Film-induced tourism, intended as travelling to places where films and TV series have been shot or set, has been extensively studied in the last two decades in several disciplinary fields. For example, the term ‘media pilgrimage’ emerged in media sociology to highlight the sacred dimension these practices may assume, while fan studies have focused on the narrative of affection built upon specific places. Calling forth the relationship between film and landscape, these phenomena have been also explored in the light of film semiotics and media geography.
In the past decade, the representation of landscape and the construction of the sense of place in animation benefited from increased scholarly attention; however, the links between tourism and animation still appear under-explored. Japanese animation, because of its prominent use of real locations as the basis for the building of its worlds and the tendency of its fanbases to take action (even in the form of animation-oriented tourism), is an especially promising field, in this respect. In the last fifteen years, a debate on ‘content(s) tourism’ has involved the Japanese government as well as academic scholarship, referring to a wide variety of contents, from novels to films and TV series, anime, manga, and games.
The article presents a case study: a discussion of the experience of anime tourists who visited the Italian locations featured in the films by the world-famous animator and director Miyazaki Hayao, especially in Castle in the Sky (1986) and Porco Rosso (1992). The experiences of anime tourists were collected from images and texts shared through the social network Twitter.
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