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Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe

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"What the f*** do I care about geography? All the bad guys attack Japan anyway, it's not like I'm going anywhere."

If any major, Earth-shattering events are happening, they'll happen in Tokyo. Well, either that or New York City.

This is not merely a Japanese Media Trope but a cliche. For some reason, Tokyo is not only a Weirdness Magnet, but a superconductive multi-million-tesla Weirdness Electromagnet rivaled only by Transylvania, New England, and Florida. It's expected that things will mostly take place in Japan, since the story is created by the Japanese, but it will usually always be Tokyo. The rest of Japan barely exists and the rest of the world might as well not be there at all, because this is the City of Adventure.

This may be because Tokyo is the world's most populous metropolitan and urban area (one-quarter of Japan's population lives in the area, enough that the area is technically a province rather than a city) and most manga publishing houses and movie production firms are located there. Setting a story elsewhere often requires that the location be specifically relevant rather than chance. Many authors are also more familiar with Tokyo than other cities.

Interestingly, this affects the characters within the area. Being from Tokyo often gives you a generic "default" personality compared to the usual regional stereotypes. You won't see their stereotype as obviously, unless the story takes place elsewhere in the country. If it is set away from Tokyo, the city's "normal" residents will instead be meek, overworked, and stuffy — which just so happens to be the American stereotype of Japanese people in general.

In the rare cases Tokyo technically can't exist, you can substitute any of the main three locations that were historically capitals: Nara (most of the eighth century AD), Kyoto (from the end of the eighth century, officially to the 1860s), or Edo (Tokyo before it was renamed; the de facto capital from the 17th century onward). SF series set when Tokyo has already met the logical outcome of this trope tend to name their new city after the old one, just with some prefix or suffix to indicate it's not the original. note 

This is also seen in many American media, particularly involving Los Angeles and New York. Entire books have been written on why fiction writers make Los Angeles a magnet for violence and natural (or supernatural) disasters. A lot of shows, violent dramas and sitcoms alike, will be set in Los Angeles as an easy means of subverting California Doubling. New York, meanwhile, is the other major center of the American television industry (dueling with Los Angeles for that role) and the undisputed center of the comic book industry; a frequent joke in comics is that New Yorkers (or residents of the city serving as an expy of New York) tend to be more used to superhero fighting than anyone else. San Francisco and Chicago also show up in this role on occasion, though not to the same degree as those two cities. Likewise, in Britain-set media Britain Is Only London, in Brazilian media it is either Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo and in Indian media it is Mumbai.

