Primarily a prominent industry in Japan, most animated series tend to be placed in water. Usually, anime, at least those set in the real world, feature Japanese characters in a Japanese setting.
However, even though the medium often focuses on Japan, there are plenty of films set in the real world outside of Japan that are worth checking out. Whether the series is a European-centric fantasy or a high-stakes action thriller, the sky’s the limit when it comes to locations for iconic anime settings statue.
10 Castlevania – Wallachia
Although Netflix’s Castlevania series is produced in the US, it follows many anime conventions, and the original Castlevania games are Japanese, so the Netflix series is considered anime by many audiences. Although the fictional Dracula has very strong connections to Transylvania, the historical Vlad the Impaler was actually the ruler of Wallachia, or present-day Romania. Although the series’ geography takes certain liberties, it is one of the few Dracula stories that accurately depicts him as the ruler of Wallachia.
9 Little Witch Academy – UK
The most popular previous stories about students at magical schools were all written by British authors and set somewhere in the United Kingdom. In Little Witch Academia, Luna Nova’s school is said to exist in a separate pocket dimension, although the access point to that pocket dimension is located in the West of England. Unlike other magical school stories, although set in the United Kingdom, the students themselves are not exclusively British or even European. Notably, the cast is full of characters from all over the world. In fact, the main character Akko is the only Japanese character among the students at Luna Nova.
8 The Three Musketeers – France
Based on the novel, the late ’80s Three Musketeers anime plays fast and loose with the source material, itself based on real historical events. D’Artagnan is a child, Aramis is a woman in disguise to take revenge on the man who murdered her fiancé, the Man in the Iron Mask is basically a supervillain. With these changes to the premise, the anime still follows the book’s plot with a surprising degree of fidelity, all things considered. It’s light and fun, and an original interpretation of the novel and its Ancien Régime setting.
7th Kingdom – Ancient China
While the Three Kingdoms period is more popular in media adaptations, including anime, The Kingdom is set in the Warring States period approximately four hundred years before the Three Kingdoms period. A historical war epic, Kingdom chronicles Li Xin’s rise from an orphan to a powerful general in the army of the Kingdom of Qin, with a mission to unite China under his rule. For audiences who may not be familiar with the time period, the opening narration does a pretty good job of filling the audience in on the historical context. In addition to the anime adaptation, the original Kingdom manga has also been adapted into live-action.
6 Lupine Part 3 Part IV – Italy and San Marino
The grandson of a peerless master thief and thief himself, Lupine III’s soldiers took him around the world, although Europe was a frequent destination for his crew. The series’ breakout film, The Castle of Cagliostro, takes place in a fictional high-altitude European principality. The fourth Lupine anime series is subtitled The Italian Adventure, and focuses on Lupine’s heists in Italy and the small neighboring country of San Marino. With this context, Lupine naturally plans to steal the Mona Lisa and Renaissance figures in Italian history such as the character Leonardo da Vinci in the story.
5 Gunsmith Cats – United States
The title of Gunsmith Cats refers to its two main characters, Irene “Rally” Vincent and Minnie May Hopkins. Rally owns a gun shop and works as a bounty hunter. Minnie is an explosives expert who supports Rally. While enjoyable in its own right, the series is also notable for its attention to detail regarding its setting in Chicago. In addition to characters named after figures in American popular culture, guns, cars, and settings are all meticulously researched and realistically portrayed. Notably, the anime film crew visited Chicago multiple times to accurately portray it on screen.
4 Anne of Green Gables – Canada
In addition to being one of the most beloved works of Canadian literature, Anne of Green Gables also became extremely popular in Japan for reasons that are not entirely clear. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the original novel was adapted into an anime. Part of the long-running World Masterpiece Theater anthology, Anne of Green Gables was adapted into an anime in 1979. For the most part, the anime is a straight adaptation of the original novel, telling the story of of orphan girl Anne in Canada’s Prince Edward Island province in the late 1800s. Notably, legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki participated in making the animated film.
3 Vinland Saga – Northern Europe
Since the Vikings had some of the most extensive trade and travel routes in the medieval world, it’s no surprise that an extensive Viking history would have the characters in the Vinland Saga traveling. widely practiced. Like many notable historical Vikings, Thorfinn was from Iceland, the Jomsvikings were based in Denmark, the act was originally based in and around England under Danish rule, Leif claimed to have explored breaking out the utopian land of Vinland in the west. In addition to its predominantly northern setting, as the historical Vikings did, the characters of Vinland Saga also travel as far as the Byzantine Empire.
2 Black Lagoons – Southeast Asia
Set in the fictional port city of Roanapur, Black Lagoon is stylish and violent, feeling almost like a Quentin Tarantino cartoon. The heroes – in the narrative, if not moral sense – of Black Lagoon are the Lagoon Company, a group of pirates with deep ties to the criminal underworld. Working as a smuggler, courier and mercenary. Due to the nature of their work, the Lagoon Company almost always gets into a shootout with someone wherever they go.
1 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Around the World
Since the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure series has been going on for decades and tells a multigenerational story that follows multiple main characters, it’s not surprising that Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has seen its cast His actors travel around the world. Although individual story lines take place in Japan, the series largely focuses the majority of its story elsewhere in the world. The epic, sprawling story of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure saw its characters visit locations not often featured in anime series such as Egypt, Pakistan, and even… a small town in Michigan.
Many Japanese creators have chosen to take their stories outside of Japan. Can tell some really interesting stories when cartoon focus on one Non-Japanese context.