Reviews

Japan Sinks 2020 — A Disaster Series Destroyed by its Disastrous Writing

Haven’t we all ever wondered what it would be like if the world we once knew completely and suddenly falls apart? As if on a different planet, a place where we are no longer bound by the same rules and constrictions of modern day society? Where the true nature of humanity is tested in a world that is brought back to its most primeval form? Such is the world that Japan Sinks 2020 tried to create, albeit in poor fashion.

Japan Sinks 2020, at a glance, comes off as a story that intends to portray the powerful devastation nature is capable of through the post-apocalyptic survival genre. Where the catastrophic extent of Mother Nature is portrayed in full, and the struggles and the threnody of the people who suffer in its wake are brought to light. Much like its predecessor, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Japan Sinks 2020 gave me the initial impression of a similar woeful story about how the world as you know it, out of nowhere, could instantly and abruptly be turned into chaos and ruins. How then would people continue living when their entire world has been turned upside-down?

Unfortunately, Japan Sinks 2020 was nothing what I had hoped it to be, nor was it nearly as good as its predecessor. Perhaps I expected too much, but by the end of it all, I was left feeling disappointed at what the anime had turned out to be, and how much better it could have been.


  • Title: Japan Sinks 2020 ( 日本沈没2020 )
  • Genres: Drama, Sci-fi
  • Studios: Science SARU
  • Episodes: 10 – 25min (Completed)
  • Date: 9 July 2020
  • Source: Novel

Despite how it appears, Japan Sinks 2020 is NOT a story about a post-apocalyptic survival of epic proportions. No amount of poisonous fog or Mt Fuji’s eruption is enough to convince its viewers otherwise. Because what Japan Sinks 2020 is instead, is a story about people. A tale of struggle, showcasing the many faces of humans amidst extreme adversity. At least to me, that’s what it was intended to be, before being mislead by the many other themes it tried to tackle.

one of the many faces of humanity amidst adversity

The biggest problem in Japan Sinks 2020 is its indecisiveness in which direction the story would take. It wanted to be an extravagant thriller about survival amidst some of the most unbelievably bizarre environments. It wanted to be a social commentary defending against Japanese stereotypes. It also wanted to be a heartfelt story of the desperate struggles of mankind and what it takes to survive. Unable to compromise on either aspects in their post-apocalyptic theme, what becomes of Japan Sinks 2020 is an incorrigible mess that leaves its viewers feeling awkward and dissatisfied.

The story of Japan Sinks 2020 takes place in modern day Japan, showing us what the present-day Japan would look like in the event of apocalyptic-level natural disasters. There’s always something very alluring and fascinating about a post-apocalyptic world, or even just the scenario of an end-of-the-world situation, and Japan Sinks 2020 tries very hard to capture this thrill for the audience. But as gripping as the series was with all its excessive disasters and elements, it all felt ridiculous and poorly executed. Individually, the many elements of disaster portrayed were no doubt exciting and dangerous concepts, but without the proper build-up and flow in the story, it completely lost its edge and danger and instead felt more like an art gallery of sorts, showcasing the many varying types of disaster. Heck, even an actual art gallery would be countless times more effective in its portrayal of disasters.

In its aggressive pursuit of chaos, Japan Sinks 2020 suffers from bad pacing and misguided priorities. The show sacrificed a lot on character development, relationship building and tone-setting in order to create more moments of mass destruction. It is very obvious that the underlying intent of the story is to showcase the struggles and tragedy of the people exposed to these levels of peril. But the lackadaisical writing in character development and story flow resulted in the feeling that Death in Japan Sinks 2020 is being treated lightly. This is because characters were killed off in the series wantonly without proper build-up or send-off, which results in a flat emotional response to every new death. As the story progresses, it loses all of its initial aura of danger and trepidation. It became too difficult for us as the audience to immerse ourselves in the deaths in the show. After all, we barely got to know the characters that died, let alone be given enough time to grieve over their loss.

😦

Ultimately, Japan Sinks 2020 did not feel like an anime representing the real struggles of the Japanese in the face of natural disasters. It’s lack of focus and excessive ambition to experiment other concepts and address other issues distracted its viewers from what should have been the main underlying tone of the show. I think the final few minutes of the series served as a testimony to how the writers had initially wanted the show to be like, with the remembrance of all the sorrow from the past and a newfound hope and will of the survivors that somehow lived through it all. Unfortunately by then, the damage had been done.

hope and willpower

Taking a look at the more positive sides of the show, Japan Sinks 2020 was an artistic and beautiful piece of work. While the art style wasn’t all that impressive, it fit well with the story and had vibrant colours and decent animation that were even surprisingly exceptional at times. However, the highlight of Japan Sinks 2020 is easily its sounds, with music so powerful so as to evoke emotions that would make any viewer confused and surprised to have found themselves be immersed in such awful writing. At the very least, Japan Sinks 2020 was capable of captivating its audience through the sounds it uses that enhances the magic of its world.

As frustrated as I am about the many flaws of the show, it is undeniable that there exists something enchanting about Japan Sinks 2020 that convinced me to watch it through to the end. Admittedly, Japan Sinks 2020 had the potential to become so much more than what it was. It had its moments of brilliance, but it’s just too bad that it had to end up the way it did.


Despite this review being overwhelmingly negative in tone, I must reiterate that I did enjoy the show, and it had a great ending! I’m just a little bit disappointed with the overall product, that’s all. Okay, maybe not just a little bit.

What did you think about the show? I’d love to know! Thanks for reading.

5 comments

    1. Awesome haha. I think it should be available worldwide on Netflix since it’s a Netflix Original. I’d absolutely love to see your own thoughts on this show!

      Like

    1. I’ve yet to read the entire thing, but this was an amazing read thus far. Your summaries were concise and conveyed everything important! I’m endlessly impressed by the amount of thought you put into each of the submission you received. Great host!

      Like

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