Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Title:Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: Animation - BONES
Mirai, a middle school freshman girl goes to Tokyo's artificial Odaiba Island to attend a robot exhibition with her brother Yutaka at the start of summer vacation. On that day, a powerful tremor emanates from an ocean trench and shakes the city. In the minutes that follow, the famed Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge crumble and fall, and the landscape of Tokyo changes in an instant. With the help of a motorcycle delivery woman named Mari who they meet on Odaiba, Mirai and Yutaka strive to head back to their Setagaya home in western Tokyo.

The premise of the story is based on the 70% or higher possibility that a magnitude 7.0+ earthquake will occur in Tokyo in the next 30 years. The story depicts the devastation and possible events that might happen if a 8.0 earthquake took place in a major Japanese city.

[TV series, 2009, 11 episodes, 25 min; Animation production by Bones]
Episode Details 
00, 01
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 8 8 8 8 9 8 Dreamer [series:2162#2279]
This one's a slower paced series but the story is both heart warming and bittersweet. Sometimes, good things come to those who wait.... as the case with this series.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork and animation is pretty good. Colors are rich and vibrant. The character designs were cute. The artwork has a nice atmosphere to it. "Mama" was just kawaii!!! I'm sorry, but that's one hot mama for an illustration!

The OP was an alternative piece with male vocals. It wasn't too bad. I'm not sure if it went with the series. As for the rest of the soundtrack, they're mostly quiet pieces with pianos and other light instruments. The ED was another nice alternative piece with guitars and female vocals.

Series and Episode Story
This series gives you a first hand look... and experience into one of the more destructive forces in nature. It's a story how humans cope and learn to survive under such circumstances. The plot is strait forward but very heart warming and touching.... and almost a tear jerker if you can stifle the tears. The story revolves around a brother and sister and their "motherly" companion. During the course of their journey home, we get to see the relationship between the siblings and the sister's subtle dispise for her mother.... and why.

The end is absolutely heart wrenching... and totally unexpected. I was totally thrown off guard and didn't expect what "had" happened. I consider myself an average built guy with a pretty tough wall around my emotional side, but this one really got to me. I must have been sniffing a few times fighting back the tears.... i mean, cold. It's winter right now afterall.

Overall, this was a bittersweet tale of a family bond and the will to survive. It's a story that everyone can relate to. It's a poweful and heart warming story that's worth every moment of your viewing time.

Last updated Monday, December 07 2009. Created Monday, December 07 2009.
Buy 9 9 7 7 8 8 Ggultra2764 [series:2162#1552]
(Watched 4 episodes, 4 years earlier)

When I heard Bones was animating this title, I thought I would be in for a treat this summer since I enjoyed Bones's earlier works of Rahxephon, Full Metal Alchemist, and Ouran High School Host Club. Unfortunately, this title didn't do too well at meeting up to my expectations. While claiming to be a "realistic simulation" of what would happen in a real-life earthquake, Tokyo Magnitude didn't seem too real. As Stretch explained, folks seemed rather disconnected from the various tremors and aftershocks that took place as there certainly wasn't any sense of fear, uncertainty, concern, or other emotions. Mari's never ending optimism grated on my nerves as it didn't seem believable to me that she could maintain such a positive outlook on things. It seemed much of the show's focus was on showing off the destruction of areas of Tokyo and showing the troubles and bickering of Mirai and Yuki. It also doesn't help that some aspects of the presentation don't do too well at hooking me into Tokyo Magnitude like the plain-looking character designs and the mellow OP and ED music selections. Only visual highlight for me came from the tremors causing collateral damage to Tokyo. But other than that, I can consider my viewing of Tokyo Magnitude to be officially done without a final review.

(Series complete, as of now)

Was I really this jaded years ago? Likely, I was ignorant to how different the Japanese reacted to this disaster considering their orderly approach to major issues and the "group over individual" mentality that is part of the culture's identity. The series is surprisingly realistic at portraying the effects that a powerful earthquake would have on an urban environment like Tokyo and the amount of damage it would inflict upon the landscape and populace. No punches are held back in portraying the harshness of a natural disaster like this with aftershocks being a reality after the major brunt of the quake hits, people being injured or killed from property damage, loss of resources essential to the survival of the populace, people worrying for the safety of their loved ones and the efforts made by rescue personnel to save as many lives as possible. In exploring these elements, the show takes on a slow pace in exploring elements of life in Tokyo ravaged by the earthquake, which may or may not please you depending on the type of pace you typically expect of your viewing of a title.

