The small fishing town of Oarai has had a very lucrative relationship with the military anime, Girls und Panzer. Since being featured as the setting for the anime, the small and sleepy town became a bustling tourist hub, with anime fans coming in to visit the various anime pilgrimage sites featured in the show.
The relationship between the town and Girls und Panzer couldn’t be more evident than its recent Spring Festival, which not only featured several of the anime’s seiyuu, but also World of Tanks, which has a collaboration with the anime, as well as several GaruPan tank replicas.
The festival hosted 80,000 people, which is an increase from last year’s attendance of 50,000, and many have attributed it to Girls und Panzer, which held a stage event featuring Kana Ueda (Momo Kawashima), Mikako Takahashi (Yuzu Koyama), Misato Fukuen (Anzu Kadotani), Mami Ozaki (Hana Isuzu), and of course, Mai Fuchigami (Miho Nishizumi). The five seiyuu held a Quiz Show on stage, with the Oarai High School Marching Band performing to provide some background music. They also announced news about the upcoming Girls und Panzer OVA.
The event also featured a demonstration for the World of Tanks PS4 version, which itself featured a Girls und Panzer mod. The town also displayed several tanks from the anime to keep the GaruPan vibe going. Heck, the anime has even taken over buses, restaurants, Oarai Station itself, and even tractors! There were also several Girls und Panzer cosplayers present.
But the Spring Festival isn’t the only celebration in Oarai that has been helped by the anime series, because its annual Angler fish Festival also had a sharp increase of visitors since the anime aired back in 2012. From only 65,000 visitors in 2012, the attendance jumped to over 100,000 in the next year, and fans of the anime have streamed into the town since then, with the townsfolk welcoming these anime pilgrims with open arms.