Pikachu and Ash also watch over the crops, which were once destroyed by the tsunami in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

If you only visit big cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto in Japan, you’ll sadly be missing out on experiencing life in the countryside, which comes with wide open spaces, unique wildlife, and unusual sights you’d never find anywhere else.

One of those sights is a spectacular scarecrow, which does its job at keeping murders of huge black crows away from the crops in Rikuzentakata, a coastal city in northern Iwate Prefecture which was decimated by the tsunami during the Great East Japan Disaster in 2011.

Rikuzentakata is still recovering from the devastation, with a mega-project elevating the city centre on rock fill as a countermeasure against future tsunami. And though the population has decreased dramatically in the eight years since, local resident @pepennen is doing her part to keep Rikuzentakata on the map, by creating unique scarecrows that everyone wants to see in real life.

This scarecrow is modelled on Nausicaä, the titular character from the 1984 Ghibli animated feature film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.

Nausicaä is instantly recognisable in the rice field with her distinctive blue dress and if you look closely, you can see Teto, her pet fox-squirrel, perched on her right shoulder.

Given that the film is set in a post-apocalyptic world and Nausicaä turns out to be the one spoken of in legends who is “clad in blue and surrounded by fields of gold”, this is a character that perfectly lends itself to being a guardian of golden rice fields in Rikuzentakata. And not only does she have her arms spread wide just as she does in the rebirth scene in the movie, she can also communicate with large insects, so she’ll be able to keep the crops safe from not just crows, but hungry arthropods as well.

While the Nausicaä scarecrow is definitely a head-tuner, a lot of love and care has gone into creating the furry friend who keeps her company in the fields.

“Today I spent four hours making this.”

As it turns out, there’s another anime duo watching over the locality, as Pokémon’s Ash and Pikachu have spent time greeting visitors outside the Hamanasu fruit and vegetable stall.

▼ Like Teto, Pikachu has been lovingly recreated.

@pepennen says these scarecrows are located in a spot reached by the tsunami eight years ago. Today, children take part in rice-planting activities here, and not only does it help children learn about local food production, it also helps to bring the community together during planting and harvest time.

If you’d like to support the area, keep an eye out for Rikuzentakata’s Takata no Yume brand of rice, which was ranked the best rice for maintaining its sweetness even after being cooled by the Onigiri Society.

With Nausicaä and Teto and Ash and Pikachu helping out the local community, Rikuzentakata’s anime guardians are sure to add a bit of magic to the rice fields and the crops they produce every year. Perhaps soon they’ll add even more anime heroes and heroines to the fields so they can stand out like this Japanese town’s formidable scarecrow collection.

Source: Japaaan
Featured image: Twitter/@pepennen
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