In my second Secret Santa project this year, I joined the crowd at Anime Planet for another blind anime recommendation. It’s safe to say that the recommendations I received were by someone that has completely different tastes than I do. But, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They chose three anime shows, and manga, that I wouldn’t have normally looked into. The recommendations were The Tibetan Dog, Hakaba Kitaro, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and the manga ‘It’s Not My Fault I’m Not Popular!’ Since I had already read the manga a few months ago and passed on it, I went through my anime recommendations. The one that stood out the most was Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. And away I went.
In the near future, a massive earthquake in Tokyo, 25 km under the sea, at a magnitude of 8.0 strikes. Siblings Mirai and Yuuki were visiting a robot exhibit across town on reclaimed island when it hits. They find themselves alone and with no one to turn to, until a delivery woman named Mari, who is striving to reach her own daughter and mother in Sangenjaya, promises to help them get back to their family. The three travel through the disaster area, overcoming immense danger, as they try to make their way home.
Quite frankly, I didn’t know what to expect with this anime. Other than the basic synopsis, and other positive generalities, I didn’t know what I was getting into. And, it being a Noitamina show, the odds of it being genuinely good were 50/50. So with reckless abandonment, I marathoned through the 11 episode series.
Early in this series, I was worried that this would end up being an angsty preteen story, where in the end, everything would turn out ok. But as the story kept going, I realized it wasn’t it. The writing and directing tried to capture the angst and worry not only of our characters, but the world around them as well. The effects of the earthquake were drawn with some semblance of realism. The story does nothing to hide the fact that there is death and despair around them. But in converse, there is always a steady feeling of hope. Hope that they will make it back home, and be reunited with their families.
Which is why the ending catches you off guard. Despite this being a 3-year-old show, I’m not going to post spoilers to ending here. Sufficed to say, the ending was very moving. And in the spirit of what the original charter of Noitamina stood for, this show fits. It goes against the anime notion that every story has a happy ending. That, in an event of this magnitude, there will be loss.
From beginning to end, this anime was great. From watching Mirai grow up in tough circumstances, to the beautifully animated scenes of destruction, this show was well-balanced and wonderful. My recommendation. to anyone who decides to watch, is to pick up a box of Kleenex when you get to episode 9, because the ending will bring a tear to your eye.