“A Long Journey Home”- Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 (anime) – 9/10 Candy Canes


Other things may change us, but we start and end with family. ~Anthony Brandt

Genre: Drama/ Josei

Licensed: This anime is not licensed in the US

Review Status: Complete (11 Episodes/11 Episodes)

Art/Animation: Range from “very nice” to “beautiful”. The stark, clean images in the OP are beautiful and poignant images of destruction. The art in the series tends to be very good, with great detail to the backgrounds and scenery. And the animation is also pretty good- not as smooth as you would occasionally like, but still nice.

Summary: The story centers on Mirai, a middle school freshman girl who goes to Tokyo’s artificial Odaiba Island for a robot exhibition with her brother Yuuki at the start of summer vacation. A powerful tremor emanates from an ocean trench, the famed Tokyo Tower and Rainbow Bridge crumble and fall, and the landscape of Tokyo changes in an instant. With the help of a motorcycle delivery woman named Mari who they meet on Odaiba, Mirai and Yuuki strive to head back to their Setagaya home in western Tokyo. (MAL.net)

Review: I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting into when I watched this show. The first episode I discovered the series was from the viewpoint of the older sister, Mirai, and was filled with pre-teen whining and trying to deal with her family, which she sees as annoying and uncool. Her mom is trying to deal with working a full-time job, her dad is just as busy, and her brother is too “uncool” for her. But she gets stuck taking her brother to a show that he’s been dying to see- and disaster strikes.

When you get to that point, you start to see that her obnoxious behavior is just normal teenage behavior, and she really does care and worry about her brother and her family. She tries to keep a brave face for Yuuki and Mari as they deal with many perils, from having no food or water, to dealing with the effects of aftershocks and obvious dangers of being in an earthquake.

That’s one area where the series shines- the creators did an obviously thorough job of researching what happens during and after earthquakes. Nothing about the circumstances seem out of place or exaggerated.

The other is in the characters- Mirai goes from unsympathetic whiny teen to one who’s worried about her family but trying to stay strong for her brother. Mari is a mother who worries about her own family as her home is endangered by fire, but still willing to take care of two kids who are on their own, and takes care of them in their time of need. The amount of sacrifice she shows is amazing, even though you can tell how agitated she is about the plight of her own daughter and mother. And Yuuki is a sweet boy who obviously adores his sister, and comes to be closer to her as they make their way home.

There is a lot of drama and tension in the series, from Yuuki going missing in the initial earthquake, to narrowly escaping falling debris, to sickness that can’t be fixed with cold medicine. I admit it, this series had me weeping for the last two episodes, as the drama took a tragic, but ultimately moving turn. In the end, this show was about family and how important those bonds are.

Overall, this is an amazing anime about two siblings that come together under disaster.

Recommended: 10+, for implied death. You see one or two brief flashes of body parts sticking out of the rubble.

Other titles you might enjoy:
Grave of the Fireflies (anime)
Yomigaeru Sora: Rescue Wings (anime)
Now and Then, Here and There (anime)
Taiyo no Mokushiroku: A Spirit of the Sun (anime)
20th Century Boys (manga)
Alive: The Final Evolution (manga)
Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (manga)
Utahime

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hope_In_Song
    Dec 18, 2010 @ 22:29:23

    I might wanna try this out! Is it dubbed, subbed, or fansubbed?

    Reply

  2. Sweetpea
    Dec 19, 2010 @ 01:54:58

    It's not licensed in the US, only fansubs are available. I would recommend sticking through the first two episodes at least, since the big stuff doesn't happen until at the end of the first episode. It makes for an awfully great cliffhanger!

    Reply

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