What would San Francisco look like if it became a hyper hybrid of itself and Tokyo? That's the question that creators of the upcoming Disney movie Big Hero 6 tried to answer as they imagined the setting for their story. Big Hero 6 was originally a Marvel comic set in Tokyo featuring a boy and his lovable robot, but directors Don Hall and Chris Williams chose to make the tale their own by relocating it to the dramatic, high-tech landscape of an urban mash-up called San Fransokyo. The new city is geographically based on San Francisco but blends both Eastern and Western influences, with signage in Japanese and even a Japanese interpretation of the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Fransokyo is a pretty good representation of San Francisco. Gizmodo has the story of the faux city's conception, starting, naturally, with urban planning. Disney's animators took advantage of the city's open data program to get detailed property data and build a setting that represents San Francisco from the buildings down to the streetlights and trees. Everything in the city, however, is on overdrive, and it's kind of a NIMBY nightmare. Although there are Victorians, the hills and skyscrapers are twice as high, colorful wind turbines spin in the sky, and new elevated freeways soar through the city.
New technology helped make a cityscape that is more vibrant and complex than any animated movie background has ever been. In fact, San Fransokyo is a bit of a look at what San Francisco could become (minus the Tokyo twist) and it's a pretty phenomenal vision. Check out the animators' handiwork and those tall, tall hills in the clip below.