Photo/IllutrationFrom the website of “Chichibu de Buchichi”

TOKOROZAWA, Saitama Prefecture--“Chichibu de Buchichi,” an animated short produced by Seibu Railway Co. and set in popular sightseeing spots, won the silver prize in the International Division at the third Animonozukuri Awards.

The romantic comedy, which follows a young woman searching for her Prince Charming, is currently available for free streaming on the Tokorozawa-based company’s website. It provides English, French and Chinese versions.

The Animonozukuri Awards are the first in Japan to honor achievements in collaborative products, advertisement and other creative ventures between anime artists and business operators.

“Chichibu de Buchichi” was recognized for its forward-thinking method to use anime to promote the charms of the Chichibu region in the western part of Saitama Prefecture to the world.

The railway operator intends to use the animated work to bring domestic and overseas tourists to Chichibu.

The 25-minute short centers around the daughter of a senior executive of Seibu Railway. Her father suggests she meet a potential marriage partner.

However, she cannot forget a boy she met in Chichibu when she was a child and the fond times they shared together in the city and its vicinity.

The sites include Chichibujinja shrine, Hitsujiyama Koen park renowned for the moss phlox, a river cruise in Nagatoro and Mitsuminejinja shrine, which boasts a view of a sea of clouds.

In search of her childhood sweetheart, she travels around Chichibu on a Seibu Railway train.

What appears to be a typical romantic story takes a sudden twist and develops into a slapstick comedy. A man she thinks is the grown-up version of the boy turns out to be a playboy, while another potential love interest is a macho man who has problems with small creatures.

In the end, the heroine rides on a Seibu Railway train that travels into the night sky.

The company said it took notice of the popularity of Japanese anime outside the country and decided to produce the short.

The English version of the anime is available at <>.