Plenty of games have let us explore a fictionalized slice of Japan’s capital city, like Ghostwire: Tokyo, Tokyo Dark, and every mainline game in the Yakuza/Like a Dragon series. If you’d like to do that without having a videogame get in the way, but not actually leave the house, here’s your chance.
Anime Tokyo is an art project being made by Yan Ru in Unreal Engine 5 that lets you wander around an animed-up 3D Tokyo. At the moment it contains several city blocks of Shibuya around the 109 department store, which in this reality bears a poster for Project Anime Tokyo rather than an ad for the latest iPhone or whatever, though more areas might be added in the next version of the demo in “several months”.
As the name suggests, it’s a cartoon recreation of the city. Your avatar is a purple-haired girl and, depending which of its three filters you choose, the buildings may be lit up in cherry-blossom pink. (There are also sunny and overcast filters, with rain and snow promised in a future update, and each one starts you in a different place.) It’s a relatively underpopulated virtual Tokyo, with rarely more than a handful of people and cars around the Shibuya Scramble at any time, though background noise and music gives the impression of bustle and life.
In some ways it feels more realistic than Ghostwire: Tokyo’s Shibuya. Even ignoring the streets full of undead, Ghostwire imagined a tourism-campaign Tokyo where almost every shop sold Japanese items and nobody drank Coke when they could be having a refreshing green tea instead. Anime Tokyo plonks down branches of Starbucks and Adidas as well as ads for brands like Lush and Nike.
Travel too far down its roads or try to descend into Shibuya Station and you’ll hit banners that say “AREA CLOSED”, but there’s still a surprising amount to find. I took a shortcut through a dark lane, rode on top of a sports car like I was in Saints Row, and paid my respects to the statue of Hachikō, the loyal dog who waited at the station to see his master after work each day and continued to do so for nine years after his master’s death.
You can bring up photo mode by pressing P, toggle running with shift, and jump with the space bar. The latest instructions for downloading Anime Tokyo are available at Yan Ru’s Artstation page, as the 1.7GB file seems to have proved pretty popular and has had a few different temporary homes. It’ll be available on Steam “at a later date”, and at the time of writing you can download it from Google Drive, Mega, and OneDrive.
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