Real-life Academy City Tachikawa Celebrates Return of A Certain Magical Index Anime

posted on by Kim Morrissy

In the A Certain Magical Index light novels and anime series, Academy City is a city with over a million students developing their esper powers. It's also said to take up an entire third of the metropolitan area of Tokyo.

Tachikawa, the real-life inspiration of Academy City, isn't quite as sprawling or as hi-tech as its fictional counterpart. But it is a nice city in the west side of Tokyo, and one look at the walkways around the station area will evoke images of A Certain Magical Index and its sister series A Certain Scientific Railgun.

For example, the image above is the key visual for Tachikawa's collaboration with A Certain Magical Index III. Although I'm not the kind of fan who goes around looking for the locations of every shot in an anime series, this shot was taken literally right next to the entrance of the Tama Monorail station. I stumbled upon it without even looking for it.

To give anime fans even more of an incentive to visit Tachikawa, the city has been holding events and promotions related to A Certain Magical Index for several years now, and are as delighted as anyone by the anime's return to airwaves. Earlier this month, Tachikawa held an Index-related event at the city's cultural fair, a special screening of A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion, talk shows, and more.

For a week in November, 16 Lawson's convenience stores were decked out with Index decorations. The stores themselves also sold a handful of Index goods.

Even though that's over, however, you'll still see evidence of the anime all over the city. The main streets have Index flags all the way down the sidewalk.

It's hard to make out the illustrations from this distance, so let's take a closer look.

There's also a special Index bus! It leaves the station only once every hour or so, but I managed to catch it while I was still in town.

Inside the bus, you can see a bunch of Index-related ads, all of them bragging about how the light novels have over 30 million copies in print.

Unfortunately, I caught the bus at a time when everyone else was trying to get home, so I felt awkward about the fact that I was only on there to gawk like a tourist. So I got off at the first stop and started making my way back to the station. But what do I see across the road...?

That's right, an Index-themed vending machine! These have been in operation for a few years now, but it was nice to stop and get myself a drink after a day of trekking around town. I put 140 yen into the machine and got... the protagonist Touma on my drink. Nice.

The buses don't have a specified end date and will probably keep running for the foreseeable future. The flags will go down in January next year. If you want to check out Academy City in real life, either for curiosity's sake or for a full-blown pilgrimage, now's as good a time as any!

Kazuma Kamachi's A Certain Magical Index light novel series has inspired three television anime series, a 2013 anime film, and multiple manga adaptations. Motoi Fuyukawa's A Certain Scientific Railgun spinoff manga has also inspired two television anime adaptations and an original video anime (OVA). A Certain Magical Index III is currently airing and Crunchyroll is streaming the series simultaneously with Japan. The third season of the A Certain Scientific Railgun anime is slated for 2019 along with the A Certain Scientific Accelerator anime.

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