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Anime train hits the tracks to promote quake recovery in Kumamoto Pref.

Minami-aso Railway's "Ganbare Kumamoto! Manga Yosegaki Train" covered with popular characters leaves Takamori Station, in Takamori, Kumamoto Prefecture, on April 15, 2017. (Mainichi)

TAKAMORI, Kumamoto -- A train covered in popular anime and manga characters to promote local recovery efforts following the Kumamoto Earthquake last year set out from Takamori Station here on April 15.

The single-car train is operated by Minami-aso Railway Co., whose sole line was shut down due to the double earthquake disaster that struck the area in April 2016. Now, half of the line is operational.

Doraemon, Detective Conan, and other favorite characters appear on the train as part of the "Ganbare Kumamoto! Manga Yosegaki Train" (Go for it, Kumamoto! Manga collaboration train) project made possible by 117 manga artists, publisher Shogakukan and other organizations. The 4-meter-by-10-meter decoration also features the slogans "Go! Minami-aso Railway!" and "Move forward step by step," cheering on the recovery of the area.

The train will run through the village of Minamiaso, which sustained heavy damage from the earthquakes, and other towns along the line until the end of November. For more information, visit Minami-aso Railway Co.'s website at http://www.mt-torokko.com/syougakukan/ (in Japanese only).

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