The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Tag Archives: Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita

We Tried Making a PV: Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita OVA 3 Review

“Home is the nicest word there is.” —Laura Ingalls Wilder

After Nanako becomes enamoured with Awa Awa Girls’ PV, Nanako’s uncle announces that the Nagarekawa Girls will also be creating a video of sorts to boost public awareness of the Nagarekawa region and its specialities. Their initial cuts appear too forced, and Mirai is eventually chosen to be a director. The girls succeed in creating a public relations video that resembles a music video to capture the spirit of Nagarekawa. This Locodol OVA joins the ranks of the previous OVAs as being fun additions to Locodol, although being set in the middle of the year, watching Nanako and the others film a PR video was perhaps not quite as enchanting as the Christmas OVA. Nonetheless, this third OVA does showcase through the resulting video, that the most authentic representation of a region is simply to be honest in showcasing an area’s attractions and specialities.

The third Locodol OVA marks a return to the warm weather and easy-going pace of life in and around Nagarekawa that Nanako is familiar with. As Nanako and Yukari re-discover, it is this normality that her uncle is trying to depict in their video; there is no surprise that the final video and the process of gathering footage highlights Yukari and Nanako doing things at their own pace to complete their assignment. At present, it’s been almost two years since Locodol proper aired. However, the third OVA captures the same charm that made the Nagarekawa Girls unique as Local Idols: they’re not particularly flashy or distinct. Instead, they perform with the aim of putting their home town first; Yukari and Nanako’s shows, though not as coordinated or structured as those of the Awa Awa Girls, are very genuine. This mindset allows them to bring out the best in Nagarekawa, and becomes the reason why Nanako’s uncle and Saori feel that Yukari and Nanako’s performance is too rigid. Conversely, when everyone acts as they are wont, the video’s contents become more reflective of life in Nagarekawa, making it into the video’s final cut for the world to check out.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This is my 700th post, and I will spend it going through the latest Locodol OVA. The presence of this OVA came as a bit of a surprise to me, being screened to a very limited number of viewers back during March (to the point where there was next to no discussion on social media sources and message boards that reached English speakers) and streamed to around a thousand viewers during April.

  • Yukari provides a quantitative measure of the extent to which she feels that she and Nanako can be considered a couple. The dynamics between Nanako and Yukari have been the subject of no small discussion, and while I find it to be adorable that the two are as close as they are, it’s not particularly meritorious of extended discussion.

  • Yukari and Nanako share the news of their assignment to shoot a PV to Yui and Mirai during lunch hour. Yukari feels it’s best to make the video public domain since the objective will be to promote Nagarekawa, and the girls decide to ask Nanako’s uncle first. Feeling that they lack the expertise, they further ask the Awa Awa Girls for some pro tips on how to make an effective PV.

  • Because the Awa Awa Girls are more seasoned idols, they have experienced the pressure and challenges of making a good PV. They remark that it’s hard work to deliver each section, since they do numerous variants and select the best ones for the final video. The ultimate advice they impart for Nanako and the others is to put their hearts into the video they’re making, since these feelings (or the lack thereof) can be felt by an audience.

  • Yukari’s interactions towards Nanako is largely employed as a comedic device in Locodol, and I find that in anime such as these, they can be successfully utilised to create humour far more effectively than if an identical setup in a different form of media or even genre.

  • After classes end, the Nagarekawa Girls meet with Saori and Nanako’s uncle to discuss logistics for how the shoot will go. It turns out they’ll be doing a public relations video promoting Nagarekawa rather than the PV videos (music videos) that Nanako was envisioning in her mind’s eye. I believe my hometown has countless videos highlighting its features, and I need not remind readers that Calgary is only an hour’s drive from the legendary Rocky Mountains, as well as being home to some of the best steak this side of Canada.

  • I could probably spend forever going on about why Calgary is a pro city even if I do have complaints about the efficacy of city transit and snow removal; that would rather defeat the purpose of this post, so I won’t speed too much time talking about Calgary. Back in Locodol, the girls begin shooting the video using a camera on loan from their city council. While Nanako is surprised to learn it’s a PR video, some words from Yukari motivate her to do her best nonetheless.

