The colors were jarring. Beneath the vermillion torii gates of Kyoto’s Shimogamo Shrine and surrounded by the olive broadleaves of Tadasu Forest was a pool of furry, bright yellow ponchos, decorated with the brown facial features, rounded ears and bulbous oblong tails of the tanuki, or Japanese raccoon dog.
Out of roughly 2,500 applicants, 200 anime fans, the majority of them young women, won entry to the Jan. 12 “Uchoten Kazoku 2 (The Eccentric Family 2) Event: Tanuki Gathering at the Forest of Tadasu, Shimogamo Shrine” via raffle tickets sold at ¥2,000 each in November and December. The lucky fans had access to an intimate seating area to view the solemn Shinto blessing of the series’ second season, which premieres on April 9. They also received swag bags of merchandise supplied by the show’s sponsors, attended a talk show including photo ops with its seiyu (voice actor) stars, sipped ceremonial sake and cosplayed en masse in the complimentary ponchos.