Follow TV Tropes


Schizo Tech / Anime & Manga

Go To

  • In Last Exile, antigravity generators are common, yet in other respects the setting is almost entirely steampunk. This is because the antigravity generators are lent to the two major world powers by the Crystal Spires and Togas Guild. And if you go against the Guild, they have a bad habit of taking the generators back - in-flight, through your hull. Guess who turns out to be the Big Bad organisation? Also consider the fact that while the people of Prester seem to have livestock, there are no horses or other ridable animals on the planet, resulting in everyone having to either go by foot or use an industrially-manufactured vehicle for travel, as there are no real alternatives.
  • Advertisement:
  • Howl's Moving Castle combines a 19th Victorian Age setting with WWI / WWII technology.
  • Pokémon: You have Poké Balls that transmute living beings to light and store them in containers, which are used and sold in rural forest and mountain towns with little transportation. And you have the capability to video chat from almost any telephone, but no cell phones, at least in early episodes.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold takes place in the 16th century during Spain's exploration of the New World. The Spaniards have about the level of technology that they had in real life, while the heroes have technology from an ancient, highly advanced empire, including a solar-powered warship that shoots lasers, a solid gold airplane, and even a fusion reactor.
  • Lampshaded in Galaxy Express 999:
    Tetsuro: So that's Mars.
    Maetel: They've raised the air pressure here up to the levels on Earth, but it's taken them a century to do so.
    Tetsuro: They created it artificially?
    Maetel: Exactly. It's a place where humans can live without any difficulty. Yet, the only ones who live here are people with cybernetic bodies.
    Tetsuro: So they didn't even have to bother raising the air pressure to Earth levels.
    Maetel: Not at all. It was a completely wasted effort.
  • Advertisement:
  • Trigun uses this to good effect, mixing use of native animals and chemically propelled weapons with use of cybernetics and extreme high tech terraforming equipment, for the most part cannibalised for water and energy production.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World is a setting that superficially resembles the Arabian Nights, but is littered with the explicit remains of ultratech civilizations that destroyed themselves in a massive war centuries before.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, England berates America during World War II for having a laptop model from 42 years in the future. "Are you trying to show off?" He doesn't bother mentioning the flippant use of Google, from even further into the future, which winds up functioning as the joke of the strip. As seen here. This pops up occasionally as a background gag. Also during World War II scenes, Japan is seen using ear buds and notes that video game-esque status bars appearing over people is just something that happens at his place.
  • Advertisement:
  • The Vision of Escaflowne mixes a fantasy world with Lost Technology Humongous Mecha... and a technophile Big Bad intent on conquering the world through the power of Mad Science. (Of course, his interest in both magic and science is easily explained by his maybe being Isaac Newton.) In this case the world works, given the nature and power source of the mecha..
  • Aura Battler Dunbine is a classic schizo tech series, in which the inhabitants of a medieval fantasy world have kidnapped a group of robotics engineers and computer manufacturers from Earth to build advanced weapons. (There's an almost surreal shot of a chip-assembly "clean room" in a castle basement.)
  • In Bleach, we see that the 12th Division of the Gotei 13 has some pretty advanced an afterlife that seems to be based on feudal Japan. Also, IVs. The bulk of the Court Guard Squads certainly have access to at least modern technology, as they use cell-phones as Hollow-detectors and their mod souls seem to come out of PEZ dispensers.
  • Grenadier is set in a feudal Japan that somehow still manages to have modern automatic weapons and other high-tech goodies. The Imperial Capital is powered by a tremendous solar device that can be weaponized by someone rather malicious (read: the Iron-Masked Baron, who is himself a Brain in a Jar Cyborg).
  • Lost Universe and Outlaw Star both appear to inhabit the opposite end of the schizo tech scale — futuristic worlds with anachronistic magic. That's actually Space Opera, the same thing as Star Wars. Outlaw Star has a few other weird things, like the fact that on-planet personal communication is conducted with old-fashioned rotary telephones or the Outlaw Star's cockpit displays consist of a few analog gauges.
  • The characters of Haré+ Guu live in a hunter-gatherer society, in a village in the middle of a jungle. However, they also have television, video games, modern school buildings, and a typical late-20th-early-21st-century city just a plane trip away.
