Ogaki is a city in central Japan that is home to some 160,000 people. It’s a place with a rich history, but how do you go about drawing attention to that in a country as densely-packed as Japan. It’s not even the capital of its prefecture, since that would be neighboring Gifu with 400,000 inhabitants. Gifu is also city with a whole lot more to offer in terms of traditional tourist attractions, which is itself situated right next to the metropolis Nagoya.
In a bid to boost tourism to Ogaki, the local council partnered with BanG Dream author Kou Nakamura, who was himself born in Ogaki, to produce an anime about the city.
That anime is Itsuka Aeru Kimi ni, loosely translating to “Someday You Will Meet”. It’s a love story about a girl named An, who lives in Ogaki City. She’s about to move away from the city, so she is spending a final night together with her childhood friend. As things threaten to get too romantic between them, An runs away, only to find herself suddenly standing in a futuristic version of her beloved city.
Now isn’t that slightly baffling? To make an entire anime just to promote your cool city, only to then have it be set in a sci-fi guesstimation of what that city would look like 50 years from now? Effectiveness aside, it is a fun direction for this short anime, as we join An on a sightseeing tour through this futuristic city and get a mini character arc for her to go through. The visuals are quite good for a commercial too; it paints a very pleasant picture of the future, filled with cool robots, clean skylines, and nostalgic remnants of our current day. It also shows off some of Ogaki’s actual claims to fame, most prominently its waterways.
It’s short, it’s sweet, and it’s just kinda novel to watch something as silly as an anime promoting a small city. If I ever go to Japan, I’ll pop into Ogaki just out of sheer pity.
Weirdly enough, Itsuka Aeru Kimi ni became somewhat popular, prompting the production of two continuations. Ogaki Matsuri ni Ikou yo! (“Let’s Go to the Ogaki Festival”) is a story where An ends up bickering with her friend during a local festival. Meanwhile Gakitabi!: Seishun Oshiro-hen (No idea what this means) is just about An taking a boat tour through Ogaki’s canals while listening to story’s of the city’s past.
While these do a better job at presenting the actual, current day Ogaki City, they’re also just less interesting than the original they spawned from. Both clock in at less than 10 minutes and their stories are fairly plain, with Gakitabi! just being a boring lecture about history. Turning Ogaki into a future utopia is cool and attention-grabbing, whereas its sequels just make it look like the most generic Japanese city imaginable.