who are believable and relatable. As Locodols, Nanako and Yukari’s traits carry over into their occupation, giving rise to the sense that they are honest and genuine, contrasting the manufactured feelings that idols in both other anime and reality have. Once everything is considered, Locodol fulfils the role that GochiUsa did for the Spring season, and last autumn’s Non Non Biyori, providing viewers with a gentle, cathartic anime that is perfect for kicking back.

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