I am producing a brand new show called Anime Streaming Showcase (or A.S.S. for short). I take a look at the massive amount of anime scattered among the internet across various streaming site and say if it’s worthwhile. Is it binge-worthy, should you add it to your queue, or should you hide it and bury it?
Destruction and disarray play center stage in Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. Join Mirai and Yūki as these siblings confront a dangerous world in order to get home to mom and dad.
Japanese seismologists have long expected an earthquake to strike Tokyo with a magnitude of 7.0 within 20-30 years; and an earthquake of such a magnitude would cause catastrophic damage to the area. Well animation studios Bones and Kinema Citrus decided to take the idea, crank it to an 8, and show the results to viewers in Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. Released in 2009 (but taking place in 2012) Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 spends its time amongst the destruction presenting siblings Mirai and Yūki as they survive in the aftermath and reach home. The two have a long journey ahead of them, fraught with dangers and images of destruction unlike anything they have ever experienced.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (which will henceforth be designated TM8.0 in this review) is an interesting look at a potentially real situation that doesn’t sour itself with grandiose fantasy or unbelievable plots. I recall TM8.0 being one of the first series I ever followed leading up to, and through its initial TV run. The premise and idea was so fascinating and rewarding than what a lot of Hollywood disaster flicks had done. There is nothing wrong with want to see cities and lands absolutely demolished by tidal waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, or even aliens, but once the ride is over, the understanding of the likelihood of anything happening on that grand of a scale is near impossible. It’s a good two hour journey into utter disaster, and then you walk away, nothing more. TM8.0 presents a more plausible reality and depiction where the destruction is finite and not a building threat throughout the show. The damage occurs, and then the remainder of the show focuses on the characters and their new world forever changed by the catastrophe.
Now, if you’re someone like me who may research an unfamiliar series before diving in, I would think twice about doing so towards TM8.0, as there is a spoiler that’s often cavalierly tossed about regarding a character. Of course, the series is over 6 years old at this point, so one could argue statute of limitations has long since expired, so even plot-driven spoilers are fair game, but I won’t be the one to divulge the information. But, not to potentially affect one’s viewing of TM8.0 I will just say this: the event that happens in the latter third of the series could cause this to become a “make-or-break” show for some. That doesn’t mean that TM8.0 hinges on the entire twist that happens, nor is it wholly defined by it, it’s just something to consider.
TM8.0 isn’t a particularly dreary show, and given the main characters, it’s generally an upbeat presentation. Of course, given the setting and themes, there are plenty of moments of selfishness and mature situations. Mirai and Yūki are kids, and they’re not infallible or independent beings, they do need help, but Mirai is stubborn child at times. She’s naïve, but refuses to acknowledge it and wants to be the one to save her and her younger brother. Rounding out the main cast is Mari, who has a kid of her own, so she’s willing and capable of helping Mirai and Yūki in their journey. Expect childish whining and crying across the eleven episode journey, but it’s never too elongated to be that obnoxious. As someone who tends to fins most shows concerning children as huge turnoff, Tokyo Magnitude’s presentation and story helped me forgive that often-grating mechanic a pass. Yūki’s age and ignorance to most of what’s going on in the course of the series is understandable, his crying is forgivable, and as annoying as it could be, you step back and realize that if you were in this situation you would likely be exasperated, by Yūki, but forgiving.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a series that promotes a believable premise and characters and tells a story that never fails to keep the viewer entertained. Disaster flicks almost always spend a majority of their time on the destruction of the planet, and little on the rebuilding of humanity and effects. Then again, a film commonly has ~90 minutes to do that, whereas a show has nearly four times that length to do so, and I think that’s what Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 does well. It rarely wastes time, despite the additional time it has at its disposal, and carefully guides us along the rubble of a distraught Tokyo to a satisfying ending. Again, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 does have a twist that could be something that leaves some viewers unsatisfied, but this particular viewer enjoyed it immensely.
Tokyo Magntude 8.0 can be found streaming subbed on Hulu.