Location Scouting
Day One

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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa

"The Location Scouting Report" (ロケハンレポート) is a series of articles posted on the movie's official website that follow the production team's location scouting trip to the United Arab Emirates.  They took the trip in order to take reference photos and other materials that would later help them shape the look and feel of the main feature The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa.

Location Scouting
| Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five |

Blog Post Title Date Posted
"To the Desert City!"
April 17th, 2015
"A Baptism of Heat and the White Mosque"
April 23rd, 2015
"The Persian Gulf and Life in Arabia, Then and Now"
April 30th, 2015
"Golden Coffee and the Water of Life"
May 7th, 2015

Episode One:  "To the Desert City!"

Originally posted on April 17th, 2015

The second in the Pokemon the movie XY series, "The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa," hits theaters this summer!  The setting of the film is "Dessert City," a city in the desert.  It'll have the look and feel of a modern-day city with all these huge skyscrapers in it while simultaneously being surrounded on all sides by a vast desert.

The place that director Yuyama chose for this year's location scouting was Dubai, a huge city built on the flat desert surface facing the Persian Gulf.  In addition to being the home to the famous Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, Dubai is also a global city lined with rows of skyscrapers and financial centers as well as the host to a number of tourist attractions.

So how's this trip going to go?  If you try reading these reports while thinking of scenes from The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa then maybe you'll be able to enjoy the movie even more!

But before we get into the trip, let's take a moment to learn a little bit more about Dubai.

Dubai is one of the political territories ("emirates") that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  The UAE is a federation made up of seven emirates that include Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah, among others. 

And when you think of Dubai, you think of the the aforementioned Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building!  Dubai also has the world's largest shopping mall, the world's biggest fountain, the world's largest man-made island...the list goes on and on!  It really is home to a lot of the world's greatest things!  Dubai takes advantage of these attractions to make itself a world-class tourist city and a huge resort.

"With its dizzying rows of skyscrapers, this emirate has an excellent reputation for being the most prosperous in the Middle East" (from the Japanese Wikipedia page for Dubai)

Cool, isn't it?  A metropolis in the middle of the desert!

Director Yuyama and his location scouting team went to Dubai around the middle of September while last year's movie The Cocoon of Destruction and Diancie was still being shown in theaters back home.  Their flight from Haneda Airport left at 30 minutes past midnight on Emirates Flight EK313 and lasted about eleven and a half hours. 

The team arrived pretty much exactly on schedule at the Dubai International Airport at 6:15am local time.

Episode Two:  "A Baptism of Heat and the White Mosque"

Originally posted on April 23rd, 2015

The location scouting team arrived in Dubai after an eleven and a half hour flight.  It was 6:15am local time.

As soon as we set foot out of the airport our skin was scorched by the desert sun!  Even though it was still early in the morning it felt so hot it was like we were sitting in the middle of a sauna!  That's when the fact that we were desert nation really hit us.  We took shelter in a large air-conditioned bus to escape the heat as soon as we could.  This was the start of our first day of location scouting.

The bus got onto the highway and headed for the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi.  As we peered out the windows of the bus we spotted the Burj Khalifa!  The bus made a quick pass through Dubai and its row of skyscrapers before heading for an undeveloped "semi-desert."  We passed through this semi-desert and arrived at the capital city of Abu Dhabi before too long.

Compared to Dubai, which has able to thrive thanks to its financial centers and tourism, Abu Dhabi became a rich nation thanks to its oil.  We could see many trees that had been planted to help combat global warming through the bus windows.  It was easy to forget that we were in a desert nation sitting there in an air-conditioned bus staring out at this scenery.

The location scouting team's first destination was the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.  This world-class mosque is a completely white palace!  As we admired the majesty of mosque we got off the bus and...yow!  It's hot out here!

As soon as we got off the bus, our glasses fogged up and our thermometer gave us a reading of close to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit)!  Even though it was still the morning it was much more humid than Japan is in the middle of the day during a heat wave.  And it seemed as if the temperature was only going to get even higher as the day went on...

"Make absolutely sure you bring water with you."  With our trip coordinator's words etched into our minds, we headed into the mosque's premises.

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a mosque that's a mixture of traditional Islamic designs and more modern-day architecture techniques.  It's a fairly new building that was completed in the 2000s.  This world-class mosque is about as big as three soccer fields and has a maximum occupancy of 40,000 people!  It's also one of the few mosques that allows non-Muslims onto its grounds and so it's become one of Abu Dhabi's most well-known tourist attractions as a result.

Be that as it may, it's still a house of worship.  There's a rule that everyone has to take off their shoes and place them in a shoe box before they come in and women have to cover up their hair and skin and don traditional black robes known as abaya.  The tour coordinator who was helping us out quickly threw on her abaya as if it was second nature to her. 

It wasn't just the outside that was luxurious and gorgeous; you're greeted by a giant chandelier when you walk into the building.  The mosque also boasted that it had the world's largest Persian rug!  The carpet, which was laid out inside a giant hall, had a magnificent floral pattern on it!

