ChitChat: Japan Sinks 2020


Photo by NETFLIX.

In this issue of ChitChat, Dharshini and Aditya discuss the Japan Netflix anime series Japan Sinks 2020. The series follows a family as it tries to survive a massive earthquake that rattles the entire country of Japan. 

Dharshini: March 11 is something I never want to live through again. Remember when M4 earthquakes used to occur almost daily? It gave me chills because of how often my phone’s emergency alert used to ring. To be honest, this series brought back some unpleasant memories.

Aditya: People are predicting another megaquake in Japan. I hope it never happens, and even if it does, I hope it’s not as bad as March 11. But this anime was amazing. Any anime that starts off with massive amounts of destruction will catch anyone’s attention! 

Dharshini: The first episode was undeniably one of the best anime pilots. The first tremor, followed by the earthquake alert, and finally the deadly earthquake itself. Everything was so horrifyingly realistic and made me so anxious. It does a great job of placing the viewers in the protagonist’s state of mind.

Aditya: The build-up from the first tremor to the massive earthquake got me scared too. I felt I was reliving the March 11 disaster in Japan when all the trains stopped and people trying to call their families. 

Dharshini: Also, there were a lot of deaths throughout the series, which made me really sad. Each of them had such heartwarming backstories that I couldn’t help but become a crying mess when someone died. 

Aditya: It was depressing, but I didn’t cry during those scenes. But I felt like one of the best parts of this anime was the striking, daredevil of a character – a YouTuber who looked like PewDiePie! Isn’t this the first time an anime has actually portrayed a YouTuber in a positive light?  

Dharshini: IKR. The fact that he was not the antagonist but rather the most important character was surprising! But did you notice how the anime lost its tempo as it reached the middle episodes? I felt like everything started to get out of hand and stopped making sense. Was it only me?

Aditya: Actually, I felt the same. Just like you said, everything seemed so random and it felt like they were introducing irrelevant characters just for the sake of it. If it weren’t for those few random episodes, I think this series would’ve gotten a lot more positive reviews. 

Dharshini: That’s true. Apart from that, the show did a great job portraying instances of racism. Remember the part where the protagonists were denied a ride on a rescue boat just because they were biracial? 

Aditya: Wait, really? I never interpreted the scene that way. Now that I think of it, it feels like a subtle nod toward the existence of racial discrimination in Japan.

Dharshini: Exactly. Well, the show gradually regains its original momentum, leading to one of my favorite endings in anime! But it was a little melancholic, don’t you think?

Aditya: Yeah, the last few episodes had the same vibe as the first few episodes where the story made sense and the viewers experienced various emotions in just 25 minutes. Overall, I feel like this is a good anime to watch on Netflix, especially for those who really aren’t into the genre. 

Dharshini: We live here and many of us experienced the March 11 megaquake. It naturally makes us empathetic toward the characters. So, for people who are ready to ride an emotional roller coaster, this show might be for you.