False Utopia

Didn't you notice? The humans have found happiness more than ever before. The utopia the humans have searched for is here in Neo Arcadia.
~ Copy X about his "kingdom" of Neo Arcadia.

A False Utopia is similar to a Dystopia but instead of the often visibly oppressive and/or anarchic "true" Dystopia, a False Utopia appears inviting at first and indeed may well be a nice place to live in but hides a dark and often terrible secret beneath its innocent exterior. A False Utopia is a place, a town, or even a world that seems or at least is supposed to have no faults, while in reality it just hides them very carefully from its inhabitants. Many False Utopias are Dystopias in disguise (addressing the 0% Approval Rating aspect of "Dystopia Is Hard"), but not all; it is enough to try or pretend to be perfect, but always fall short, simply because perfection is never part of real life. There is a reason why some people referred this as 'Utopia' means 'Nowhere'.

The Marvel super-villain known as Doctor Doom is a good example of a character who has created a "False Utopia" on numerous occasions - in stark contrast to villains such as Darkseid or Apocalypse, who create outright Dystopias.

In a place of burning rubble and war, a False Utopia will often have advanced and clean buildings, a seemingly ordered and happy society plus little to no signs of oppression until one either attempts to stray from the "norm" or uncovers something the ruling elite does not wish to be disclosed. The environment is obviously flawed or even a living hell, but its people do not know it nor are aware of it (whether because they are lied to and kept in the dark, conditioned to accept horror, or are just plain stupid) and they never even notice their happiness is fake. It looks perfect at first, then after a while living in it, the protagonist(s) discovers that it is not, and often, the means that brought such utopia to life are questionable. Often a big sign is finding out the truth behind the seemingly beatific and infallible place. The whole utopia is too good to be true. So good it is not true: it is only a dream, an illusion, or a scam.

Another type of False Utopia is a world in which things appear "soft and cute" at first but are actually far from it in reality - this was the case in Toy Story 3 with Lotso and can also be seen in worlds like Happy Tree Friends (which look cute and child-like but are actually Crapsack Worlds).


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