Popping in to post about Edmonton, the setting for this final arc of the show. Edmonton is a real-life city, capital of the Canadian province of Alberta, and my old hometown. Believe me, I was quite surprised when they mentioned even going there in the first place, and then when the city itself pulled into view from the train, I was floored - it really did resemble Edmonton.
And now this week, we see several parts of the city, and the uncanny resemblance gives way to actual backgrounds reproduced from the real-life city. Check out this rather exhaustive breakdown of the episode's cityscapes and the actual intersections and buildings that were lifted into the show:
Someone did a properly exhaustive session of research (probably online) to get such a detailed re-creation done. And where iconic buildings like the ACTUAL Alberta parliament building and others were not seen, the background artists actually incorporated pictures of some of these buildings as posters. Amazing!
The Gundam franchise hasn't really given Canada a nod since G-Gundam, with its hilariously stereotyped Gundam fighter and largely-inaccurate Niagra Falls location (not discounting Amura Ray's status as a Canadian from Prince George, but that was generally a hindsight retcon). I'm more than impressed that they chose Edmonton, a nigh-unknown city for a Japanese audience, painstakingly brought to the anime screen. Believe me, the local otaku community are suitably nuts, and the local anime convention that I am proud to attend and perform at will be glowing this summer.
PS - So Edmonton is the capital of Arbrau? Guess they did SOMETHING right after the oil price fell through the flooring. Alberta subsists largely on agriculture and oil, and the latter's status ain't making life that easy for many Edmontonians right now...