  • Given that this is a PR video, Yukari’s wish of making their video freely accessible will be realised. This reminds me of the ACM publishing policy notice I received a few weeks ago: the conference paper I published to Laval Virtual is signed under an agreement that allows my professor and myself to retain copyright of the work that gives ACM the right to pursue copyright should they so choose.

  • We opted for this approach because it would allow me to continue using the screenshots in my thesis paper and other conference papers. My third conference paper, submitted to the PPSN conference, was unsuccessful, but my Laval paper was selected as one of the Best Papers and invited for submitting an extended paper to the International Journal of Virtual Reality. I learned of both during the same week in that order, and it’s funny how things work out sometimes.

  • In my “Home of Locodol” post from last October, I remarked that the canal cutting through Nagareyama, Nagarekawa’s real-world equivalent, was designed by a Dutch engineer. In both the fictionalised and real locations, the canals serve as a park for locals to relax in, although Nanako and Yukari do not mention that the canal is a fine spot for hanami.

  • While working on variations of what to do and say here, a group of children who are fond of the Nagarekawa Girls drop by to visit. Both Yukari and Nanako get along well with children and spend a few moments playing with them: for audiences, this shows that Nagarekawa’s Local Idols are quite hands-on with respect to interacting with their town’s community, further demonstrating that they are effective in what they do.

  • Today was the long-awaited defense date, and I arrived early on campus to clear my mind before taking on the defense itself. The presentation component blazed by, and three rounds of questions from the exam committee later, I was informed the exam was over. The wait for the results were agonising, but in the end, I passed. The thesis now needs a bit of extra work to clear up some definitions and terms, and there are a few minor things here and there to fix, but the toughest exam I’ve taken since my undergraduate defense and MCAT is done at last.

  • After the examiners provided their feedback, my supervisor handed me a form for complementary champagne from the university’s graduate lounge. We visited the lounge for lunch, and I decided to have a Carnivore Pizza (topped with spicy chorizo sausage, pepperoni and bacon) before returning home, just in time before a large thunderstorm rolled through my AO. I’ll cash in on the complementary champagne closer to my convocation, and for now, I’ll take a few days off to reorganise myself and prepare for the upcoming conference in the Yucatán Peninsula.

  • While filming, Nanako runs into some of her friends, and here, Mirai decides to include everyone in the videos, making the PR video a very lively one. Voiced by Inori Minase (of GochiUsa‘s Chino Kafuu), Mirai is quite shy but nonetheless makes substantial contributions to the Nagarekawa Girls, acting as a substitute for Yui as Uogokoro-kun where needed and otherwise performing quite well in a support role.

  • After editing, the completed PR video is ready for viewing. Professional video editing requires a substantial amount of effort, and I imagine that Saori is probably quite skilled if she’s doing these tasks for the Nagarekawa Girls. In the TV series, Saori was shown to be enamoured with Yukari and Nanako, but these tendencies become more subtle as time wears on rather than more overt, and as of late, she merely comes across as a competent manager whose fascination with the Local Idols is portrayed with reduced frequency.

  • The video’s unveiling occurs at a small event, and it turns out, despite being meant to be a PR video, the resulting product is a music video of sorts after all, showing ordinary life in Nagarekawa. Ultimately, the girls try, and succeed, in making a good PV.

  • Quite truthfully, I prefer the theme song for my home town over the Nagarekawa song any day of the week. It turns out that the theme song I mentioned for Calgary during my first Locodol post has a bit of an ironic twist to it: the melody and song was actually used for a wide range of American cities and is not unique to Calgary at all: while the Nagarekawa song sounds nowhere as polished, at least it’s original.

  • With this post done, I’m looking at the calendar and predict that I will have enough time to push out a talk on Alien: Isolation at the halfway point before I leave for my conference. I’ll be back mid-July, and will begin working then, so it may take me a little bit after that to acclimatise to my schedule. With that being said, I’ll try my best to have a final review for Flying Witch for sure: I’m on the final episode now, and look forwards to finishing one of the most interesting anime this season on short order.

