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Artificial Riverbank

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A perfectly landscaped riverbank in an urban park.

Many Japanese cities, as seen in Anime and Manga, will feature a river running through a city with a gently sloped artificial riverbank with beautiful landscaping and a sidewalk or trail either at the top or bottom (or both) and stairs to descend to the water's edge. There's likely a nearby bridge, too, for people to stroll on. Suitable for Lying on a Hillside, Scenery Porn, Watching the Sunset, and That Cloud Looks Like....

This is Truth in Television, as the Liberal-Democratic Party — which has virtually monopolized the government for several decadesnote  — realized back in the 1960s that investing huge sums in semi-useful infrastructure and beautification projects kept people employed, happy, and voting for them. Thus, many if not most rivers that pass through urban areas have received this treatment. However, only the largest tend to be picturesque, with most being small creeks enveloped by steep concrete. These also happen to serve a practical purpose in allowing for controlled overflow during the typhoon season.

See also Ghibli Hills. A small-scale subtrope of Terrain Sculpting. Compare Down L.A. Drain, its American (or at least Californian) equivalent.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • kiss×sis, in the flashback about the two dogs.
  • In Moetan episode 05, site of the troubled person of the week, overly dramatic scene of the week, and Monster of the Week all in one go!
  • Hasegawa encounters Tomoka on one in episode 2 of Ro-Kyu-Bu!.
  • After losing everything he owns, Iyami of Osomatsu-san lives under a bridge on one of these.
  • The first big battle of Re:CREATORS takes place behind the bridge of a riverbank.
  • Tina's favorite place in Ai Yori Aoshi.
  • All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku:
    • In episode 4 of TV, Kyousuke goes to one to angst, only to be subjected to several of Nuku Nuku's classmates practicing their karaoke. In the new year's episode, Nuku Nuku herself goes there for the same reason.
    • In episode 3 of Nuku Nuku Dash, Ryuunosuke is running along the wall of one when he falls in the river, allowing Nuku Nuku to catch up with him.
  • Sanada and Arashiyama hang out on one while skipping class in episode 7 of And Yet the Town Moves.
  • In Arakawa Under the Bridge the protagonist is forced to live under a bridge spanning over one of these, alongside... interesting neighbours such as a guy in a nun's habit and a Kappa-wannabe.
  • Beelzebub has the titular character first appear on Earth near one, and later a major fight between Tojo and Oga takes place in that same spot. Main characters tend to hang out there when thinking or meet up to challenge opponents.
  • All of Karakura Town in Bleach is built around a big river, whose banks look exactly like this. Said river is good for watching fireworks, doing exercise, and being devoured by The Heartless.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: The titular character challenges another character to a duel, which takes place on such a riverbank.
  • The 3rd Ending Theme for Cross Game takes place on one of these.
  • Justifiably, an artificial riverbank is one of the places the characters in Daily Lives of High School Boys hang out.
  • Darker than Black: Hei is sitting with Kirihara on the stairs of such a riverbank in his civilian disguise when he suddenly vanishes, leaving her perplexed.
  • A majority of the action in Dokkoida?! takes place there.
  • Doraemon have one such river where Nobita and gang would frequently hang out beside. It's even the focus of a few movies:
    • Doraemon: Nobita in the Wan-Nyan Spacetime Odyssey: Nobita meets his new pet, Hachi, near that river when Hachi (then a stray dog) tries impressing Nobita by jumping into the waters to retrieve Nobita's baseball. Unfortunately, turns out Hachi couldn't swim and nearly drowns, if Nobita didn't wade into the water and save Hachi in time.
    • The adventure from Doraemon: Nobita's Treasure Island is kickstarted when Nobita and Doraemon uses the Enlarging Light to transform Nobita's model boat into a real, life-sized boat, which they then sail upon along the river, picking up Shizuka, Suneo and Gian along the way (with passing civilians and other kids stopping to do a Double Take at the sight of an actual pirate ship in the middle of the city).
  • Dragon Ball Super: The baseball match between universe 6 and universe 7 is played near one. When the Gods of destruction Beerus and Champa start fighting, the area is nearly destroyed along with the entire universe. Fortunately, their Angels Whis and Vados interfere on time, preventing it.
  • In episode 11 of Excel♡Saga (the "youth drama" episode), The Ace of the baseball team is sitting on one of these when he overhears the conversation that convinces him to change his mind and play for the team.
  • Monta of Eyeshield 21 drinks the coke and food he had saved for his celebration on making the baseball team here, because he didn't actually make the team. Later, Sena tries to influence him into joining the American football team.
  • Fairy Tail has Erza brooding by one in Magnolia at the end of the Tartaros Arc, with Jellal briefly stopping by to exchange words with her.
  • The river that runs through Mabase in FLCL is of this type. Much of the show is set on the banks.
  • Fresh Pretty Cure! and Heart Catch Pretty Cure each have one.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), Ed and Al practice fighting on a riverbank like this.
  • Hikari and Chiaki used to hang out at one in the manga Genkaku Picasso. Jeanne nearly throws herself into the river at the same spot when she's outed as trans, and by the end of the manga the main characters have formed a new 'riverside club' that is devoted to enjoying the riverside together.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: It's in such a location that the heroine makes her first deliberate time-leap.
  • Hajime no Ippo: An artificial riverbank marks the spot where Ippo Makunouchi began his boxing career. Also an essential component of many training exercises.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon and Mikuru have a private talk along the steeply walled creek version. During the Endless Eight arc, the SOS Brigade sets off fireworks on one.
  • In Heroman episode 4, one of the titular robot's many attempts to stop the sphere takes place on one of these — it's one of the less successful ones, and Heroman quickly gets pushed under the water as the sphere rolls on.
  • Episode 5 of High School Of The Dead has the group re-convene at one.
  • Inazuma Eleven: The riverbank is a common location in the first anime. This is where Raimon's soccer team usually practices.
  • In Inukami!, Keita and Yoko are forced to live under a bridge that spans one of these for a few episodes.
  • Some of the most dramatic scenes in Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl take place in such a setting.
  • In the first episode of Kimagure Orange Road Hikaru and Ayukawa face down a gang of five burly high school boys and win (well, mostly Madoka wins) on this type of bank.
  • Sawako in Kimi ni Todoke often walks home passing by a scene like this while thinking about her day at school.
  • The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer uses one as a hurdle for the main character to practice his telekinetic jumps.
  • Rivers are a common motif in March Comes in Like a Lion, so they appear on occasion. In particular, the riverbank in Kyoto is featured in an important scene in Volume 6 that reinforces both the motif and its related symbolism.
  • Rina's favourite spot in the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch anime.
  • In episode 13 of Mitsudomoe, that's where the Marui sisters find a stray cat, and where Mitsuba goes to brood at the end of the episode.
  • Titular Nanas and their friends in Nana do this as well at one time. It helps that their apartment looks out over one as well.
  • Doused in blood in (what else?) Neon Genesis Evangelion's 18th episode. You know, the one that got them knocked out of their children's time block.
  • Nichijou features these from time to time. One incident sees Mio (who was tearfully sprinting across town after seeing her crush Sasahara arm-in-arm with another girl) absentmindedly rescuing a kid from drowning in one. Another chapter sees Mio meet Doublecheeseburgirl, who was wistfully gazing across the water, at one.
  • One episode of Nyan Koi! has the protagonist meet his Love Interest repeatedly along such a riverbank while training.
  • The site of Ryoushi's training in episode 10 of Ōkami-san.
  • Omamori Himari has the first meeting with the Token Mini-Moe under a bridge along one of these.
  • The Prince of Tennis: The flat part of the bank at the bottom is Kaidou Kaoru's favorite place to work out, when he's not jogging.
  • In Ranma ½, Ranma often passes by one, occasionally he falls into the water and turns female or he'll have a battle nearby. He also seems to like to hide out under a bridge next to the riverbank when he wants to get away from the craziness. It's actually become a bit of Fanon that he commonly does this.
  • In the Reborn! anime Tsuna fought challengers of a dojo here with a style reborn taught him.
  • In Sankarea the main school is located right after a walk through any of the sides of this.
  • In the first season finale of Shakugan no Shana, the entire cast is watching an after-festival bonfire on such a riverbank when the enemy's Ominous Floating Castle teleports into place just above them.
  • Shugo Chara! has these scenes in most episodes.
  • Sket Dance: In Bossun's backstory, this is where he underwent his Character Development, and had his Chronic Hero Syndrome kick in, when he decided to do what his late father and mother wanted him to do: stand up selflessly for a meek looking guy (who turns out to be Tsubaki, his long lost twin before receiving a makeover) from being beaten by a bunch of delinquents.
  • Passed by in Tamayura 01.
  • The protagonist of To Love Ru takes Lala to such a riverbank for some privacy in an effort to break up with her, only to run out of time to do so safely. It's also a Watching the Sunset moment.
  • Toradora!: Taiga lays on the riverbank exhausted after wheeling a bike around, because she can't ride a bike. A chance encounter with her Love Interest motivates her to get up and try to ride the bike. In the novels Ryuuji and Ami go there as part of a community service project to collect trash, but the scene is heavily truncated in the anime.
  • Kanon films a TV drama on one in episode 6 of The World God Only Knows.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yugi's first encounter with an egyptian god card in the Battle City arc takes place at one of these.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One particular artificial riverbank in Tokyo shows up quite often as a filming location for Kamen Rider shows.

