These days nearly all anime is “filmed” in a real location, and you have a car and an obsessive personality, you can travel to the pleasant lakeside town where Please Twins was is set, stroll through the halls of the real K-On! school, or visit the the village Hinamizawa was based on in Higurashi ~ When They Cry (though I’d be terrified of being horribly murdered there). As a fan living in Japan, I can visit — the otaku term for it is seichi junrei or “make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land” — that beautiful bridge from the AnoHana anime…however I generally don’t expect anime to come to me. The other day I was randomly googling information on the anime Nichijou, which can best be described as Lucky Star meets Azumanga Daioh with lost of jokes about Buddhist statues, when I got a surprise. It turns out that that, by an incredibly random chance, the setting for the town in Nichijou is…J-List’s home city of Isesaki, Gunma. Every background, every intersection, every building you see in the anime is an identifiable part of our city, including the amusement park, which is visible from my window right now, and the location of Hakase and Nano’s house, which I pass every day when I go to the gym. I thought that someone at Kyoto Animation must be trolling J-List big time, but it turns out that the manga-ka happens to be from this city.
This isn’t the only coincidence I’ve encountered in Japan. While I was studying Japanese in college, I read lots of manga, since the panels are mostly filled with dialogue being spoken by characters, which gives students something to pattern their spoken language on. The manga I most read was Touch, the classic tale of Tatsuya, who was forced to lead his high school’s baseball team to victory at the Koshien Championships after his twin brother is killed in a car accident. Imagine my surprise when I found that the city I’d moved to just happened to be the birthplace of the artist, Adachi Mitsuru…and my wife even shares his birthday. A lot of fans of Russian idol Yulia Nova visit two sites in Japan regularly, J-List and the official website of the photographer, Satoshi Kizu. Would you believe that, again by chance, he just happens to live about 2 km from the J-List office? Is our city some kind of “power spot” that makes these coincidences happen?
WTF? It turns out Nichijou is based in J-List’s home city.
In the map that shows in episode 2, J-List is located here, just north of Kezoji Park. The hell???