"But the asylum was a picnic compared to life on the mean streets of... Town!"
A show is set in a location that is never named on-screen.
Not the same as a location that is never named (or is given a pseudonym), but is recognisable as a real place in disguise — that's No Communities Were Harmed
No relation to the Code Lyoko
novel of the same name. Maybe.
(See below for irony.)
For a very specific subtype, see Canada Does Not Exist
. Also see Where The Hell Is Springfield?
, in which a place may be named but its actual location is never revealed.
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Anime and Manga
- The city in the 1995 Ghost in the Shell movie never received a name (though it seems to be visually based in Hong Kong), but the original manga and TV series takes place in fictional city of Niihama (Newport City), and Fukuoka.
- Likewise the planet colonized after several generations in Trigun isn't named. It may be obliquely referred to in promotional materials as 'Gunsmoke', but many fans ignore that for sounding silly.
- In the first Naruto movie, the city in the Land of Fire where the movie studio is.
- Very few of the non-shinobi cities visited are ever given a name. Simple referring to the country where the events take place is far more common.
- Played mostly in Suzumiya Haruhi: although the series definitely takes place in the half-million city of Nishinomiya, the name is never mentioned, and the settings are generic enough to be located anywhere in Japan. Later in the series, Kyon briefly visits Osaka, but only mentions it as "an average Japanese metropolis".
- The city visited in The Sky Crawlers is left unnamed, but the soundtrack and Polish signs reveal it to be Krakow.
- The actual setting is pretty weird: the setting mentioned is The European Confederation, but it features a very American-style diner, and every single character has a Japanese name, and speaks primarily Japanese - they actually switch to English at times to drive home that it's not just a Translation Convention.
- The megacity in Transmetropolitan though it's implied to be placed on the east coast (having absorbed New York), since one panel depicts the statue of Liberty. It's referred to as "The City".
- You mean the same panel that showed the Golden Gate bridge?
- Given how Broadcasting House from London shows up in one early issue, it's safe to assume that The City's architecture isn't a clear indicator of location. That being said, both California and Washington DC are mentioned as separate entities so that gives a vague idea of size and area.
- Dynamite Comics' Legenderry (Steampunk plus Elseworld plus Massive Multiplayer Crossover) is set in The Big City, which writer Bill Willingham says isn't exactly London and isn't exactly New York. The world of Legenderry also contians The Jungle, The Island, The Sea etc.
- Ghost Rider The Audio Drama is set in a city that is never referred to by name - and the writer seems to go out of his way to avoid actually calling it anything, or even referring to it directly.
- The City of Lost Children
- The 2006 version of Casino Royale has an unidentified town in Montenegro as one of its settings.
- The city in Dark City, mainly because it's a pastiche built from the mixed-and-matched memories of people abducted from numerous time periods throughout the Twentieth Century.
- The city where Se7en takes place. It appears to be a composite of New York and Los Angeles noir cities. However, the constant overcast skies more resembles the Pacific Northwest.
- No Name City in Paint Your Wagon, but it was a Boom Town after all.
- Streets of Fire: The individual neighborhoods featured in the movie are named, but the greater metropolis they're part of is never named.
- Fight Club mentions several other cities, but never specifies where the narrator lives. Clues in the novel and movie imply that the city is actually Wilmington, Delaware.
- 21 Grams never names its location, although a traffic report on a car radio names the major intersections of Memphis, Tennessee.
- The city that Blindness takes place in is never named, nor is its country.
- Shallow Grave is set in an unnamed Scottish city. Both Edinburgh and Glasgow were used for exterior shots.
- The city in The Asphalt Jungle remains anonymous. Apparently, the exterior scenes were shot in Cincinnati. One version of the script even mentioned the city by name but it was taken out because ironically, Cincinnati was facing police corruption at the time.
- The desert city in 3 Women is never mentioned by name. Shooting locations were Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs, California.
- The titular town of This Town Will Never Let Us Go from Faction Paradox remains nameless.
