Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Review
Back in the old heyday of anime, one of the biggest catchphrases for anime companies was “This is totally not kids’ stuff”. At that time, they were correct. Blood, gore, and a big set of boobs was the reason it was not “kids’ stuff“. Nowadays, we have some more “different” reasons why it’s not kids’ stuff, and Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is an anime that completely justifies such a statement. In a world where power levels exceed 9000 and three girls with different colored hair all jump on you because you’re the wimpiest kid in school, an anime like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 follows the events after a massive earthquake hits Tokyo and revolves around two siblings, Mirai and Yuuki. Mirai and Yuuki are cared and looked after for by Mari, a woman named Mari, who helps them get to their home in West Tokyo. Mari is not just looking after them. She’s also looking to head home to take see in what condition her child and mother who was caring for her are in. The story starts off quite slow, and takes a nosedive of slowness during the final five episodes. The pacing is a big issue throughout this anime. It seems like it takes forever for them to move on from the spot they’re in. TM8 uses what I like to call “The Grave of the Fireflies effect” where it uses children as a way to tug at your heart. I can’t get into this without spoiling the whole story, but I’ll dive into character, or therefore lack of, later.
The thing that really bothered me about this anime is the fact that in the beginning of each episode there is a caption that says something along the lines of, and I’m just paraphrasing “We strived for realism by doing research and interviews”. The problem that I have with this is, what happened to all of that research? When I first saw that, the first thing I imagined was riots, looting, and some of the worst sides of human society being shown. I, as a Californian, am always at fear that an earthquake can hit at any moment. The nice people in this anime are a bit overdone. It seems
like everyone here is overly polite, like the old couple that they encounter at a safe zone that is not what you would expect from old people in a situation as that. It seems like I’m just nitpicking at things I feel should have happened, but I do commend this anime for doing something different beyond the putrid moe shows that plagued this summer anime season. Overall, this story is real, as in the child proof table kind of real. If you are hungry for something not done before, this is something to look into.
I think where this anime stood out for me was the characters. This only applies to the three main characters, Mari, Mirai, and Yuuki. They are throughout the series some of the rawest and most realistic anime characters I have seen. Mirai is pretty much the reflection of a teenage girl. All she wants to do is moan and bitch about everything that is going on around her. Yuuki is the sweetest kid you could imagine. He’s pretty much the exact opposite of an average little boy; he’s selfless, caring, and smart. Mari is your typical mother. I would go more into detail, but to be honest I didn’t care much for her. The biggest issue was the dropping in and out of characters. Suddenly characters are introduced, only to never be seen again. I seriously wanted to know what happened to them. Did they just disappear? They seemed like they could have been sort of cannon to the series with people like Yuuki’s friend from school, or a work friend of Maris. Overall, if you take in just the three main characters, you’ve got a sturdy lineup that would have been great to see how they interact with other people.
From what I understand, a lot of people were turn off by the art style of TM8. I personally have grown used to the noitamina anime block art style. It follows the style of Hataraki Man and Eden of the East. The chubby faces and odd
lip sizes are really not that bad if you have seen those previous series. There are no generic, or stock features in the characters. They all seem like they were designed well by Atsuko Nozaki, who hasn’t had much work beyond a few name series like Samurai Champloo Eureka Seven. The thing people should have been complaining about was sound. Oh, man boy did this series have the shittiest soundtrack ever. The opening and ending do not even remotely capture the tone of the series. I’m sorry abingdon boys school fans, but that group sucks. Not only that, they couldn’t help but have about four songs throughout the whole show. And two of those four are the opening and ending! In an anime where the feeling is sad and true human emotion, you cannot afford to use the same songs over and over again. It’s so strange that Higashi no Eden had possibly one of the best soundtracks ever, but this anime soundtrack was so crappily made. I don’t have much to say about the seiyuu. I personally don’t really pay much attention to Japanese voices since I prefer dubs. DOES NOT HAVE REIKO TAKAGI, ERGO IT IS NOT EXCEPTIONALLY GREAT!
I find it hard to not recommend this anime to people who are looking for something different. I’m just waiting for this to get licensed, if it ever does at all. Whether you’re new fan who just got off of a Naruto binge, or an old school disaster mecha anime fan, I’m sure everyone can find something to like about this anime. This gets my biggest recommendation, and I dare any other anime this season other than Fairy Tail to challenge it for that place in my heart. As badly as I criticized it, I enjoyed it. Even in the “How many times can one kid almost die”? moments. Never will there ever be an anime again where a backpack is as controversial. Fuji 4 Life.
Here’s an image that totally doesn’t represent the show: