The Wild Architecture of Nanbaka

Greetings and welcome back to Fantasy Friday! As you saw last week, I’m trying to revive this series and have a bit more fun with it. So I figured, what better way than to kick it off with one of the more crazier pieces of architecture that I’ve seen so far, and that comes from the anime Nanbaka. 

If you have no idea what Nanbaka is:

Four men are assigned to Nanba, the world’s most formidable prison. Jyugo, a man who attempted to break out of prison and ended up extending his jail time; Uno, a man who likes to gamble with women; Rock, a man who likes to get into fights; and Nico, a man who likes anime. A super exciting action comedy about the daily lives of the prison’s inmates and guards 

-Crunchyroll

 

6B6DD7A5-C2AB-4E33-9FE1-83C535A6376B-1614-000003981F3731A2.jpegThe name of this prison that houses all the inmates is Nanba Prision, and it’s located off the coast of Japan.  It’s supposed to rival the security of Alcatraz. The prison is highly rated due to it’s security as it’s virtually inescapable (except for one person).

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There are 13 buildings that create this massive complex, and there was actually an episode that helped lay that out. It’s also relatively big enough that it has it’s own tram system to get prison guards around easily. Needless to say, the Japanese temple motif is used quite heavily in all the the architecture represented in this particular anime. I couldn’t extract any particular reason for them to rely so heavily on using this style except to poke fun at the traditional architecture by using all kinds of crazy colors and also exaggerating the size and details or ornamentation on each of them.

 

Images of the interior are few and far in between, but I was able to snag a few screenshots of the warden’s office, hidden interior garden, and their coliseum.

Nanbaka is full of color: whether it be in their architecture or in their character design.  It’s just got such wildly exaggerated aesthetics that I can’t help but love what an absolute mess it is.


Hope you guys enjoyed the revival post of the series! What do you think of the architecture of Nanbaka? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 🙂

[Fantasy Friday]: The Revival

Hey guys, it’s been a really, really, really long time since I posted for my Fantasy Friday series. To be honest, I put this on hold because I began to feel stressed about this series. I know that sounds silly, but hear me out! I had started off really strong I know; but then I started getting too caught up in my architectural thought processes that I forgot why I started this series to begin with. So, I went back to my initial post to remind myself of what I had written as my original intent:

 These posts will probably vary on length depending on if and what I am able to pinpoint as relevant as well as what I find myself drawn to. This will mostly be Architecture Eye Candy. As someone that’s been trained in design, theory and as someone that loves history and research; sometimes I find it easy to find a precedence or correlation from the anime to something that’s real and tangible.

What I love about architecture in anime or any kind of animation or CGI scene is that there are no limits to what can be created; things can be overly exaggerated which makes it so fantastical – like you’re in a dream world. And I’m all about outrageous designs!

– (excerpt from the original Fantasy Friday post)

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Thrymheim Dungeon, Jotunheimer

Finally, I’m trying to breathe back some life into my Architectural posts.

This is the last post concluding my SAO themed week. This week I’m looking at Season 2’s Excalibur Arc for it’s architectural aspects. You might have seen my analysis of ALO’s City of Arun in a previous post. ALO is specifically named after one of the races in Norse Mythology, Alfheim, the race of the light fairies.  Other races found in ALO are not as specific to Norse Mythology.

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After doing some research, I think it’s really interesting how ALO over all is based on Norse Mythology.  I also, like how well it’s been depicted. In the ALO verison of Thrymheim, it is a floating inverted pyramid that is located underneath the base of the world tree, in another world called,Jotunheimer, the land of giants.

Thrymheim_FloorsThrymheim is divided into 4 levels. Each riddled with an array of varying passages and rooms carved out of the ice pyramid. The fourth floor is mostly the boss dungeon.

