In fictional settings, authors often decide to make great cities for their work. In "classic" sci-fi the city served as a common trope to be used to represent whatever society that existed. They, when animated, drawn, or otherwise shown a Design Student's Orgasm usually occurs. This comes in two flavors and is often the capital of The Federation, The Alliance, The Empire, or The Republic. Is usually a City of Adventure. If part of its coolness comes from bright lights, it may be a Neon City.
These cities come in two flavors:
- Shiny and full of wonders. Awe-inspiring cities such as, but not limited to, cities that take over an entire planet/plane of existence.
- Dark and gritty. Equally imposing and with breathtaking cityscapes, but sinister at its core.
Anime and Manga
- Sternbild City, a three-leveled city decorated with several Statue-of-Liberty-sized monuments from Tiger & Bunny is also a nice example.
- Gotham City from Batman, epically post-earthquake when the city looks like a mash up of the 1930s, Gothic London and a modern city.
- Black Panther has Wakanda, a sovereign nation in Africa whose capital city is perhaps one of the most gorgeous cities in comics. The seemingly infinite supply of vibranium, the most versatile, strongest, and most valuable metal in the entire world, allowed Wakanda's people to advance technology and science to the point that the country is centuries ahead of the rest of the world (even Stark Enterprises and S.H.I.E.L.D.) in terms of science and technology. In fact, Wakandan invention has advanced so far that the people hide the city from the rest of the world for fear of their technology being stolen and used for evil.
- Judge Dredd mostly takes place in Mega City One, which originally spanned the entire Eastern seaboard of the United States until it was seriously trimmed down during "The Apocalypse War" thanks to saturation nuking. Architecturally, it's a mishmash of styles from different decades with early stories even depicting (at the time of publishing) iconic New York buildings and landmarks, such as the World Trade Centre, the Statue Of Liberty, and the Empire State Building, dwarfed by newer city blocks.
- Metropolis from Superman is generally portrayed as a city of gleaming high-tech, especially when being compared to Gotham. This was especially the case in comics from 2000 to 2004, when it became "infected" by 64th-century super-science that made it into a Skyscraper City with triple-decker monorails, service robots, and even an extremely clean biotech sewer system.
Films — Animation
- The city of Zootopia with its multifaceted districts enabled by the installation of artificial climate zones.
Films — Live-Action
- Vampire New York as seen in Daybreakers. While it's the exact opposite of "shiny", the sheer infrastructure of adapting the biggest city in the world to vampires gets it put in this category. Besides, dark is shiny for vampires.
- The eponymous Dark City (set only at night) is a Scenery Porn-tastic, German Expressionism-inspired, Always Night City in a Bottle.
- Star Trek:
- Starbase Yorktown in Star Trek Beyond is like a Domed City but with the dome being a perfect sphere, as it is in space. It is also beyond gigantic. Artificial Gravity will make the definition of "down" different for you than for the street twisting above you.
- Stratos City: Crystal Spires and Togas for everyone! (Except Troglodytes.)
- Starfleet's own capital, San Francisco (the actual capital city of the Federation is Paris, but San Francisco was seen quite a bit more, and at times played host to non-Starfleet governmental functions).
- Star Wars:
- Coruscant is a city that covers the entire planet. It's so large they needed an entire subsidiary guide just to explain how it worked.
- In Deltora Quest, Tora is a magically shielded, self-sustaining city. It is all carved of seamless marble, except the plinth that symbolized their vow of loyalty towards Del's kings, and filled with tapestries and fresh fruit that the protagonists (who come from the more medieval lands outside) find extremely welcome.
- Ankh-Morpork from Discworld, though most of its dark has turned into grime (and might occasionally become part of something served in a bun).
- Prelude to Foundation: Hari Seldon explores multiple areas of the planet-wide city Trantor, capital of the Galactic Empire, which is almost entirely enclosed and continues many kilometers underground.
- Dresediel Lex from Two Serpents Rise. Floating skyscrapers, giant black-glass pyramids for office buildings, zombie street cleaners, and goddesses hovering over every poker game.
- The Reckoners Trilogy:
- Newcago (the former city of Chicago) is dark and gritty, under a perpetually black sky, the entire city transmuted to steel with many living in tunnels beneath.
- Babilar (once New York) by contrast, is a bright and colorful party city where the waters rise up so high, the people live on the roofs and upper stories of skyscrapers.
- Ildithia (Atlanta) is a city of salt that grows out of the ground on one side, collapses on the other, cycling through once a week and so crawling across the landscape.
- In the future depicted by The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign, not-Disney has made a habit out of buying defunct cities and converting them into amusement parks. The result is still clearly a city- but the immaculate, ideal version of a city, complete with an army of janitors and construction workers who come out at night to keep its flawless image maintained. Citizens remark that it's like living in a fairytale.
- Minbari cities such as Yedor and Tuzanor from Babylon 5. In fact, the planet is rich in ginormous crystals, so much so that they carve entire cities out of these crystals. Just take a look.◊
- Atlantis from Stargate Atlantis. Crystal Spires on hyperdrives.
Our city is submersible and can fly between galaxies. What does yours do?