  • While I’ve not provided any screenshots here of the OVA’s opening sequence, it turns out that the animation and artwork for the OVAs differ from that of the TV series. While some have taken this to hopefully correspond with a second season, news has not reached my ears of any continuation. As it stands, if all we get of Locodol is more OVA episodes in the near future, that would be acceptable (even if I myself would certainly enjoy another season of Locodol).

  • While Yukari and Nanako wonder if any international viewers has seen the new video, it turns out that some foreigners have; they recognise Yukari and Nanako. The scene might be scaled up to wonder whether or not international audiences are watching Locodol, and if this blog is anything to go by, the answer is a resounding “yes”. I will, for the foreseeable future, continue to write about any new Locodol OVAs that reach my ears, and if a full second season ever becomes a reality, I will be reviewing it in some capacity without question.

While discussions on this OVA are limited in scope and scale, watching Nanako and the others film a PV to promote Nagarekawa is reminiscent of the several opportunities I’ve had this year and in past years, where TV crews from local news stations visited our lab to film some of the research we carry out. Usually, the crews ask us to act as though the cameras are not present, and since the lab’s researchers are rather used to focusing on a demonstration or discussion, it’s surprisingly easy to act naturally. Granted, it can be somewhat more challenging knowing that a camera is present, but as Yukari and Nanako discover, they can be true to themselves on camera without too much difficulty. With that being said, my time with the university research lab is slowly drawing to a close: as of today, in this seven hundredth post, I’ve successfully defended my thesis in an examination lasting around ninety minutes. All that is left now is to apply some changes to the thesis paper itself, and then convocate in November. This brings the third Locodol OVA review to a close, and concerning any continuations, my thoughts have not changed since the Christmas post; while I would love to see more Locodol, for now, no new news have been released about a potential second season.

We All Celebrated Together: Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita OVA 2 Review

“As far as gifts go, you’re one of the best Christmas presents I’ve ever known! Happy Christmas Birthday!” —Christmas Birthday wishes

Nanako strives to make Yukari’s birthday, which falls on Christmas day, a great success. She goes shopping for a suitable birthday gift and then spends Christmas Eve with her friends Misato, Satsuki, and Shouko. They reminisce about how it has not even been a year since they met, and the others have a surprise for Nanako: a Santa costume with which to surprise Yukari with. Although Nanako winds up forgetting to bring her gift, Yukari nonetheless appreciates her coming over to celebrate her birthday, and they celebrate alongside everyone else the next morning. As a Christmas-themed OVA, this particular special is somewhat unusual in that it was released quite close to Christmas itself (being broadcast on Christmas Eve), but other than that, it’s a pleasant addition to Locodol. That there would be a second OVA has been known since June 2015, and in November, it was further announced that the OVA would have a Christmas theme. With Yukari’s birthday falling on Christmas Day itself, the OVA sets itself up to explore the situation arising from sharing one’s birthday with one of the biggest holidays of the year: it can lead to some challenges when it occurs in reality, and the Locodol OVA does a fantastic job of conveying how Nanako and her friends manage to make Yukari’s birthday immensely memorable, fun and festive for Yukari.

Par the course for Locodol, the Christmas OVA carries audiences slowly and steadily through Nanako’s journey towards crafting a fantastic birthday experience for Yukari, whether it’s finding the suitable gift for Yukari or the motivation to follow through with her friends’ suggestion about visiting Yukari on Christmas Eve to personally deliver said gift. In doing so, the OVA illustrates the extent of Yukari and Nanako’s friendship: Nanako places a much greater priority on Yukari’s birthday, and these feelings do not go unnoticed by Yukari, who tearfully thanks her for having come all this way to say happy birthday. While the OVA might be set during Christmas, and for all of the festivities seen in the episode, what’s at the forefront of everything is Nanako putting in her fullest efforts to express gratitude for Yukari, whom she feels has contributed to her own motivation to continue working as a local idol. It’s a warming message about the Christmas spirit; gifts, decorations and food are secondary to people, and the OVA succeeds in conveying this particular aspect about friendship to the audiences.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • After a more controversial post about Girls und Panzer to kick off 2016 (nothing like a bit of controversy to get the blood flowing!), we’ll return the programming to a more incontrovertible anime: Locodol is decidedly less polarising and proved to be most enjoyable. This post will continue on in the pattern as those before it and feature twenty images; in response to queries about how long it takes me to write a post, the answer is “between 90 and 150 minutes” from starting with a blank page to hitting the publish button, encompassing drafting, editing, image gathering and commenting on the images.

