Saitama Prefecture, well known for being the spiritual home of Lucky Star, has published an official proposal to bolster the prefecture’s already substantial anime tourism trade via such otaku-oriented methods that include a previously reported plan to change schoolgirl uniforms to anime seifuku cosplay.
Asahi reported on the recommendations of the advisory group, the “Prefectural Anime Tourism Investigative Committee,” a group made up of anime and manga industry insiders and tourism consultants.
A number of the proposed ideas are listed below, all consisting of ideas to help revitalize the prefecture’s economy, which can best be described as a somewhat sleepy suburban center of the Greater Tokyo Area.
Some of the proposed ideas reported are:
- Modifying local school uniforms to ones modeled after those worn by anime characters.
- Increasing the number of events to better capitalise one the “voice” of the fans.
- Playing anime theme and insert songs over PA systems at street corners.
- Production of (anime and manga) goods utilizing the prefecture’s already existing traditional crafts and raw materials.
The anime / manga franchises with existing connections to Saitama and that would likely be the most promoted include Crayon Shin-chan, Astro Boy (who is a legally registered resident of the prefecture), but by far and away the most obvious series is Lucky Star.
However, the fate of the committee’s proposal will ultimately be up to the prefecture’s various municipalities and chambers of commerce – they could perhaps be forgiven for not forcing their school population to dress as anime characters.
The cities that in particular stand out to be the most likely candidates for adopt any of the proposal’s ideas are the city of 鷲宮 / Washimiya, the location of Washinomiya Shrine (the family shrine of Lucky Star’s lovely Hiiragi sisters), and the city of 春日部 / Kasukabe, the real life setting for much of the Lucky Star series, as well as Crayon Shin-chan’s home city.
Indeed, Washimiya is likely to have preemptively enacted many of the proposal’s ideas long before they were even made – the Washinomiya’s shrine visibility in Lucky Star (Kagami dances in front of the shrine in the show’s OP) has cemented its status as an otaku holy site, drawing countless number of devoted otaku pilgrims, even some from overseas.
The resulting wave of pilgrims, almost certainly the initial impetus for the tourism committee’s proposals, naturally resulted in a significant boost for the local economy, as reported in this somewhat outdated but informative Wall Street Journal article.
A Lucky Star cosplay seifuku, and possible model for future Saitama schools?
Whether or not any localities besides Washimiya will make use of the proposal’s ideas remains to be seen, but the adoption of any one of its suggestions -especially that of entire schools full of Lucky Star seifuku cosplayers- would certainly be heartening to Tokyo’s huge otaku population.