Sunken City

One of the easiest ways to indicate that a major, Earth-changing event has taken place is to show a city half-sunken, with buildings at unsafe and possibly nausea-inducing cants. This is sometimes the result of a Green Aesop about Global Warming, but more often it's just used to show that something is not right in the story's setting.

Given the natural fears that arise in an island nation, this happens to Japan a lot.

May be the result of California Collapse.


Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • For a time, Aquaman was based in Sub Diego: a portion of San Diego that was submerged in an attempt to convert humans into subaquatic beings. The population consisted of a mix of these altered humans and Atlantian refugees.
  • Tangent Comics: the city of New Atlantis was founded atop the ruins of Atlanta, Georgia, after the Florida peninsula was destroyed in Earth-9's version of the Cuban Missile Crisis.


  • Buenos Aires in Conciencia y Voluntad, also with many other major coastal cities.
  • The 1987 novel Drowning Towers (or The Sea and the Summer) by George Turner describes a future in which Melbourne was partially submerged in water. As the tops of sky scrapers are above the water level, they are still inhabited by the cities' poorer classes.
  • In Dark Life, any city that is coastal in our time has become this.
  • The Teeth in Ship Breaker.
  • In The Lord of the Isles, it seems like you can't turn around without without running into a sunken city or island. They don't always stay sunken, either, what with all the wizards running around.

Tabletop Games

Video Games
  • Sunken City (possibly the Trope Namer) in The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, flooded not by rising seawater (it's quite far from the ocean) but by melting snow from the mountains.
  • Most of eastern New York State is at least half underwater in Superhero League of Hoboken. Global warming is to blame. A good part of the game is figuring out how to get to the flooded parts of the city, then to the open water, to reach new locations.
  • Final Fantasy X has more than one.
  • The city of Thor in Tales of Phantasia sunk 2000 years prior to the events of the game due to a meteor crash. It's still, however, relatively dry and functional thanks to Aska's power. The protagonists actually get to rise it back to surface on the trip down there (and get elected as the new president to do this).

Western Animation