I would like to use "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" as an example, but the identifying features that I'm particularly interested in identifying are the ancient, yet advanced technological civilization(s) that left behind the city itself.

Is there a word or genre specifically describing the ancient yet technologically advanced civilization trope (specifically those more advanced than present day civilizations)?

  • 2
    TVTropes calls them "Precursors". I don't know that there's an actual term of art for it.
    – senshin
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 4:31
  • Depending on the show, it could qualify as some variety of -punk (like cyberpunk or steampunk). I've never watched Laputa before so I couldn't offer a more concrete answer.
    – Makoto
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 4:42
  • oooh, like Zanarkand from FFX and i think in Tales Series at least there was one ancient city/dungeon with advanced technology on every title. Commented May 17, 2016 at 5:20
  • it either Lost Technology (if it's looks abandoned/destroyedd) or Advanced Ancient Acropolis(if it's citizen keep it secret from the world) Commented May 17, 2016 at 5:22

2 Answers 2


"Precursors" or "forerunners" would be the title given to the society/societies that came before but they are not titles that would be classified as a genre. The closest thing to an official genre title that you would get is, "post-apocalyptic". Post-apocalyptic settings are those that take place after the end of the world. in certain instances the end of the world does not mean the end of humanity and so they start the world anew. I would recommend searching post-apocalyptic animes if reborn society is what you are into. Attack On Titan, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, and Murder Princess, are all examples of animes with functional societies that speak of "technology from the old world", even though the ancient technology is futuristic by comparison to their own. Enjoy


I'd say either Lost Technology (as used by anime/games like Galaxy Angel and a tag from AniDB) or Lost Civilization (just a common term usually referred to stuffs like Atlantis) is what you're most likely looking for. It might not be the best term though.

Some other closely related terms are Technological Regression (a term I personally use, just as the term says) and Dystopia (another AniDB tag). I personally prefer the term Dystopia but it's basic definition is an "undesirable place" and doesn't have to mean "regressing into a lesser advanced civilization" but most of the time I find them in tandem on stories.

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