Famous Samurai Continue Legendary Duel in Modern-Day Kitakyushu in Anime Shorts
posted on by Eric Stimson
Kitakyushu (North Kyushu) has produced a ten-episode series of anime shorts to promote itself; they feature Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojirō, two famous samurai who dueled on Ganryū Island near Kitakyushu in 1612. Historically, Sasaki lost the fight and perished, but in the anime, "Kitakyushu Pride: Jūban Shōbu" ("Ten Matches"), they're alive and well in modern Kitakyushu, but they can't stop themselves from constantly trying to duel each other. Conveniently, their matches all showcase attractive aspects of Kitakyushu.
In the first episode, Miyamoto and Sasaki face off in Kitakyushu Stadium. When Sasaki fends off an incoming soccer ball with his sword, he gets a red card for his pains.
Next, Miyamoto and Sasaki compete to gather and eat the most food from Tanga Market. Sasaki creates a pretty pile, but then the octopus on top topples.
This time, the duel is interrupted by a director who complains that they're going off-script and calls them "total amateurs." Sasaki gets back at him, though. The episode highlights Kitakyushu's popularity as a filming destination.
To showcase Kitakyushu's nightlife, the dueling samurai have a drinking contest at a bar.
This video promotes Kitakyushu as a cosplay destination. A group of cosplaying girls fawn over Sasaki, only for Miyamoto to pull an unusual trump card: he makes himself younger and cuter.
To highlight Kitakyushu's childcare facilities, Sasaki follows the still-young Miyamoto to a daycare. Since it's a kids-only zone, he makes himself younger too. He also finally wins a duel by crying, attracting the attention of a babysitter who scolds Miyamoto.
Miyamoto and Sasaki duel in front of the Yahata Steel Works Main Office, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A foreigner comes to interview them about it; Sasaki "wins" by default since Miyamoto can't speak English. Then a tourist comes and puts Sasaki on the spot by expecting him to be a tour guide.
Miyamoto and Sasaki duel each other at Kokura Castle, eventually dueling over a picnic spot under its cherry trees. After a suggestion from a fellow picnicker, they settle their grudge with Paper-Scissors-Rock instead.
Miyamoto and Sasaki pause to appreciate Kitakyushu's beautiful Tobata Gion Yamagasa Festival, with its towering lantern floats. For Miyamoto, though, the festival isn't the only thing that's beautiful...
In the final episode, Miyamoto is late to the duel... because he's gone steady with the woman from the previous episode. They're even considering marrying and settling down in Kitakyushu! Sasaki ponders whether he should do the same, given Kitakyushu's beauty, food, attractions, and livability.
"Kitakyushu Pride"'s animation was produced by a local studio, Colt, from character designs by Tokiwa-sō. The theme song is Kōta Uchino's "The Endless Futures."
Japanese prefectures and municipalities are increasingly turning to anime to lure visitors and potential residents. Kyushu's Saga Prefecture, for example, has produced anime shorts about a Thai foreign exchange student's visit.