Posted by psgels on 18 September 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0



One thing I love about watching anime is that sometimes, there are these series that come from absolutely nowhere and blow you away. Tokyo Magnitude is one of those series. It’s based on a “what-if” scenario: what if modern-day Tokyo were to be hit by a massive earthquake? This actually is a very likely scenario: it turns out that there is a 70% chance that Tokyo will be hit by an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 in the next 30 years.

Tokyo Magnitude shows that even in the city that is probably the most well-prepared city for an earthquake, it would still be plunged into chaos if an major earthquake actually were to take place. Tons of people would end up either dead or injured, even more people would lose their homes. The creators end up portraying this sense of chaos and despair incredibly well.

The series follows three people in particular: two siblings Mirai and Yuki and an adult called Mari, however that doesn’t stop the creators from showing how everyone else is doing. They make really well use of their budget to create an identity for every single passer-by: they take care in emphasizing that every single person in the background was also just a regular person who also was hit by the earthquake, who also may or may not have lost someone, or might be separated from his or her loved ones. This series really managed to create a setting that feels real, in which just about everything is filled with details that make the setting come alive. Figuratively, of course.

The first half of the series is mainly this, while the second half, in which the chaos tones down a bit, changes the direction of the setting in a character-study of the lead characters. I’m not going to spoil exactly what happens, but both halves are equally bittersweet. You do need to know that the second half does this at the sacrifice of a bit of realism, though. The second half is much quieter in comparison to the chaotic first half, but that really allows the plot to be very subtly developed, and the emotions to sink in.

The biggest flaw of this series is a little disclaimer at the start of each episode, which claims that this series is as realistic as possible. While this series is indeed very realistic (more realistic than like, 98% of all other anime out there), there are points that could not have happened in real life. Besides, it’s a rather pretentious disclaimer anyway: instead of telling us it’s realistic, we’d rather like to be able to judge ourselves.

Nevertheless, at this point Tokyo Magnitude has the potential to remain a classic in anime. It’s believable, depressing, but also uplifting, fresh and inspired. There’s been a lot of discussion going on whether or not this series took the right turns along the way, but personally for me, it has been an amazing series. Most people who know this blog will know that I’m already a big fan of the Noitamina timeslot. Aside from Honey and Clover, I’ve seen every single show that came out of it, and Tokyo Magnitude has become my favourite series out of all of them.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 10/10

27 Responses

  1. Avatar reverse says:

    even though I did displeases most part of the storytelling, but I would say I agree with this score
    personally I would give the storytelling 8/7 instead of 9, since you rarely give 8/7 for good series I guess 9 work as well

  2. Avatar Tiago Sá says:

    A bit let down by the ending, because, in the end, it’s series about the death (and life, I guess) of one person. It’s all very well done and executed, and you do feel sad, but this kind of melodrama is not really spot on when it comes to lasting impression… But it’s nice that there’s stuff about earthquakes and the like. It’s just that, in terms of personal relationships, it doesn’t teach you nothing…

    Not my cup of tea, but it’s well done and is entertaining, so I guess it’s ok.

  3. Avatar Solaris says:

    Oh-oh! I would rather praise Psgels because he can do reviews without spoiling anything. It was not like this once upon a time when i first started reading this blog. That time i avoided reading anything unless i watched all of the episodes reviewed. Kudos to you PsGels.

    This evening i’ll watch the last episode and write down my last impressions. See ya!

  4. Avatar Perrin4869 says:

    Incredible anime, especially in the second part, in my opinion. In my opinion it could have used some more subtlety in the end of episode 10, and the robot otaku didn’t add anything to the anime, but then again it managed to pack a punch anyways, and it felt genuine (even if not realistic) until the very end. I usually don’t like Bones anime (I hated the first FMA, and I never got to finish Eureka 7, even though I got to episode 37 or something. The cheese!), but when they come up with something good, they completely blow me away. Darker than Black II in 21 more days! Don’t let me down Bones!

