Japan Sinks 2020: Logic sinks
I’ve been talking about some Japanese movies that I’ve enjoyed recently, like Kimi no na wa or Kamera wo tomeru na!
Today I’m going to talk about a Japanese Netflix original series that I also enjoyed… for the wrong reasons. The premise looked promising. The trailers looked promising. The series is a hot mess… but I haven’t laughed this much in a long time.
Based on the eponymous 1973 book, Japan Sinks is about a family trying to survive a massive earthquake that (surprise) sinks Japan. The “2020” in the title refers to the Tokyo Olympics. The Olympics being delayed to 2021 is the least of this series’ problem.
First, let’s talk about the animation. If I Kimi no na wa was a piece of art, Japan Sinks 2020 would be that famous botched restoration attempt of Ecce Homo in Spain. The first two and last episodes are OK, if unremarkable. The seven episodes in the middle are some of the worst animation I’ve ever seen. Just a bunch of squiggly lines representing… things. Characters lose and gain weight and the faces are sometimes hard to tell apart. I’m guessing they were in a hurry to release it before the Olympics, and it shows.
But, believe it or not, the animation is not the main problem either. I could deal with that if the script was good or at least made a modicum of sense. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. What is supposed to be a heartwarming drama soon devolves into a nonsensical unintentional comedy. Characters die without any fanfare or reaction from anyone involved, with everyone happily moving along. Just one example: when one of the most important characters dies, someone immediately proceeds top yell “let’s go crazy!” as he accelerates his motorboat, before everyone starts ad-lip rapping. This kind of thing happens numerous times, and it’s never not funny.
The middle arc of the series involve a the family joining weird marijuana cult. When they find out they’re eating marijuana curry, everyone shrugs it off and continues eating. By this point it’s only been two days since Japan started sinking, so I guess marijuana cults are normal in Japan?
I feel like the creator wanted to include all the things that he thought make a modern Netflix show: sex, drugs, racism, homophobia… I appreciate the stance the series takes, but it’s all done in the most bizarre manner. The foreigner is a clown and is from different countries at different points (did no one double check the script?) The sex is really random and unnecessary, involving minor characters. The racist man starts killing people… with a bow and arrows. From a wheelchair.
The plot moves at lightning speed, massive coincidence after massive coincidence, towards its predictable conclusion. By the time it’s over, it’s clear that this no one involved cared much about the end result. It’s really terrible, and you should definitely watch it.
Hi, I’m Sergio.
I’m from Spain, lived in the UK for seven years and came to Japan in 2012.
I majored in journalism in London and have been teaching English in Tokyo.
I like traveling, cycling, photography, movies, and spending time with friends.
I wrote articles about life in Japan as a foreigner and anything that I might find interesting.
My email is ” email@example.com “, by all means contact me about anything!
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