- Metru Nui from BIONICLE, an island-sized Citadel City made up of six color-coded elemental districts: a rocky mining area with a Museum of the Strange and Unusual that descends way underground, a desert full of mysterious canyons and sculptures, a series of ancient seaside temples, canals and fountains, a red hot forging and manufacturing complex, a futuristic transportation hub full of flying and floating craft, and an icy region of crystalline star observatories, with the mile-high Coliseum tower in the middle connecting all. The whole city is actually the brain unit of a planet-sized robot god, with the sky over the city being a projector screen where the stars are the robot's thoughts. All this had a real-life effect on the franchise: LEGO and Advance spent so much money designing this elaborate city with its numerous monuments and interconnected systems that they forced the writers to reuse it for an extra year.
- Sharn from Eberron. Literal mile-high towers, floating islands, and flying taxis, starting at a Wretched Hive down in the undercity and progressing to lavish estates built on magically solidified clouds up at the top.
- In Exalted: Lands of Creation, which details the actual setting's Time of Myths, many Exalted channel their wealth and power into building their own personal utopias. Examples include Samiaren, the treetop city built out of amber, and Illio Stara, the size-shifting city built into one little bonsai. Some Exalted's ideas of 'utopia' are significantly creepier (Dari, for one), but even they must carefully conceal such horror with cleanliness and public amenities.
- Magic: The Gathering: Ravnica, the massive city the shares a name with the plane it covers almost totally, is this. Ten wildly different guilds, ranging from the blood-thirsty Cult of Rakdos to the by-the-book law makers of the Azorius Senate, vie for control of the city.
- Most cities in Rocket Age could count, although most of the Martian cities are in various states of decline, but New York takes the cake. It's in many ways the same as our universe's New York in 1938, only with even more money thrown into it and enough sky traffic to make it feel like Coruscant.
- Warhammer 40,000 has quite a lot. Eldar cities and the Dark Eldar capital of Commorgah are both very impressive (the former are Crystal Spires and Togas style cites housed inside Craftworlds, spacecrafts the size of small moons, the latter is a Dark Towers and Spikes style city located inside the Webway). Humans have numerous heavily populated worlds with impressive looking cities, but the grand price goes to Holy Terra, seat of the Imperium. The Imperial Palace alone covers most of what used to be Eurasia.
- The City of Yharnam from Bloodborne won't win any prizes for urban planning, but its dark gothic structures, intricate streets and tall imposing spires make it a true sight to behold.
- Mass Effect:
- The Citadel is a giant space station. Just check out its page. It is awesome. Of course it was made by crazy Robo-Cthulhu death farmers. But that's beside the point.
- Although it's getting beat upon at the time by Reapers, future Vancouver looks pretty impressive, as does the Asari city on Thessia. Illium, which you get an aerial car chase through in Lair of the Shadowbroker is similarly scenery-porn-tastic.
- Dentech City from Mega Man Battle Network. The fact that Everything Is Online compounds this. And its virtual counterpart Navi City which is online.
- The Crème Republic in Cookie Run Kingdom. The trope is deconstructed, as the city-state's glamour is revealed to be a cover-up for corruption, scandals, and even a hidden part of the city dedicated to all of the poor citizens.
- Chronopolis from LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 is a mish-mash of different locations throughout the Marvel multiverse: Not only are there three versions of Manhattan in it, but also Xandar, Wakanda, Medieval England, K'un-Lun, Lemuria, Asgard, Ancient Egypt, the Old West, the Hydra Empire, Hala, Sakaar, Attilan and Knowhere as well, bringing together a wide variety of heroes and villains.
- Drowtales: Chel'el'sussoloth, literally means "City of light in the darkness". For Lonely Rich Kid Ariel, it's a fantasy world beyond her wildest dreams, to Cloudcuckoolander Lirel, it's a Wretched Hive that also has Crystal Spires and Togas... perfect for having A Hell of a Time.
- Mechanicsburg (also see the next page) from Girl Genius. It became a modern city filled with tourists after the disappearance of its former rulers. However, when Agatha, the rightful heir, returns and the Doom Bell is rung, the city reverts back to its old self. Also, the city is controlled by a sentient castle and all residents are automatically loyal minions of the Heterodyne.
- In Futurama, New New York◊ actually finds itself suffering from a garbage shortage, while they dump their radioactive sewage directly into Old New York◊ and the sewers below, the later of which now look like this◊ because of a civilisation of mutants (who are required to live there by law).
- Cartoon Network gave us CN City in their promotional materials for an entire era. Itís mostly the famous characters that make the city so cool but it still has plenty of coolness to offer on its own. Imagine stores and businesses run by famous cartoon characters, and entire landmark locations such as Sector Vís Treehouse, Titans Tower, and Fosterís all in one massive city.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Canterlot, the capital city impossibly perched on a steep mountain.
- Cloudsdale, a hovering (and possibly mobile) city made almost entirely from clouds and rainbows and featuring a weather factory.
- The Crystal Empire, whose crystal street layout is actually an enormous accumulator array to collect love and camaraderie from the city's inhabitants and feed it into the city's central spire to be weaponized against evildoers.
- Zaofu in The Legend of Korra, a city made entirely of metal. The city is made to look like a congregation of lotus flowers that stay open in the day and are closed at night.