Monday, 11 May 2009

The Challenges of Creating a Neo-(something)

Aria Pilgrim's Map with labelled locations on Google Maps for anime/real-life references.
Click here to open the customised google map in a new tab.

Inthernet is currently in Beijing, and this amazing city has given me an unexpected inspiration for an Aria-related post.

China is a country full of culture and heritage and it is only natural for them to develop touristic sights in order to draw the maximum amount of crowds. This includes re-creating buildings and streets in a traditional style - much like Neo-Venezia.

A new temple being constructed at the City of Datong.

The anime (and manga) does discuss the issues of Neo-Venezia simply being a clone of the old city, during Episode 4 (mailman) and 11 (Neo-Venezian Glass) of The Natural and you have to admit, such a clone looks tacky and screams Tourist Trap... the re-created straight main street at Qianmen, Beijing leading up to Tianammen and Forbidden City. It's nice...but it's just over-done.

Another interesting discussion I've had while in China is, how much restoration can you do, without making an old relic feel stale? Take for instance The Great Wall of China.

The Badaling Section is the most touristy, crowded and 120% restored section of the wall. It is perfect, too perfect.
Image retrieved from Wikipedia

The Simatai Section on the other hand is restored only to the extent it is somewhat safe for visitors, thereby keeping the wild, "original" state of the wall showing its age.

The fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder creates great trouble, especially since Neo-Venezia will most certainly start out new and look like a cheap clone!

Going back to the real Venice, should everything be as pristine as it is on Burano?

Or does the crumbling look of the buildings add character to the city and is thus beautiful in its own right? My dad for example feels the Italians do nowhere near enough to repair their heritage.

A discussion with no clear-cut answer. I like the tradeoff between the two myself. Amano has obviously allowed Neo-Venezia to age in 150 years to give the look of the original city. She has also placed very nice inhabitants there to create the ultimate utopian world which we so love!

Admittedly, I have gone off in a tangent but it has been something which had been bugging my mind for a good while.