I had such high hopes for this one, but this was absolutely horrible. The story of Japan Sinks 2020 is a survival story. Earthquakes, tsunamis and other various natural disasters keep happening, to the point that Japan quite literally begins sinking. The survival aspect is centered around a family as they make allies and enemies and try to navigate this new, dangerous world...if a world will even be left.
By the way, there's a random rap scene. Why? I don't know - why even is this an anime? But I felt the need to let you know that there will be a random rap scene in this anime if you choose to torture yourself by watching it.
The animation was, quite frankly, sloppy. I'm not sure if they were going for the kind of animation-style where the people are drawn really simply while the backgrounds are really beautiful, but the backgrounds were mediocre at best. It kind of felt like they were going for a watercolor style without it being watercolor. I'm not sure what was going on, but the end result was kind of jarring.
The sound was probably the best part of this entire anime. I know I just ragged on the rap scene (because narratively...what the heck?) but in terms of sound, it was kind of cool. I also great enjoyed the background music, which is rare. I don't usually even notice background music, so that really says something. I also thought the OST was awesome and would listen to that on its own. I know I rated sound high and the overall low, but I don't mathematically calculate my score. I don't think that sound is more important than story or characters.
Speaking of...let's talk about the trashcans in this anime that they called characters. Lord have mercy, they're awful. As this is a survival story, obviously characters die. That's not a spoiler, it should be pretty apparent. The way they handle the deaths are either too ambivalent or too dramatic when there needn't have been such drama. There were characters who would be introduced and then disappear and we're somehow supposed to care about these 2D beings? It made no sense. Oftentimes, I felt like some of the characters took away from the story, which says something because the story is bad.
The fact of the matter is that a lot of the deaths that occur go against the character development (or what little there is) in the story. They die doing what we just learned they were good at. It makes no sense to have that kind of build up for nothing -- and it happens multiple times. And those who remain alive? Couldn't even tell you their names, they are honestly that forgettable. It's really bad, guys. I mean...it's bad.
My personal enjoyment of this was in the negatives. I probably would have dropped it, but it was part of my Anime Bingo Summer 2020 Challenge so I perservered and wasted my life on this junk. And here we are.
Overall... yikes. No reason for you to have to watch this. Watch 7SEEDS instead. it's not a great anime by any stretch of the imagination but it's certainly better than this catastrophe and has a lot of similar vibes and even some similar imagery.
I do want to note, however, that this is based on a novel and the novel is touted as being quite good and an interesting insight into the mentality of survivalism in the 1970s. I've not read the novel so I don't have an opinion to share there, but I thought it would be important to mention.
**IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH MY REVIEW PLEASE IGNORE IT CHEERS **
At first I honestly did get emotional from the very beginning because it does show how a earthquake damages lives and how obviously destructive they can be. However what put me off watching more than 7 episodes of this waste of time Netflix series, it was becoming more of Akame Ka Kill/Independence Day scenario with adding in continuous killings for the sake of shock value and adding the sci fi genre.
Tbh if you're into better story that involves a earthquake, I would highly recommend to check out decent realistic ones like watching "The Day The Earth Moved" or "Tokyo 8.0". It's pretty much disappointing that they made this anime have a bland art and an obnoxious story basically....
For some reason it's always the anime that are based on novels that have the worst writing and Japan Sinks 2020 it's sadly not an exception.
This 2020 reimagining of the 1973 novel by the same name is a confusing mess that seems to revel in utilizing as many possibilities as the setting allows without ever considering if it adds to the plot in any way.
For a non-spoiler example: There is a little sentient robot in this movie. That's all there is to it.
A side character has it because (somehow) his grandaughter made it, it follows our cast for a while and then they just leave it a car. Sounds stupid right? Because it is.
It adds nothing to the plot, no one comments on the fact that it's sentient, no one cares that it's there, and no one cares that they abandon it. So why is it even in the movies? Who knows. My best guess it's that they wanted to make this anime more.. "futuristic" that the 1973 novel it's based on, but this was not the way to do it.
If you're not bothered by bad writing or simply weird things happening for no reason at all, then this anime might be ok, with slightly above average animation, but only decent Art, OST, and VA. And if you like sad stories, some scenes are well directed so it might resonate with you.