    • This is actually a Truth in Television since there are hunter-gatherer societies that have remained mostly unchanged for years, but do in fact, have radio, televisions, electricity, and wear modern clothes such as jeans and T-shirts. While going on hunting trips. One British journalist was shocked to see said society watching episodes of Star Trek, despite them not being able to understand the language.
  • Smack-dab in between the two extremes is Paradigm City, the setting of The Big O, which would appear to be a 1940s film noir New York — if it weren't for the giant glass domes, androids, robots and Humongous Mecha all over the place.
    • This can be explained by the entire world that we see (barring a minuscule exception or two) is part of a gigantic set reminiscent of The Truman Show. Why the producers, etc, of the show inside the show, who presumably have all of this technology and more, chose to do this is another story altogether.
  • The universe of Fullmetal Alchemist at first glance seems to be early 20th century Europe. Most long-distance travel is done by steam train, the streets are paved with cobblestones, soldiers dress in uniforms similar to the era and are armed accordingly with period weapons (though the anime messes things up a bit by replacing the WWII-era guns with Vietnam-era ones), things like automobiles and telephones are just coming into existence, and are only being used by those with money or influence and it's mentioned in one episode that delivery of meat in a refrigerated truck is a new technology. At the same time, there's "Automail", which are basically prosthetic limbs linked directly to the nervous system which are even more advanced than what 21st-century technology can currently produce, yet they're so widespread that even some small towns have at least one automail mechanic. Additionally, Fort Briggs has carbon fiber and post-WWII-style tanks. The presence of alchemy as a viable branch of science might have caused technological research to go down different routes.
    • Interestingly, elements such as the steam trains and the State Alchemists' watches are accurate reproduction of early twentieth-century ones.
  • Parodied in Shaman King, in which the Patch Native American tribe has "traditional hand-made" versions of things like pagers, monitors, and cell phones.
    • Later on, it is shown that they really ARE hand made. The tribe became friends with an alien who taught them how to make all of their tech with what they had at hand.
  • The anime movie, Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, which takes place in the 1960's, but includes both anachronistic WWII-era weapons and futuristic powered-armour suits.
    • This applies to the rest of the Kerberos franchise as well, with most technology being from the 50s or so, except for the aforementioned power armour, and the social structure being entrenched in the 1960s and the cold war... aside from the totalitarian dictatorships and massive gang warfare caused by that very same power armour (or rather, those who use it). It's complicated.
    • At least in Jin-Roh there is absolutely no evidence of the Kerberos armor being powered, i.e. self-actuated. It is a heavy but ergonomical set of cotton padding, leather covers and metal armor plates, plus a helmet and an armored gas mask. The IR night-vision device in the mask seems to be based on contemporary active technology; the integrated backpack houses the radio, batteries for it and the IR device, and ammunition.
  • The world of Saiyuki has ancient Chinese architecture, clothing, and farming technology (witness the hoe-wielding mobs of angry cheongsam-clad villagers found in many episodes)... and also such everyday items as butane lighters, a jeep, a revolver, and a gold credit card.
    • Specifically, a deity booted out of heaven- who was reincarnated as a small dragon- who can transform into a Jeep via magic. Nice going, Hakuryuu.
    • Not only do they have a credit card, not a single one of those ancient Chinese villages is ever unable to scan it, no matter how small the town may be. And no one even expresses surprise at seeing it.
    • The villainous lair they're trying to reach is full of computers and ominous-looking lab equipment, guarded by men with swords, alongside a woman who's been turned to stone by a magical curse.
  • Naruto:
    • The universe essentially mixes feudal society with modern technology (and clothing). The only exceptions are things like cars and guns. The only fields of technology which are outdated are transportation and military. Since these jobs are done by Shinobi, there is no requirement for advancement in a different direction/a need for there not be advances so shinobi have a reason to exist.
      • Of course, over the series shinobi become far more powerful than guns and quicker and more useful than cars, making Kishimoto's non-inclusion of them a moot point.
    • In chapter 354, apropos of completely freaking nothing we see dozens of buildings of late 20th century build, all of which are abandoned except for one that was used as a weapon storehouse by the Uchiha and is inhabited by some old lady, her granddaughter, and their cats.
    • The chapters before the war showed the feudal lords, that rule the Countries the ninja villages are located in, having a videoconference! Powered with huge acid batteries no less.
    • The first movie features a film crew who travel in snowmobiles. The villains drive a steam engine, melting the ice with chakra run through the rails, and fly a Cool Airship.
