A whole different kind of herald Angel.

One of the quirks of the Japanese language is how Christmas light displays are called “illuminations,” or “irumineshon,” as the word gets pronounced in Japanese. Sure, the Japanese language often uses foreign words for imported trends and concepts, but why not call them “Christmas lights,” considering that both words, again with slightly corrupted pronunciations (“Kurisimasu” and “raitsu”) are readily understood in Japanese?

Maybe it’s because sometimes you head out to see Christmas lights, and end up seeing giant anime robot lights instead.

We recently stopped by Canal City Hakata, the major shopping/entertainment complex in Fukuoka City, to check out their “illumination.” Canal City spices things up with a fountain show, music, and projection mapping, which definitely adds a bit of Christmas magic, like when Santa himself appears in the video below.

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But Canal City has different programs at different times. Christmas Panorama is at 6, 7, 8, and 9 p.m. There’s also the non-seasonal Illumination Show at 15 and 45 minutes past those hours. But in our minds, the best time to show up is at 6:30, 7:30, or 8:30, for Evangelion-Angel Attack on Hakata (Hakata being another name for Fukuoka).

▼ エヴァンゲリオン 使徒、博多襲来 = Evangelion-Angel Attack on Hakata

With a 20-meter (66-foot) tall backdrop to project the animation onto, we were sure this was going to be a sight to see. As we waited for the show to start, we read through its synopsis:

“An Angel has been detected off the coast of the Genkai Sea. The New Fukuoka City branch of Nerv has declared a state of emergency and dispatched Evangelion humanoid-type battle weapons to intercept the creature.

However, the Angel is more powerful than expected, and not going down easily. Misato Katsuragi plans a coordinated attack by the Evangelions. Can Shinji Ikari and the other Evangelion pilots defeat their foe?”

And then, the show started.

The sheer size of the visuals, accompanied by booming sound effects and music from the landmark anime series, would be overwhelming enough by themselves.

Add in the use of atmospheric colored lighting and intense sprays from the fountains to punctuate the action, though, and the whole thing starts to feel like one of those enhanced 4-D movie screenings.

The show (which has been playing since June, but continues without interruption during the Christmas season) lasts about 10 minutes, making it long enough for a nice break in the middle of an extended shopping session, but also short enough that if you want to, you can come back in an hour and see it again without majorly rearranging your schedule.

Related: Canal City Hakata
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