- The continent of Discworld on which most novels' events take place, and where such familiar locales as Ankh-Morpork, Lancre, and the Chalk can be found, has yet to be named. This is a bit of an odd lapse, considering we know the names of both Klatch and Fourecks, and a title (the Counterweight Continent) for another; all three are smaller than the still-nameless home continent of most Discworld characters. It also seems that all cities are city states, if there is a country where are city/town is based is not named-apart from Lancre Town (Lancre).
- John Dies at the End starts out with this trope, censoring the name of the town with [undisclosed]. Later, it seems the name of the town just becomes Undisclosed.
- Animorphs plays with this one - the characters deliberately conceal the name and location of their hometown from the reader, ostensibly to protect their (the characters') identity. The last book reveals that the town is in Southern California, somewhere around Santa Barbara, but it is still left unnamed.
- The Tiger's Wife is set in an unspecified/fictional Balkan country, and the narrator, Natalia, names small villages but calls the capital, where she grew up, the City.
- The city in Aimee. Justified in that the protagonist didn't want to mention it, because it was her journal and she didn't want her psychiatrist to find out where she was from.
- The titular city in H.P. Lovecraft's The Nameless City (namedropped in many other Cthulhu Mythos stories) is an odd case; it's "real" name, if it ever had one, is unknown, but characters and fans pretty much turn the phrase "The Nameless City" into its Nonindicative Name.
- Fahrenheit 451's setting is only ever referred to as "the city", presumably so that people would be able to think of it as their hometown no matter where they lived.
- Which is somewhat unnerving, since at the end it gets nuked.
- St. Louis is mentioned, as well as Chicago. Ray Bradbury was also from Illinois.
- In A Series of Unfortunate Events, the city where the series begins is only ever called "the city".
- The city in the German kids book series TKKG.
- The city in Saving ZoŽ by Alyson Noel. All that is said is that it is a small suburban town.
- Tally's city in the Uglies series is never given a name. All other mentioned cities have names though. (Diego, etc.)
- However in the Bogus To Bubbly universe-guide, the map of the continent (North America) shows that the Rusty Ruins near Tally's city are the ruins of San Fransisco.
- Actually, the Rusty Ruins depicted in Bogus to Bubbly is the ruins of Seattle, as seen (and mentioned in the books themselves) by the giant ruined tower (the Space Needle).
- The city in Ellen Kushner's Riverside books—Riverside is a district within the city, but the city is never named.
- The city in An Elegy for the Still-living is left deliberately unnamed, adding to the overall dreamlike feel of the work.
- The setting for Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novels. It's referred to in the narration simply as "this city". Some reviewers - including Stephen King, oddly enough - have mistakenly given the city's name as Isola, but that's actually just one district of the city, analogous to Manhattan in New York.
- The Castle in Septimus Heap is never referred to by name.
- The city Wilson Lander is living in at the beginning of Robert Girardi's The Pirate's Daughter is described extensively but never named.
- The city in The Cats of Seroster is never named, it's just somewhere in France.
- A flashback in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel concerns the exploration of an ancient, ruined Earthlord city known only as "The City" or "The Nameless City", a fact which is commented on by the characters.
- Tunnels has a variation with "The Colony".
- The city in Barnaby Grimes is a very ambiguous setting, which extends to it never being named.
- A BBC children's drama, Bootleg was set in "The New Commonwealth". It was filmed in Australia, had a map of London present and used the Australian electoral system.
- This could be a shoutout to 1984 - Bootleg (and the eponymous book on which the drama was based) is a book about censorship and fascism, made accessible to children through the banning of chocolate and hypocritical endorsement of healthy activities.
- The city in which Scrubs is set in is never named. Cast and crew on the show refer to the location as San DiFrangeles.
- Pushing Daisies is odd in that we don't know the name of the city where the main action takes place, though we do know it's in the fictitious "Papen County". (Hints tying Papen County to a US state or region occasionally appear, but are internally inconsistent.)
- The nearby town where the characters grew up, and where Lily and Vivian still live, is known, though: Coeur D'Coeurs
- Malcolm in the Middle. It is never quite revealed where they live. The house where it is filmed is located in Los Angeles and there are California license plates, yet it is somehow 300 miles from Francis' boarding school in Alabama.
- One could assume, based on police cars and uniforms, that it was Los Angeles.