This trope is a type of Creator Provincialism. Contrast Aliens in Cardiff.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • AKIRA sees the destruction of Tokyo within the first few seconds of the prologue. Neo-Tokyo is constructed adjacent to the God-sized crater. By the end of the movie, Neo-Tokyo is also toast. They can't seem to catch a break.
  • Downplayed in Assassination Classroom. Kimura's hospital paperwork indicates that Kunugigaoka Town is a suburb somewhere in the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan Area.
  • In R.O.D., a British-backed plot to take over the world is kicked off—in Tokyo.
  • Enforced in Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tokyo (Tokyo-1) is 100 meters underwater even before the series starts. Tokyo-2 is built-in Nagano as the center of government, and is promptly ignored for the rest of the series; meanwhile, Tokyo-3 was built in Hakone as a combat-ready fortress city over the previously discovered ruins of the Black Moon of Lilith, one of the two seeds of life the Angels are looking for, resulting in 13 out of 15 Angel fights being fought there. There are comparatively few incidents in other places. The Jet Alone test was in a different city, and the SEELE council discusses attacks on NERV facilities on other continents, but the audience just doesn't see those because the main characters aren't involved.
  • Despite appearances, it is subverted in the Mazinger trilogy (Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger and UFO Robo Grendizer):
    • For starters, the Headquarters of the good guys are not in Tokyo (two of them are nearby Mount Fuji [in between the prefectures of Shizuoka and Yamanashi], and the third one is on the shore [probably in Shizuoka again, since its capital is a port city]). Therefore, the enemy feels not compelled to exclusively target and attack Tokyo. A lot of Japanese cities are destroyed, ships are sunk in the ocean, and often Mazinger Z needed fighting in open sea (and in one chapter of one of the manga alternate continuities, it got deployed in another country).
    • In the Mazinger Z versus Great General of Darkness movie, the Mykene struck New York, London and Moscow before striking Tokyo. Its Mazinkaiser version adds Egypt.
    • The subversion gets enforced in the Grendizer since the Vegan army attacked many countries, not only Japan.
  • The various Tenchi Muyo! series manage to avoid this trope, as they mostly take place in Okayama... with the exception of the aptly named Tenchi in Tokyo. The first movie also features a reality-warping alien menace using Time Travel to attack the protagonist's mother while she was on a school trip to Tokyo. Presumably, it couldn't resist the chance to wreck Tokyo Tower along the way.
  • In Code Geass, Japan is swiftly taken over and destroyed by a foreign army, and then rebuilt as "Area 11". Tokyo is naturally the center of government, and indeed pretty much any major fighting. Japan itself is still the center of the conflict between The Empire and the natives (who are treated as second-class citizens there, if they're lucky).
    • Regardless, Ashford Academy is definitely the center of the universe. Not only does half the major cast go to school there, but every time the war comes to the city itself, the Academy is a crucial strategic point for one reason or another. In one episode of R2, a major diplomatic conference is held in the school gymnasium. A basketball hoop hanging in the background silently makes a mockery of the entire scene.
      • This is more because most of the city's major governmental and administrative buildings got blown up by their equivalent of a nuke than an inexplicable attraction to the school itself.
      • That and Lelouch picked the location on purpose because of the memories it held, and because it served as a nice place to say goodbye to the one person on Earth who still cared about him (that wasn't already on his side). And because the foremost expert in massive destructive glowing spheres is hiding in its basement, and he wants to kidnap her. Er, that's not as evil as it sounds at first glance.
  • Semi-justified for the first half of Magical Project S when it was just Pixy Misa as the antagonist (given that she was specifically brought forth to be Sammy's rival), but it seems sort of silly how Sammy only has to act within Tokyo to affect the universal balance.
  • Played straight in Highschool of the Dead, in which almost everything we see happens in Tokyo... despite the infection having spread everywhere else in the world. Understandable, though, as it's very much a character-driven story, and all of our protagonists are from the same titular high school.
  • Nazca centers around several Tokyo Ordinary High School Students who discover that they're reincarnations of major figures in the Incan civil war from the 16th century - and, of course, have to resume the battle.
  • In Darker than Black, one of the two magical "gates" that are connected to the disappearance of the sky and the appearance of Contractors (and the one that is being actively researched after its South American counterpart disappeared under an impregnable energy shield) is located in, you guessed it, Tokyo.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • The immensely powerful supernatural enemies of the Senshi almost never seem to attack anywhere but one tiny area in the Minato ward of Tokyo which the Senshi can all reach in a few minutes by running. Also, in the idyllic future ruled over by the main character, guess where her seat of government is?
    • As always there are a few exceptions. In the first anime Sailor V is stated (and shown in her origin story episode) to have spent some time fighting monsters in England while Codename: Sailor V has her defeat a villain in Greece (by accident; she got on the wrong plane) and China.
    • It's highly implied that other nefarious plots are going on around the world undisturbed. Each of the four Generals from the original plotline are designated as in charge of an area of the world. It's when Sailor Moon and her posse start unraveling their plans in Asia that more and more effort is focused on that area and getting rid of the trouble makers.
  • The battle for the fate of the entire planet in X/1999 occurs in Tokyo. Not only that, but of the 14 people (seven on each side) destined to determine the fate of the world, 12 are Japanese, one is half-Japanese, and one is an artificial construct made from the brain of a Japanese girl.
  • CLAMP apparently loves this. Just see how Tokyo Tower is treated... as the ultimate showdown arena in Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-. Clow Kingdom, Where It All Began? An alternate Tokyo, After the End.
