The collapse of Japan: 2020 It takes that same idea and adapts it to modern times, to a society that is capable of finding out any data from a mobile phone, but that due to this can also fall victim to hoaxes and a new level of collective panic. To present this concept she has taken the baton Masaaki Yuasa, the director who gave us the outstanding Devilman Crybaby two years ago. And, in a way, it could be said that this Japan Sinks 2020 it is the other side of the same coin. Again, we are facing a story about destruction led to paroxysm, but this time, that thread of hope that rested on Devilman becomes a brighter and warmer message.
The protagonist of The Sinking of Japan 2020 is Ayumu, a teenager who dreams of succeeding in athletics to represent Japan at the Olympics. When society least expected it, a devastating earthquake destroy all the cities of the Japanese archipelago. Ayumu is reunited with her family and together they begin a pilgrimage in search of a new home amidst the rubble.
There is something frightening in the notion that Japan is a country so used to earthquakes that they have lost their fear excessively. The series begins with a group of teenagers looking bored at the alert for seismic activity on their phones, because it is routine. As the 10 episodes of the series progress (about 23 minutes each, so they are seen almost without realizing it), the notions that the Tokyoites took for granted are collapsing (how is all Japan going to sink? ?) and the journey becomes a fight for survival.
Ayumu and his family get to know all kinds of characters, from a survival expert youtuber to an old man with bad fleas, but despite the fact that many ties will be strengthened, this is a series about catastrophes, so anyone can die at any time, no one is safe. In fact, we get to witness really cruel deaths, which will leave the protagonists in shock, even some explicit image that seeks impact on the viewer.
Despite this, this serie de Netflix it maintains in its melodies, dialogues and scenes a certain tone of optimism, very different from that apparent destructive nihilism of Devilman Crybaby. This is not only a journey for survival, but also one of self-discovery and learning that yes, people can be very hostile, but we can also find wonderful people who teach us to be better, in the most unexpected places.
Although the general message of The collapse of Japan: 2020 is that families have to fight together through thick and thin, it also hides a beautiful moral that, above nations and beliefs, we are all human and we need each other. If, in addition, you have traveled to Japan, the last bars of the series will move you with their declaration of love for the Land of the Rising Sun. But, we repeat, all of this from the perspective that any nation harbors secrets and worthwhile people. It is no coincidence that Ayumu is the daughter of a Filipino mother and a Japanese father.
All of this emotional charge, in the hands of someone less experienced, could have wrecked extreme sensitivity or excessive cruelty, but Masaaki Yuasa Surprises us again with its narrative and visual style. Others will consider that his graphic approach is too “dry”, with very fair animations, very stylized characters and a hyper-realistic expressiveness that could seem unpleasant in some shots. But that aesthetic shines in the most extreme moments, in which a character showing her satiety or a protagonist crying inconsolably becomes a small work of art. In addition, some interesting experiments with light and with the mixture of CGi and more traditional image are allowed, but always with that “style of rotoscopia exaggerated “that characterizes it.
Ok, it is true that, sometimes, more than launching emotional puyitas at the viewer, Yuasa launches real surface-to-air missiles with which it is impossible not to drop a tear (he has already shown that he can go from “sense” with Love is in the water). Maybe a little more restraint would have been fine. But of course he manages to get the message across and make us feel attached to Ayumu, his brother Go and the rest of the family.
The sinking of Japan: 2020 is a series that you have to see whether you like anime in general or not. It will surely leave you touched and make you think, from a strange optimism, about how foolish we can be sometimes, when there are so many wonders and interesting people to discover in the world. And, as is often key in this director, the message remains that, as much as our world is turned upside down, we always, always have to keep walking.