Monday, September 13, 2010

Sailor Moon Location Tour, Parts #1-5

Seeing as I'm in Tokyo, I've been taking the time between job-hunting to visit some of the locations that were featured in, or inspired fictitious locations in, the various incarnations of Sailor Moon. The photo's I've taken of these locations have been uploaded to my Facebook as part of my new series, "Sailor Moon Location Tour".

For those who don't follow my Facebook, I've decided to link to the first five parts of the series. I'll paste the Facebook description of each album and provide the link to the album. Additionally, I'll embed videos that I recorded for part #4. Enjoy!

Sailor Moon Location Tour: Hikawa Shrine #1

The first part of my new series, touring the real life locations featured in Sailor Moon. For this first part, I'm showcasing Rei "Sailor Mars" Hino's home, Hikawa Shrine. Well, one of them, anyway. See, there are actually THREE Hikawa shrines in Tokyo, and all three of them were either featured in Sailor Moon or somehow influenced the design of a fictional location. The first Hikawa shrine, located in Akasaka, a few hundred meters away from Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown, was used as the model for the shrine featured in the anime.

Sailor Moon Location Tour Part #2: Hikawa Shrine #2-- Motoazabu

The second of Tokyo's three Hikawa Shrines. This one, located in Motoazabu atop the real-life Sendai Hill, is apparently the shrine upon which the Hikawa Shrine in the manga is modelled. Unfortunately, it's quite a bit less visually interesting than the one in Akasaka, which is probably why it was not used as the basis for the anime Shrine.

Sailor Moon Location Tour #3: Hikawa Shrine in Shirokane-Takanawa

The third of Tokyo's Hikawa Shrines. This was (purportedly) one of two shrines used in the filming of the Sailor Moon live action series. In addition to the shrine, there also photos of a neighboring Buddhist temple and cemetary, plus cats and bugs!

Sailor Moon Location Tour #4 -- Hikawa Shrine Shibuya

The fourth of Tokyo's three Hikawa Shrines. . . yeah, it turns out there were more Hikawa shrines than I initially thought. According to the internetz, THIS is the shrine used for the filming of PGSM. I could definitely see some resemblance when re-watching act 3 of PGSM, but the fact that the shrine was hosting its Autumn festival (I think. . .) made it a little hard to tell. The place was far more crowded than any of the other Hikawa shrines I had visited. The pathways throughout the shrine were lined with kiosks selling everything from fried chicken skewers to chocolate bananas to sex toys and posters of gravure idols. . . and yes, there WERE children present. In addition, at the main shrine a Noh play (I think. . .) was being performed, and to top it all off, a Mikoshi (portable shrine) was carried into the Shrine grounds. It was quite an event to behold, especially since I stumbled onto it completely by accident. There are videos of the event as well, which I'll put up as soon as I can.

Here's the link to Act 3 (part #1) of PGSM, if you want to compare. The shrine shows up at about 6:40.

Here's the video of the play that was performed at Hikawa Shrine in Shibuya. The videos are named "Noh Theatre", but as I said, I'm not certain whether it's Noh or Kabuki theatre. If anyone DOES know, a comment would be most appreciated.

And here's the mikoshi, on its way to Hikawa shrine.

Sailor Moon Location Tour Part #5-- Pedestrian Overpass!

A new Sailor Moon location, this time from my own home ward of Kita-ku! Today's location is a pedestrian overpass in Kita-ku's Akabane-dai neighborhood. What's so special about this overpass, you ask? Well, it is ONLY the place where Usagi and Luna first meet in PGSM. And where Usagi and Ami meet. And where Usagi and Ami first meet Rei. And so on.

Here are some videos so you can compare. The first is the PGSM location tour, filmed after completion of the series (unfortunately, the English subtitles are overlayed with Spanish subtitles). The second is the first part of Act 1 of PGSM (skip to about 4:25 for the revelvent scene. . . as well as some of the most powerful acting ever captured on film). As I said, this bridge is featured recurrently in PGSM, so you'll see it in plenty of other spots in the show as well.

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