  • In Hyper Police, Tokyo is wasted, almost uninhabitable thanks to organized crime and monsters. There, the center of the world is Osaka.
  • Justified in 20th Century Boys, as the Bloody New Year's Eve begins in Tokyo deliberately for this very reason. Also lampshaded as the whole series of events was supposed to start in Tokyo but the little kids making the plot said that you can't have it start in Tokyo because it will be over too quickly, and thus have several other places like Los Angeles and London be attacked first. It has to end in Tokyo.
  • In Tokkô, Tokyo is more or less the literal epicenter for the destruction of the world.
  • In the YuYu Hakusho movie, Bonds of Fire, the heroes attempt to stop their enemy from seizing five elemental shrines that would give them untold spiritual power. Naturally, given that the heroes are junior high school age, all the shrines are in downtown Tokyo.
  • Bubblegum Crisis takes place in "Mega-Tokyo," built on the ruins of the original Tokyo after it was leveled by an earthquake.
  • Semi-subverted in Tsukiuta. The gods of the multiverse incarnate as handsome young men in Japan, one in Tokyo... and the other in Kyoto.
  • Death Note has its first arc located entirely in Tokyo and its surrounding area. Ryuk drops the notebook there despite writing its instructions in English on the off chance that it lands somewhere in the American or European world, L determines the location of Kira by broadcasting exclusively in the Kanto region of Japan (it contains the Greater Tokyo Area), and the headquarters is built somewhere in the region. It only decides to leave the area the minute Mello shows up and takes Sayu hostage, holding her somewhere in LA. However, there is always SOMEONE that's part of the major investigation still hanging around in Tokyo.
  • In Ghost in the Shell Tokyo has been completely destroyed in one of the last wars and the entire national administration has been moved to Fukuoka or, in other incarnations, to Shinhama, an amalgamation of Osaka and Kobe.note 
  • Justified in Case Closed where the villainous organisation runs on a worldwide scale and the fact that their screw-ups only seem to happen in two close districts of Tokyo, specially the fictional Beika ward, only serves to make The Dragon suspicious. However, there are several non-Black Organization cases that take place outside of Tokyo. i.e, the Naniwa Serial Murder case takes place in the Naniwa ward of Osaka City (where Heiji Hattori is from), the whole seventh movie happens in Kyoto, the Spider Mansion case takes place in Tottori (where the author is from) and a case that has Takagi as a kidnapping victim starts in Tokyo but finishes in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido. Some cases even happen outside of Japan itself, including New York and London.
  • As mentioned above, most of the most powerful martial artists in Ranma ˝ congregate in Nerima.
  • In Please Save My Earth somehow a bunch of aliens observing planet Earth from the moon are all reincarnated in or just outside of Tokyo. Of all of planet Earth, Tokyo is the place they observed most often from their space station as well.
  • The Alolan season of Pokémon: The Series heavily invokes the trope because the setting and current plot heavily revolve around the school setting in Melemele Island, which is an extremely different take on what the games show where the player travels from island to island instead of being grounded in one island for a majority of the time. As such, because Ash doesn't travel to other islands (and because the majority of the Trial Captains — who aren't even Trial Captains but normal students — attend the same school and/or live there in the same island in the anime) but other native creatures live elsewhere than Melemele Island, the anime has the habit of importing non-Melemele Island Pokémon and make episodes of out them for the sake of avoiding constant travel for Ash as he attends the local school. Travels do happen, but only when it is impossible for Melemele Island to have some sort of believable replacement (such as doing a different Island Trial and fighting a Kahuna, or a snowy mountain).
  • Gintama is set in Edo. But... Edo is an old name of Tokyo.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew The aliens have the ability to teleport anywhere at any time, but they always go to Tokyo, almost always within walking distance of where the Mew Mews are. This is mainly because the power source they are looking for, Mew Aqua, just happens to all be in Tokyo.
  • Ikki Tousen. The characters are all reincarnated heroes from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, yet they all live in Tokyo instead of, say, China.
  • In Transformers: Car Robots, the Autobot base is in Tokyo, and Fortress Maximus is buried in some ruins under the city. The majority of episodes also take place in Tokyo. In the English dub, it was changed to Metro City, apparently an American city.
  • Silent Möbius takes place in a Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain version of Tokyo infested with man-eating monsters from another dimension. The city was also the site of a failed attempt to solve the world's pollution problem using a particle accelerator and large-scale magic in the backstory.
  • Played around with in RahXephon. Tokyo is cut off from the rest of the world, and the protagonist grows up there, thinking that it's essentially the last/only civilization on Earth. But then he leaves Tokyo and finds out the truth, and atypically, Tokyo is where the "villains" are coming from rather than attacking. On the other hand, as is typical, while there is a multi-national Federation, it seems to be run from Japan.
  • Lampshaded in Mikarun x as the commander wonders why all 9 of the aliens who tried to invade the earth attacked Japan.
  • Wangan Midnight, as the title implies, is centered exclusively on the Tokyo highway system other than a minor showdown in Osaka and a couple brief trips to Hakone. The main hero, Akio, almost never leaves the city and never shows any interest in racing anywhere else.
  • In Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Who Leapt Through Time, Taiki and friends are lured to a Hunt outside of Japan where a powerful Digimon, Volcdramon, resides; this causes Taiki to believe that Digimon outbreaks are happening all around the world. However, Taiki's old friend Kiriha reappears to help subdue Volcdramon, and, before leaving, he tells Taiki that Japan is the most important of places when dealing with Digimon.
