Following her father’s business falling into bankruptcy, high schooler Himeno Toyokawa and her family moves from Tokyo to Tajimi, a small town in Gifu Prefecture famous for it’s ceramics and pottery. Starting a new life in the birth town of her late mother, a chance meeting with the pottery club at school reveals a connection to her mother that she never realized before.
Caesar E.S. (The Indonesian Anime Times)
It’s so interesting to see projects come to life like this. A long while ago, YouTube’s algorithm recommended me a video about “Japan’s Funniest Dialect,” which was promoting a small Japanese town called Tajimi. That video led me to the English website of the Tajimi Tourism Association, on which I found a series of promotional manga for the town available online and in English, telling the story of a group of high school girls in the local pottery club. That page also mentioned that an animated series was in the works. So it was quite the surprise when I saw a stage panel for the series during AnimeJapan 2021, and recognized it as the same series from the website I found years before! The manga itself dates its publication to 2012, so this project has clearly been in the making for quite some time.
The concept of using anime as a tool for promoting local tourism in Japan itself isn’t new, but it’s one that’s certainly had its share of success stories. The term “anime tourism”, has been used for tourism efforts that incorporate anime, that can come in the form of promotional goods or campaigns. A culture of “anime pilgrimages” have also popped up where fans visit the real-life settings present in their favorite anime, essentially creating new tourism spots in their own right, with examples such as the city of Chichibu from Anohana, or Karatsu from Yuri!! on Ice. A more recent example on how anime can be used to promote, in direct cooperation with the local government of the area they’re promoting, is Zombie Land Saga, which prominently features local spots and businesses from Saga prefecture.
Let’s Make a Mug Too is in that sense, a bit different since the project itself was first initiated by the city and then developed into a TV anime, not the other way around. So it doesn’t shy away and tells you exactly what it’s here to promote- that is, the city of Tajimi and it’s ceramics industry. It is essentially a travel show, so much so that in fact, the show itself is divided into two segments: the anime featuring the story of the pottery club, and a live-action segment where the show’s voice actresses tour the city and guide you through it’s attractions.
And it works! The anime segment’s story is heartwarming, while the live action segment is in practice, the kind of travel show visiting scenic small towns you would watch on something like NHK- just with your favorite voice actresses as the hosts. Fans of laid-back camping/travel anime Laid-Back Camp are sure to enjoy this one, and just like with Laid-Back Camp, I’ll be looking forward to this each week for something to watch, sit back, and relax to.
Let’s Make A Mug Too is currently streaming on Ani-One Asia
Facts and Figures
|Alternative title(s)||Yakunara Mug Cup mo (やくならマグカップも)|
|Source material||Promotional manga|
|Casts||Minami Tanaka as Himeno Toyokawa
Rina Honnizumi as Toko Aoki
Yū Serizawa as Mika Kukuri
Yūki Wakai as Naoko Naruse
|Director||Jun Kamiya (Blue Seed)|
|Series composition||Naruhisa Arakawa (Blue Seed, Spice and Wolf, Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Kamen Rider Kuuga)|
|Character design||Ayano Yoshioka|
|Opening theme||“Tobira o Aketara” by Mug-mo|
|Ending theme||“Pale Blue” by Aya Uchida|
|Broadcast date||2 April 2021 (1555 GMT/2255 WIB), 3 April 2021 (0055 JST)|
Screenshots and Trailer
The Indonesian Anime Times