Japan’s amazing invisible 21st-century anti-Godzilla

One of the visceral thrills of a giant-monster movie is seeing a modern-day metropolis utterly demolished — a city that took hundreds of years to build, reduced to rubble in mere seconds. Now imagine you could reverse the process, and see a city assemble itself from the ground up — would it still be as exciting to watch? Oh, my: yes.

In this computer animation by graphic artist Nobuo Takahashi, a Japanese town metamorphoses from a tiny postwar village to a 21st-century urban behemoth, all in the time it takes you to make toast. Like an infinite set of super-realistic Legos put together by unseen hands, houses rise and fall in synchronized waves, giving way to high-rise apartments and office skyscrapers, which finally cluster together in a beastly superstructure of sprawl. For a moment, the city seems to have its own beating heart — and then it loses its soul. Probably a lesson in there somewhere.

WATCH “Musashino Plateau” by Nobuo Takahashi

READ about the peculiar disposability of Japanese homes in The Economist

SEARCH Ask.com for more information on Nobuo Takahashi

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. Japan’s amazing invisible 21st-century anti-Godzilla