NijiGaku Anime Visits My (Not So) Familiar Digs

Been somewhat enjoying the new Love Live anime this season. My take is not far from this take.

Let’s discuss the real-life locale aspect. Odaiba is this funky east-Tokyo zone with big shopping malls and other leisure complexes. This planned community is not that … community-y and most people go there to enjoy the sea breeze and the wide open park spaces, among the eats and shopping nearby. Zepp Tokyo and Zepp Diver City are the bookmarked ends of this zone for me, although I did walk around past both at least once.

I just find it tiresome that everyone wants to point out the stuff in Big Site’s central/west halls because it is the inside of the school, but that part is the dumb nerd part. I was more stoked about, in last week’s episode, the car museum inside Venus Fort, than anything thus far.

I mean, I get why people like to talk about Big Site because that’s their only reason of being in Odaiba as I am no different: Having spent hours and hours inside Venus Fort myself to attend events and waiting for people around the various Zepps is the only reason why I was there anyway. Having to go to Diver City to find food so I can survive a full day of eventing is not how I’d like to enjoy it. Like, I want to visit the Noitamina Store for once. I walked the whole stretch between the two Zepps, which is pretty nice, when the weather cooperates. And I’ve seen those food vendors. The big ferris wheel is great place to take bocchi selfies, but not at night.

Besides the (missing) Gundam outside Zepp Diver City, that entire area can be an outdoor stage for concerts and idol festivals. TIF is famously held there, plus other idol events. Other famous tourist things including riding the Himiko into Odaiba. It’s a great way to get a short night cruise when the weather might not be the most cooperating.

Which is just to say, if all you know of Odaiba is from Comiket, you really don’t know Odaiba. For one, Big Site is on the Ariake side, and it’s more residential/business. Second, there are a bunch of smaller event spaces in that the vicinity towards the Gundam. Setsuna performing on the steps outside Diver City is sacred idol territory being used by an idol. It goes on. Watching TIF earlier this year will give you a rooftop view of Odaiba’s skyline, much like what NijiGaku is trying to do at times (and will further invoke in the future).

Odaiba is wota territory, thin-book nerds from overseas probably should take note.

PS. On the anime itself, I think it is good. Only if Sunshine was like this I might actually love Aqours. It is also four years too late. In a post-Shinymas world this take on school idols is refreshing but only because the discourse is both divorced from that PreCure/Aikatsu/PriPara context yet it is dragging this otaku-centric franchise one leg into that public-friendly kiddy pool. I think it’s fun and fine, but it is one generation too slow to capture my imagination.

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