 

 

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The forming of Thrymheim

 

The mythology of Thrymheim according to ALO:

Once upon a time, the king of the frost giants in Niflheimr, named Thrym, transformed into a wolf and infiltrated Jötunheimr. He then stole the Holy Sword Excalibur, forged by the blacksmith god Völundr, and threw it into Urðr’s Spring at the center of Jötunheimr. The sword severed the thick roots of the World Tree in the spring and, at that moment, Jötunheimr lost the blessings of the World Tree, becoming a desolate world of frost. The water of the Urðr’s Spring froze, as it was pulled up by the shrinking roots, thus forming a bottomless pit, the Great Void, where Urðr’s Spring once was, while the frozen water became a huge mass of ice, with Excalibur stuck at the bottom-most part of the ice mass, and half pierced into the crust of ALfheim.

Thrymheim translates to “Thunder-home,” a castle that was located in the highest mountain peaks of Jotunheim where the snow never melted; it was considered to be one of the few strongholds of the world, and owned by a giant by the name of Thiazi. The castle is the only building in the kingdom of Thrymheim that is made solely out of ice, which is probably why in ALO it’s a crystal pyramid.

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artistic rendering of Thrymheim

From what I’ve read, the entire excalibur arc is based on a particular story found in Norse Mythology. However, SAO has jumbled two stories together and I think this was done purposely in order for the viewers to be able to relate to the content a little more. The story goes as follows:

Story 1:

Thiazi once abducted the goddess Idun, and in Thrymheim, he held her captive, causing the gods to age until her rescue, in turn resulting in the death of Thiazi.

Story 2:

Thrym was king of the jotnar. In one legend, he stole Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer to extort the gods into giving him Freyja as his wife.

Thrym was foiled in his scheme by the gracefulness of Heimdall, the cunning of Loki, and the sheer violence of Thor, who later killed Thrym, his sister, and all of the jotnar kin that had been present at the wedding reception.

In the excalibur arc, we saw that the final boss was Thrym, who was holding Freya captive (like Thiazi to Idun), while also being in possession of Mjolnir. But when Freyja touches Mjolnir, she turns into Thor to kill Thrym. This all happens in Thrymheim, which is not Thrym’s home at all. It’s a bit confusing, but thats the how mixed up the mythologies became!

That about does it. This was relatively short; but don’t worry I’ll be back with even better content! I kind of wanted to just use images for this one.


That concludes unofficial SAO week here at Archi-Anime! As always, thanks for reading! Did you like what you saw? Have any other comments or questions? Also, if you have any think you’d like to me to look into architecturally in an anime I’m more than willing to take suggestions! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Ouran High School Campus

One thing is for certain as I make my list of cool buildings for Fantasy Friday, is that most of the anime’s I’ve watched have incredible school campuses. Ouran High School is just one of the few that really caught my eye.  Ouran is such a classic anime for me. It’s one of my favorites, and I’m completely butt hurt that Netflix decided to remove it from their list of anime. *sigh* But thankfully, Funimation has it up on their site. I actually have a few more posts where architecture and ouran is concerned; I still need to do a bit more research but I’m really excited about those posts! It wouldn’t be considered Fantasy Friday and it wouldn’t be ANI-Reality either.  Those belong to a category of their own and will most likely be published as a Sunday Special where there is no real specialized theme-but more on that at a later date. Without further ado….

“Welcome, we the Ouran Host Club will see you now”welcome_ouran

Ouran_Campus_Inspirations.pngThe Ouran High School Campus looks inspired by mid-ninteenth century Paris, France. The style of Architecture during that time frame was called “Beaux-Arts” or “Fine Arts”. This particular style had a sculptural quality to it, and dealt a lot with symmetry and classical references to Greek and Roman Architecture. There are 3 buildings in which Ouran is inspired by: Romes’ St. Peter’s Basilica, England’s Buckingham Palace, and Paris’ Place de Concorde, as shown in the images above.