Outside of focus on elements of an earthquake, this series is also somewhat of a coming-of-age story focused on Mirai learning to better value the bonds she has with her family. She starts off as a typical teen feeling somewhat distant in the relationship with her family with an overworking mother and a kid brother whom she finds to be more troublesome than enjoying to be with. The earthquake exposes Mirai to the fear and uncertainty of her family being alive, leading her to better appreciate them as she struggles through her ordeal of trying to find her parents with Yuki and Mari. This realization hits Mirai as she comes to learn how the families of others get affected by the earthquake, as well as a shocking event towards the second half of the series that shakes her resolve when someone close to her is affected. The narrative approach with this twist may seem misleading, but hints are dropped that things aren't as they seem until the shocking reveal. The whole "you don't know what you've got until you lose it" storytelling approach has been done enough times in fictional titles. But it does work well here without getting too preachy about the theme.

Visually, Tokyo Magnitude is visually pleasing for the most part with detailed shots of the Tokyo city landscape and nicely animated sequences of the earthquake and aftershocks causing destruction to areas of the city like buildings, bridges and even Tokyo Tower. Only issue I have with visuals are the subpar designs of characters, whose details are minimal and almost appear like they are lacking noses on their faces.

Don't let my thoughts of the series from four years ago deter you from giving Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 a shot. The series is very believable in many instances of showing off the destruction and devastation that an earthquake can cause to the populace of a major city and does create solid storytelling out of Mirai's struggles and the growth she goes through as she sees how others are affected by the earthquake. If you don't mind the slow storytelling approach, the series is worth a definite look.

Last updated Tuesday, July 30 2013. Created Saturday, August 01 2009.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2162#628]
(Three episodes watched):

If the modern-day science of seismology had existed at the time, the Japanese would have thought twice about establishing the city of Edo/Tokyo. Tokyo lies not just on a fault line between two tectonic plates, but at the junction of three of them, which is most dangerous; the city was trashed by a major quake in 1923. I was wondering if this series might be something like the old movie Earthquake (in sensurround). "Through much research and verification," the introduction goes, "we bring you this fictional scenario of a big earthquake happening around the capital". Episode one introduces Onozawa Mirai, a frustrated and bitter teenage girl who has come to feel that the heartless city of Tokyo deserves to be destroyed--and at the very end of the episode, her wish seems to come true. I hope this won't be a corny "You-don't-know-what-you've-got-until-you-lose-it" story which pretty much tells troublesome teens to shut up. Perhaps the theme will be that disgruntled people pull together in the aftermath of a disaster. The animation of the effects of the quake in progress was pretty neat. One problem is that character designs seem rather simplistic for a serious show.

Episode two seemed strangely dull and undramatic. People in general seem to be accepting this disaster in an apathetic manner, without breaking down crying, lamenting their bad luck, or worrying where things will go from here--their orderly behavior is almost too good to be true. The search for Mirai's missing brother in the aftermath of the quake was unexciting; the characters haven't got enough depth for me to be much more concerned about them than anybody else. I'm guessing that we'll switch to new characters and their different experiences during the quake with the next episode; otherwise the earthquake is already over and was surprizingly mild. Apparently not a single person has been killed so far, even though this was a magnitude 8.0 quake; will this turn out to be an attempt to convince residents of Tokyo that the government has planned ahead and the next quake won't be all that bad?

No, contary to my expectations, it looks like the major quake is over and done with and the series as a whole will be pretty much all about Mirai and her companions. Since they seem pretty dull, I have abandoned watching this show.

See episode 00 for a recent article on earthquake precautions in Japan.

Also:Strong earthquake shakes Tokyo area (Aug. 9, 2009)

Last updated Monday, September 07 2009. Created Sunday, July 12 2009.

Other Sites
東京マグニチュード8.0 (Japanese)
Japanese Series Web Site

Community Anime Reviews

anime mikomi org