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Arcadia depicts a place set apart from the rest of the world where a Golden Age of security and tranquility can still be remembered.

Sometimes, the characters just get a visit there.

This place is also often set off from the rest of the narrative structurally, as a separate chapter or episode. In film, it may be shot in a slightly different visual style, in Literature it may be written with a more relaxed or lyrical tone. The Arcadian Interlude may be a key thematic and/or emotional moment for the work, even if it is never addressed again. In terms of narrative, the time away from the main setting can function as a sort of Breather Episode for the characters, a respite from the strife and conflict of the plot.

Some of the audience may view the change in setting and tone as simply an extended Big Lipped Alligator Moment. In the process of translating a work containing one of these, the Arcadian Interlude is a likely target for trimming or cutting altogether.

Not related to that one time three guys from Duran Duran recorded as a (not really) different band entirely.

Examples of Arcadian Interlude include:


Anime and Manga

  • Possibly inverted with the Royal Garden and Athens arcs of Hayate the Combat Butler. These were the two plot-heavy arcs of the series and the Royal Garden was even set in a different space and time flowed differently there, and even when Athena showed up in the normal setting, she hasn't brought such emotions with her, only seeming to function as part of the overall humor of the story.
  • Heartbreakingly done near the end of Pom Poko, where the tanuki -- having failed to protect their forest home from land developers -- combine their transformative powers to temporarily turn the hills into the lush, arcadian landscape they remember it as.


Film

  • Big Fish has the town of Spectre, where everything is peaceful and perfect, and no one even needs to wear shoes because the ground is all soft grass. The hero enjoys his time there, but decides that he still needs to go out into the world before settling down. It's implied that people there don't really have any meaningful experiences. An author living there has been unable to write anything since arriving.


Literature

  • Lord of the Rings: The time spent with Tom Bombadil. JRR Tolkien himself stated that he considered the Tom Bombadil sequence one of the most important sequences in the entire story. From a story perspective, he represents the mystery that remains even after a reader thinks he knows all there is to know about Middle Earth and represents what could be lost. From a writing perspective, he gives Tolkien a chance to present backstory exposition in a way that interests the reader. For the characters, the time spent with Tom is a time that they can relax and not worry about the journey, unlike the time spent in Rivendell, where the question of what to do with the Ring is still the focus of attention.
  • The Wind in the Willows: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn - basically Arcadia taken Up to Eleven, considering the rest of the book is pretty much set in Arcadia to start with.
  • The visit to El Dorado in Voltaire's Candide.
  • In the Chronicles of Prydain, any visit to Medwyn, the friend of all animals.
  • Bridge to Terabithia is basically about finding and maintaining an Arcadia in the modern world.
  • The Golden Country in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Theater


Video Games

  • Dragon Quest VIII: The Moonshadow Land.
  • Final Fantasy: The summoner worlds in IV and VI;, Shumi Village in FFVIII; Mognet and the Chocobo Haven in FFIX; Eruyt Village in FFXII.
  • The Kingdom of Zeal in Chrono Trigger: The rest of the planet is in the throes of the perpetual winter caused by Lavos' arrival, but the Floating Continent is just hunky dory.
    • Likewise, the continually happy Millennial Fair of 1000 AD becomes increasingly incongruous as time goes on. But as side-quests and unlockables keep relating back to it, you're going to be heading there a lot.
  • Fallout 3 has two, though one ends up being quite horrific and the other is (intentionally) uncharacteristically gorgeous.
  • Yormgen from Tales of Vesperia is a town in the middle of nowhere, with no idea of current technology or politics though the mysterious Duke has managed to find it yet thrives without the protection of a blastia. It is eventually revealed to be a memory of a long dead place created by Phaeroh.
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