Cinema

Saitama city decides to build first new cinema complex in almost 30 years

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It will hopefully see some use when it’s finished in 2022.

Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, a photogenic mountain town of some 63,000 people easily accessible from neighboring Tokyo, has produced some notable talent. The author Mari Okada, whose work inspired anime and films such as Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, hails from Chichibu, as does Death Note and Rurouni Kenshin actor Tatsuya Fujiwara. Despite the cinematic paths of these alumni, Chichibu itself hasn’t had a dedicated cinema since 1993 when the Chichibu Kakushin Theatre closed.

That’s set to change, as the Unicus Chichibu city shopping complex has elected to begin construction in April on a brand new cinema. The cinema will be appended to the existing structure of the shopping center and span 4,200 square meters (5023.16 square yards) and consist of three stories; alongside existing parking space for the shopping center, its car park will accept 760 vehicles.

▼ A shot of the Unicus Chichibu shopping complex.

Many commenters were overjoyed to hear the city was finally getting its own cinema, so Chichibu dwellers will no longer be forced to travel to neighboring cities like Iruma and Kamisato to get their filmgoing fix. Others lamented the arrival, saying that Chichibu’s remote, Showa-era charm would suffer for it; yet more commenters excitedly wondered if the Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day movie would be screened there, as a special Chichibu treat.

Unfortunately, the announcement did arrive in the midst of stricter lockdowns on travel and advice to keep gatherings small and short. As far as gatherings go, the cinema is no small one — and you’ll be sat breathing each other’s air for an entire movie’s runtime, too.

▼ Not every movie viewing will be as socially distanced as this one.

“What a time to announce it,” one commenter lamented, while the other denounced the cinema project as dead-on-arrival due to the COVID-19 virus. However, the theatre is slated to finish construction before Golden Week (late April) in 2022, so there is a chance that matters will improve before the doors swing open for business.

Source: Yahoo! News/Yomiuri Shimbun Online via Otakomu
Top image: Flickr/Kenneth Lu
Insert image: Wikimedia Commons/williemuse

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