One of the best things about anime is its ability to transport the characters to literally anywhere that can be imagined and because of that we have a field of vibrant and amazing worlds, planes, realities, planets, dimensions, time periods, and so on to travel through. I mean, I love fantasy novels but there’s no denying that fantasy movies have always been limited by what they can create on screen. While the modern era is overcoming this issue through computer generated worlds it has always been a challenge to really feel absorbed by a live action fantasy.
When done well, you can be completely absorbed by the world constructed by an anime. I’m only going to explore a few worlds that I’ve encountered through anime, but I’d love to hear about your favourite anime world in the comments.
When I started thinking about the worlds anime had taken me to, I realised I remembered the ones that were visually striking, seemed to have a rich history and political world, and seemed more than just a gimmick for the story (meaning that it felt like life was happening there anyway and we just happened to be seeing one story that took place in amongst a whole range of stories that could have been told).
1. Disboard (No Game No Life)
For the moment, let’s ignore the over-the-top and slightly psychedelic colour scheme, and the fact that the name of the world feels like the creators just gave up arguing about what to actually call it. What I like about Disboard is that everything in the world is decided through games and there are clear and known rules that everyone must abide by. Imagining a world where everything follows a very clear logic and all conflict has an established method of being solved opens up all sorts of possibilities.
Now our protagonists, collectively known as Blank, set about ruling the world. Not so much because they really want to rule but more because they like to win and they thought it looked like a great game. But what else could someone do if they were transported into this world? Suddenly that scrabble game has a lot more riding on it than just pride.
I also love that the history of the world feels authentic. This world doesn’t just exist because our protagonists are going to end up there. The people here have been going about their lives, trying their best and succeeding or failing for a long time without them and that history has an impact on the events our protagonists encounter.
There’s also a sense that there’s so much more still to explore in this world when the anime comes to an end.
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2. Everywhere in Tsubasa Chronicles
I’ve been told, by someone who could not stand this series, that this is worth watching just for the travel through multiple dimensions. Every few episodes we’re hitching a ride to a new world with its own rules and logic, but beautiful even while uncovering its host of problems. The biggest problem with the worlds in this series is you never get to stay long enough and you feel like you’ve really only scratched the tip of the iceberg when you are whisked away to another location. That, and after awhile you have to wonder where are the worlds where things aren’t all coming to an end right when the protagonists show up (very much like the Sliders TV series way back when). Still, if you are after some truly gorgeous fantasy worlds (and some sci-fi ones as well), Tsubasa isn’t going to disappoint.
Admittedly, our characters really only do stay for a short period before they move on to another world, but that just leaves the audience wanting more. One or two of the worlds don’t get enough time to be more than a single town or location, but even then it never feels like that is all that exists. There’s a sense that there is a bigger world that our characters just don’t have time to explore.
On the other hand, the method of transportations and the reason for the dimensional hopping in Tsubasa isn’t great, but what if you could just up and go to another dimension for a short period of time and then return home? Would you?
3. The world of Hitsugi no Chaika
It may be pretty standard fantasy fair when it comes to appearance, a quasi medieval setting overlaid with a bit of magic and steampunk inventions, but the world Chaika travels through is fascinating (even if inconsistent). The magical creatures are varied and dangerous. An array of magical powers are being used and magic power itself can be drawn from memories and remains, which has a whole extra layer of creepiness when you think about it. The world is recovering from a war but hardly at peace leaving an intriguing political situation to learn about and the landscape has enough variety to certainly keep you from getting bored.
Honestly, I have no idea what this world is called as I don’t recall it being mentioned in the anime (specific locations are named but I don’t know about the world), but of all the similar fantasy worlds out there, this would be my pick in terms of interest. It’s a shame the second season of this anime lost the plot a bit because this one had so much potential and even though the plot kind of fell over, I still think this is a fantasy world worth exploring.
Other anime worlds I’d love to see include Soul Society (Bleach), anywhere in Full Metal Alchemist, the world in Sunday Without God, and as long as I had a lot of protection, the world from The Irregular at Magic High School.
So what about you? What anime worlds have caught your eye?
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