In a recent episode, the Japanese anime A Place Further Than The Universe, or 宇宙よりも遠い場所 (Sora yori mo tooi basho) featured several tourist attractions and iconic landmarks of Singapore in an incredibly picture-perfect manner.
The creators must have conducted extensive research as both scenery and landmarks were drawn meticulously, with a great level of detail, right down to the MRT exits and hawker centre stalls.
The side-by-side comparisons of screenshots with photos of the actual locations show just how accurate the depictions really are.
Some of the photos were sourced from the web, while others were taken personally as I headed to Orchard Road armed with my camera and a goal – to capture various angles of the featured locations and determine how the shot was achieved.
The show revolves around four Japanese high school students who, wanting to make the most out of their youth and achieve the impossible, set off on a mission to travel to Antarctica. Episode 6, titled Welcome to the Durian Show, involves the four girls touring Singapore during a layover before their next flight to Australia. It begins with them arriving in at Changi Airport, before they checked out Orchard Road, check into the Orchard Hotel, and spend the day around Marina Bay Sands.
The back of the seat and the in-flight entertainment system of Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER are re-created, with an identical screen interface and ports.
The Changi Airport runway shot was a direct trace of this photograph by Changi Airport, with slight adaptations to the airline logos as we see ANA turned into AND!
Finding a photograph of the airport flight information board online was challenging, so the creators must have photographed their reference photo themselves.
This was a photo that I took of the ION Orchard MRT exit, and it was an easy shot to capture. The show opted to obscure the shop names by making the glass opaque, but the exit has a unique design and structure which opens their tour of Singapore.
This photo of the ION building was sourced from the web and it is most likely traced in the show. I attempted to get my own photo of the ION building, but getting a clear shot from across the street was difficult as there were rows of trees lining the middle of the road which obscured the bottom half of the building.
Getting a similar photo of the iconic Wheelock Place cone structure was not difficult, and as you can see they even replicated the tree in the top left which was in the shot from where I was standing. However I was already standing as far back as I could due to bushes and a tree, and could not capture the additional windows on the right as the show depicted.
This shot looking up towards the skyscrapers and top of TANGS Plaza was also not a challenge, taking it from across the road.
There was no difficulty in snapping this photo of the Orchard Hotel entrance sign, although the hotel currently has more festive lunar new year decorations displayed as opposed to the pink flowers in the show.
The Marina Bay Sands is an important icon in the Singapore skyline, so it was key that the show included this shot. Many professionally taken photos of the Marina Bay Sands can be found with a quick Google, thus this would not have been a challenge for the creators.
The Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands to its right, with the tops of the huge Gardens by the Bay tree structures peaking out at the bottom left.
The Merlion and the Esplanade.
The four girls’ adventure continues into the night, and the illuminated Marina Bay Sands makes for a beautiful view. They end the day with Spectra, the light and water show at Marina Bay Sands.
Helix Bridge and Marina Bay Sands.
View of the night skyline from Marina Bay Sands.
Marina Bay Sands Light and Water Show.
The next day begins with a hearty meal of Hainanese chicken rice and kaya toast at the Maxwell Food Centre, before they give the notoriously famous fruit, durian, a try.
I was unable to find the exact shot of Maxwell Food Centre online, so this must have been on-site research from the show.
The classically Singaporean meals of chicken rice and kaya toast. No comparison photo for this one, but I think all Singaporeans can tell that it looks pretty authentic!
It’s exciting to see our sunny little island featured is such an accurate and positive light in a Japanese anime programme. The four endearing girls draw us in with their sense of wonder and adventurous spirit to try new things, and show viewers what a great time one can have in Singapore.
Several shots were easy to personally recreate, while others featured in the show would have been drawn from photos sourced online. It was fun walking along Orchard Road, placing myself in the shoes of an anime artist and looking for good angles of famous buildings. Check out this compilation video of all the scenes in the episode which showcase Singapore!
Joyce is a language nerd whose idea of a good time includes speed-solving Rubik’s cubes and binging Netflix, all fuelled by drinking many, many mugs of tea.