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.
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Tokyo in Ghost in the Shell.
- Tokyo in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Blue Submarine No. 6
- Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou
- Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea (in a strangely lighthearted way)
- The namless ruined city in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World used to showcase the ancient destructive power of the demoness Ifurita.
- 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.
- In The Kill Order, Mark often flashes back to living in a skyscraper, because the city was flooded with scorching water after the solar flares melted the ice caps.
- 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).
- In Dark Souls, the city of New Londo is half submerged in water, and mostly populated by homicidal ghosts. It turns out that the city was flooded by the Three Healers when the Darkwraiths (humans feeding on "Humanity" and becoming twisted by the Dark) began to get out of control and the Abyss began to take shape beneath New Londo: flooding the city sealed both of those up and put a stop to the spread of the Abyss.
- Dark Souls 2 has a couple: the realm of Heide is almost completely submerged by the sea, with only a couple of towers still habitable above the water. The Iron Keep is likewise sunken... in lava. The Old Iron King became too greedy, and built his castle too high; the castle (suggested to be pure iron) got really, really heavy and partially sank into the volcano the King had insisted it be built on.
- Atlanta in Futurama, Played for Laughs of course. "The Lost City of Atlanta!"
- In an episode of Captain Planet, the characters go forward in time and see New York underwater. And yes, it was a Green Aesop about Global Warming.
- New York and others in Samson and Sally. ("The city that man built".)
- The lake in Camp Big Moose has the remnants of an old town sunken in it in Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare.