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.


Mei said...

Welcome back, hahaha. It's been a while since your last post (though, understandably, there's not much to talk about left, I suppose).

Sometimes old does look better than new. I certainly appreciate the original version of something more than its copy. But perhaps in the ages of ARIA, Venice would have looked too bleak or mechanical to generate the beauty and charm it once did.

As long as it doesn't look anything like the Venitian on the strip, I would have been ecstatic with Neo-Venezia.

Lillian said...

i wish bj would work at conservation (eg at the portions of city wall destroyed for underground that you mentioned before) more than building new imitations(though that's not bad either). the nice thing about great wall is that it is long enough to keep both(restored and nonrestored), but personally, i would be more interested in visiting the minimally restored section. so, thanks for sharing those great photos!

Anonymous said...

I think you should add the Pisani-Moretta palace to the Google Venice pilgrimage map. It is mentioned twice in the anime, first in the famous "Those Orange Days" episode 11 and then also during the Origination some time.

Inthernet said...

Hey, I can finally access blogger again and thanks for the comments!

We know Amano-sensei totally created the ideal scenario! :)

Added the Palace on the map with remarks that I have not confirmed it.

Anonymous said...

I just went through all the blog and that is great work.

Anonymous said...

I know you probably don't keep up with this blag anymore, but... Athena Glory is now dead.

Inthernet said...

Yeah, first it was Kawai Eri (Athena's singing voice) and now it's Kawakami Tomoko. Both due to cancer in their early 40s. :/

Both did a great job in bringing Athena to life.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for creating this blog. As a fan of ARIA, it makes for great reading - currently renting an apartment near Teatro La Fenice, so I'm enjoying wandering through the various Calles in the current day Venezia!

Inthernet said...

*Almost 3 years on...*
I hope you have a great time living in Venice! I sure enjoyed my short stay there. Really appreciate the comment.