  • The Nagarekawa Girls’ latest Christmas performance proceeds quite smoothly, and it appears that Nanako’s matured to some extent, at least enough to say her name properly. However, her audience feels that her tendency to stutter and pronounce it as “Nanyako” has become something of a defining characteristic. After this initial performance, the Nagarekawa Girls meet up with their managers and Nanako is surprised to learn that Yukari’s birthday is so soon.

  • Nanako’s friends, Misato, Satsuki, and Shouko, made only limited appearances during Locodol‘s main run, so it was quite pleasant to see that the OVA gives them a more substantial presence. It turns out that this group of friends formed as a result of Shouko’s antics during their first day of high school, and since then, this group’s become quite close. I have difficulty remembering Nanako’s friends outside of Nagarekawa Girls, so for my reference (as well as everyone else’s), Misato has black hair, Satsuki has blonde hair and Shouko has burgundy hair.

  • While the dynamics between Yukari and Nanako are sufficiently noticeable by most everyone save Nanako, I do not feel that this can be correctly said to be the OVA’s primary thematic element; something like that would not be enough for a 24-minute long OVA. As such, for the folks at Tango-victor-tango, their analysis would not earn passing credit. To reiterate, the OVA’s main theme is that Nanako and Yukari’s friendship is a particularly strong one that eclipses Christmas itself.

  • While out shopping for a suitable birthday gift for Yukari, Nanako wonders if it’ll be tougher to find something since Yukari appears to be the sort of person who’d look nice in most anything. She then encounters Yukari with family trying hats out, and suddenly begins to worry that she might accidentally get Yukari a duplicate gift. The end gift Nanako eventually purchases is not shown immediately, being left as a surprise for later.

  • Released on Christmas Eve, the Locodol OVA presently holds the distinction for being the anime with the closest Christmas episode to Christmas Day itself. I did not watch it until yesterday on account of a rather packed holiday schedule: in between revising and fine-tuning my conference paper, I’ve finished building my MG 00 Raiser, attended the Zoo Lights, been out to see The Force Awakens, helped a family friend tune up their computer, and watched the Calgary Flames get thrashed by the LA Kings in the New Years’ Eve game.

  • While Nanako and the others are celebrating Christmas Eve, Yukari is attending a family party. Yesterday, New Year’s Day, was quite quiet: I spent it fine-tuning the paper further and also pushed out the Girls und Panzer Der Film preview talk, before spending the evening with the extended family at hot pot. Aside from the usual lamb, chicken, beef, fish and vegetables, there was also a sort of skewered grilled, marinated squid that was so commonplace in Taiwan. Everything was absolutely delicious, and in the blink of an eye, two-and-a-half hours had flown by.

  • Elsewhere, Saori is toasting with a coworker. Saori Nishifukai is noted for her similarities with Girls und Panzer‘s Saori Takebi; despite being voiced by different voice actors (Saori Nishifukai is voiced by Asami Shimoda, of Infinite Stratos‘ Huang Lingyin) and having different hair colours, their hair style and glasses are similar enough. The OVA’s focus on Nanako and Yukari means that Saori’s cloak-and-dagger tendencies to photograph the two do not make an appearance.

  • With her friends’ encouragement, Nanako heads out into the night to fulfil her role as Santa, even as snow begins to fall and the temperatures plummet. Given that Nagarekawa is located in the Chiba prefecture, it would have a humid subtropical climate: winters would be quite mild, and the average December temperature is a balmy 12 °C.

