When it comes to preserving anime pilgrimage sites to make them look just like the anime, fans take it seriously. And now, they are showing how serious they are by objecting plans to plant sakura trees in a spot where a scene in Free! happened.

Free! Timeless Medley-Yakusoku features a scene in an area in Tottori Castle, a renowned Sakura-viewing spot.  And naturally, because of this, they are planning to add more sakura trees. This is also partly because they want to plant a new batch of trees, to replenish their numbers. The reason they are replenishing the sakura trees is because they previously removed a few trees due to disease, withering, or their roots damaging the structure’s stonework.

But the Free! fans are objecting to the plan, saying that it would alter the area’s scenery. They argue that it would no longer look like specific cuts from the anime film. But at the very least, they say that they don’t want them to plant in areas where there were no sakura before. These fans want the new sakura to be limited to locations where they won’t contradict the anime.

The Japanese have been practicing Hanami/sakura viewing for centuries, so many found the protests surprising. After all, the Japanese people love Hanami. However, given Free!’s popularity in Japan, more and more people visited Tottori Castle because of the film. And because of this, local administrators say they’ll be taking the fans’ request into consideration.

source: Sora News 24