Love Live! Sunshine is definitely one of the most anticipated anime of summer 2016, winning Charapedia’s pre-season popularity poll. The anime is set in the town of Numazu in Shizuoka prefecture, which is a small town, and the town itself is in the grips of its own Love Live! Sunshine fever, and the anime hasn’t even aired yet!
Numazu is really banking on Love Live! Sunshine’s popularity, as they are expecting additional tourism income from the anime. The anime tourism formula has worked very well for several towns and cities in Japan, and the most notable of them include Oarai from Girls und Panzer, and Chichibu from AnoHana. The town has gotten a lot of attention since it was announced that the anime will be based there, and according to a report by ANN:
Last July, a character area was set up at the locally managed Sannoura information desk facing Uchiura bay. It includes figures of the 9 main characters as well as free maps of landmarks from the show and is independently run by fans. At the beginning of this year, the information desk began keeping a visitor tally. In January, the tally was at 407 visitors, in March, 1367 visitors, and by May it had risen to 1835 visitors. Looking at the notes left behind in the fan corner, there were many people coming from faraway places like Kyoto, Northern Kanto, and the Hyougo prefecture. The local manager of the information desk was quoted as saying, “This is an area with an aging population, so many residents are bewildered by this sudden anime boom. I have no doubt that the area will become more popular, and from now on the administration will want to plan for further activities.”
The anime will also be featuring the renowned Izu Mito Sea Paradise Aquarium, and thanks to the anime, there has been an increase of visitors. The aquarium has released this statement:
“So far, there has been an unusual increase in groups of young men visiting.”
To further promote the anime, several specially-wrapped train cars will be featuring the nine members of AQUORS. According to ANN, ” There have also been conspicuous groups of male fans taking pictures of the Izuhakone Railway Sunzu line trains, which have pictures of the Love Live! Sunshine!! characters wrapping across their train cars.”
The people behind the Love Live! franchise have already anticipated incidents such as these as they have previously warned overly-zealous fans to behave themselves when in Numazu, and told them to respect the privacy of locals. Lately, this has become a problem in several anime pilgrimage sites like Oarai, where cosplayers have disrupted the students and staff of the local school where Oarai Girls’ High School was based on. Several incidents have also occured in other places, so it is a bit understandable that the staff ask fans to restrain themselves.
Don’t miss a single update from SGCafe! Follow us on Twitter: @SGCafe
Also join in on the community’s discussions at http://forums.sgcafe.com