Six Anime Trips to New York City
by Lynzee Loveridge,
You don't have to make your bed in the city that never sleeps to know a lot about New York City. The Big Apple has been featured in so many movies and TV shows from blockbusters to indies that many of its landmarks are now international iconography. So it's not too surprising that even Japanese animation has dipped its toe into exploring America's most populous metropolis. Here are just six anime that gave us a uniquely foreign tour of NYC.
6. Chrono Crusade - The "Roaring Twenties" may have been a glamorous time to live in New York City, but you wouldn't know it following our heroes in The Order of Magdalene, whose work is anything but glamorous. Rosette and Chrono don't have much time to see the sights when they're chasing down demons through grimy graveyards, but the series still managed to paint a unique portrait of its setting by forgoing the penthouse parties for a look at the darker locales of NYC's nightlife, along with its towering cathedrals and sprawling shadowy parks.
5. Eden of the East: The King of Eden - Eden of the East flirts with American locations a few times throughout its run (even dropping references to movies like Taxi Driver and Kate and Leopold), but the franchise doesn't take full advantage of New York City until the first movie in its two-film conclusion, when Saki reunites with Akira at the East River, just a sobering few miles from Ground Zero. The ongoing aftermath of the Seleção game leads the two on a chase around many landmarks throughout the city, and Production I.G's immaculate research of the area results in a fun easter egg chase for New Yorkers.
4. Red Garden - Four upper-class girls with nothing in common except for one dead friend from their conservatory school on Roosevelt Island are forced to fight zombies every night in exchange for their lives. If Red Garden was live-action, it could easily have aired between Smallville and One Tree Hill on The CW. While the series thoroughly features the local architecture of Roosevelt Island and a few major landmarks in Manhattan, most of Red Garden's New York flavor comes from its focus on fashion, putting the cast in as many striking outfits as possible throughout its run. (Too bad most of them get torn up and covered in blood.)
3. Baccano! - In contrast with Chrono Crusade's surprisingly gruesome 1920s setting, you might not want to be anywhere near NYC's busiest boroughs during the Prohibition Era, but Baccano! makes its dangerous world look like a blast! Bootleggers, gangsters, and psychopaths cross paths and start rumbles everywhere from underground speakeasies to Grand Central Station, but everything turns out alright for the most part, making New York City even at its grimiest and most corrupt come off smelling like a rose. Still, if you ever want to take a train there, you should probably avoid "The Flying Pussyfoot."
2. Blood Blockade Battlefront - It's far from the first anime to tear down Manhattan and recreate it under a new name as a more futuristic melting pot (Big O did it with Paradigm City), but BBB's "Hellsalem's Lot" does some truly innovative things with NYC's familiar locations. After a portal to dimensions beyond is ripped open underneath the city, New York adapts surprisingly fast. The familiar "I <3 NYC" shirts are replaced with "I <3 HL" equivalents, Times Square is walled off as a "humans only" zone known as Ghetto Heights, and numerous other cultural landmarks are transformed into jaw-dropping alien versions of their once stately selves. The attention to detail in BBB's production design is awe-inspiring, proving that the more things change in NYC, the more they stay the same.
1. Love Live! The School Idol Movie - Nothing says "culture shock" quite like dropping a dozen teenage pop idols into the heart of New York City. Love Live!'s NYC is equal parts mundane and magical, rendering every new location with an oversaturated sparkly-clean sheen, but keeping the story's focus on cozier places like Kenka's Japanese restaurant on St. Mark's Place, in addition to the bigger venues like Central Park and the Empire State Building. The whole adventure caps off with a music video shoot in Times Square, but of course, poor Honoka has to get lost in the subway system along the way. Now that's a New York City vacation tradition!
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Jake is Anime News Network's assistant editor, he's been an anime fan since childhood, and he likes to chat about cartoons, pop culture, and visual novel dev on Twitter..
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