    • One filler episode had a dart gun (which looks like a sniper rifle, but is not an actual gun) with a laser sight.
    • In the final chapter of the manga, Naruto (as Hokage) is shown to have a laptop on his desk. It's a Mac.
  • Murder Princess appears to be set in a traditional Medieval European Fantasy, right up to the moment when a Little Miss Badass Tyke Bomb Robot Girl punches down a door with her bare hands in the first episode. (The sci-fi technology seen in the opening sequence doesn't hurt, either.)
  • The popular anime and manga InuYasha has a completely feudal Japan fantasy setting ... until a group of bandits suddenly come into the picture, one of whom appears to be half-tank.
  • Samurai 7 has massive cyborgs and warships, equipped with what seems like anti-gravity systems, Wave Motion Guns...and samurai, armed only with katana and Implausible Fencing Powers. The villagers fire incendiary arrows at power armor. The cities are part cyberpunk, but the villages are traditional Japanese in style. And the "mother of all crossbows" is so very worth the watching...
    • One of the Seven is also a robot. Powered by steam. To borrow a line, I wasn't aware steam could form allegiances.
  • In the Orguss 02 OVA, we have Industrial Age societies digging up Humongous Mecha which have teams of psychics onboard to navigate and act in lieu of radar and other sensors, and machine guns installed to replace any Energy Weapons that aren't still working.
  • Shina Dark has the Vansable Empire with steam-powered war devices. But more notably, when one of the main characters gets injured, she is sent to a hospital which has an oxygen tank with a mask.
  • The rabbit-people in Utawarerumono go to war with Eva-style Humongous Mecha. In a medieval-fantasy setting. Oh how the Hilarity Ensues. This is later explained as being a result of the After the End setting.
  • Adding to its ever notorious anachrony, Samurai Champloo features semi-automatic handguns, rocket launchers, and elevators all existing in the Japanese Edo Period.
  • Afro Samurai. The opening scene looks like something out of feudal Japan to Wild West Europe... not too long later, cut to a man using night vision goggles. Other technological marvels include rocket launchers, cellphones, androids and cyborgs alongside old-style clothing, architecture and swords.
  • Saber Marionette J has Robot Girls, spaceships and all sorts of technology in what looks like feudal Japan; supposedly, this is the result of a space colony operation gone awry.
  • Mamoru Nagano plays this trope to the hilt in The Five Star Stories, where genetically enhanced Super Soldiers who act like knights in shining armor and pilot Humongous Mecha serve in the same military forces as WWII-style soldiers, but with laser rifles and anti-gravity tanks. Most of these armies serve various feudal empires, though democracies and fascist dictatorships are not unheard of. This is occasionally Lampshaded, with characters lamenting what a ridiculous game war has become, and various justifications are given, the most common being that it's more a matter of tradition than practicality and that the prevailing military theory favours personal combat to weapons of mass destruction because it isn't worth conquering territory if it's just going to get nuked (which doesn't stop the main character from creating a mecha with a gun that can blow up entire continents when fired at full power, but let's not get into that).
  • The only difference that Glass Fleet has from The Cavalier Years is the presence of space-faring vessels. Swords, flintlock pistols, crossbows, spears, horse-drawn carriages, and plate armor are still well in place. This is taken to ridiculous extremes when artists' renditions of mercenaries are used as a stand-in for intelligence/surveillance photographs.
  • The majority of the world of One Piece doesn't appear to be particularly advanced. They have guns, cannons, and cameras, but they substitute a lot of communications technology with magic snails. Then we meet Cyborg Franky who, true to his name, is a cyborg. Turned himself into one in a junkyard! With a box of scraps!. Has a bottomless magazine in his left arm with doubles as a cannon and an automatic weapon, a sort of Rocket Punch attached to a chain. What have you.
    • A bit further into the story we meet Bartholomew Kuma. Like Franky, he's a cyborg, but of a much higher quality. He's called a Pacifista.
    • Not long after that, more cyborgs show up in the form of what are essentially clones of Kuma, but with lasers.
    • And now we have flat-screen TV monitors and speakers made using snails.
    • Also the Marines and the World Government have better tech than most every other place simple because they do not want other people to be able to challenge them. So they keep all of their inventions out of public hands because they know that pirates will use it against them if they can. Dr. Vegapunk also works for the Marines and he is more than likely the best scientist in the world by far.