  • Upon realising that she’s left Yukari’s gift back home and also neglected to bring her phone, Nanako turns to leave and slips on the stairs. The translation has Nanako say “this sucks” with respect to the situation, but I’m now sufficiently versed enough to hear simpler patterns, and Nanako’s “もういやだ” (electronic translators yield “I’m fed up”) approximates to the English phrases “enough already” or “it’s too much” in meaning.

  • Nanako is the sort of character that evokes a sense of pity in viewers whenever misfortune befalls her, and consequently, the maternal aura Yukari conveys is perhaps exactly what is needed during times like these. Similarly, Nanako is able to convince Yukari to take things easy with her free spirits. For this reason, Yukari and Nanako’s personalities are seen as being compatible, lending additional weight to their friendship as both do their best to support the other.

  • While Yukari is generally composed and mature, her actions occasionally belie a sense of loneliness: despite being from a wealthy background and quite good at everything she does, Yukari longs to spend time with her peers. After Nanako wishes her a happy birthday, she listens to the itinerary that Yukari has in mind, and spends the night. She realises the next day that she’d forgotten to let her parents know, but Yukari is a step ahead; foreseeing the evening, she’s already phoned ahead.

  • I never take baths and always shower simply because the latter is faster and more sustainable. Since we’re rolling a Locodol post here, I’ll turn my attention to some related news: the album Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita. Music Collection ~Winter & Spring~ will be released on February 24 and will hopefully generate some interest. Neither ~Itsudemo Genki! Nana-chan to…~ or ~Nonbiriya no Yukari-san to…~, originally set to release on August 19, 2015, have been accessible, so I’ve still yet to listen to those songs in full.

  • A gentle glow from the surrounding city is seen through the window as Nanako and Yukari toast, share cake and then watch a movie together. If we’re keeping count here, it means that from Nanako’s perspective, she’ll have had cake on four occasions over the course of the OVA, reflecting on the commonly-voiced concern about weight-gain over the course of the holidays. My countermeasure is to bundle up and go for a hike in the nearby park, which offers some interesting terrain to elevate heart rate and get the blood going.

  • The Locodol OVA’s choice of imagery does evoke the closeness that couples share, although things are kept family-friendly throughout the OVA’s run. In fact, Locodol has done a fine job of adequately illustrating the closeness of their friendship without ever needing to step things up, and consequently, during the TV series’ run, this aspect never detracted from the main message.

  • Misato, Shouko, Yui, Mirai and Satsuki meet one another outside of Yukari’s apartment, bearing the items that Nanako inadvertently left behind the previous evening. Their presence allows for Yukari’s birthday to be celebrated with a larger crowd, adding to the festivities.

  • It turns out that Nanako’s gift for Yukari is a pair of new gloves, a thoughtful and practical gift. During Boxing Day, I was tempted to get some leather gloves that were on sale, but decided to go with a warmer pair out of practicality’s sake to replace an older pair. After a particularly eventful week leading up to the New Year, the New Year’s off to a quieter start, and this is exactly what I need for the present.

  • That’s because in the upcoming week, the paper submission deadline, plus two separate lab tours will occupy my time alongside with the pre-semester TA meeting. My winter holidays end on Monday, and we’ll be off to a running start in the New Year; to keep abreast of things, I’ll need to bring my A-game to most everything I do this year.

  • Yukari and Nanako sing for the others, and a quick glance at this post shows that we’re practically at the end. I remark that from here on out, there won’t be any more weekly GochiUsa posts for each Saturday, now that the anime’s come to a close. For 2016, I’ll be following a slightly different anime posting pattern, preferring to focus on OVAs and movies for the most part, and for TV series, I’ll do the two-post format for a maximum of two shows during any given season. Two new posting categories, “Anime Live” and “Terrible Anime Challenge” will also be created, and what these entail will be left as an exercise for a future post.