  • The heroine of Nurse Angel Ririka SOS is a regular 10-year-old girl who lives in the Greater Tokyo Area. No one tries to get her to go anywhere else, even though she's fighting an alien organization that's trying to overrun the earth. The villains come to her. Indeed, said organization seems to be a little too focused on mopping up escapees from their last conquest when they could win by default by keeping a low profile.
  • Beautifully played with in Gantz. The events of the manga take place in Tokyo, but the hunters soon find out that the same is happening in Osaka. And in Rome. And basically that there is one "Gantz" in any major city all over the world. When the Alien Invasion starts, the citizens of Tokyo have barely the time to find out that New York and other cities in the USA have been attacked, before being attacked themselves.
  • The titular Gate naturally opens in Tokyo, triggering war with a Magical Land.
  • Subverted with Magic Knight Rayearth. The three protagonists live and attend school in Tokyo, and it's on a field trip to Tokyo Tower when they suddenly drop through the floor to the other world where most of the series takes place.
  • Tokyo Ghoul, obviously. The first large-scale Ghoul organization, an Invincible Ghoul Investigator, a Mad Scientist, and the only known cases of a Half-Human Hybrid in existence all just happen to live in Tokyo. Vague mentions are given to events in China and Germany, but there is little information about the situations outside of Tokyo.
  • Played straight and subverted in the Fushigi Yuugi story as a whole. The original story starts in Tokyo, even featuring the National Library as the place where Miaka and Yui find the magical book that sweeps them into its story... but the parts of the prequel Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden that take place in Japan itself do not happen in Tokyo but in the city of Morioka, the capital of Iwate prefecture. And in the original series, Miaka's older brother Keisuke and his best friend Tetsuya travel to Morioka to get more into on what happened there.
  • Generally played straight in sports anime featuring teams that aren't from Tokyo, since the preliminary matches take place in their cities/prefectures (Shizuoka City in Captain Tsubasa; Kamakura in Slam Dunk, etc.), but as the National Tournaments begin the teams must travel to Tokyo so they can play against other teams from all around Japan.
    • In the specific case of Slam Dunk, since the anime was Cut Short right before the Nationals, it completely averts the trope. Sakuragi, Kiyota and Maki go to Nagoya in an episode, and in another Hikoichi is back to his native Osaka, but the TV series finishes riiiiight as the teams are getting ready to leave Kamakura and go to Tokyo.
  • Completely averted in the Vampire Princess Miyu OAV. Three of them take place in Kyoto, and the last one happens in Kamakura; it's rather symbolic, since both cities were capitals of Japan at different times in history.
  • Similarly to the aversion of Haruhi Suzumiya, the events of Kuromukuro happen in the authors' home prefecture of Toyama, mainly around the iconic Kurobe Dam.
  • As the title implies, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 takes place in the Tokyo area. At the end of the first episode a magnitude 8 earthquake occurs.
  • Recent anime, manga and light novel aversions:
    • Hanasaku Iroha is set in Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture at the end of the Hokuriku Shinkansen.
    • Iriya no Sora, UFO no Natsu (Iriya's sky, Summer of UFO) is set in various fictitious places based on Yamanashi Prefecture.
    • Wagnaria!! is set in Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture and the center of the Tohoku region.
    • Ginga E Kickoff!!, one of the few animes to be broadcast on NHKnote  in recent years, is set in an unnamed small town in Japan, as well as in Barcelona, Spain.
  • Excel♡Saga averts it by having ACROSS try to take over F City, F Prefecture (basically Fukuoka with fewer phonetics).
  • Averted in the classic 1956 manga The Rows of Cherry Trees, since the story is explicitly said to be set in Osaka.
  • Played with all over Makoto Shinkai's major works, though enforced by the director being a Tokyo resident who believes in Write What You Know:
    • Averted in Voices of a Distant Star, where all the Earthbound scenes take place in Saitama City and Tokyo is never depicted or even mentioned.
    • Subverted in The Place Promised in Our Early Days. Though part of the film takes place in Tokyo, including a pivotal scene, the film starts in northern Aomori and returns there for the climax.
    • Zig-zagged in 5 Centimeters per Second. The first act starts in Tokyo but focuses on Takaki's trip north to Tochigi and the second act takes place entirely on the small southern island of Tanegashima, but the third act returns to Tokyo.
    • Averted in Children Who Chase Lost Voices, which takes place somewhere in the Japanese countryside with no depiction or mention of Tokyo.
    • Played straightest in The Garden of Words, which takes place almost entirely in Tokyo.
    • Subverted in Your Name: Taki, one of the main characters, lives in Tokyo and parts of the story are also set in this city, although many important things happen in or around a fictional town called Itomori that's located in the relatively obscure to foreigners Gifu Prefecture.
    • Played straight in Weathering With You. The Kanto region, of which Tokyo is part of and the main setting of this film, is inundated with unusually heavy rainfall and the price extracted for denying Hina's sacrifice is the flooding of much of the city, with no mention of any other country being plagued by it.
  • Zigzagged in Moriking: All of the contenders for King of the Forest come from a rather small part of suburban Japan, with the architecture and urban layout suggesting Tokyo. However, it's revealed later on that "King of the Forest" is just the title for the Japanese champion, and they then have to fight the champions of other countries for the title of Hoshiking. The series, so far, has not left this suburban area, with all of the competitors from other countries coming over rather than the main characters going to them, with no reason given as to why.
  • Averted in Super Dimension Fortress Macross, as the only points the characters land on Japanese soil, it's in the first couple of episodes as the Macross crash-landed initially on a fictional island in the Bonin/Ogasawara island chain (the same chain that includes the real-life Iwo Jima), and much later on in the series, on a trip to visit Minmay's family in Yokohama.

