Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Review

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Animation ProductionBones

Director Masaki Tachibana

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is an 11 episode drama surrounding the events of a fictional earthquake devastating modern day Tokyo. It is a much welcomed disaster drama based in reality, a departure from the usual robotic or supernatural elements of Bones’ past work (Eureka 7, Rahxephon, Full Metal Alchemist). Masaki Tachibana debuts as a director following storyboard and episode directing for such shows as Noir and Ghost in the Shell: SAC.

The show is centred around Mirai and her brother Yuuki who are caught in the midst of a strong earthquake and have to make the dangerous journey home. They immediately encounter Mari, a young single mother, who promises to guide them after a slight detour to her home where she hopes her daughter and mother are alright.

The show is an amazing piece animation held together by believable drama involving strong characters and events. The quality of animation is very high with interesting depictions of a earthquake damaged Tokyo in the opening sequence and throughout the episodes. When each episode begins we are reminded of the great care they made to depict the situation as realistically as possible as shown with the emergency response, shelters and after effect issues of fires, dangerous buildings and aftershocks. It ends very strongly with an unexpected event that elevates the greatness of the show which was already very impressive.

Rating – A

Genre – Drama, Disaster, Adventure Length – 11 Episode series Year – 2009

Currently not licensed in the US

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Episode 11 – Dear Yuuki

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The final episode of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 deals with the incredibly emotion reunion of Mirai and her parents. A fitting end to a very well done 11 episode series which in my opinion is the best from Studio Bones.

Following on from the amazing episode 10 we have a more conventional episode to end the series. While nothing unexpected happens the fact that it is the conclusion to all the events and emotions built up throughout the series is more than enough to satisfy the viewer. As expected Mari also makes a final return and farewell where she brings with her Yuuki’s bag and Mirai’s cellphone. Expect a full review later this week.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Episode 10 Mirai, you know

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(EPISODE 10 SPOILERS) I really mean it, do not read this without watching the previous episodes.

…..……. well first of all this was totally unexpected, after the seemingly trite ending of episode 7 and uneventful episode 8, episode 10 brings it all back into focus. All along the creators were in control and knew exactly what they aiming for. The last 2 episodes set up an uneasy feeling that something was not right and gave us hints to what had happened. I was in complete amazement as I watched episode 10 and realised what was really going on.

It is worth it to go back and watch the last 2 episodes again now that we can point out and explain was was going on. First of all in episode 8 there Mirai’s dream sequence of Yuuki, then Mari picking up a piece of paper we now know is a death certificate, and then the reason for Mari crying at the end of episode. In episode 9 the part that I thought was weird was Mari picking up Yuuki’s left behind bag, this set me off thinking at the beginning of episode 10 that something was wrong since you clearly see Yuuki with his bag on. The way the reveal was built up was mind blowing, it gives the series the unexpected ending that I thought wouldn’t be possible.

Next episode we can look forward to the conclusion of the series with how Mirai’s parent react and if Mari makes a return.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Episode 9 – Goodbye, Tonight

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If I had to base my enjoyment of an episode on amount of screen caps I take this could very well be at the top. This was particularly the case for the first 5 minutes, which you can see in the links below. Definitely one of the best episodes so far.

Episode Summary

The phrase that sets of this episode comes from Mari who says “Why is it different from what they said on the news?” Sangenjaya is a a wreck from the dual effects of earthquakes and fires. Houses have been burnt down and body bags litter the street. Mari reaches her house and sees it half collapsed with no sign of her family. Presumably dead they go to the nearby shelter and search the makeshift morgue. The description of an elderly woman and a 4 year old girl is matched by the authorities, however they have still yet to be identified. Mari as you would expect is devastated and breaks down crying. Meanwhile the kids wanting to continue the search go by themselves to look around the shelter for Mari’s family. And now the mood turns from mournful to elation. Turns out Mari’s draughter is fine and we witness a touching reunion. And Mari’s mother is in the hospital head and arm bandaged up but otherwise fine. Mirai and Yuuki spurred on by the scenes they have just witnessed are determined to get back home as quickly as possible. They board a truck, without Mari but leaving a note, to a place close to their home.

Episode Impressions

This is what they call the payoff episode, the events that have been built up to this point are resolved. Mind you not everything is resolved just the situation with Mari’s family, there are still two episodes left that will cover Yuuki and Mirai’s journey back home.

The episode was structured to lead the audience to experience one set of emotions to another in a span of the episode. Would the creators take the same route for the next family reunion? Or do they have something else on their mind?

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Episode 8 – White Morning

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With 3 more episodes left we are getting close to the conclusion, it seems the next episode will finally involve reaching Sangenjaya and finding out if Mari’s family is a aright. This episode continues directly on from the last involving the collapse of Yuuki. He is taken to the hospital and is fine after an intravenous drip. Other than this it is quite an uneventful episode, going over the same themes that have been coming up in the past episodes. Not much else to say about the episode other than that I am looking forward to how this series ends. Will it be typically predictable or will it suprise?

