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Artificial Riverbank

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A perfect riverbank

Many Japanese cities, as seen in Anime and Manga, will feature a river with a gently sloped artificial riverbank featuring 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. 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 equivalent.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • The river that runs through Mabase in FLCL is of this type. Much of the show is set on the banks.
  • The 3rd Ending Theme for Cross Game takes place on one of these.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon and Mikuru have a private talk along the steeply walled creek version. In the Endless Eight arc of Haruhi Suzumiya, the SOS Brigade sets off fireworks on one.
  • 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.
  • Sawako in Kimi ni Todoke often walks home passing by a scene like this while thinking about her day at school.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: The titular character challenges another character to a duel, which takes place on such a riverbank.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed and Al practice fighting on a riverbank like this.
  • 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.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: It's in such a location that the heroine makes her first deliberate time-leap.
  • 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.
  • Tina's favorite place in Ai Yori Aoshi.
  • One episode of Nyan Koi! has the protagonist meet his Love Interest repeatedly along such a riverbank while training.
  • Omamori Himari has the first meeting with the Token Mini-Moe under a bridge along one of these.
  • 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.
  • Some of the most dramatic scenes in Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl take place in such a setting.
  • 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.
  • kiss×sis, in the flashback about the two dogs.
  • 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.
  • Rina's favourite spot in the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch anime.
  • Fresh Pretty Cure! and Heart Catch Pretty Cure each have 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.
  • Shugo Chara! has these scenes in most episodes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In episode 4 of All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku 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.
  • 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 Sankarea the main school is located right after a walk through any of the sides of this.
  • Episode 5 of High School Of The Dead has the group re-convene at one.
  • In the Reborn! anime Tsuna fought challengers of a dojo here with a style reborn taught him.
  • The site of Ryoushi's training in episode 10 of Ōkami-san.
  • Passed by in Tamayura 01.
  • In Inukami!, Keita and Yoko are forced to live under a bridge that spans one of these for a few episodes.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sanada and Arashiyama hang out on one while skipping class in episode 7 of And Yet the Town Moves.
  • 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.
  • Kanon films a TV drama on one in episode 6 of The World God Only Knows.
  • Hasegawa encounters Tomoka on one in episode 2 of Ro-Kyu-Bu!.
  • A majority of the action in Dokkoida?! takes place there.
  • 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.
  • Justifiably, an artificial riverbank is one of the places the characters in Daily Lives of High School Boys hang out.
  • 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.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yugi's first encounter with an egyptian god card in the Battle City arc takes place at one of these.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The first big battle of Re:CREATORS takes place behind the bridge of a riverbank.
  • Inazuma Eleven: The riverbank is a common location in the first anime. This is where Raimon's soccer tgeam usually practices.

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

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Project Justice: Rival Schools 2 features an artificial riverbank stage at sunset, although it is presented as a rather grim, industrial environment.
  • Samegawa River of Persona 4, which you can fish at during the day or evening.

    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.
  • Many, many cities in Europe through which rivers flow have this. Often rivers are canalized or artificially straightened. Especially common on places where land has been gained by means of polders. Especially in Dutch polders, canals abound to divert excess water into another body of water (sometimes it's another river). Expect to see a sluice (floodgate) here and there, which are used both to control the flow and to keep junk people drop in the canal (bikes seem to be common, for whatever reason) from ending up in the wild.
  • Large cities in China have long stretches of artificial riverbanks. They are beautifully designed and maintained daily, gracing cities like Beijing, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai. On good days, people can be seen taking a stroll or biking down the pathways that line the rivers, and at night, some of the rivers have spectacular night lighting.
  • The Kissimmee River in Florida would look exactly like this in places except there's trees and brush growing along the water.
  • Los Angeles River, an ideal spot in Los Angeles for car chases and drag racing, is essentially an artificial riverbank without a river to speak of. No grass though.
    • The river used to be there; its tendency to suddenly flood is the reason the embankments were built in the first place. It's pretty much gone now (except during sudden downpours), mostly due to urban development and diverting its tributaries.
      • There is a local advocacy group trying—with little success—to get the government to remove the embankments and restore the river flow.
  • 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.
  • A common sight in southern Florida as well, which also has flood concerns due to how much of the area is at or below sea level. Due to the amount of rain and swampland in the area, they're typically closer to full unless a drought has been hitting the area. Due to the quantity of mosquitoes in the area (plus the all-too-real threat of an alligator potentially in any body of water), relaxing near them is highly discouraged.
  • South Louisiana has a number of these that are similar in concept and called *levees*, which are usually a high slope with a walking path on top or just a regular concrete wall bordering a river.
  • 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.