If you, however, are bothered by bad/nonsensical writing then just skip this anime completely.
This ends my spoiler-free review, but if you want to hear more about which scenes, in particular, bothered me feel free to continue, it gets wacky!
This anime is completely tone-deaf. As in, it doesn't know the tone of the story it's telling. So often characters are pretty chill and happy when they really should be sad. And no, it's not just that they're coping with it, they seem to forget what's going on sometimes.
Episode 2 is the worst offender of this lack of tone.
"Oh hey group of other survivors which family have recently died during this giant catastrophe and is now going in different direction from us, my mother wants to take a photo, do you mind?"
Like... what? Ok, when the family takes photos for themselves It's weird but fine, but when then ask others... they accept?? Try going to a disaster zone and asking for a photo, see what fucking happens! Why the fuck did no one tell them to fuck off? A photo? Are you serious? My entire family fucking died, I'm searching for shelter and food and you want a photo? Fuck off.
Then later the dad is suddenly fighting a boar, it should be a cool scene you know? A realistic danger, the fight is pretty well animated and it makes sense to be threatened by the wildlife... and all of this is thrown in the trash by the music. The OST during that scene is one of the most chill songs in the entire show. Who the fuck put chill beats during a fight with a boar to protect your daughter? Hell, half the show doesn't have a soundtrack, just put nothing instead! It would have been better!!
After these two irritating scenes, the dad goes to dig up some yams and explodes.
Did that sound like it came out of nowhere? Because it did. It was honestly so out of place after the goofy fight with the boar that instead of being sad I laughed out loud when the dad's hand came down the sky.
Why did he explode? Get this, in the middle of fucking Tokyo, he found a park with still some landmines in it. That's soo unlucky and tragic that it loops right back and becomes hilarious. I had a nice laugh about it.
WORST CONVERSATION I HAVE EVER SEEN (NOT CLICKBAIT)
This show has literally the worst conversation I have seen in any piece of media ever, I'm not exaggerating, I swear.
Remember when I said that our group was going in another direction compared to another? Well, wanna know why?
They were all at a crossroad and they had to decide if they were gonna go west or east. The leader of the other survivors wants to go East because he knows a place with supplies. But then this happens...
The kid, Go, wants to ask his Estonian game friend for help on where to go (Because somehow he can text but can't on the internet himself to find the information out, but that's just nit-picking).
So he texts his friend and this is the entirety of the conversation, 100% of it.
NICK: Hey Go!
GO: What's happening here?
NICK: The eastern part is so messed up.
NICK: Go, go to the west!
That's it. I am baffled by this conversation... I get that the writers are Japanese and this was in English but... who wrote this shit??
It's so unbelievable like.. what? Was he listening to their conversation or something? Is his Estonian friend psychic?? What is going on here?? We'll never know.
GLASSES, HOW DO THEY WORK?
Let's take this stupid scene step by step.
In episode 3 ponytail lady (with the help of the Mom) kicks the rapist bastard ass. (Cool, by the way)
She then picks up the asshole's glasses.
She goes to the Hikikomori that had his glasses a bit broken.
She takes off his glasses and.. THROWS THEM TO THE FUCKING GROUND!
She then gives him the other pair and says "There, they should be better than those damaged ones".
ARE YOU FUCKING MENTAL? As a glasses bearer, I was soo triggered.
That's not how glasses work. A broken pair is still a million times better than a wrong prescription one. Did no one of the people who worked on this know how glasses work? That was such a stupid scene.
You should have either established that she knew his and the asshole prescription (which would have been weird but okay) or much MUCH more simply, instead of THROWING SOMEONE ELSES GLASSES TO THE GROUND, she could have simply asked him if this other pair worked better for him. There, nice and easy fix. And shows her caring side much better.
HEY LOOK WE ARE MODERN AND QUIRKY
Like with the little useless robot, this show is full of weird shit for the sake of being weird. The cult episodes (For a few episodes, our group seeks refuge at a cult) are the culmination of this. What was the point of it? Weird marijuana growing cult lead by a mother-child pair that talks to ghosts and has rave parties with a child playing Street Fighter on the big screen. Mhm... what?
Is this a pure cult that practices Tai-chi in the morning, or one that snorts coke? And what's up with the e-sports at a rave? Why is the child even at a drug-filled rave??