  • A screenshot of Yukari and Nanako holding hands appears to be a fitting way to end off this post; with this post now over, I’ll be working towards pushing a talk for the Hibike! Euphonium OVA. As well, Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai will be releasing on January 16 for all to check out; despite being later than either Anthem of the Heart or Girls und Panzer Der Film, it looks like it’ll be the first of the major movies to get a review.

One aspect that seems unavoidable wherever a Locodol discussion is concerned is the nature of Yukari and Nanako’s friendship; if there were any doubts before, the OVA seems to give the impression that the two are a little more than just friends, even if they do not explicitly say so. Nanako’s friends seem to be aware and imply that Yukari is Nanako’s special someone, while audiences see for themselves that the two interact as a couple would. This particular element is usually intended for other purposes when included in an anime, but Locodol manages to wield it such that it contributes to the anime’s sense of warmth without overstepping the bounds for what is reasonable. As such, the second Locodol OVA is a noteworthy addition to the Locodol series, and with it being over, one must wonder whether or not a continuation is likely. The manga is still ongoing, so material likely won’t be a concern, and sales for Locodol appear solid from what I gather; my prediction is that a second season or movie might become tangible after a sufficient amount of material from the manga has been released. With that being said, even if no continuation is planned, Locodol would conclude on excellent terms.

Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture: Home of Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yatte Mita

“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.

Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita: Song & Drama Albums (~Itsudemo Genki! Nana-chan to Nonbiriya no Yukari-san to…~) set for August 19 Release

Originally announced back in July, the Futsuu no Joshikousei ga [Locodol] Yattemita (Locodol for brevity) character albums were supposedly set for a release on July 29, although for reasons unknown, this date was pushed back to August 19, 2015: so, tomorrow, these albums will go on sale for 2000 yen (roughly 21 CAD) each. There will be one album for Nanako (Itsudemo Genki! Nana-chan, performed by Miku Ito and Maya Yoshioka) and one for Yukari (Nonbiriya no Yukari-san, performed by Sachika Misawa and Inori Minase). The albums were announced during the Second Early Summer Nagarekawa Festival back on June 13, and the title was inspired by the lyrics from the Nagarekawa Girls Song, which was performed during the anime’s finale. The tracklists for each album are as follows:

~Itsudemo Genki! Nana-chan to…~

  1. さきどりドリーマー
  2. Wish Upon a Star
  3. 2 the Dream
  4. 魚心くんソング (幻のオリジナル・ヴァージョン)
  5. オリジナルCDドラマ「奈々子の日常篇」
  6. さきどりドリーマー (Off Vocal Version)
  7. Wish Upon a Star (Off Vocal Version)
  8. 2 the Dream (Off Vocal Version)

~Nonbiriya no Yukari-san to…~

  1. また明日ね
  2. 未来飛行
  3. 4 the Dream
  4. あぁ流川 (幻のオリジナル・ヴァージョン)
  5. オリジナルCDドラマ「縁の日常篇」
  6. また明日ね (Off Vocal Version)
  7. 未来飛行 (Off Vocal Version)
  8. 4 the Dream (Off Vocal Version)

Besides the release of a pair of much-welcomed Locodol albums, the manga also revealed that there is to be a new OVA in production. It will serve as a sequel of sorts for Locodol, but beyond this, there hasn’t been any additional information on what the OVA will be about or when it will be released. Though I found the anime to be solid from a critical perspective, its reception in Japan was more modest, making only 3816 sales. While Locodol was a newcomer on the scene, especially in comparison to more popular idol anime (such as Love Live and IdolM@ster), I personally find the smaller scale, more personal touch of Locodol to be significantly more meaningful and enjoyable to watch, but the sales figures, coupled with the knowledge that the second OVA is a sequel, suggests that said OVA will serve as the swan song for Locodol. With that being said, the blackout on information means that, although it’s a given that there is an OVA, the main question for the present will remain when it comes out (a well-reasoned conjecture would suggest Winter 2016 at the earliest, since it’s not present in the Fall 2015 lineup). Naturally, I’ll do my utmost to write about it, but until then, there are two albums to anticipate.

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.