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The garden is also an architectural reference to the French Formal Garden of the 18-19th century. A great example of this would be the Gardens of Versailles, found in the Palace of Versailles. The french formal garden consisted of a rigid symmetry of pathways which enforced the idea of imposing order on nature, as shown in Versaille’s plan shown in the middle of the above photo. The french garden’s history stems from that of the Italian Renaissance Garden which is often characterized with: symmetrical patterns, geometric shapes, and the use of fountains and other water features that gave the garden some movement. Often times gardens would be done at different heights and levels, in which all the pathways would cross up and down through the garden. The gardens were meant to express the ideals of the Renaissance and the ideals of Ancient Rome.

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The interiors of the school also carries the theme of the mid-ninteenth centuy motif. Grand staircases, Symmetry, classical architecture (greek/roman), arched windows and it also borrows from the 19th-century Gothic Revival style with the use of the Gothic vault shown in the second photo above. I find a lot of these images to be similar to views shown in the Palace of Versailles as well – which could have very well been another source of inspiration.

I find the use of mid-ninteenth century Parisian aesthetics amusing because what other style best represents the qualities of the rich, wealthy, and extravagant? I also find the parallel between Tamaki’s heritage to that the school’s aesthetic to be interesting as well – but that’s being saved for another post ;). Classical architecture was the launching point for my architecutral interest; especially the gothic revival style. I went to a gothic style cathedral as a kid and was completely blown away by how amazing it was. I was in awe of it’s beauty…of the pointed arches, columns and stained glass, but I was also scared and terrified of the dark spaces and the gargoyles. However, what really drew my interest was the light that filtered in through the dark space I was mindblown by the beauty of it all. I was so inpsired by that feeling …that well..the rest is history so to speak. That one moment lead me to my career and appreciation of theory and analysis of that one moment. Till next time!

“The Ouran Host Club will be waiting for you…
We’ll see you then.” – Ouran High School Host Club

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The City of Arun

Architecture is a rather broad umbrella (it’s a topic I’m probably going to address in another post). Looking at buildings is one step while looking at the context of the building is another. In looking at the context we look at the city, and the urban landscape and how the building interacts with those things. For example, a city skyline, and the way people move around that area of the city are a few things to consider. So with that said, since I looked at a building last week, this week I wanted to look at a city.

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This week, I’m looking at one of Sword Art Online’s various world’s. Specifically ALFheim Online’s (ALO) City of Arun(Alne). Arun is located in the center of ALO at the base of the world tree and is considered to be the captial. It’s the main area for advanced dungeons in the area and acts as the main marketplace in which all races can visit. Arun is so large that it’s divided into 5 parts: North, East, South, West and Central. The World Tree Dome is in the center, while there are dungeons located in the other 4 locations. There are many references to Norse Mythology in ALO, so I started to look into related topics, for example: Norse Architecture, which led me to dig up information about Viking Urban Planning. Aside from your regular towns, Vikings created ring-shaped fortresses known as “trelleborgs”. These circular citadels consisted of outer circular walls that with ditches in front, and four gates at the 4 compass points and 2 axial roads that divided it and linked the gates to one another. Those quadrants were then filled with long-houses that were arranged in a rectangular pattern.

I thought it was interesting to compare the old fortress plan to that to that of Arun. Arun is at the center of the ALO world, and as shown in the photo its enclosed by a mountain range. Although, Arun is supposed to be neutral ground for all the races within the world, I thought it was interesting that it was so well protected from the rest of the nations; but it makes sense, this is the core of the world and it must be protected. Although there are no definitive streets that divide up Arun, it had been divided into the quadrants, and instead of the gates at the each compass point, it was replaced with some of the most dangerous dungeons in the area. It’s quite a contrast for the purposes of these 4 points, in one way it serves as an exit out, wheres in ALO’s world they serve as entrances.