All the cult stuff is meaningless. It doesn't come up again and serves no purpose in the story. I can only assume that it was in the original novel and they couldn't cut it out completely.
Also, the street fighters thing connects to...
HEY FELLOW KIDS, LOOK I KNOW ABOUT E-SPORTS AND YOUTUBE!
The kid idolizing a Youtuber, him wanting (and succeeding) at being a pro-e-sports player at the Olympics, and the whole spiel about fake news on the web all seemed like an old man trying to connect the younger generation. All surface level, nothing interesting to say about it. This is nothing bad per se since it will make this show relevant culture-wise in upcoming years, but it still seems like it was just added for the sake of it, and not to say something about it. Just like the cult, the robot, and the ghosts.
RACISM IN THIS ANIME
This is not a bad part of the show, I have nothing really against it.
I think that this show is trying to be against racism and patriotic at the same time, which can be done and I think it's great in both cases.
Just... I don't think it did it that well. The show is full of foreign characters and they are well represented. In the cult, they eat a lot of foreign food and the kid Go plays with Estonian friends online. This is all well and nice. They even have some bad characters being racist and forbidding them to access a boat die as some sort of karmic justice, it was good.
But at the end of the show, it seems like their trying to say that it was all about the appreciation of Japanese culture. All the people in the world are watching scenes of Japanese culture online, and people are eager to return to their land as it's slowly rising back up. Nothing bad about all of this but.. if the show was about that, even giving it it's final lines dedicated to it, why did they never show anything about it? There was nothing about the importance of culture up until the end. It just seems patriotic all of a sudden, which is weird considering all the things it has that are about foreign culture, with even one of the main characters always talking in English for no real reason.
A DISASTER MOVIE IN 2020, WITH NO ENVIRONMENTAL MESSAGE
This one is just weird. A show about natural disasters in 2020, and it says nothing about the environment. They never even say what caused Japan to fucking Sink! No one asks any questions about it apparently. I am just really confused about it. You would be so simple and give the whole thing a message and purpose. It would be fine if they didn't in order to talk about something else, but as I said, the patriotic culture message" just clashes with the show itself. Again, weird.
I could go on talking about the weird rap scene and how a lot of deaths were poorly handled. Or how the sex was once again just there for no reason and adds nothing to the story other than a 18+ rating, but I think I already said enough.
On a final note, this a mess of a show that could have only came out out of a famous novel adaptation by a famous director. The director wants to put things from the novel, but he then wants to add his things, and no one dared to tell him "Hey buddy... what is the point of all of this? Does it makes any sense?"
To sum up everything is a single sentence: "I don't know why this was put in" describes the show perfectly.
I will just say, I don't cry easily. My favorite character will die and I won't cry even if I want to. However, the ending of this made me sob. The story is amazing and you get attached to the characters. It shows how people are all different during a disaster. I loved this show and I really hope others will too.
EXPLICIT, "SPOILERS" (EP3)
This review was written in mid-EP3 (I completed it now, but I won't change this review as it represents my real first reaction, and the next episodes were similarly bad), because I can't be fucking bothered by this shit anymore. I'll complete it without giving too much attention. Oh also, I wrote this for an hour at 1AM, because I wanted to watch something before going to bed, but this was so miserable and laughable, I really wanted to get this off my mind first. Sorry for not checking for grammatical errors, I'm a bit tired.