    Comic Books 
  • Atomic Robo's Biomega were the creation of a Japanese Mad Scientist, so it's logical that most of their activity would be centered around that area. Atomic Robo and the Ring of Fire plays with the trope a bit; a series of Biomega attacks occur all over the world (Hong Kong, Singapore, Madagascar, Australia, and Chile among them) in a short time span, but when an island-sized Biomega appears, guess where it's headed?
    Task Force ULTRA Mook: Tokyo is within its projected landfall.
    General Brooks: Of course it is.
  • Superlópez: Since Barcelona is where López lives, that's where aliens will land, giant mechas will attack and dastardly supervillains will have their secret lair.

    Fan Works 
  • Children of an Elder God: Played with. The main characters' base is located in Tokyo, and most of battles happen there... but the Angels also attack other countries and the pilots often have to fight in other places such like the USA West Coast or Canada.
  • Hybrid Theory is a Mega Crossover of anime, manga and games, most of which are set in Tokyo.
    • All of Book I either takes place in Tokyo or is about people who are (soon to be) headed there, as the primary cross of the section is Ranma ˝/Sailor Moon
    • Book II has a massive planetary tear occur directly above the city.
    • Played with in Book III. For most of it, the city itself isn't mentioned, with all the action either taking place elsewhere or inside the enclosed space of the Pillars of Heaven, until the action in those towers spills out into the streets. That said, the Pillars have been built in Tokyo rather than the New York of their original timeline.
  • Ultimate Power Rangers justifies this by having Angel Grove - the main city and Tokyo equivalent - be at the center of nearly all of Earth's leylines. Tokyo itself also appears under similar circumstances, as well as a few other locales.
  • In A History of Magic, it took Kyubey 2000 years to see it, but he eventually realized that Japan as a whole had more magical potential than the rest of the world, and that Japanese girls adapt more easily to becoming Puella Magi. He even suggested to another Incubator that their quota would eventually be filled by a Japanese Magi. Which leads directly to the events of canon.
  • Yin and Yang Series: Averted during the third fic: the members of the Romama Platoon are scattered all around the world. It may border Aliens in Cardiff in the case of Lupapa, given she ended up in the Amazon Rain forest.
  • Averted in No Chance for Fate by Jadeite when he realizes that it's easy to keep the Senshi from interfering with his collection of human energy by simply doing it in another city, in another country. Since they're teenagers, they can't really get to Moscow in a heartbeat, and even if they could, they don't have the intelligence network in place to know that they would even need to go to Moscow.
  • Subverted in Shazam! story Here There Be Monsters. Although most of the action happens in Fawcett City and later in Venus, readers have to see people in Africa, China, Russia, USA... reacting to Dr. Sivana's worldwide broadcast.
  • A New Order: Played with. After their operation in England was busted, the Dark Kingdom only had the manpower to focus on one area. They chose Tokyo because it was prophecied that the Silver Crystal would show up there. They would move elsewhere if they thought it would be worthwhile.
  • Kara of Rokyn: Most of conflicts and battles happen in Rokyn's Kandor or Earth's Metropolis where the main character and her cousin live, respectively. Justified in the former's case, since Rokyn is its world's only big city, so it makes sense the baddies' efforts are focused on it.
  • Tokunation Sentai Modranger: The city the Modrangers live in and have the CPU base in is Long Beach, CA (where Reggie and the person he is based off of, actually lives.)

