Anime has plenty of amazing cities. Some rise high into the sky, while others exist inside self-contained ecosystems. Some are sprawling hubs of life, while others are dinky little villages full of heart.
And then there are some cities that rise down instead of up, and create entire worlds under our very feet. These are the epic underground cities of anime, in their many shapes, forms, and sizes. What secrets do the ground hold, and why are these people driven to living underground?
United Earth Headquarters
The HQ of the United Earth Force is not a city - it's an underground military base. But this base is meant to protect civilians as well as military. This means plenty of living space and supplies to support anyone in the bunker for a few years.
From Sword Art Online
The city of Jötunheimr is not a real, physical city. Instead, it's a digital environment created for a virtual reality video game. Located deep below the World Tree, the city is a perilous dungeon home to giants and other beasts. Its digital nature makes it a bit less impressive, but no less epic to behold.
5th Level Authorization District
The 5th Level District is as amazing as it is terrible. An entire city district is hidden underneath Academy City, which houses over 200,000 citizens in neat rows and layers of housing accommodations. Citizens of this layered underground district live a life of bodily pleasures, letting the government take care of all their needs. But they have an excellent and bleak reason for living like this…
With a name that means "tears" in Latin, you wouldn't expect this place to be full of rainbows and smiles. And you'd be right. The people of this dimension have been forced into an underground city of several layers. The deeper down you go, the more elaborate the city becomes. The hierarchy here works in a backwards way: upper class citizens get to live deeper underground, while the poor "common" folk get stuck in the less hospitable higher layers.
The Nerv Headquarters is another underground military base too epic not to mention. Located inside the fortress city of Tokyo-3, the Nerv HQ is a huge structure that extends far underground. You can see the top of the base from above ground, in the form of a pyramid.
The Subterranean Villages
Gurren Lagann's residents live in subterranean villages isolated from the rest of the world, and from each other. Each village has its own "personality" and deals with the perils of living underground in different ways. Jeeha Village, for instance (seen above), survived with the help of furry creatures called pigmoles.
The Inverted World
From Patema Inverted
One day when exploring the tunnels and caverns in her vast underground home, Patema falls through a hole and her world literally turns upside down. It turns out that the huge underground world Patema lives in is actually inverted from the world above ground. The result is two types of people with opposing gravities, and one pretty incredible underground city network.
Yoshiwara is only a district, but it's a pretty impressive one. As a red light district, Yoshiwara's underground location keeps it separated from the rest of the world, and allows it the freedom of its own laws and rules. Of course, this can also means bad news for those who work in the district...
The city of Lux is more than just a city: it's a character. The bleak underground city has its own self-contained forces pulling on one another. Lux shows what happens when opposing forces are placed in an enclosed area and pitted against each other.
The Vampire Cities
To live hidden among humans, the vampires of Owari no Seraph went below ground. A vibrant underground vampire community is located below large human cities, like the aptly named Sanguinem (meaning 'blood' in Latin) city below Kyoto.