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Attraction :: Anime City, Tokyo


When it comes to cities in anime, I think Tokyo has the lot covered (equivalent to NYC in film) , and that is one thing I love about it. Every take on Tokyo yields a different hue, and the base atmosphere of a series sometimes gives this city a great feeling. Here is the beginning of a post started sometime late 2006/ early 2007…

The other night, while laying down watching the seasonal picks, I pondered what city is that on screen? Tokyo, definitely Tokyo. I realized that Tokyo graces many many anime with it’s superbly complex and compelling ‘essence’. The streets, suburbs, festivals, views, history and development, etc all pour out from the anime screen.

Would it be necessary to considered Tokyo ‘the’ most used setting in Japanese animation? Or is it easily implied; by default? That is up to opinion, but it is highly used. For this reason, I will fetch my picks of “Best Animated Perspective of Tokyo”, though I really need to recall them all first.

Off the top of my head, there are so many series I’ve watched where the setting was Tokyo, which implies greater things considering my shallow experience history of anime. Out of the multitude, it boils down to a few things that make Tokyo as part of a series an attractive point. Briefly…

Active Environment

Many of the series which came to mind are setup in Tokyo, but not all of them “play in the environment.” How noticeable is the city? Does it feel good? Would I be sad if it wasn’t Tokyo? These are things I ask in order to gauge the level of activity, not that I think about this often. I think one of best examples is the FMP franchise. Really, I enjoy the way Kana and Sagara move about the city, and no I don’t recognize exact details of things, but knowing it’s Tokyo just gives it some sort of imaginable flavor. Yum!


Continuing with FMP, more specifically Fumoffu, the mood given off is like an imprint. While I don’t think we will have Pavlov in the conversation, but it is a good thing there are an abundance of moods for series set in Tokyo. What would happen if it was the same mood over and over… imprinting? NAO let’s hope not. Perhaps this relates to remnants of a series in memory; enjoyable memories of the city setting. What’s the most memorable Tokyo setting for a viewer? Does it have anything to do with the mood? I am not implying, these are fluid questions.


Place is one thing, but time is another; physics hubbub 101. There are a few noticeable anime out there with historic or future settings in Tokyo (Rurouni Kenshin and NGE, respectively), and I believe this is one contribution to general effect of the city. While it is Tokyo, it might not be anything recognizable, but still holds marvelously intrigue. Personally, I feel modern Tokyo is an attractive setting for anime, but I did enjoy post-Bakumatsu Tokyo as well as the underground concept brought by NGE (what a mess).

Unlike the quoted opening states, I don’t have a “best” at this moment, but some of my notables: FMP, Keroro, H+C, NGE, and Tokyo Majin (didn’t care for it overall). Though, I wonder if others have taken a favorite blend of Tokyo.

Ryan A

Categories: Attraction, Weekly.


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3 Responses

  1. And that’s why I want to go there..(every otaku wants to)..
    Most of the time, I don’t even realize that it’s in Tokyo until someone mentions it..
    Maybe because I don’t care much about the location..

  2. Sounds about right. I wouldn’t say it is about caring/noticing the location, but it is really similar to films that shoot in NYC; the city is hardly the point, but it adds something extra. I suppose that it is more noticeable in film *shrugs*

    unseen emphasis

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