  • Despite a popular misconception, not all of the Godzilla films were set in Tokyo, although it was by far the most important city to the series.
  • In the MST3K-featured Invasion of the Neptune Men, saving Tokyo is apparently equivalent to saving the world. Interestingly, when a big shield is built around the city, the aliens hurl themselves through it in a mad attempt to get through, rather than fly to another city.
  • District 9 at first appears to be doing things differently, given that the action takes place entirely in Johannesburg. But, of course, the guy who drove the project is South African.
  • Subverted in Pacific Rim. The Kaiju Onibaba does attack Tokyo, but it's only the latest in a string of attacks on various Pacific cities. The first city hit was San Francisco. The second was Manila. The third was Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Other mentioned attacks include ones on Lima in Peru, Los Angeles and Seattle in the US, and Vladivostok in Russia. The film itself shows an attempted attack on Anchorage, Alaska, and Sydney, Australia and most of the film takes place in Hong Kong. Played completely straight in Pacific Rim: Uprising, where the climactic battle takes place in Tokyo, as the ultimate plan of the Kaiju's creators involves Mount Fuji. Namely, three Kaiju - merged into a single Mega Kaiju - jumping into the crater would ignite the whole Ring of Fire, causing the extinction of all life on Earth.

  • Accel World is probably one of the more justified examples. Given that Japan and its immediate surroundings represents a major percentage of the Japanese population, Burst Linkers are heavily concentrated there. Okinawa on the other hand has only three, and one of them was from Tokyo originally.
  • Demon City Shinjuku: an evil genius summons demons to destroy the world. Guess where they start.
  • Durarara!!: The entire series takes place in Ikebukuro, a district in Tokyo. Here, we have Russian assassins kidnapping the daughter of a Yakuza boss, a huge army of red-eyed, knife-wielding zombies, an equally gigantic colourless colour gang, two evil pharmaceutical companies, a cast full of batshit crazy people, a man with super strength and an equally impressive temper, vampiric idols and secretaries and not to mention a dullahan Badass Biker with shadow powers searching for her missing head. The finale includes a huge Gambit Pileup with practically all of Ikebukuro involved.
  • Averted in Haruhi Suzumiya, which takes place in the city that is technically unnamed, but clearly is the author's hometown of Nishinomiya (located in Hyougo, part of the Kansai region). What's interesting, it also avoids the Kansai accent, despite the city sitting right between Kobe and Osaka.
  • Justified in Log Horizon. When the developers of "Elder Tale" update new expansion packs, they deliberately choose to activate them in the Japanese server mainly, because it's the most eastern country. They take advantage of the timezone difference to fix and smooth out any bugs by the time the update hits the American server (where the company that manages the game is located). That was also the case with the expansion pack "Homesteading the Novasphere" which activated on May 4 exactly at midnight. The Apocalypse triggered just then, so the Japanese server was the only one to receive the update. All of this also factors into Kanami's decision to travel to the Japanese server.
  • The original Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain, Neuromancer, starts in Chiba City, which is nowadays just one of the satellites of Greater Tokyo.
  • Discussed by the Four Heroes in The Rising of the Shield Hero where after being summoned into an RPG Mechanics 'Verse, they find out that all four of them were summoned into this world from parallel versions of Japan, with Motoyasu and Naofumis' versions of Japan being closer to real life, while Ren and Itsukis' Japans are both 20 Minutes into the Future: with the formers having VRMMOs, and the latters having Psychic Powers.
    Naofumi: So there are parallel worlds with parallel Japans?
    Motoyasu: I thought we might just be from different eras, but I guess not.
    • Later it's shown that this has been a common occurrence in that world; where on two separate occasions a set of Cardinal Heroes were summoned in the past: one set of Heroes had left behind a written account of their fight with The Spirit Tortoise and how to beat it written in Kanji, while another set of Heroes would venture to The Cal Mira Archipelago and named the monsters there after Japanese phrases for Dog, Penguin, Rabbit, and Squirrel.
    • After crossing over into Glass' World, Naofumi encounters The Hunting Hero, Kizuna Kazayama; who also came from Japan, where there also exists VRMMOs'; where the one she was playing was used for her healing pod alongside her siblings.
  • Averted in The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign, where most of the action takes place in Toy Dream 35 (formerly Natsumi City). Though everything happening here is justified: it's where main character Kyousuke lives, and the White Queen is utterly obsessed with him. As a result, she deliberately directs all of the villains' plans so that he'll get involved.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The various Super Sentai series; the ones that take place on Earth, anyway.
    • Carried over to Power Rangers, just replace "Tokyo" with "the Greater Los Angeles Area" (or "Angel Grove" in the case of the original series). Even the seasons filmed in New Zealand still take place in the GLA. Justified in Power Rangers RPM since Corinth is the only city left on Earth (though it was hinted to not be in California, but near Boston).
    • This was given an explanation in Taiyou Sentai Sun Vulcan — Black Magma is specifically targeting Japan for a large cache of geothermal energy they need to power their arsenal (although this never really comes up again).
    • Averted at first in Chouriki Sentai Ohranger since Baranoia is performing a worldwide-scale invasion of Earth, but then played straight when Japan provides too much resistance to go unnoticed.
    • Justified in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger, since Japan is the "Golden Land," the place the Zyudenryu were created by Torin and the only place they would gather naturally. Not only that, but it is also a nexus point to the Afterlife. But averted in the first scenes of the season opener, which had individual rangers fending off attacks in places like America and Europe.
    • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue explained why the demons, who'd been sealed away in an Egyptian tomb, went after this random human city — Mariner Bay had built on the site of Queen Bansheera's ancient palace, and the demons make it their goal to try and destroy the city and rebuild the palace (which they never actually accomplish). Kyūkyū Sentai GoGoV, on the other hand, didn't seem to give an explanation for why they're targeting Tokyo for their destruction (since they need to terrorize the humans to collect Minus Energy for the Grand Cross that would bring back Grandiene; they could've done this anywhere else and not have to worry about the GoGoV).
    • Eventually subverted by an official map showing where each Sentai is based. Only Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger is actually based in Tokyo, while the others all take place in a thematically relevant Prefecture.
  • Most Kamen Rider series are implied or stated to take place in the Greater Tokyo Area.
    • Played Straight in Kamen Rider Kabuto, which takes place in the Minato Ward (as the Tokyo Tower is often on screen).
    • Some shows justify it by having the villains be more localized (e.g. the villains in Double kept their plots within a single city, and the villains in Kamen Rider Fourze operated within a high school).
    • Kamen Rider Spirits doesn't suffer from the budget limitations of the TV shows, and as a result has a more international scope. The opening story arc takes place in New York City, and features a very diverse cast.
    • Played with in Kamen Rider Gaim. Justified, since the main source of Helheim Forest comes from a Japanese city. Exploited by Yggdrasil, who built their base of operations there. And double subverted near the end, in which Helheim spreads to more than just Japan, but the only ones who can actually do anything are stuck in Japan fighting their own battles.
  • Like most Toku, the Ultra Series does this a lot. However, many episodes take place in other areas of Japan; it's just that most of them would be unfamiliar to non-Japanese viewers.
    • Has had aversions since the very beginning too. One of the first episodes of the original Ultraman took place in the Middle East, while the Multi-Part Episode was primarily set in Osaka (featuring the Tsutenkaku Tower and Osaka Castle prominently) and one of the last episodes took place on an alien planet (something that would pop up in later shows more).
    • Lampshaded in Ultraman Gaia when Gamu, after analyzing the trajectory of an incoming alien invader, remarks that it's headed directly towards Tokyo. Captain Tsutsumi replies with an exasperated, "What? Again?" However, Gaia has also featured aversions, with episodes taking place in Germany, Canada, and the United States.
    • Also lampshaded in Ultraman Mebius by Adjutant Toriyama, who is constantly frustrated by the fact that monsters always attack Japan and wishes they would target other countries instead. It turns out towards the end of the series that the Big Bad placed a signal emitter off the coast of Japan to attract monsters and aliens to Earth. Not to mention The Movie was primarily set in Kobe (previously featured in a two-part episode of Ultraseven).
    • Ultraman X justifies this. Daichi explains to a TV crew in one episode that the Japan Trench has the world's largest number of Spark Dolls, meaning most kaiju that get animated from them originate near Japan and were just heading for the nearest landmass.
    • In the case of Ultraman: Towards the Future, Australia is now the center of all giant monster and alien attacks. And with Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero, it's California.
  • Kanpai Senshi After V lampshades this when Pink states that monsters and supervillains seem to only ever attack Japan, and then asks why they don't attack America instead.


  • Mahou MUSH is set in Tokyo. While plotlines occasionally lead to trips out of the city for one purpose or other, any theme that isn't based in Tokyo in its canon will, of necessity, be adapted to be set in Tokyo for in-game purposes. This also means that, naturally, a disproportionately large number of magical events and organizations end up occurring in or focused on Tokyo, so as to come within the sphere of influence of the player characters.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The lesser known RPG AMMO has Kyoto as the starting place of a transdimensional demonic invasion, source of mystic emission that empower magic users everywhere, and base of the heroic army that fights invaders. The Kyoto Tower is the physical place where things gone wild (not to be confused with the Tokyo Tower).
  • In Feng Shui, Hong Kong is the center of the Universe.
  • In both Old World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness, Tokyo and its surrounding districts has made more collective appearances throughout the various game lines than any other city, who mostly focus on their "main" city (Chicago, Philadelphia, etc) and a few "generic" locations.