Alne.png The overall composition of Arun reminds me of a chapel that was recently built in Japan. The Ribbon Chapel (by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP Architects) is a part of a resort in Onimichi, Hiroshima. The wedding chapels’ design intent was to create two sprial staircases that intertwined creating a free-standing structure that symbolized what marriage is: two people that starting on two different paths ultimately converging in on one point in which they unite. The curvature of the building reminds me of the large pieces that come up from the landscape of Arun. The cruves in Arun then slowly twist from a vertical position to a horizontal surface as it merges into the ground. The chapel doesn’t do it as fluidly as Arun does, but the cruving pathway in the back creates the illusion of unfolding into the ground. I feel that the pathway to a destination should reflect some kind of element of the architecture; it could be similar or completely different. Not only does it allow for a cohesive design; but allows for better integration into the surrounding context, which in this case is the landscape.

Overall I think the city of Arun is beautiful as I’m in love with the use of lines and curves, much like a mobius strip. Not to mention it’s pretty whimsical just looking at it. I thought it was pretty cool I was able to find a connection of the Norse mythology used in the world of ALO to that of Viking Urban Planning that was actually used in reality. Research is fun!  That about does it for this Fantasy Friday! I hope you enjoyed this post and look forward to any comments you guys may have!

Blue Exorcist: True Cross Academy

Welcome to Fantasy Friday in which I will look at fantastical pieces of Architecture found in the anime world. These posts will probably vary on length depending on if and what I am able to pinpoint as relevant as well as what I find myself drawn to. This will mostly be Architecture Eye Candy; as someone that’s been trained in design, theory and as someone that loves history and research; sometimes I find it easy to find a precedence or correlation from the anime to something that’s real and tangible.

What I love about architecture in anime or any kind of animation or CGI scene is that there are no limits to what can be created; things can be overly exaggerated which makes it so fantastical – like you’re in a dream world. And I’m all about outrageous designs!

To kick it off, I wanted to look at Blue Exorcist’s True Cross Academy.  It’s been awhile since I had watched the anime. I had decided to re-watch season 1 on a whim because I wanted background noise while I worked on my computer (this was before I even knew that season 2 was coming). The moment True Cross appeared on screen, I immediately thought I should make a blog series out of this!

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True Cross Academy

True Cross Academy reminds me of an MC Escher painting.  A complex puzzle of sorts that loop infinitely. Granted, at least the Cram School is designed that way, with the use of a key that can open up a door that leads to almost anywhere on campus.

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True Cross Academy Entrance Hall

Since Blue Exorcist deals with themes of christianity, and there’s some mention of the Vatican, it only made sense for some of the Architectural elements to have some Italian inspiration.  For instance, the Entrance hall of True Cross looks similar to that of a Milan Shopping center in Italy, more specifically: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, located next to the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) next to the Duomo (milan cathedral). This space is bascailly an arcade that is roofed with arching glass and cast-iron roof, which was popular in the 19th century.

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True Cross Academy Dining Hall

The Dining Hall to me actually reminds me of two things. First, it looks much like the apse or knave of a cathedral (the rop right photo). Vaulted ceilings are the dead give away.  The second thing it reminds me of is The Great Hall that’s featured in all of the Harry Potter films. Now, Harry Potter came first (2001), so it’s quite possible it served as an inspiration to Blue Exorcist(2011).

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True Cross Academy Cram School Hall

This is just an image of the cram school within the campus grounds of True Cross. However, it’s location isn’t really known, and is only accessible with a certain kind of key.  I couldn’t think of any architectural inspiration for this particular space. The layout is similar to that of a knave of a cathedral like the dining hall above. The only thing to notice is the color palette. It has bright vibrant colors but is also shrouded in darkness which is an indication it’s somewhere underground.  The color palette also helps differentiate this place from all the neutral tones that are found in the “normal” places found throughout the campus.

That’s all she wrote for this Fantasy Friday. Hope you guys enjoyed it! If you guys have a particular anime you’d like me to look at, let me know in the comments below! I’m always open to suggestions!