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Episode 7 – Summer Evening

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Episode Summary

In this episode we are introduced to robots used in search and rescue of survivors. The two different types of robots we see are semi-automated, order driven robots and large lifting robots. The first type look like mini tachikomas from Ghost in the Shell and are used to survey the environment looking for survivors. The second type are instrumental to moving fallen debris to provide an escape path for those trapped beneath. Back in the first episode it was established that Yuuki is a huge robot fan, so when Yuuki see these robots he becomes instantly fascinated. Yuuki then meets with a middle school boy who is also a huge robot fan who is taking notes and drawing pictures of the robots.

More issues from the first episode are brought up again; Mirai’s complaints about her parents and her having no idea of what she wants to be in the future. It is clear now that all her complaints are gone and all she wants to do is return home.

End Spoiler – Through out the episode Yuuki is clearly sick with a high temperature and because of his exertions he collapses at the end of the episode.


Very much like the first episode in terms of themes and structure. Enjoyed the look at the use of robots, especially the mini robots which were zipping about the city. While they are probably more advance than what we have today it gives a good indication on the use of robots in the future.

Casualty Statistics

180,000 estimated deaths (exceeds the previous 140k high from the Great Kanto Earthquake),

200,000 wounded,

150,000 unaccounted for.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Episode 6 – Choice to Abandon

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Episode 6 deals with the issue of whether or not the group should split up in order to reach their desired destinations quicker.

Episode Summary

After spending the night at Mirai’s school they arrive at Mari’s work office. Despite the ongoing aftershocks they enter the building. Inside the office Mari collapses from exhaustion and anaemia while a stranger enters the office with a bat. The unknown visitor turns out to be a young employee of Mari’s company by the name of Aya. While Mari is out cold from her fall Yuuki and Mirai leave and we are led to believe they have left to not be a burden to Mari. The place where Mari lives (Sagenjaya), where her daughter and mother should be, is dealing with a fire outbreak and Mari is understandably worried. She is contemplating leaving the children behind to reach them as quickly as possible. Aya is pushing her towards this and offers to take care of Yuuki and Mirai. However as expected Mari is not going to abandon them and goes off to find them. Everything is back to normal and they continue on their journey back home.


A good episode that also explores Mari’s character with flashbacks to her past. The reasons why Mari continues to stick with Yuuki and Mirai become more clear. Also I am still enjoying the depiction of a earthquake damaged modern day Tokyo and the issues that arise.

Screen Captures

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Episode 5 – The School’s Lament

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Another amazing episode of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0. I’m glad I choose this show to blog about especially since my other candidate was the second season of Haruhi. Also the recent 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Tokyo brings into perspective that a major earthquake is due soon. Episode 5 deals with the emotional issue of those lost in the earthquake.

It has been one day since the initial earthquake that shook Tokyo. Our main characters are continuing their journey home and have stopped at a shelter set up in Mirai’s school. The school was recently built and is mostly still intact but the problems of broken glass and aftershocks are still present.

This is an emotional episode exploring the situation of those dealing with the loss of their relatives. In particular one of Mirai’s classmates (Megu) is mourning the loss of her mother and an old couple have been devastated by the death of their grandchildren. The grandfather, who had invited his grandchildren to come to tokyo from the countryside, has been dealing with his loss by being a volunteer worker and is the focus of this episode. These heart breaking emotional scenes are portrayed especially well.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Episode 4 – Their Promise

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Episode 4 of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 continues the journey home for Mirai, Yuuki & Mari. Walking is the only viable form of transport at this point in time for the population of people returning home. The issue of uncertainty is weighing on everyone’s mind about whether their home is still standing and if their relatives are alive. As a result people are understandably less considerate and act irrationally.

The second half of the episode focuses on the brother sister relationship. This was handled well with honest emotion with an amazingly executed moment near the end of the episode.

Ending Spoiler – Tokyo tower collapses and Yukki saves Mirai from falling debris. A moment occurs after this when Yukki is on the ground face down and Mirai believes Yuuki is dead. There is enough of a delay of movement from Yuuki for us to seriously believe Yuuki has died, especially with the emotional scene preceding this. Yuuki is fine and pops up surprising everyone.

To continue my ongoing list of earthquake/disaster specific observations the following are examples of the kinds of supplies distributed –

– Portable toilets
– Cup ramen
– Portable meals
– Maps
– 3 day ration and supply packs

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 Episode 3 – Burning Bridge

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In this episode Mari, Yuuki and Mirai are looking to get back home but first they have to get off Odaiba. Episode deals with the behaviour of the crowd, lack of compassion and chaos in a disaster.

Here are a few more earthquake disaster tips, problems and observations taken from this episode.

  • Mobile phones might not be able to make calls, but depends on affected wireless infrastructure.
  • Japanese convenience stores give out food in times of crisis.
  • Fires still going on, gas leaks a common source of the problem.
  • Aftershocks may go on for a couple of days.
  • People can act differently in a disaster, most people looking out for their own well-being.