Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture: Home of Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita
October 29, 2015
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“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” —William Morris
It’s not terribly surprising that Locodol‘s Nagarekawa was based off a real-world location of a similar name: Nagareyama is a city located in the northern section of the Chiba prefecture, bordering the Edogawa River and with a population of around 166 493 (as of 2012) and acts as a bedroom community for Tokyo. One of its better-known products is mirin, a sweet sake used as cooking alcohol. Nagareyama can be reached via the Nagareyama Line, and its name in Kanji (流山) means “flowing mountain”. Founded in the Edo period as a port, it became recognised as a city in 1967. In Locodol, the “yama” is substituted by “kawa” (流川); Nagarekawa means “flowing river”. Similar to Nagarekawa, Nagareyama is a typical community that lacks the hustle of urban Japan, but cannot be said to be a rural area, either. At present, the population of these bedroom communities are declining as more people are moving into major urban areas. Consequently, these municipalities are challenged with maintaining or constructing attractive cultural amenities, as well as developing sustainable business environments to ensure that the regions do not experience the same sort of decay that affected Detroit after the local automotive industry was no longer competitive against international brands.
- There are twelve comparison images for this post, and as is typical of most of my present-day location hunt images, we begin with the anime location and follow up with its real-world equivalent below the bullet point. The Tone Canal is depicted in the opening sequence; opened in 1890, it was designed by a Dutch engineer and features a park with an 8.5 kilometre-long hiking path. Open year-round, it’s said to be a fine place for hanami.
- Locodol aired during Summer 2014, so when audiences paid visits to the locations of Locodol, the cherry blossoms had long faded. The anime depicts what the Tone Canal might look like in Spring, and in Autumn, the Lycoris radiata (Red Spider Lily) bloom along the canal’s banks after a heavy rainfall.
- This is the Suwa Shrine, located along the Tobu Noga train line. The nearest train station is Toyoshiki Station, which is within walking distance of Suwa Shrine. Visitors emark that the shrine has a high mosquito population and advise that one bring a sufficient quantity of insect repellant with them to ensure a comfortable visit.
- This building here is known as the Shinkawaya Kimono Shop, which was established in 1846. The building the shop presently occupies was built in 1890 by Kumagoro Tsuchiya, a carpenter, and specialise in kimonos, as well as Japanese items and clothing.
- Nanako runs and trips along one of the smaller streets in the Nagareyama region. I suddenly realize that I’ve not actually watched the ending and opening sequences to Locodol: while the anime itself was fantastic, I was not particularly keen on the opening and ending’s music. With that being said, both are nonetheless well-animated.
- Nagareyama’s city hall is faithfully reproduced in Locodol, right down to the exterior siding, number of flagpoles, the placement of trees and the location of the building’s sign. I remark that the municipal building in Calgary is rather more impressive from an architectural standpoint: completed in 1985, it’s clad in a glass facade and has a large atrium that allows natural light to illuminate the building’s core.
- Nanako’s walk in the ending credits take her in front of some apartment blocks near the city hall. This moment again demonstrates the attention to detail that is present in Locodol with respect to the scenery; even though Locodol is a smaller-scale anime (consistent with its theme), Feel did a superb job in capturing the feel of Nagareyama.
- Similar to the Glasslip locations post, this locations post came about as a request from readers who wished for an English-language version of the post such that they could learn more about the Nagareyama region. Here it is. On an unrelated note, I’m somewhat surprised that the latest Locodol albums have not made an appearance yet: I was looking forwards to hearing Nanako and Yukari sing again.
- Unlike Nanako, whose route to school involves a walk to the train station through a shopping district, my commute to campus is rather more mundane under most circumstances: I can reach campus within a twenty minutes by car or half an hour by bus. While taking the C-train is an option, my building is located on the opposite side of campus relative to the train station, whereas the bus drops me off a short ways from my building.
- Here’s a bit of a curisoity: the world’s smallest Shrine in Nagarekawa and its real-world equivalent in Nagareyama is a Billiken, created by American art teacher and illustrator, Florence Pretz of Kansas City, Missouri as a good luck charm in 1908. They became popular in pre-WWII Japan and were enshrined in various places.
- While Nagarekawa faithfully replicates details seen in Nagareyama, anime tend to simplify some elements for ease-of-animation: notice that the vegetation is not rendered in the anime image. The end result is that environments in anime appear far cleaner (and in extreme cases, sterile) compared to their real-world counterparts. There are only a handful of studios and creators who make an effort to capture the smaller details in the environment, such as Makoto Shinkai and Hayao Miyazaki.
- Nagareyama/Nagarekawa station is an ordinary train station by all definitions, so I’ve got no real remarks about it (rather like the several C-train stations lining the Tuscany line). Moving along to what I’m writing about next, the YuruYuri summer OVAs and Call of Duty: Black Ops posts are definitely on the horizon: I’ve put those off long enough.
Locodol deviates from what one might typically enjoy about the better-known idol anime (Love Live! and IdolM@ster come to mind), but in my eyes, the emphasis on the ordinary is precisely why it was so enjoyable to watch. Compared to larger idol groups, the Nagarekawa Girls are about their city, working as idols for something more important than their individual aspirations. Neither Nanako or Yukari are professional idols, and Locodol goes to great lengths to illustrate that, although they might not be top-tiered singers and performers, they nonetheless perform with a passion to express their love for Nagarekawa. There was talk of a new OVA back during the summer, but given that news on said OVA has been nonexistent, I imagine that any additional adaptations of Locodol will remain a fair way into the future.