- Lampshaded in the original Doctor Who serial State of Decay, when queries about other communities in the world of the giant hibernating king vampire are answered: "There is only the Village. And the Tower."
- Lampshaded in the pilot of Warehouse 13. As Pete and Mika are driving to their rooms at Leena's, they pass through a 'town' which a sign refers to as 'unnamed unincorporated settlement'.
- The city where Max Headroom is set is never named (However, the police are known as "Metrocops"). American accents are just as common as English accents among the populace. One episode does show an outline of the American continent on a computer monitor in connection with The City.
- Similar to the above Max Headroom example, The Tribe takes place in an unnamed city in an unnamed country, intended to be as generic as possible to reinforce the plausibility of the series' post-apocalyptic setting. Most characters spoke with Kiwi accents, though, and the one time money was shown, it was New Zealand currency. The show was filmed in Wellington, New Zealand, but there were enough details tweaked to suggest it could be any city. Zoot's police car in particular looked like an American police car.
- The city in which Hill Street Blues takes place is never named, although a lot of establishing shots depict Chicago locations.
- Similarly, 21 Jump Street was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, but set in an unnamed city in Washington State. The police uniforms simply say "Metropolitan Police".
- The setting for The Prisoner is never explicitly named; it is only referred to as "The Village". The series was, famously, filmed in Portmeirion in Wales.
- The city in The Protomen's works is never named, and the lyrics and the liner notes only call it 'The City'.
- Honestly, an awful lot of references to 'The City' in rock music are pretty much an example of this. I'm sure 'Summer in the City' (Loving Spoonful) or 'Heart of the City' (Nick Lowe) or 'City With No Children' (Arcade Fire) are all referring to specific cities in the authors' minds, but the listener isn't privy to the details!
- The city and state of The Shadow's adventures are never named.
- Likewise, the world Warhammer takes place has no name. It's usually referred as "the world" or "the Warhammer world" in the army books.
- The City found in the Thief video games. Though it seems quite possible that may actually be its name - it's even referred to as that, capital letter and all, in official in-universe documents.
- This was originally the case in Warcraft, which was set within the kingdom of Azeroth on a world with no given name. Some confused grammar in the sequels lead to "Azeroth" eventually becoming the name of the planet, with the kingdom being retconned into "Stormwind".
- Similarly, the reason why the Orcish homeworld has an Eredun name (Draenor) is because the Orcs used to refer to Draenor simply as "world". The name Draenor was eventually adopted by Orcs after the arrival of the Draenei.
- Lordaeron's capital is literally referred to as Capital City. Brann even hangs a lampshade on it. That said, some have referred to it as Lordaeron City.
- Heavy Rain's city. Some of the police appear to have the Liberty Bell on their patches, which would suggest Philadelphia, but its never stated.
- In the scene at the subway, Philadelphia natives can clearly spot a map of SEPTA: Philadelphia's public transit system.
- The setting of the Ace Attorney is never straight out named, however it's heavily implied that it takes place in Los Angeles. For starters, it's outright stated that many characters live in LA and at times the police force is sometimes refereed too as the LA Police.
- The City in Mirror's Edge. It's never referred to by name, even the Police Department is only referred to as the CPF (City Protection Force).
- That game called The Town With No Name.
- Heather's hometown in Silent Hill 3.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the city surrounding Hyrule Castle and the Temple of Time is never named, being called only "Market". The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess identifies it as Hyrule Castle Town.
- The city in Mega Man (Classic) is never identified. The box and manuals for the first game refer to it as "Monsteropolis", but that's only in the English localization. In the comic book adaptation, the city's name is never brought up until later on, in which it was renamed "Mega City" in Mega Man's honor.
- The setting in Sluggy Freelance was (almost) totally ambiguous before a "No Content Saturdays" strip mentioned it was located somewhere in New Jersey (though a few particularly obsessive fans had already figured it out from a map shown in one comic). The city itself is still unnamed, even though abovementioned obsessive fans claim to have narrowed it down to a town called "Denville."
- College Roomies from Hell!!!!!! is similarly ambiguous. All we know is that it's in the United States, north enough to see the snow but south enough that the Butt Monkey can get himself shipped to Mexico while passed out for a matter of hours.
