Keep the spirit of summer festivals alive, digitally!

Sadly, due to the state of things lately, a lot of popular events that usually attract large crowds have been cancelled. But that doesn’t mean they’re not still happening! Many events have chosen to take their festivities online, and that’s also true of otaku neighborhood Akihabara’s August festival, Noryo Matsuri.

The popular anime-themed festival, which takes place in the middle of August at Kanda Myojin Shrine, usually attracts more than 40,000 people thanks to its anime song Obon dances, live performances, and anime attractions, but unfortunately, the event was cancelled this year to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

But the organizers of the event still wanted to provide their fans with the spirit of the festival somehow, and what better way than to use Animal Crossing! They designed a Dream Island exclusively in the image of the shrine and the festival, so visitors can appreciate the music and sites of the popular August event from the comfort and safety of their homes. The level of detail, as shown by the video below, is impressive!

The video gives an in-depth tour of the dream island, so let’s look at a few highlights. First is, of course, Kanda Myojin’s iconic Zuishinmon Gate, whose front is reconstructed almost to a T with paper and stone lanterns on either side, a signboard on the left, and a portrait of Kanda Myojin’s mascot, Edokko Mikoshi, on the right. The gate itself, which is shown in the video in its real-life form for comparison, couldn’t be completely reconstructed with its irimoya roof (since the game doesn’t allow you to create roofs), but its many paper lanterns and beautiful red walls are carefully recreated.

Once you pass through the gate, you’ll be surrounded by familiar festival scenery. Food stalls, mannequins in yukata that look like festival-goers, carnival games, and all the normal trappings of a festival are there.

The dream island hasn’t just recreated the festival scenery, but also the entire shrine! Just to the left of the entrance is a reproduction of the statue of Daikokuten, one of the three main deities enshrined at Kanda Myojin.

▼ Since you can’t make statues in the game, Daikokuten’s likeness has been created on a custom dress.

You might notice that all of the “people” are in a circle–that’s because they’re doing the Bon dance! They’re dancing around the festival platforms, from which drums and music are being played.

As you explore (or watch the video), you’ll find many more of the shrine’s features, including Kanda Myojin’s huge, sacred gingko tree; Akari-chan, the sacred horse of the shrine; a stone torii gate; and a pair of Shishi statues in front of the main shrine building, where you can visit and pray.

The fun doesn’t end there, though. You can also use codes to save original designs from the shrine to your own collection. Use them to dress like you’re visiting a festival, or to decorate your own home or island. The designs include portraits of Kanda Myojin’s three deities, original yukata and happi clothing designs, shrine priestess and priest garb, Kanda Myojin signage, and historical paintings that are kept in the shrine’s treasure hall. Check out the event’s homepage for all the codes!

There are also videos of Noryo Matsuri folk dances, so definitely check them out if you want to get into the full spirit! These folk dances aren’t just your average Bon-style dance–they’re done to anime music, so anime fans are sure to love them.

Visitors to the Dream Island could also have the chance to get some free in-game items that your character can wear as you explore, so there’s lots of fun to be had. The Dream Island is available now and will be open until September 30. The code is DA-0760-0601-9410, so be sure to check it out!

And if digital otaku events are your thing, then look out for online doujinshi fairs like Air Comiket and Virtual Comic Vket. Don’t let the pandemic crush your otaku spirit!

Source: PR Times, Kanda Myojin
Images: YouTube/江戸総鎮守 神田明神 公式チャンネル -KANDAMYOUJIN-, Kanda Myojin
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