We’ve picked out 5 stations in Tokyo with links to the world of animation that use classic anime theme songs as their hassha melody. Anime fans take note!
1. Takadanobaba Station – Astro Boy
Takadanobaba in the north of Shinjuku ward takes pride in its connections to one of the most well-known animes on our list. Astro Boy (original title – Tetsuwan Atomu (“The Mighty Atom”) is just one of the creations of Japanese manga legend Tezuka Osamu , who treated his characters like film stars, who could play different roles in different stories. His production company, Tezuka Productions, is based in Takadanobaba, while the fictional Ministry of Science where Astro Boy’s guardian (Professor Ochanomizu) works is also in the area. In addition to the original anime’s theme song being used as the hassha melody on the Yamanote line platform, under the bridge at the station you’ll find a mural depicting many of Tezuka’s characters.
Listen to the version that plays at the Takadanobaba Station here .
2. Ōme Station – Himitsu no Akko-chan
While little-known in the west, Himitsu no Akko-chan is credited as being one of the first in the “magical girl” genre of manga, and follows the adventures of the titular character and her enchanted mirror, which lets her transform into other people. Its opening theme is used as the hassha melody at Ōme station on the JR Ōme line between Tachikawa and Okutama in the far west of Tokyo, as Ōme City has a museum dedicated to the manga’s creator, Akatsuka Fujio .
Listen to the version that plays at Ōme Station here .
3. Kami-Igusa Station – Mobile Suit Gundam
Kami-Igusa is a station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line in the north of Tokyo’s Suginami ward. Its proximity to the headquarters of production company Sunrise Inc. made it the perfect place to capitalise on that company’s most famous anime, Mobile Suit Gundam . With the possible exception of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gundam is the most famous “mecha” anime franchise outside of Japan, and the theme from the original 1979 series is used for trains leaving Kami-Igusa in both directions, while a Gundam statue stands outside.
Listen to the version that plays at Kami-Igusa Station here .
4. Shīnamachi Station – Kaibutsu-kun
In the mid-1950s, a group of young manga artists calling themselves the New Manga Party (新漫画党, “Shin Manga-t”) moved into the Tokiwasō apartment building in the west of Toshima ward. Among them were the pair known collectively as Fujiko Fujio , who later gained fame with the children’s manga, Doraemon. Though Tokiwasō no longer stands (an information board marks the former site), nearby Shīnamachi Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro line commemorates the area’s part in anime history by using the theme tune to the anime version of Kaibutsu-kun, a manga created by “Fujiko Fujio A”, the younger of the Fujiko Fujio pair (real name Abiko Motō).
Listen to the version that plays at Shīnamachi Station here .
5. Ōizumi-gakuen Station – Galaxy Express 999
Further along the Seibu Ikebukuro line on the west side of Nerima ward is Ōizumi-gakuen Station, which celebrates one of the most famous works of manga artist and Nerima resident Matsumoto Leiji Matsumoto Leiji. Galaxy Express 999 was first adapted into an anime film in 1979, and excerpts from the eponymous theme song, specially arranged by original artist Takekawa Yukihide, play when trains depart from either side of the platform. While the trains do not launch into the cosmos like the Galaxy Express, you can at least tip your hat to the space train’s conductor, whose statue stands by the ticket gates.
Listen to the version that plays at Ōizumi-gakuen Station here .
What’s your favorite station theme? Let us know in the comments below!