Photo: Numazu City
crime

City in Shizuoka Pref removes anime girl manhole covers after repeated vandalism

15 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

It used to be a given that just about any anime series set in a real-world location would take place in Tokyo, but in recent years there’s been a trend of putting the events and characters in a smaller town outside Japan’s capital. This tends to be a boon for the depicted city, which is generally recreated with loving detail, as it draws fans, and their tourism money, to locations that otherwise might have been overlooked.

That’s definitely been the story for Numazu. Ever since it was chosen as the setting for "Love Live! Sunshine!!," the most recent arc of popular anime/video game franchise "Love Live!," otaku have been coming in droves to the town on the Shizuoka Prefecture coast. Recently, the city even installed nine custom-made manhole covers depicting the "Love Live! Sunshine!!" cast of cute schoolgirl idols, funded through a crowdfunding campaign that raised an incredible 33.8 million yen.

▼ The city also produced a map showing the location of each manhole, so that fans could visit their favorite or complete a pilgrimage to all of them.

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There’s been an unfortunate turn of events, though. In addition to attracting people who love the "Love Live!" girls, the manholes have also drawn the attention of someone who absolutely hates them, and the result has been repeated vandalism. The first such incident occurred on May 27, when one of the covers was discovered to have been purposely scratched and defaced. Last week, the vandal changed tactics and spray-painted over multiple covers (the damage can be seen here), earning the ire of local politicians.

The culprit remains at large, and in light of the attacks on the "Love Live!" girls, the city has now decided to remove the covers and replace them with the standard, non-anime related ones used elsewhere in the city. A statement on Numazu’s official website includes: “The manholes covers were produced through the contributions of everyone who participated in the crowdfunding campaign, and many people, including Love Live! fans, have enjoyed visiting them and taking photos. We apologize to everyone who was looking forward to visiting them, while asking for your understanding and acceptance.”

As a silver lining, the city has said that it hopes to reinstall the "Love Live!" covers once the situation has been resolved, although it also says that it currently has no time frame for when that will happen. It’s a sad development in what should have been a lighthearted, innocuous bit of fun. As with any popular entertainment franchise, "Love Live!’s" fanbase is opposed by those who feel its success is undeserved, and it seems likely that the vandal is someone who’s sorely in need of a lesson on the difference between being a good otaku and a bad one.

Sources: Numazu City via Jin, First Flight

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Love Live! warns fans once again to refrain from being jerks

-- Anime fan shows his hatred for Love Live! by dragging anime idol behind his itasha car

-- Otaku armor! Yes, there really is a dude wearing this mountain of anime merchandise

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

15 Comments
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This is why we can't have nice things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Leave one with 10 hidden cameras on it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ZENJI

I think you would find the prices prohibitive and the shipping costs by sea expensive, they are too heavy to lift. But you can find Japanese manhole covers for sale online but I suggest you settle for a book and read that in your garden,

The most up-to-date and comprehensive guide to Japanese manhole design is “Nihon no Manhoru” (1997), which provides photos and details on 1,546 different manhole cover designs from all around Japan. It’s all in Japanese, but includes just enough English (the prefecture and town for each manhole) that you could track down designs you find attractive, or know what to look for when visiting a specific destination. The book is not available from online booksellers, but you or your local bookseller can order it for ¥6,300 from the publisher, Suido Sangyo Shinbun-sha (1-19-10 Toranomon,Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001; [03] 5251-0303; fax [03] 5251-3802; www.suidou.co.jp).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can I buy these manhole covers?

I live in New Zealand. We do not have such things.

They will look seriously funky in my garden. Anyone reading this can you ask on my behalf.

please reply to : kinosakionsen55@gmail.com

Domo Arigato.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry- maybe a slightly bit off topic but the article mentions-

Ever since it was chosen as the setting for "Love Live! Sunshine!!," the most recent arc of popular anime/video game franchise "Love Live!," otaku have been coming in droves to the town on the Shizuoka Prefecture coast.

This could be a blueprint for small town revivals all over japan. I know that fans of Crayon Shin Chan do enjoy going to Kasukabe...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if they raised that much money I am sure they have 20 bucks to have surveillance cameras too. not a hard solution. or have anime geeks stand watch over them, they probably have the time to do that

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's to be expected for putting anime girls on womanhole sewers

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It would be cheaper just to coat them in a silicon based anti-graffiti spray. The vandal's paint will just wash of with a high-pressure hose. Replacing them is a cop out and the vandal gets his wish.

Exactly!

Also, how about actually trying to catch the perpetrator.

I mean, c'mon, how hard would it be to install web cams / security cameras that could record any vandalism?!

C'mon, don't give up so easily!!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When they first started putting these manhole covers on, I told my friend that Japan is one of the few countries in the world where this could be done without theft or vandalism. I guess I was wrong.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It would be cheaper just to coat them in a silicon based anti-graffiti spray. The vandal's paint will just wash of with a high-pressure hose. Replacing them is a cop out and the vandal gets his wish.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Numazu is one of my favorite places in all of Japan. And I am a 'manhole' photo collector. I hope they catch the jerk, and quickly. To my friends on the neighborhood council, keep those covers in their damaged condition, on display, under watch. I'll be back to see them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What idiot would take the time to go ruin some cutieized thing such as a MAN HOLE COVER?

The same type of idiot who buys 10, 100, or 1000 of the same idol group's cd.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What idiot would take the time to go ruin some cutieized thing such as a MAN HOLE COVER?

Hope they CATCH 'em.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Criminal intent.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Pathetic.

was this otaku jealous that other otakus would see his favorite anime girlfriend? Grow up

5 ( +7 / -2 )

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