If you take a closer look at the carpet you'll see a number of raised lines on which the Muslim salats, or prayers, are performed.  Muslims line up on these lines and pray in the direction of Mecca, the Muslim Holy Land.

We wouldn't have been able to appreciate any of this if we didn't try it out for ourselves and so after having all this explained to us Mr. Yuyama decided to try doing a salat himself.

Episode Three:  "The Persian Gulf and Life in Arabia, Then and Now"

Originally posted on April 30th, 2015

The group left the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and got back on the bus.  On the way to our next destination, the historical archive "Heritage Village," we got off at the coast near Breakwater Road to do some location scouting at the stores and houses there.

This is the park where you can look out into the Persian Gulf and admire the beauty of the blue sea.  This sea separates us from Abu Dhabi and its rows of buildings on the other shore.  One of the three buildings that stand out among this crowd of skyscrapers is the high-rise tower that we were planning to head to later that afternoon, Central Market.

At first glance the Central Market makes the other two buildings look small by comparison but all three buildings are actually incredibly tall.  Abu Dhabi was a little bit more relaxed than the more flashy and vivid Dubai.  As we looked out at the sea separating the two cities we felt like we were seeing a side of these desert cities you don't usually get to see.

And then there's the heat...

We didn't see anyone outside walking around other than those of us on the location scouting team.  But we could admire the national flag that the UAE is so proud of fluttering calmly in the wind against a cloudless sky. 

The location scouting team continued to observe the historical archive Heritage Village.  You can learn about Abu Dhabi's history, cultural assets, and the way the people of Abu Dhabi used to live back in the old days.  They had residential tents and souqs (markets) set up, blacksmiths and glass workers working, and leather goods all on display.  You can learn about what life was like before the nation started mining oil and became the developed nation it is today.

We went from the blistering heat of the park to an indoor exhibit!  We thought it'd be a nice and cool reprieve but the inside was just like a steam bath instead!  We ate lunch at a restaurant on-site as we sweat bullets and started to become a little dizzy from the heat.  The first meal the location scouting team had was a genuine Arabian buffet.

Episode Four "Golden Coffee and the Water of Life"

Originally posted on May 7th, 2015

Emirates Palace

After lunch we rested for a bit before hopping back on the bus!  The next stop on our location scouting tour was the five-star hotel "Emirates Palace."

The Emirates Palace is a deluxe hotel that really is like a palace!  It was exceptionally gorgeous inside!  Everything had a gold shine to it, from the floors to the walls to the ceilings!  If the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the "White Palace" then this hotel is the "Gold Palace"!

Of course our team was going to spend the night at this hotel...is something that would have been really nice to say, but in reality we were just there to take as many notes as we could.  After extensively documenting all the gorgeous furnishings around us we made sure to drop by the hotel's famous cafe.

This cafe's specialty is a somewhat glamorous cappuccino with golden leaf flakes sprinkled on it called "Gold Coffee."  We sat there in this hotel of sparkling marble and gold tailoring while drinking our delicious golden cappuccino.

Gold Coffee

By the way, this hotel is said to have the world's first gold vending machine, "Gold to Go!"  Since the market price of gold fluctuates so much this vending machine has a system set up where it displays the current price in real time!   One of the members of the location scouting team was a newlywed and so everyone tried to push him into buying some of this gold as a present to his new wife.  He started to think about buying some but after thinking it through rationally he decided not to buy any and we left the hotel.

After relaxing a bit longer in the air-conditioned Emirates Palace the location scouting resumed!  We wanted to get a feel for what the streets would look like in "Dessert City," the setting of this year's movie, so we walked around a marketplace in Abu Dhabi.  We checked out the scenery from Corniche Road, cut through the modern Lake Park, and headed toward the World Trade Center Souq.
World Trade Center Souq

We took notes on the condition and the construction of the buildings in the World Trade Center Souq and then headed to Etihad Square.  Etihad Square is a strange park lined with these giant ivory-white monuments of things like coffee pots and incense burners.  It seems like these monuments represent the sorts of gifts wealthy Arabs give out.

Etihad Square

And then we headed to our final location scouting destination of the day, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.  This huge stadium, which can hold approximately 50,000 people, hosts various events like soccer matches, concerts, and motor shows.

The grass on the field was all natural.  In Japanese stadiums you're not allowed to actually step out onto the field but here in Dubai it was no problem.  The members of the location scouting team from the art department were extremely happy and started taking pictures as soon as they set foot on the grass.

Sheikh Zayed Stadium

When we finished up at the stadium it was 5:00pm.  Our first day of location scouting was finished and so we headed for our hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Even the slightest bit of activity had us all sweaty and worn out!  Those of us in the location scouting team started to call mineral water "the water of life" and we really felt the importance of staying hydrated that day.

Water of Life


Location Scouting
| Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five |




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