  5. Avatar Tiago Sá says:

    Yeah, Darker than Black is the piece, but Soul Eater was also pretty awesome, even if the storyline was poor after they deviated from the manga.

  6. Avatar supertauren says:

    You’re right about the disclaimer, I think it takes away from the show quite a bit because instead of enjoying the show, I think a lot of people, me included, ended up being distracted by pointing out things that aren’t realistic.

    Overall though, great show! I was surprised that it was that good because when I first heard the premise I didn’t really think much of it. I’m glad I read your reviews for the first few episodes and watched this show.

  7. Avatar Solaris says:

    Well they didn’t screw up the ending. I was glad. Thjis was easily one of the best series of the year. Not the best, but i cannot yet figure it why. Maybe the second part of the anime turned out just too melodramatic for my taste, but i woulkdn’t complain that muc about it. The show had good chars and a stron storytelling. The ending was satisfying too. Well let’s move to the next one. Bye bye Mirai see you.

  8. Avatar Odderkid says:

    Yeah, this is easily on of my favorite new shows of the year. I guess I never minded the whole Sixth Sense scenario because I usually enjoy the emotional impact of anime the most in shows. And this one had a helluvan impact. I was a little hesitant to get into this at first, but the reviews here seriously got me hooked – thanks! Gonna miss marking Tokyo Magnitude every Thursday on my calendar…

  9. Avatar Steelman says:

    Great ending and great show overall. My second favorite this year after Clannad After Story.

    But seriously, go watch Honey & Clover. The second season is among the best dramatic shows ever.

  10. Avatar Sywen says:

    I think most are misunderstanding the disclaimer.
    they nowhere say it’s realistic. they say they are “striving for a sense of realism, however circumstances may be different to the real thing”

    It’s fiction.. not a docu ;)

    Personally i find this show the best from 2009 so far and i’d rate it 10/10

  11. Avatar dickens says:

    A series with a great start that unfortunately got bogged down in B-movie theatrics which ruined the tone created in the first half. Anyways, if you want to a watch a *real* classic vaguely related, see: Grave of the Fireflies.

    I thought completely the opposite – I thought the first half was quieter and gentler while the second half felt like it was forcing drama in a way that was too jarring of a change (with liberal use of cliches like bait-and-switch death scenes)

    Overall I’d give it a 6/10. Great potential but it didn’t know where to go with it so it fell back on anime cliche.

    For me the best series on Noitamina remains Honey and Clover.

  12. Avatar Mike says:

    Heh, it seems like TM8 is a bit of a love it or hate it show, especially the 2nd half.

    For me personally, I found TM8 to be much more emotional and touching than Grave of the Fireflies, which tbh, is rather… meh.

    In the end it’s all personal taste, so YMMV :P

  13. Avatar dickens says:

    They are very different in getting across their themes. The way that TM8 tries to tug at the heartstrings is a lot more direct than Grave and I can see people who disliked Grave liking TM8 for that reason.

  14. Avatar Davey J. says:

    I agree with you full heartily in this review. I didn’t mind that the show abandoned some realism in the second half, as it helped develop Mirai. This show was a nice breath of fresh air. I remember watching the first episode and thinking

    *Spoiler alert*

    That you know who would kick the bucket but I quickly dismissed the idea because I thought the creators would have the guts to do it. But they did and I was impressed by it.

  15. Avatar Ves says:

    I agree, it was a really good series. No superheroes here to save Tokyo, just a (rather) realistic story.

    I loved the backgrounds – detailed, well shaded and very realistic. I can even see the grains in some of the wood! Or perhaps it’s just because I’ve been watching some old anime lately so suddenly everything looks good.

  16. Avatar Megris Vernin says:

    I liked the series but for some reason this last episode hit me really hard. I haven’t suffered any big loss or anything but I felt really reconnected with Mirai. I was basically tear-eyed for the last ten minutes or so. This is coming from a male who rarely cries over anything. Emotionally this anime has hit me more than Windaria or even the ending to Clannad-Tv did. This is one of the reasons I love shows that really realism and that characters can suffer loss to. I see it in a few American shows like Battlestar Galactic, but rarely.

