MODERATE SPOILERS 1000 If I could somehow give Japan Sinks: 2020 both a 2/10 and an 8/10 I would. So to that end this will be two separate reviews. Sort of. First that 2/10. I wont spend much time here but the gist of it is that Japan Sinks is not good. The animation nosedives to abysmal depths as early as episode 3 the soundtrack is underwhelming and often poorly utilized the story meanders and takes absurd tangents and the tone is as confused as I was in the locker rooms of ninthgrade PE. Theres not much on a technical level that I can honestly defend about this whole thing and if youre crunched for time or just not particularly interested Im gonna say pass on this one. Its a bad series and thats my honest take. You can stop reading here if you like. ...But that doesnt mean I didnt enjoy Japan Sinks. It starts strong enough with a first episode that at least somewhat resembles a competent production even if the faults already start to show: the animation is a bit stiff the earthquake is rendered with just a bunch of still frames jittering and blurring weird stilted pauses jeopardize the momenttomoment pacing. But throw in a fiercely resilient protagonist and some horrific onscreen deaths and Im hooked enough to follow through on a second episode. That second episode is noticeably weaker but a bombshell in the last moment drags me into episode three where the Japanese landscape is a muddy CG mess with cutandpaste trees character walk cycles average about 3 frames while the models just sorta shrink into the distance like puppets on popsicle sticks and the gangs reactions to certain traumatic and outlandish events are both underwhelming and baffling. But in the last few minutes our protagonists are dodging arrows in a department store and Im clutching the edge of my seat and frantically muttering at my screen for this obnoxious little kid to run for cover behind the produce shelves. 1000 This is where Japan Sinks both falls apart and begins to make sense. This wont be a series to make you sob over the loss of beloved characters. This wont be a series with much of anything meaningful to say about tragedy or disaster or the human spirit or whatever. It might try but any insight here comes out ungainly and awkward. If someone tries to sell you on this show with those tags just nod politely and look for an exit. No Japan sinks is not Yuasas next masterful entry to his dazzling repertoire. Instead Japan Sinks is the animated equivalent of a madeforTV Brated disaster flick that airs on SYFY on a Tuesday night. And in this sense with this lens its an absolute ride. Thats how I began to love Japan Sinks. The plot contorts and corkscrews and often literally explodes and its impossible to justify some of those narrative turns beyond shrugging my shoulders and saying Yeah sure why not? They might as well join a cult in episode four. New obstacles are ridiculous and serve mostly as theme park attractions that will inevitably dispatch a character or two and oh boy characters are dispatched frequently and in spectacular fashion. If nothing else the show is a constant rollercoaster of huge setpieces and gruesome deaths and for some thatll be enough. 1000 But more than anything and most importantly to me Japan Sinks nails the dodgy aretheyserious? naively earnest Bmovie vibe. This is an absurd journey told with utmost gravity. Characters make heartfelt exitmonologues before sacrificing themselves to convoluted ends. They wax poetic about the beauty of Japan. They engage in rap battles about the dangers of nationalism. Japan Sinks is starryeyed enough to make you buy into the delusion that maybe this is a serious matter and its that delusion that really sells the better parts of this show the moments where the animation gets its act together enough to deliver something unexpected and astounding where the grating optimism of its characters wins you over because fuck dude theyve earned it lets give them this at least where you cheer for characters who just barely slip through incredible danger and salute those who didnt make it and where the quieter moments might actually make your eyes wet just a little. Dont get me wrong these moments have little to do with legitimately good writing its just that Japan Sinks so stubbornly constructs an atmosphere that convinces me to believe in it as much and in the same way as it wants believes in itself. Its like rooting from the sidelines of a little league baseball game: on any professional scale these kids suck. But the bases are loaded and the little tyke at bat has an unpredictable swing and something magical just might happen. 1000 So no Japan Sinks is not good. Its a show you have to meet on its own ridiculous hokey schlocky terms and even then every moment of its wonky visuals and bizarre plot will warn you against stepping foot on its unsteady and crumbling ground. But if you do that if you can overcome more than a few rupturing fault lines and look at them not so much as weaknesses but as endearingly busted gears in an inane carnival ride then maybe youll come to enjoy it as much as I did despite your better judgement. 5/10 because I cant give it both a 2 and an 8 so well meet them in the middle.
50 /100
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