    Video Games 
  • Samegawa River of Persona 4, which you can fish at during the day or evening.
  • Project Justice: Rival Schools 2 features an artificial riverbank stage at sunset, although it is presented as a rather grim, industrial environment.
  • Sakura's stage in Street Fighter IV is set on a pathway next to one of these, with a railway fly-over above and kids playing in a disused car.

    Visual Novels 
  • Grisaia Series: Mishima Cape, the city where most of the story takes place, has one such location, it is most prominently featured in Yumiko's route.

    Real Life 
  • The Yarra River in Melbourne, in the Southbank Area. Though the closer you get to portside, it becomes decidedly more concrete filled and less romantic.
  • Kyoto's Kamo River has a river bank quite like this, and also has some small islands in the middle of the river, connected to the river banks by stepping stones. As one might expect, this is a fun place to play as a kid — or alternatively, a fun place to drunkenly set off fireworks in college with visiting international students. Many Japanese cities with rivers do have this, Kyoto is just the one that's most well-known.
  • Los Angeles River, an ideal spot in Los Angeles for car chases and drag racing, is an artificial riverbank without a river to speak of. No grass though.
  • New York has quite a few rivers running across Manhattan Island, now covered over, concreted and redirected, which are largely used for flood control. One that flows underneath the Empire State Building is actually used as part of its air conditioning system - the flowing water is used for heat regulation.
  • The City of Pittsburgh has, in the past few years, tried to create these along the Allegheny River by setting up small parks, or Riverwalks, along them. Much like the previous examples, these slopes mostly exist for flood control, but also as part of the City's attempt to both clean and promote its three rivers after years of steel mill pollution.
  • Cheonggyecheon in Seoul, Korea. Originally covered to hide its massive pollution due to pretty much being an open sewer, it was uncovered and made into a park in 2005 as part of a massive urban renewal project.
  • As it flows from its source in Stockport and out through South Manchester, quite a few miles of the River Mersey have been remodelled like this so as to provide a flood plain if needed.