  17. Avatar fireryone says:

    I found a link to Yuki’s Death Certificate on the TM8.0 Wikipedia article discussion page:
    http://i27.tinypic.com/k99ab6.jpg

  18. Avatar Den Lim says:

    I didn’t really think it was a ghost… more like a product of Mirai’s brain due to shock and trauma.

  19. Avatar Nck says:

    I just watched the ending of the episode! I think the ending was perfectly fitting into the series, and Mirai is a hell of a good character! The ending made me cry!
    Great review!

  20. Avatar Aryo says:

    Manly tears were shed!
    Happened only 3 times so far while watching anime, so imo that’s a good sign for me how touching it was.

  21. Avatar Buff says:

    *SPOILER*

    I believe it wasn’t a ghost, but rather the effects of the shock of losing her brother. Mirai was like the old lady who lost her grandchildren. But I’d call this denial. As you can see Yuki was the opposite of Mirai, she was quiet and Yuki telling her what to do.

    Mari had the reaction of shocked when Mirai told her she was looking for Yuki, I thought she had some really bad news and that was the reason. But I guess she failed in what she felt there.

    The anime is very realistic even in a psychological level which is very professional to treat. I’ve been in shock a few times and I can tell what’s being in denial for a while, but this took so long.

  22. Avatar Z.N. Singer says:

    Oh good, that’s exactly what I hoped for out of it. I’d already planned to give it the old three episode test run, but it’s nice to have an extra infusion of hope and encouragement as I do.

  23. Avatar Jesse says:

    I just finished watching it today and i can’t even describe how great of a series it was. I’ve seen so many animes and i’ve only cried once, but i literally cried the entire last episode. Not just like tears rolling down my cheeks, i mean like i had a breakdown. I’m a guy and i don’t cry a whole lot, but when you have a guy like me bawling his eyes out, you know its a good anime. I agree with what you said in the review, but i think it was more hectic near the end becuase of all the tension build up and Yuki. Overall it was incredible and it has surpassed all of the other animes i’ve watched (and i’ve watched the big one’s).

  24. Avatar Firechick says:

    I didn’t notice this, but I’m starting to notice some kind of symbolism in Mirai and Yuuki’s names. Mirai means future, showing in the beginning that Mirai didn’t know what to do when she grew up, but after the earthquake she does and that a better future awaits her. Yuuki’s name means courage, and in a sense he helped Mirai move on with her life even though…y’know. He helped Mirai get home and gave her the courage to do so.

  25. Avatar OMG says:

    I guess 30 years was a bit off, wasn’t it?

  26. Avatar Jezy says:

    eerily accurate for what happened in 2011. Just need to re-title “Tokyo Magnitude 9.0 Tsunami Plus”

  27. Avatar Otilia says:

    I am not certain the place you’re getting your information,
    but great topic. I must spend a while learning much more or working out more.
    Thank you for wonderful info I was looking for this info for my
    mission.

Leave a Reply

Star Crossed Anime Blog

6 User(s) Online Join Server

Featured Posts

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 20 [Pretend Family]

After last week’s episode, I had high hopes for Kimetsu no Yaiba this week. Sadly, I think I came away from it with more criticisms than complements. Perhaps natural, since living up to last week was nigh impossible. But I wasn’t prepared for Yaiba to undercut its best episode either. Welcome to Yaiba, episode 20, […]

Dr.STONE – 7 [Where Two Million Years Have Gone]

Ah today is a good day. The day where Dr.STONE reinforces what I loved about it when I first read it. You see this week Science takes center stage, we meet the ancient sorcerer Chrome, and the legendary Kinro gets his fabled weapon. Enough with the preamble though, welcome to this weeks Dr.STONE and lets […]

Mononoke – 2 [Zashikiwarashi – Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

There really isn’t a good way to introduce this episode. Nothing is really going to soften the madness of what I just watched. As this week Mononoke has given us one of the darkest/creepiest yet most endearing episodes I have seen in a long time. So let’s just get on with it. Starting off, a […]

