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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 virtually monopolized the government for several decades[1] - realized back in the '60s 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.

Examples of Artificial Riverbank include:

Anime & Manga

  • 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 in (First Law of Gender Bending) or he'll have a battle in a location like this. He also seems to like to go hideout 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.
  • To Aru Kagaku no Railgun - The titular character challenges another character to a duel, which takes place on such a riverbank.
  • 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 - Chinese Electric Batman 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.
  • 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 X 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 Heartcatch 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 Cat Girl 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.
  • Essential for training in Hajime no Ippo.
  • Episode 5 of Highschool of the Dead has the group re-convene at one.
  • In the Katekyo Hitman 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 Ookami-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 Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru.
  • Hikari and Chiaki used to hang out at one in the manga Genkaku Picasso.
  • 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 on one, and later a major fight between Tojo and Oga takes place in that same spot.
  • Justifiably, an artificial riverbank is one of the places the characters in Daily Lives of High School Boys hang out.

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 from 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.
  • The Los Angeles River, ideal spot 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.
  1. Except for a very brief stint of minority status in 1993, the LDP - which despite the name is Japan's Conservative party - controlled the Japanese government continuously from the acceptance of the modern Constitution in 1955 until they finally lost their lower house majority to the Democratic Party of Japan in 2009.