Story (Comedic Recap)
Fucking trash, doesn't make any sense. I thought "Oh, this might actually be a realistic representation of how natural disasters may destroy Japan!", up until the second earthquake. Things just got ridiculous after that. After being hysterical for 10 minutes, the family finally gathered at a small hill. The colorful lights there, which made everyone notice where the family must be, were somehow related to the dad. What seemed to be max. 3 hours later, the entire city was on fire (for some fucking reason? an earthquake doesn't mean that we live in the world of goddamn MotorStorm haha). Later on, 3 people randomly fell out of an helicopter, right there, where everyone has gathered. They didn't even scream, meaning they were dead as soon as they jumped out (wtf?). After a few people were screaming for 20 seconds and a bit of blood was dropping out of a dead body hanging in the tree, we just quickly forgot about all this and got on with the story (fucking leave the scene out, if it's so irrelevant). The next day some random girl was screaming because the suddenly extinguished city, had developed a small fire, idk how that happened tho, already forgot cuz it's so irrelevant. Later on in the story, the father was digging up something to eat (idk what that was). The girl (Mayuku, wasn't it?) went on to search something elsewhere, when she read a sign that there was army ammuni- BOOOOOM, YOUR DAD FUCKING EXPLODED! (...). Then, in EP3, Mayuku had kind of a mental breakdown (understandable, her fucking father exploded just a few minutes ago/yesterday). Suddenly, all of the whopping 5 characters left, found themselves driving with some random dude in his small truck, who quickly got drunk (how they got there? idk, I didn't look at the screen for 5 secs and suddenly they were on their way). Late at night, they stopped at a gas station and like... yeah they got in a fight because the random dude was feeling horny, I guess. So he was beaten up by the 2 women in the group. Shortly after, they came back to the truck, pretending nothing important happened. Nobody seemed to notice that the guy was gone. That's when I stopped this shit and decided to let my rage out, by writing this review. Like idk, they are trying to get you emotional, but it turns into a great compilation of shitty, satirical scenes without context or any influence on plot whatsoever, fairly quickly. Just don't watch this trash.
PS: A FUCKING RAPBATTLE IN EP9? jesus wtf is this
Characters (just the family, the rest is just the rest)
The mom seems kinda emotionless, I don't get why the kids like her so much. Of course she saved that one random kid when she got off the plane and beat up that drunk guy at the gas station, but I think that's all. Dead char.
The dad is a fucking goated undercover survival expert working as construction worker, and seemingly having a part time job as Bear Grylls. To prove that point, he just randomly took his rock climbing equipment and a shovel with him. Because why the heck not. He had a very tragic (10/10 comedic) death, being blown up into pieces, right at the moment his daughter realizes that they might've fucked up.
The son "Go" is okay I guess. It just pisses me off that he starts speaking english here and there for no fucking reason, just because he's a (mobile) GAMER... FUCK YEAH!!.
The daughter "Mayuku" or somethin', she seems to be the main protagonist but is just as dead of a character as her mother. The reason why they seem so liveless is stated in the animation section.
In the moments where it tries to look like your name., it's running at the very extreme rate of 15 FPS. Wow. After they realized how disgusting the 15 FPS were, the quality seemed to have dropped ever so slightly. But in general, I think it's a fairly basic animation style. Anyway, the main problem is, that they were goddamn lazy. Like straight-up lazy animations. In the beginning, after a characters has said his voice lines, the mouth would stand completely still and there was absolutely no face-expression, while the face was still shown for another 2 seconds. They really gave it all to top themselves, when they just included random stationary drawings for 5 seconds, to show the sorroundings or whatever. However that improved in EP2 with a moving waterfall animation. Wow. The reason why these random drawings were especially terrible, is stated in the sound section.
Yes you read it correctly, there is no fucking sound. Ok ok, let's begin with the Opening. Some boring song with visuals so uniteresting, it could just be the MV. In my opinion the worst opening I have ever seen. Even the Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle OP (which I think is extremely boring) was way more unique than this. Not much to add there, definetly didn't enjoy the one time where Netflix didn't skip it for me. (I won't leave the link for you, you might fall asleep) Now the BGM. I noticed the BGM repeating in EP2. I think there was a total of 3-4 songs, including the one after the fight at the gas station, which they just let running for 2 minutes straight since the characters didn't seem to have any reason to communicate with each other at all. Oh and not to mention how unfitting it was. A sorta happy tune, after beating the shit out of the drunk guy, while the women were being hit pretty hard themselves in the process. The mom even lied to Go's face as she claimed to have tripped. Is this really where you wan't to celebrate as if you've defeated the final boss and saved the fucking world? No-, no I don't think so in all honesty. But hold on a second, grip your chairs because we've got more. The BGM is a blessing. Yes, I mean it. 50% of the time, there isn't ANYTHING at all. Idk if they're trying to give us a realistic mood, but it certainly doesn't work out and is incredibly boring. "Atmosphere? What's that?"
Objectively the worst anime I ever watched.
Don't watch it. Save your lifetime.