    • Vegapunk is said to be 500 years ahead of his time. Technology-wise One Piece looks to be set 300-400 years before our time. This means Vegapunk is able to make technology 100-200 years better than ours, explaning the robotic dogs and laser cyborgs. No justification for Franky, though, but the whole guy seems to run on Rule of Cool.
    • According to Vivi, because most islands in the Grand Line are separated by random weather patterns, giant sea monsters, and, of course, pirates, they've all had to advance on their own rate. This is why you can have an island that's stuck in the age of the dinosaurs, and another island that's full of cyborgs (incidentally, said island is Vegapunk's homeland).
  • Kino no Tabi: in the "Land of Wizards" episode, it is pointed out that no one has ever successfully built an airplane. Never mind that various countries have artificial intelligence, humanoid robots, fully-automated economies, incredibly-advanced neurological science, and, of course, hovercrafts. No airplanes, just hovercrafts. Made even worse in the novel, where said hovercraft are shown to do things we use airplanes for. Namely bombing.
    • Mind, almost all the cities/areas in Kino no Tabi are incredibly isolated by all appearances, so it's entirely plausible that the people in that particular portion of the land never HAD seen a working airplane.
  • In New Getter Robo, the Getter Team find themselves transported back to the Heian era, and are quite surprised to find Samurai fighting the Oni with guns, tanks, and airships. It's suggested by Hayato that their arrival, which deposited each of them at different points in a 2-year period and the robot itself long enough ago to be recorded on scrolls as a fable, somehow screwed up the time line.
  • Black Butler is set in a distinctively Victorian English flavoured setting, complete with explicit historical references such as Queen Victoria and Arthur Conan Doyle making appearances. But television and video games also are mentioned... and Grell's chainsaw.
  • Ancient Belka of Lyrical Nanoha is depicted in this manner based on flashbacks, showing a medieval-like era with castles standing tall, knights clashing sword against sword in the rain... and a sky littered with starships preparing to go on an interdimensional war.
  • D.Gray-Man supposedly takes place in the late 19th century, but the Black Order has everything from computers to giant robots. Also, General Yeegar has an electric grill in his horse-drawn carriage.
  • Gintama takes place in a Post-Edo Period, with all its kimonos and wooden houses, houses literal aliens and time-space warp gate technology. aliens took over the world and it actually works as an alternate universe modern-day setting.
  • Word of God from the Berserkerverse admits that there is some armor and items that do not belong in the medieval setting, but said that he didn't go that far cougharmcannonthatturnsintoacrossbowcough. Miura simply said:
    • Somewhat funny as something like that really existed, though Miura mentioned he didn't realize it till long after he written several chapters.
  • Super Atragon: Modern mach 2 fighters and their missiles could not scratch the enemy's advanced weaponry. A fictional, WWII-style, seaplane armed with nothing but machine-guns could swat down several before being damaged.
  • Most of the car designs in REDLINE are bizarre, futuristic, and/or downright aerodynamically impossible but otherwise nothing like you'd see today... except for JP's custom gold plated, pimped out Trans-Am. It's the smallest thing on the track.
  • The borderline-surrealist environment that is the setting of Revolutionary Girl Utena features phonographs, reel-to-reel players and cell phones being used by the characters. In a flashback that may be the most trippy scene in the story up to the point at which it occurs, villagers dressed in modern business attire and wielding pitchforks and swords demand entry to a barn, in which a fax machine continuously prints out the world's further requests for assistance from the barn's beleaguered occupants: Dios and Anthy. Suffice to say that unlike many examples of this trope, in which such anachronisms may be unintentional, these juxtapositions help to set the mood for the show.
  • In The Borrower Arrietty, Haru uses a modern flip-style cell phone that easily fits in her hand. Yet the house where she works at has a rotary-dial landline phone in working order as well! Makes it difficult to determine when exactly does this movie take place.
  • This is a deliberate point in Mushishi. The time period is kept vague, and Ginko uses rather advanced technology for a place where people all dress in kimono.