- Building 42 that named the Buildingverse stands in one of these. It's even nicknamed by the fans as Unnamed University Town.
- Hey Arnold!: Which seemed to be a combination of Seattle and New York City.
- Although the name is never spoken, different signs all about town indicate it's either Hillwood or Hillwood City.
- Teen Titans: Fans use the name "Jump City" from the comic book Spin-Off Teen Titans Go!.
- Frisky Dingo never mentions the name of the city the series takes place in, only referring to it as "the town". The page quote lampshades this.
- The show does, however, feature maps of the town that resemble the interstate roadways of Atlanta, Georgia. The company that produced the show was located in Atlanta as is the headquarters of the channel it airs on.
- Lampshaded in The Tick. In the first episode, where superheroes are charged with protecting various cities, the others are assigned to real-life, specific places (such as New Rochelle, New York), but the titular blue crime-fighter is simply sent to The City.
- The Fire Nation capital in Avatar: The Last Airbender .
- It's called the Royal Caldera City apparently according to Word of God.
- The city in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers has never been called by name. To add to the confusion, it bears some resemblance to at least two or three real cities in the USA.
- The setting of Widget The World Watcher could be anywhere from the USA to the Philippines (which is where the show was made).
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, though Fanon says it may take place in Townsville.
- Almost every location that any KaBlam! shorts take place in are never named. A season four episode hints that the Henry and June shorts take place in New York City (with the Empire State Building appearing in the background through a window), which is where the short was recorded.
- Recess. While nearby locales are mentioned in the movie, the town itself is never named.
- The setting of Littlest Pet Shop (1995).
- In the entire Rugrats franchise (including All Grown Up!), the series has a very vague setting. It is also unclear what type of community the characters live in. This ambiguity in the setting was probably done intentionally to help give the impression of seeing the world through the naive eyes of toddlers. Even as the eight children grew 9 to 10 years older, this fact is still ignored, due to the plot focus on their pre-teen social lives.
- Actually, in the AGU special "RV Having Fun Yet?" when the RV enters the freeway an exit sign for Western Avenue (a street in Los Angeles) can be very plainly seen. This still doesn't explain how they can get heavy snowfall in the wintertime...
- Rugrats seems to suggest it could take place anywhere in the US that can receive snowfall in the winter, whereas the Chirstmas episode of All Grown Up has a snowless Christmas, which suggests that they live in a warmer part of the world. The fact that their school seems to be more or less designed for warmer weather also suggests they may be in California or some warm part of the US.
- Invader Zim never discloses this, then again it is in an alternate reality where they might not even live in the actual US.
- Code Lyoko, at least the English version, bends over backwards to avoid identifying itself as located in France, then blows it by using real places — The Factory is a former Renault factory that was on island in the Seine outside Paris, for example, and one shot showing XANA hijacking a Kill Sat explicitly shows France as a target.
- The Belchers in Bob's Burgers appear to live in New Jersey, according to a map gag when they were traveling, but their city has never been named.
- A semi-example: people living in or near a major city will often simply refer to that city as "the city." Taking it a step further, during the height of The Roman Empire, the city of Rome was simply "The City" to many across all of Europe. Even the calendar counted years ab urbe condita, or "from the founding of the city" with everyone understanding which city. Not really No Name Given, more like No Need To Give Name.
- The capital city of Luxembourg is always called "The City" across the country, because calling it "Luxembourg" would just be plain confusing.
- The second biggest city in Wales is Swansea, or more formally The County and City of Swansea. If you live near the city centre, you'll undoubtedly call it 'Town'. As in 'I was planning to go into Town in the afternoon.' This is left over from when it was called Swansea Town.
- The name 'Istanbul' originally comes from a Greek phrase 'eis tÍn polin' meaning 'to/into the city.' People from the surrounding countryside would simply talk about going 'eis tÍn polin' (rather than saying 'going to Constantinople') and over time this ended up superseding Constantinople as the city's proper name. It was simply 'The City.' So Istanbul isn't simply the Turkish version of Constantinople, and was actually in use before the Ottomans took over.