I first thought I might try to find five anime set in Canada but I gave up pretty quickly. Even though it would make a great anime setting. We got some really pretty autumns, you can colour the trees any colour you want. There are also kickass snowy mountains, it’s like putting a dozen Mt. Fujis in your background. Imagine how lucky your production will be! (I just read that dreaming about Mt. Fuji is good luck and I wanted to use that knowledge).
Somehow, I have a sinking feeling that my personal campaign on this blog is not going to be the shattering success it should be and we won’t get half a dozen anime set in the true North next season. Oh well…in the meantime, I guess I can share with you this list of anime set in America. In no particular order but still numbered. How quirky.
I did not watch Baccano! although I desperately want to. I just never found it. I did however buy the manga. That’s how I know that it’s set in America. 1930s America to be precise. And it does relish in the setting which is probably why so many people think of Baccano! when they think of anime set in the US.
I still really hope I find it someday.
5. Blood Blockade – New York, New York
I’m not sure if this one counts. Blood Blockade Battlefront is set in New York and the backgrounds are a luxurious depiction of the big city. Some of my favourite backgrounds in anime. But it’s a New York that has been warped by the supernatural phenomena to the point where it is difficult to recognize.
Heck, half the time you don’t even know if it’s on Earth. The name’s even been changed to Hellsalem’s Lot (subtle). Nevertheless, you do see the fingerprints of old New York all over the place and it’s lovingly illustrated.
4. 91 days – “Lawless”, Illinois
91 days is a slow-burn classic criminal thriller set in the prohibition era. And that was a very particular time in US history. So not only is 91 days set in the United States, it really couldn’t have been set anywhere else.
I remember being fascinated by where the show was taking place. I tried to pinpoint the exact location based on the architecture and the materials used to make the more suburban houses we see in the few village scenes. It all screamed Americana to me and I easily got transported to the place and time of bootleg booze and barely concealed the organized crime. 91 days was a great show.
3. Banana Fish – New York, New York
This is the second anime I did not watch but once again I read the manga. In this case, however, I read the manga many years ago. At least over a decade ago. I was a huge fan of J.D. Sallinger as a kid and I just picked it up based on the title alone.
If the anime is true to the manga, it’s another crime thriller drama that takes place in the US. The 1980s US which is loads of fun. Only this time it’s not manufactured nostalgia. I would still recommend picking up the manga if you enjoyed the adaptation. AlthoughI can’t tell you how they compare, I can tell you I really liked the manga. So there!
2. Appare-Ranman! Los Angeles, California
Appare-Ranman! was such a pleasant surprise. I just didn’t expect that anime. I picked it up expecting a random,. forgettable comedy with over-the-top character designs and I got a truly enjoyable romp with a great production and lovable cast. You know what else I didn’t expect, the fact that it’s set in LA…
It starts in Japan but quickly moves on to Los Angeles for a 19th-century race across the Californian deserts. I wouldn’t call it the most authentic depiction of the setting but it’s certainly fun. And it has a sort of caricatural charm of old western movies.
1. Soul Eater – “Death City”, Nevada
Did you know Soul Eater was set in Nevada? I had forgotten. I wouldn’t say it’s a very typically American-looking city. But you know, that’s why I put it on here. Unlike all my other picks, the setting of Soul Eater is not a big part of its identity. And yet, the author still chose to set it specifically in the US. I thought that was interesting.
It could simply be a nod to Death Valley. I could see that. Still, I remember finding out Soul Eater took place in Nevada and for some reason really enjoy that bit of trivia. So now I share it with you!
Hhhmmm… Ok, So out of the 6 anime I could remember taking place in the States, 3 are specifically about organized crime, one is set in the wild west and features a large cast of bandits and a lot of guns and the two remaining ones are in supernatural versions of the US that are violent and dangerous enough to have daily fights in the streets and require children to wield weapons.
The most welcoming and safest of all these places is called Death City. It has a huge school to specifically teach children to murder people.
I’m not saying the US may have a bit of a reputation in Japan but that’s quite a coincidence. OK, so maybe there are tons of adorable Slice of Life Anime set in the states that I just haven’t seen. That’s probably it…