Cop Craft – 06 [Need For Speed]

Cop Craft mixes up many unusual elements such as porno magazines, gay policeman, car chases and even romance into its trip this week. The result is that while it’s light in content, it proves to be more entertaining than when it deals with serious plot. While at this point I still prefer the relationship between […]

Kanata no Astra – 08 [Past]

There sure is a lot to unpack in Kanata no Astra this week. Kanata no Astra loves to give clues, and with every reveal it opens up more questions and make it think how all these puzzles fit in a big narrative frame. I must say that I am enjoying the ride so far, it’s […]

Lord El-Melloi II Sei no Jikenbo: Rail Zeppelin Grace Note – 6 [A Girl, a Department Store, and a Gift ]

It turns out that next week will be the beginning of the adaption of the source material of volume four and five and this episode marks the end of original anime content. I rather like this episode as it breaks away from Waver solving cases and has a fun little shopping adventure with the three […]

Vinland Saga – 6 [The Journey Begins]

Another week, another dose of Viking murder, courtesy of Vinland Saga. This week we watch our baby boy grow up, learn a bit about Viking history, and get into the series proper. Let’s dive in! Starting off, as always, the production aspect. This week showed us some of the cracks in Vinland’s production. For while […]

DanMachi2 – 5 [The Hearthfire Mansion (Home)]

DanMachi, you have me scratching my head. It takes you less than 20 minutes of air time to wrap up a 4 episode built, fortune changing battle – and then you spend the next 20 discussing Hestia’s Homebuilding. And what’s more – it was a very enjoyable Fixer-Upper-At-Your-Enemy’s-Expense episode. Just…a bit puzzling pace. Let’s take […]

Fire Force – 5 [The Battle Begins]

For the second episode in a row, Fire Force has quietly impressed me. Obviously the episode of the week would have to go to Yaiba (see Lenlo’s excellent post on it!), but Fire Force turned in an admirable performance. With the mess of Episode 3 still looming, I was quite happy to see an episode […]

Latest Reviews

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

Often at the start of one of these reviews, I will wax philosophical about a series. Attempting to slowly draw you, the reader, in to whatever topic or anime I am discussing in that review. This time, none of that. This time, I have to come out and say from the beginning, that One Punch […]

Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]

[Star Crossed Anime Exclusive] Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection Review – 80/100

I was lucky enough to be at Sakura-con in Seattle on 20 April 2019 for the Funimation’s movie premiere of Code Geass’ third movie with the Director himself, Gorō Taniguchi, along with his senior staff in attendance inside a room full of raving fans. Was it was worth the decade-long wait to have a worthy […]

Paranoia Agent Anime Review – 67/100

In an era of the mundane, where every series is the same moe blob, the weird sticks out. Even the most mediocre series can get attention just by being weird. Paranoia Agent is not mediocre, and it is far beyond simply “weird”. Written and Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paranoia Agent is one of his last […]

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019) (Winter 2019) Anime Review – 78/100

Just like the titular character, Boogiepop Phantom the series has become some sort of urban legend itself in this medium. Its Light Novels are amongst the first Light Novel ever released, dating back to mid-90s. Moreover, the franchise has endured the test of time, as it inspires anime, live-action adaptations and Boogiepop is a well-known […]

Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 77/100

Coming to Kotobuki, there are lots of aspect that catch my attention: it’s from a famed director Tsutomu Mizushima who can turn the most trashable and genre-able concepts into something intriguing; it’s an CG show about air pilots: it has extended aerial combat set-pieces. Watching it till the end, I have to tip my hat […]

Kemurikusa (2019 Winter) Anime Review – 79/100

Kemurikusa is your very definition of an overlooked gem, one that never really gain much discussion anywhere, but one that has a distinctive style from an up-and-coming auteur who has full control of his projects. Coming to Kemurikusa, all the attention it has came from the fact that it is created by TATSUKI, a mastermind […]