    Video Games 
  • The vast majority of Shin Megami Tensei games take place in or around Tokyo (or a similar city), with the place being a central magnet for mythological/religious figures from all around the world, including God and Lucifer themselves. This is the franchise that managed to set an entire MMORPG in Tokyo.
    • In fact, it's a requirement for any numbered entry in the mainline series to be set in Tokyo; this is why Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey had its name changed from Shin Megami Tensei IV, since it is set in Mysterious Antarctica (with the actual Shin Megami Tensei IV being the one set in Tokyo).
    • A special mention must go to Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, which literally turned Tokyo into the Center Of The Universe by turning it into the Vortex World, and anything outside being outright erased from existance. Justified, as the ritual used to cause The Conception happened in Tokyo.
    • Justified in Devil Survivor as the events all occur when the area within the Yamanote Train Line (the busiest part of Metropolitan Tokyo) is locked down completely, trapping everyone inside waiting for the apocalypse. It's another thing entirely that the apocalypse in question would be more familiar to Christians than most Japanese. For one thing, God apparently decided to relocate New Jerusalem to Japan.
    • In Devil Survivor 2, Tokyo - and five other cities - are the only places to withstand the original alien attack/deletion of the universe thanks to a powerful stream of magic running through the country. By the time the climax comes around, Tokyo is literally all that's left.
    • While most Persona games are set in fictional cities/towns (that are nonetheless located in Japan), Persona 5 takes place right in the heart of Tokyo, the true Big Bad having chosen the city for the site of its "game". However, the Yongen-Jaya district is fictional note .
    • The spinoff game Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE (a crossover with the Fire Emblem series) goes as far to as to feature this very trope as its title. The entire game is set in Tokyo and themed around the Japanese idol industry, while creatures from another realm called Mirages cause havoc all over Tokyo.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin, Tokyo Xtreme Racer is about illegal highway street racing in Tokyo. Averted in Drift titles as none of the touge races took place in Tokyo.
  • In Pokémon Red and Blue, though Tokyo technically isn't in the game, Celadon City and Saffron City are said to be modeled after two areas of Tokyo. The majority of the Team Rocket plot in the games (plus two official Gyms and one unofficial Gym) take place in those cities. Mix that with the fact that 90% of the population of Kanto lives in those two cities (with all the other cities being puny), and you can tell that there is a certain love for Tokyo shown.
  • In Robot Alchemic Drive, most of the action takes place in a rather generic Japanese city. The first time you go to Tokyo sees you taking down a Godzilla knock off that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the plot.
  • In The World Ends with You, the entire game takes place in Shibuya, Tokyo. Even more importance since God, er, the Composer, er, Joshua chooses it as the site for a modern-day Sodom and Gemorrah. However, it is implied that other cities have their own Composers.
  • Three of the first four Sakura Wars games are set in a Steampunk 1920s Tokyo. Justified in that Tokyo has one of the biggest concentrations of spiritual energy in the world, making it a magnet for people and demons alike.
  • Tokyo is one of the cities you can attack in Crush, Crumble, and Chomp!
  • Lampshaded in the PeTI DLC for Portal 2:
    Alternate Cave Johnson: Hello, test subject. Just a heads-up that our research into stopping all the Godzilla attacks on U.S. soil has been postponed indefinitely. Turns out it doesn't matter where you hatch a nest full of Godzillas, they just make a beeline straight for Tokyo. *chuckles* Shoulda seen those things go. Anyway, crisis averted. Now everybody grab a dustpan and a broom, we gotta get rid of all these egg shells before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shows up.
  • Averted in Akatsuki Blitzkampf. The game takes place in a dystopian version of East Asia... but the three game stages located in Japan are NOT in Tokyo, but in the Mount Fuji area (Shizuoka and Yamanashi Prefectures): Kanae's stage is supposed to feature the ruins of an old military base near Fuji (probably based on the East Fuji Maneuver Area), Akatsuki's is at the entry to the infamous Aokigahara forest, and Fritz's is the top of Mount Fuji itself.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 somewhat justifies this. Phantasy Star Online 2, a super-hit action MMORPG, is all the rage in Japan due to it being included in every copy of the country's state-of-the-art operating system, ESC-A. It's also secretly a Interdimensional Travel Device that allows Earthlings to interact with beings in another dimension; namely, the dimension that the Player Character exists in. So when the player travels to Earth through PSO2, there aren't really any other places for him/her to end up. Although he/she could have shown up anywhere else, the end user of the computer that was hosting the game client just so happened to be living in Tokyo.
  • The setting of the first two Splatoon games, Inkopolis, is heavily based on Tokyo. The Hub Level of the first game in particular (which also returned in the third game as Downloadable Content), Inkopolis Plaza, is based on the Shibuya district of the city, with many neon signs typical of the place, and the center for battling, Inkopolis Tower, is based on the similar Tokyo Tower. As the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic Earth where rising sea levels killed all terrestrial life and allowed marine invertebrates to evolve, it's possible that Inkopolis really is Tokyo. In fact, Splatoon 2 very heavily implies this is indeed the case by namedropping the real-life Mount Nantai, which is a few hours away from the city.
  • Tokyo Xanadu plays with this; it takes place in the fictional city of Morimiya, a suburb of Tokyo based on the real city of Tachikawa. However, a massive, supernatural disaster occurred in Tokyo proper ten years prior to the events of the game.
  • Yakuza subverts this trope. While the game started out in the fictional Tokyo district of Kamurocho and frequently returns to it, the equally-fictional Osakan district of Sotenbori is also a major setting in some games, and other games even take place in other locations such as Fukuoka, Okinawa and Hiroshima.
  • In the lore of X Com UFO Defense, Japan was the first country to establish a dedicated anti-alien military force, called the "Kiryu-Kai". By the time the game starts, the Kiryu-Kai has been absorbed into X-Com by the funding nations, but the interceptors used by X-Com borrow heavily from the designs used by the Kiryu-Kai.
  • The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants: A maximum of six people are working to stop the aliens (being generous and including Grandpa), and all of them in a single relatively isolated area. The aliens never think to simply move on to somewhere else or expand their search radius because it's a Simpsons game, you gotta attack Springfield.
  • Completely inexplicably in Drakengard, otherwise a medieval European Action RPG. When following the Grotesquerie Queen into a new world in Ending E, that new world is modern day Tokyo. The Queen Beast is defeated, but the day is not saved. The Queen's remains introduce a devastating magical disease, setting the stage for Nier.