  • Attack on Titan: Human civilization goes back at least 2000 years to when the monarchy was established, although there are no records from before 107 years ago, and there are many Medieval influences in architecture and in royal symbolism. For the most part, however, the humans have technology that roughly fits in the late 18th or early 19th century. For ranged weaponry they have flintlock muskets, and the wall is protected by muzzle-loading cannons mounted on tracks that can be fired from almost any angle. Despite being able to produce enough iron for military purposes, we don't see self-propelled ground vehicles such as trains or automobiles, and they rely on horses for rapid movement across flat land as well as for pulling carts. Clothes and fashion also broadly resemble the 19th century, though they're considerably more hoity-toity in the inner walls where they have things like pocket watches and street lamps. Meanwhile, the 3D Maneuver Gear and ultra-hard steel blades used in their battles with the Titans are light years ahead of everything else. Maneuver gear is a system consisting of two waist-mounted grappling hooks controlled by trigger mechanisms in hand-held controllers, and powered by a gas-propelled fan intake system. The entire system is noted to be incredibly light, and it's more effective than any modern grappling device existing at the time of the manga's writing. The foundries that produce their swords, although only briefly seen, also seem to hint at some pretty sophisticated metallurgy and manufacturing streams (albeit presumably reserved solely for military purposes). The major technology discrepancy bewteen the outer and inner walls and between civilians and the military is Justified as of Chapter 55: The First Military Police Brigade keeps technology that could "threaten the king" under wraps and kills the creators. We see a man developing a revolver look up in fear and a couple about to be shot as they jump on a hot air balloon among other people being murdered by the First MP, and neither of these technologies have been seen in the series before. Meanwhile they're keeping advanced technology for themselves: the Anti-human squad has special maneuver gear equipped with Hand Cannon-sized pistols whose ammunition is pre-loaded disposable barrels that are quickly replaced after each shot. This is before we factor in humans outside the walls. Marley has technology roughly equal to mid to late 19th century, up to around early 20th century. Their neighbours are even more advanced due to not being complacent and the need to develop effective anti-Titan weaponry, with technology advancement up to around 1910s level.
  • Psycho-Pass has a cyborg serial killer whose main pastime is Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. He has people kidnapped and placed in a dimly lit underground lair that is outfitted with hazards such as bear traps and a Descending Ceiling triggered by pressure plate. The killer himself uses modern Night-Vision Goggles, an early 20th century double-barrelled hunting shotgun, and a pair of robot attack dogs.
  • Fairy Tail: The world is largely a medieval to Renaissance era equivalent, with the most sophisticated conventional piece of machinery being the steam train. Anything more advanced utilizes magic as a power source (temporarily draining the magic energy from an user via a special plug) and is both rare and powerful. The gamut of magical devices ranges from firearms and automobiles, to airships and computers, to Humongous Mecha and a Kill Sat. Rock Beats Laser is very much in effect, though, as magical devices harness a fraction of one's true magical potential and thus can be surpassed by those who wield magic directly.
  • Panzer World Galient: Arst is a medieval fantasy world, but the army of Marder is equipped with beam weapons, Jet Packs, Humongous Mecha... as his enemies fight using swords, spears... It's justified, though. The level of technology is medieval due to the inhabitants of Arst losing most of their advanced technology during a terrible war a very long time ago, and Marder searched and found their forgotten, advanced weapons.
  • Among all the advanced weapons featured in Macross we have caseless guns. And they aren't used only by humans, even the Zentraedi (who were created as Slave Mooks by the incredibly advanced Protoculture) have them.
  • The world of Dragon Ball certainly qualifies. Decade Dissonance is rampant with huge futuristic cities being featured in the same world that has vast countrysides full of traditional Chinese style villages, Wild West towns or areas devoid of human contact whatsoever with monsters running around. Said futuristic towns contain a mix of outright futuristic and mundane 20th century technology - the streets for example will have traffic full of futuristic hovercars and classic European cars. A particularly bizarre example comes when Goku and Bulma stumble upon an old abandoned pirate cave - Bulma describes pirates as having been prevalent ages ago, but then we find the inside of the cave being full of WW2-era looking subs, a computer that Bulma describes as being ancient... and subsequently, the two are then attacked by an "ancient" fighting robot. A later episode also shows the gang obtain a Dragon Ball from a band of pirates, on a wooden ship, dressed like stereotypical oldtime pirates... armed with 20th century firearms.
  • Dog Days initially starts off as medieval fantasy with things like video cameras. But starting with the second season, the tech level becomes more and more confusing, especially in Pastillage. Kind of reaches the limit with gigantic cruise liners in ep 12 of Dash, apparently made with steel hulls and no signs of sails or masts. But they also have video phones, and the seals on the hero tomb (ep 6), the demon cave (ep 7), and the vault (ep 12) seem to be computerized.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: