Relax! This week’s installment of Anime vs. Real Life isn’t a quiz again. Instead, it’s a brutal battle royal to the death, or at least about one – namely JUNI TAISEN: ZODIAC WAR. The twelfth Juni Taisen (literally Twelve Tournament) – a war that takes place every twelve years between twelve combatants representing the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, fighting to collect all twelve beast jewels, over the course of twelve hours- has finally begun!
In order to prepare the battlefield for the beastly fighters, the ominous Juni Taisen organizers were kind enough to erase the population of a city of 500,000 in a single night, ensuring an unhindered all-out battle, as Boar states in the first episode. The 500,000 figure is especially odd, considering the tournament takes place in central Tokyo, which has a much, much higher population in real life. Since the furry battle royal takes place over the course of the night, I thought it would be a good idea to get the comparison shots during nighttime as well, just to see how Juni Taisen’s deserted version of Tokyo compares to the real deal. Everybody, clap your hands!
Conspicuous in the show’s often rough and gritty backgrounds, is how dark and grim the world of Juni Taisen looks. The story leaves open how it all happened, but it’s apparent that the town’s inhabitants all just vanished from one moment to the next, judging by the left over hot coffee and forsaken cars. The city is devoid of humans, and only urban animals remain, plus twelve psychopaths.
Most of the streetlights in the anime have been out as well, and it seems like all traffic lights have been switched to red. But just like in real life, there’s still a light on in the Akasaka police station.
After blowing apart parts of the mysterious tower, the warrior of the sheep first takes a breather near the Akasaka Tameike Tower, before later entrenching himself in Ikebukuro.
Apropos, you’ll notice that the impressive tower, where all the fighters first gathered, is missing here in the background. The tower doesn’t actually exist, as it was apparently specially built just for the opening ceremony of the Zodiac War.
Meanwhile, the genius of slaughter, Ox, is planning his strategy atop the historic Nihonbashi Bridge (literally Japan Bridge). The first wooden bridge was completed in 1603, today’s stone bridge in 1911, and the expressway now running above the bridge around 50 years later. The landmark is a good starting point for Ox’s offensive, as it serves as the kilometer zero marker for Japan's national highway network. All distances for roads in Japan are measured from the central point of the bridge.
A better view of the Nihonbashi Bridge.
At the same time, the undead Boar is wandering around Tokyo Station. Like already mentioned, the main difference is that there are only a few lights on in the world of Juni Taisen. Especially noticeable is the station’s Yaesu Granroof to the left of the picture, which is themed around the idea of a sail of light in real life, but isn’t illuminated in the anime.
Dog and best zodiac, Niwatori, WARRIOR OF THE CHICKEN, were holed up around Tokyo Station’s Yaesu side, plotting their next steps.
Unlike in the anime, there were still a couple of people around.
You, too, can sit in the same spot that Ryoka Niwa sat in!
The mobile phone operator NTT Docomo has been changed to Docono in the anime.
It’s right in front of the NTT Docomo store where Dog foolishly injects Chicken his special “One Man Army” drug, which grants her a considerable power-up.
It’s also right here, where Chicken crushes Dog’s skull with her bare hand.
While Dog and Rooster were busy with themselves, Boar in the meantime saunters all the way from Tokyo Station to Shimbashi Station. There are a few lively pubs around that area, so there was still quite a bit going on even after elven o’clock.
The overpass of the Yamanote Line also matches up perfectly with the one in the anime. I originally found the corresponding spot because of the matching height limitation sign, after checking out every overpass south of Tokyo Station.
I was just glad not to find countless crows waiting there for me. Death by pecking sounds gruesome.
If you ever want to hold your own battle royal (don’t), here’s my map with all of the locations:
Who are you rooting for in the Zodiac War, and who do you think is ultimately going to be victorious? Sound off in the comments below!
You can follow Wilhelm on Twitter @Surwill.