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Remember back when I talked about sci-fi shows? Let’s try that again. Post-apocalyptic worlds can come in many different flavors. To give a few examples, I’m talking about worlds like the magma energy-starved world of Darling in the Franxx, the B.R.A.I.-infested world of Juushinki Pandora, or the war-torn world of Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou.
Regardless of the specifics, post-apocalyptic worlds tend to be among my favorite settings in any media, anime included. With that in mind, I wanted to take step back and look at what I like about these worlds in a broader sense.
The mystery is baked in
In basically any post-apocalyptic world, there is an immediate question tied to the setting. What happened to the world? In most cases, the answer is “humanity broke the world”. Some series may explain it in the opening sequence. However, the question is alway there. Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou was an example of a show that did a great job of expanding on this mystery. In the first episode, we’re given a vague sense that war destroyed the world, but the entire series builds on that idea by dropping hints at some of the ideologies or technologies that might have been in play.
Channel your inner archaeologist
Similar to the mystery point, the apocalypse has turned the world into a literal ruin. Once again, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou is a great example of this concept. The main characters travel through the abandoned architecture of their ruined world, uncovering hidden areas and speculating about how the humans of the past may have lived. It’s like taking a look at history, but it’s much more recent.
Any moment could be your last
Unlike the typical dangers of living, the post-apocalyptic world has effectively turned the world against you. In many cases, humanity’s very existence relies on your ability to survive. It’s a kind of tension that’s hard to come by. There’s also an inherently gritty tone to the story, so the typical storybook ending doesn’t feel like an option. That one’s probably personal preference, but it almost adds a level of realism to the show.
Idealism is put to the test
Even Shirou might have to rethink his view on humanity when the world is literally ending. Because survival becomes so much more difficult and important, you might need to really think about what you’re willing to sacrifice to survive. Consider a common zombie trope. If one of your loved ones is turned into a zombie, would you be okay with killing them? How much risk are you willing to take to save another?
So, those are just a few of the things I could think of. I like to think of post-apocalyptic settings in a general sense because I like them all. Now, what about you? How do you feel about these kinds of stories? I’d be curious to hear it.