    Visual Novels 
  • Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow:
    • Generally averted: the action doesn't take place in Edo (the old Tokyo) or in Kyoto (the capital of the Shogunate) but in Nagasaki, located in the island of Kyushu. Justified, considering the time it takes place into, the very important role that the Dutch merchants have in the plot, and how the Ninja Assassin games already take place in Edo.
    • There are some paths that play it completely straight, though: Tsubaki's, Sakamoto's and Shintaro's Spin-Off. Again, it's very justified: in the first case Tsubaki specifically aims to kill the Shogun, in the second Zeyo wants to personally speak to the Shogun and stop Tsubaki and Toru from killing him, and the Spin-Off is centered on Makoto sending Shintaro and Saori to Tokyo as a part of a plan for their wedding.

  • Parodied in MegaTokyo; there is a Cataclysm Division in Tokyo specifically dedicated to handling this kind of stuff. Their duties includes scheduling catastrophes in advance, issuing permits for zombies and Martians to conduct their invasions, preventing non-registered attacks on Tokyo, then cleaning up the mess later.
    • To the point where, when the zombie invasion comes a week early, the police issue them a ticket and tell them that the invasion is next week; come back later.
    • Then there was the part where two guys blow up city hall for the lulz. This pisses off the zombies, as the police explains "there's a ten year waiting list for the permit to blow it up".
  • Heavily lampshaded in the Mecha Easter Bunny arc of Sluggy Freelance. The titular killer cyborg is programmed to kill Bun-bun (to appease Santa's desire for vengeance), deliver Easter Eggs (because Bun-bun killed the real Easter Bunny), and destroy Tokyo (because otherwise it can't be called "Mecha"). The destruction of Tokyo happens off-panel and is never referenced again.
  • Okashina Okashi starts with an anomaly hitting Tokyo Tower and pulling a group of teenagers into another universe. The main character is Genre Savvy and has deliberately dressed in a Sailor Fuku just in case something like that actually happens.
  • Parodied by Unwinder's Tall Comics. Unwinder consults an online quiz to determine which anime series he'd like. Question #3 reads:
    If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
    • Tokyo
    • A futuristic Tokyo under a dome
    • A demon-infested wasteland that serves as a metaphor for modern-day Tokyo
    • A sort of "Neo-Tokyo" in space
  • Wonderella, a nondescript Sentai fighter, and an expy of the Doctor argue about this trope in The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: when killer aliens plot to invade Earth, Expy!Doctor insists on going to London to warn about it, Wonderella insists they go to New York instead, and the Sentai fighter insists that they should go to Tokyo instead, comparing the threats each respective city got. And by the way, the aliens targeted Antarctica.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo represents the first time the cartoon-verse Titans have to deal with a villain from Japan, so a superhero showdown in Tokyo is the natural end result.

    Real Life 
  • Applies to other countries, too: American or Russian television, for example, firmly believe that everything can happen in their respective "two capitals" (NY and LA, Moscow and St. Petersburg), the only exception being a necessitated somewhere in the middle of nowhere like Dorothy's Kansas, which may or may not get an actual geographic location, one likely never to be dwelled upon again. New York especially has this big time.
  • If it's in Britain it's in London. Except when it's Cardiff.
  • Long story short, most countries center their fiction on the country's capital city, specially when it takes place in an urban area: French fiction usually takes place in Paris, German fiction in Berlin, Spanish fiction in Madrid, Italian fiction in Rome, Greek fiction in Athens (or in Thessaloniki) etc.
    • Except American fiction is rarely set in DC, the actual capital, unless its plot centers around national politics.
    • Not as present in countries with a strong history of federalism instead of centralism (except the US obviously, which is very federalistic/decentralized, but Big Applesauce still persists). German fiction in particular, referring to the point above, is quite frequently not set in Berlin - if it is set in Germany, it depends very much on where exactly the writer comes from. Many crime fiction novels (one of the most popular genres in the entertainment sector of German media) are set in small towns, in fact. On the other hand, foreign media which is set (in part) in Germany will most likely only show Berlin.
    • Likewise in Indian Media the location differs by the Language Medium in which the story is set in. For example in Hindi films the location of choice is Mumbai but in Tamil language Media the location of choice is Chennai/Madras whereas in Bengali Media/films it is Calcutta/Kolkatta but the location still differs if the plot demands it.
    • As mentioned above, Brazil's media is most times set in either Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, its most populous cities. Rio de Janeiro is this not only because of the large population, but also due to its iconic landscape and the fact that it holds the studios of Grupo Globo, the largest mass media group in Latin America, responsible for the country's biggest TV channel and almost all of the non-state funded films. The capital of Brazil, Brasília, most times will only be featured if the plot deals heavily with politics, which is mostly seen in recent works.
    • Seoul suffers heavily from this trope, since it was the political and cultural center of the Korean peninsula for centuries and now houses one fifth of South Korea's entire population, which if you include the metropolitan area houses half of the country's population - the same as the entirety of North Korea.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Tokyo Is The Centre Of The Universe


Lost Ones Influence

Mitsuki thinks that he could try to offer the other world knowledge from his time to try upgrading the quality of life. Only to learn that he wasn't the first Lost One to consider this as an option; especially since all other Lost Ones also came from Japan as well.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / GivingRadioToTheRomans

Media sources: