Anime Tourism is really big in Japan right now, with people from all over the world visiting places in the country that were featured in anime. From Zombie Land Saga’s now-iconic zombie house to the town of Oarai which is just one huge Girls und Panzer tourist trap, and also that iconic bridge from AnoHana, which can be found in Chichibu. And yes, the life-size Unicorn Gundam in Odaiba also counts. Towns which were featured in anime also reported a huge rise in tourism. For example, Oarai went from a simple fishing village to an anime tourism hot spot as soon as Girls und Panzer aired. Unfortunately, one researcher claims that it might not be all good.
Because of the positive effects that anime tourism has done for many towns and villages all over Japan, there has been a rush of commercialization for many of these places. However, Researcher Takeshi Okamoto has done some studies on anime tourism, and he warns that over-commercialization may have some bad effects.
He says that anime tourists may lose interest if things get too commercialized. The researcher also added that these places also need to study what their visitors value. He noted one huge example, and that was the collaboration between the Love Plus dating sim and Hotel Oonoya in 2010. The collaboration featured hotel staff inviting players to stay in a room with two futons for every person staying in the collaboration room. One futon would be fot the fan, while the other will be empty, signifying it will be for that fan’s “waifu”. He said that these sort of gimmicks might be bad over-all. However, Okamoto stated that it should not dissuade places from doing gimmicks, far from it. But first, these places should first research their target market and do it properly, or else it might come out sloppy and actually fail. They should also study the anime itself, as different places from different anime series would have their own fandom references and in-jokes. He advised forming organizing committees to try to find out exactly what visitors want with these places.
Over-all, anime tourism has had some huge effects in Japan. However, there have also been reports of misbehaving anime tourists, such as one vandalising a Love Live Sunshine manhole cover, as well as fans trespassing in a golf course featured in the Girls und Panzer film. And as Okamoto pointed out, it might have some negative effects on the places themselves if they over-commercialize.
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source: Yahoo! News